Rumours of War - True!

Travel restrictions and tight security have kept the truth from us, but word is now out: Rivellon is in crisis!

A small group of refugees have found their way to Rivertown, bearing evil tidings of demon armies, massacres, and utter devastation only a short distance from our borders. They claim the forces of chaos, led by Damien (that monstrous child of our Divine One) are already in complete control of some areas.

Civic officials are unhappy about these developments, fearing loss of both authority and lucrative jobs. “We should have been immediately informed of the situation,” said one Councillor, “this is outrageous!” He added, “I’m sure we could have discussed the situation with Damien and come to reasonable terms if only we had known the extent of the conflict.”

Military officials merely commented that this was precisely why they had not been informed.

Until more reliable information is available, citizens here will be tormented by bizarre and garbled tales told by exhausted, confused, and frightened travellers. Stories of monsters, stories of dragons, and even a vile rumour of the death of the Divine One himself. 

Healers’ Community Rocked by Scandal

By a correspondent

Life is no longer peaceful in the healers’ enclave at Aleroth, thanks to retirement fund trustees’ involvement in a real estate development scheme.

In this staid community of venerable healers and apothecaries, life is usually predictable, with few challenges other than a new enchantment or disease to combat, and even fewer surprises. Now an imp-inspired real estate scam has changed all that, and embroiled the community in conflict and recriminations.

Polarized into factions, Aleroth divided is no longer a peaceful place. Supporters of the Healers’ Retirement Fund insist that trustees were within their rights to buy into a huge land development project in a remote area of Rivellon. The land in question.
The land in dispute: who really owns it?

They agree with trustee statements declaring the deal to be “an ambitious and worthy venture likely to increase values and afford all participants growth and benefits in the long term”.

Detractors say, “Balderdash!”

The controversy began scant weeks ago, when a delegation of imps arrived to make a presentation to a closed meeting of the Fund’s board of trustees. When the session ended, the imps were honoured at a banquet hosted by the Fund chairman before setting out for Verdistis and meetings with the Merchants’ Guild.

It was another twelve hours before Fund trustees publicly announced their new land acquisition, and attendant involvement in the development scheme. Citizens appeared sceptical, but interested. For some, the wealth of flora in the proposed community promised a retirement of contentment, filled with happy opportunities for research and study. The thoughts of others turned to building adequate structures able to protect them from bugs, arthritis, and ague.

Then an unsigned message arrived, and the community was torn apart.

The note reads, in effect: 'This is our home! How could you, you bastards?!'

Trustees argued that the barely literate wording of the message denoted fraud; others felt it indicated precisely the opposite.

And if even semi-literate beings inhabit the land, by what right are the imps able to offer it for development? This is the question that will keep the debate lively in the weeks to come, and may eventually lead to an investigation by the highest courts in the land. No doubt the Verdistis Merchants’ Guild will be watching this situation closely.

Travels With A Deathknight

Before leaving on the perilous The Bunny Quest, Sir Harry entrusted his personal correspondence and diaries to the National Library of Rivellon. It is to the trustees that we owe the following series of articles, which tell a tale of courageous struggle during and after the first Great Battle against the Lord of Chaos. This is his story, in his own words:


We are fighting for our very souls in these war-riven, dark days, and for the souls of our comrades and loved ones. Death is no longer considered the greatest evil, for after death, should the Lord of Chaos prevail, the horrors will be greater than any we can now imagine… and our imaginings grow more dreadful with every passing hour.

The Divine One inspires us still. His courage in the face of these monstrous horrors is as a beacon of light, leading us ever onward and keeping our hopes alive. I can no longer expect to live through these times, but I am content to fight for the children of Rivellon.

The Divine One’s heart is broken for the child he had struggled to save, but even thus he is a formidable warrior and a valiant leader. We all grieve his loss of Damien, even as we arm to battle the demon that Damien has become. Today’s meeting of armies—the legions of the Divine and the hordes of the Damned—will be fearsome indeed, and although no coward, I do not welcome this test.

Our troops hold a rise that commands the broad plains to west and north; a small wooded valley lies to the south, and behind us is the pass we guard. To the north we can see the forces of the Damned moving slowly toward us. By daylight, they will be upon us. We must hold, whatever the cost. My blood chills as I ready for the call.

Day 1

It is done. I have failed, and will pay the price. Did our forces prevail? Did we hold the line, and keep the Damned from feeding on our townsfolk? Are there soldiers enough left to defend our lands and our people?

Just before dawn, I led a small contingent down a narrow, over-grown path leading into the wooded valley. We intended to surprise an enemy scouting party whose fires betrayed their position. Betrayed! Ah, we were the ones betrayed! This was no scouting party, but a few pretenders sent to lure us, safe in the knowledge that full three-score heavily armed fighters hid nearby. I only remember the heat, the blood, the screams and cries, the flash of spells off in the hills as the main armies engaged, the weapons clashing around me. Bodies at my feet. My comrades’ bodies, obscenely entwined with the carcasses of monsters and the black-hearted mercenaries of Darkness. We fought numbly, stubbornly, with little hope but much will. Our goal in the end was to thwart just one more creature, to strike down just one more enemy, before we in turn fell.

And then blood in my eyes, movement to one side, another sharp pain, and darkness.

How long ago was that? I am weary, hungry, confused. It seems I am in some dungeon, for the doorway is barred, the walls are stone, the furnishings sparse. A pallet, some straw, a small bucket, a covered barrel serving as a table. A husk of bread on that makeshift table, and a cup of… water? Can water be that foul? I stand in the clothes I wore, much soiled now and tattered. My boots, at least, do not leak. My pack, which lies on the floor in the corner, still holds a few healing herbs, writing materials (which I now use), and the four small gems I sewed into the lining on that long ago day when I left for the wars. The knife, pipe, tobacco, and spellbook (standard issue) are gone.

There is nothing else but… rats! By the light of the torches flickering in the passage, I see dozens of them scurrying about. Perhaps they are my only companions in this hellhole.

Party Time for Rivellon

By a correspondent

The Rivellon Travel and Tourism Board (RTTB) has revived plans for a festival. A whole series of festivals, in fact.

Buoyed by a post in the forums of their major Outworld promotor, Larian Studios, the board has voted in favour of a month-long “Through the Rift to Rivellon” celebration, culminating in spectacular fireworks displays to be held simultaneously at Stormfist Castle, the Merchants’ Guild in Verdistis, and several other locations throughout Rivellon.

Committees appointed by the board have already begun planning the massive undertaking, which they anticipate will take at least six months of intensive preparations.

If it comes off, the festival will prove a real boon to the region’s struggling tourism industry. Intermittent warfare and roving bands of marauders have kept many travellers off the roads of late, and the local hostelries are feeling the pinch.

The Divine One has pledged increased security for festival venues, Outworld portals, and all major roadways.

Courier slain

Fatal attack by renegade skeletons against messengers bearing news to the Outworld.

Fatal attack

One of a team of couriers has been brutally slain by skeleton warriors. His companion, who managed to flee to a nearby farmhouse, said the pair was attacked while nearing a portal to the Outworld.

News between Rivellon and the Outworld has been sparse of late, victim of increased hostilities in the war with the Damned. Few roads are now safe, according to authorities, and even civilian messengers wearing their distinctive red caps are now at risk.

Bunny Quest

By Penumbra
Special correspondent

Stories about bunnies carrying eggs made from a sweet confection circulate in the Outworld around this time each year, I’m told. While it certainly seems odd to us, the fact remains that even stranger stories—about bunnies and gold—occasionally crop up right here in Rivellon. [See story: “Bunnies" No Joke to Sir Harry.]

It’s one thing to talk about bunnies and lost gold, and quite another to actually go in search of them…

Expedition planned

When Sir Harry D’Esmayed makes an appointment for my deluxe treatment, it’s clear that Something Is Up. So naturally, I foisted off all my other clients on the juniors (sorry, Geoff!), and made sure that Sir Harry could have my full attention for as long as he wanted.

He arrived right on schedule, looking better than at any time since he returned to Rivellon. He’d been “getting back in shape”, he confided. And the shape was superb.

Nonetheless, he also arrived restless and tense. It was several hours before he became relaxed and talkative, but it was worth the wait.

Sir Harry plans to lead an expedition into Yuthol Gor, in search of the fabled lost treasure.

Besides working on his exercise regime, which became a necessity for dealing with anger and frustration after the Divine One banned duelling, Sir Harry has spent long hours studying the recently rediscovered journals and spellbooks of his ancestor, the famed battlemage Sir Phillip. This project went from idle pursuit to serious undertaking when Rivertown’s own Kistandalius took an interest.

This is what Sir Harry told me:

Read full story.

“Bunnies” No Joke to Sir Harry

By Penumbra
Special correspondent

How Sir Harry became a laughingstock, and the even stranger tale of his illustrious ancestor and the legend of the bunnies.

Sir Harry D’Esmayed is not happy.

After horrific struggles to break a soul-forge to a Deathknight, the paladin returned to Rivellon to face vilification for bringing the evil creature with him, and now, mortification as Plowking’s moving picture parody “Dennis the Deathknight” becomes a popular hit throughout the region.

“It isn’t fair!” says Sir Harry, relaxing in my studio one day last week. “How was I to know what D… uh… the Deathknight was up to? And have you any idea how a soul-forge feels?”

He describes the feeling at great length as he unwinds under my deluxe treatment, then turns his tale to the more recent horror: the laughter of locals.

“I popped into the Blue Boar Inn for a pint, and everyone went quiet when I entered,” he lamented. “Then I heard the snickers start… I had to leave. I couldn’t very well kill everyone in the barroom.” He concedes he fought and killed at least six men in defence of his honour before The Divine One stepped in and instituted a ban on duelling.

Even more galling to the young paladin than the laughter is the infamous Dennis the Deathknight “bunny scene”, which Harry believes to be a veiled reference to a legend about his famous ancestor, Sir Philip D’Esmayed.

Read full story.

Scandal Brewing?

By a correspondent

Did the Divine One’s youthful escapades include fraternizing with the criminal element? Our correspondent reports on the rumours. 

In by-gone days, everyone knew of Tingalf, a familiar figure in Ars Magicana, although few would admit to his acquaintance. Reputed to be a black marketeer and smuggler, he remained on the fringes of society, oft arrested, but never convicted. Many a tale of Tingalf’s exploits enlivened a night at the Blue Boar Inn, and in the dark days of war, his cunning was relied on to put food on the tables of the poor.

Tingalf and The Divine One?
Tingalf with an unknown citizen. Could it be The Divine One? This unauthenticated picture was sent anonymously to The Chronicle’s office.

But now, many years after the man himself has disappeared from the region, critics of the current regime are alleging that Tingalf was known to have had close ties with The Divine One.

Lucian, The Divine One, was then called The Marked One, and spent many months questing and exploring Rivellon, battling The Black Ring and seeking to end The Lord of Chaos’ reign. That he ultimately succeeded in his quest, after being anointed The Divine One by the restored Council of Seven, is recorded history. But did he, during those trials, associate with the criminal element? This is the question now being raised, and, according to some, Lucian’s credibility now stands in doubt.

Although support for Lucian remains strong throughout the region, there have been calls for judicial hearings into the charges. An initial review of the evidence will be held next week at Stormfist Castle.

Since Lucian’s status as The Divine One has been affirmed by the entire Council of Seven, it is doubtful that the current situation can do significant damage, but his critics seem determined to cause him as much embarrassment as possible. Some speculate that the purpose behind the disclosure is to diminish his status among the troops, thereby weakening the strength of the Alliance.

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