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A Scalder Celebration

 
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ddicerc
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:15 pm GMT    Post subject: A Scalder Celebration Reply with quote

The days were going shorter, especially in the shadow of the Uruzaks. If there was one thing the Faeli hated worse than the Areosa, it was the cold darkness that came at the end of the year. It was enough to drive a Scalder mad! Yet there were few recorded instances of Faeli aggression during those days. Many have wondered why that is so. Rumors persist of some sort of celebration held by the Scalders to celebrate their heritage.

A few bold scholars have ventured into the Plaguelands to observe the truth. Here are the observations of those brave souls: Nodric Earthkin of the Vagha™, Olvarr Bungus of the Areosa, and Frankuk of the Trogs™. The University of Balgavarr is proud to publish the observations of this group for the first time, to dispel the misinformation that has been spread about these customs.

(This paper has somehow fallen into the hands of SFR, and is here reproduced in serial form for your reading pleasure and/or annoyance.)
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ddicerc
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:45 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Nodric Earthkin, professor of Esfhan Sociology at the University of Balgavarr. I began my studies at The University, but have since traveled extensively to enhance my academic credentials. I am the only Vagha™ to have received a degree from the Tulgesh Academy of Sciences, and I did extensive graduate work under the tutelage of the legendary Dragoncrusader Elvas Indabilding. My travels have taken me north to Icehome, where I gained royal approval to write on Areosan war rituals, and east to the Uruzaks, where I made stealth observations of Morehl™ necromantic preparations. While in Tulgesh, I made important discoveries about the ancient Selumari™ obsession with the Magestorm artifacts (which so recently caused such problems for Cyrea), which were received with great interest.

I have inquired into the roots of the Faeli celebration rumors for the past several years, but it was only this year that I obtained a grant from a mysterious benefactor to assemble a small party to enter the Plaguelands quietly and see if there was any truth to these rumors. In the paper that follows, I will present my discoveries, along with observations by my travelling partners.

I think it safe to say this paper will prove to be a milestone in our understanding of the chaotic culture of the Faeli, and that Scalder studies for generations to come will be indebted to the work of my courageous colleagues in gaining access to these facts. I will allow them to introduce themselves in their own words.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:14 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

21 Frostwind, 221 YW
I, Olvar Bungus, Doctor of Civil Sciences, Advanced Magical Studies, World History, and Applied Astronomy, ex-Magi of the Areosan Clowder, at the will of the university of Balgavarr, will be embarking on a journey to the Plaguelands to study the wintertime traditions of the Faeli.

My journey will be undertaken with the assistance of Nodric Earthkin, and Frankuk the Trog™. Nodric is a well learned dwarf, but lacks any formal military training, and therefore might prove a liability when we find ourselves deep in hostile territory. Still, he is an honest man, and a brilliant scholar, and is an acquaintance of mine, so I deeply hope that I will not have to leave him behind should I need to make a hasty escape. Frankuk is a Trog™. There isn’t much more to be said on the matter.

I have had the opportunity to study the Scalders in the past during my days in the army, but those experiences have enlightened me more in the ways of their military structure and tactics, rather than religious tradition or daily life. My findings were useful, to be sure, but we have never understood why the Faeli would put lengthy campaigns on hiatus and cease their usual military activity around the time of the Winter Solstice for their annual “celebration”, if it is that.. All that I found out from my army days is that the Scalders are very good at losing, especially while being stabbed to death, painfully. So, their winterly decrease in military activity is unfortunate, for it gives us Aerosa less opportunity to stab them to death painfully.

Do not think that I am undertaking this task as part of a personal vendetta against the Faeli. My military days are over, and I am but a humble scholar now. I plan on going in to observe only, not to cause any trouble, or hurt anyone. This is not to say that I am defenseless, for if the need arises, I am ready to defend myself and my comrades, even if that means I have to stab some Scalders to death painfully.

Addendum: Especially if I have to stab some Scalders to death painfully

-Olvar Bungus
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:15 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me Frankuk. Me lern at fancy skool. Me bin in many clases. Sometimes teacher even let me listen while me empty trash. Me learn a lot. Me learn best way to throw smelly things away from skool. Pretty fairies make pretty lites, so me come closer. Me find dwarf and bat-kitty from skool, so me stay with them. They want see pretty lites two. This shud be fun.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:24 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skirting the Uruzaks, we came to the extreme northwestern border of the Plaguelands. Curiously, there were but few sentries patrolling the border, so it was a simple matter to slip past them and find a trail toward the nearest Faeli settlement.

My previous studies of Faeli culture led me to expect ashes and debris liberally scattered about, with piles especially around the huts occupied by the Scalders. To my surprise, the streets of this village (if such it may be called) had been swept completely clean. Not merely cleared of the major debris, mind you, but cleaned completely down to the surface of the pathway.

The huts themselves were in a more pristine state than I had expected. It was as if the accumulation of a year's blackened soot and ash had been removed. I had never heard of such a practice among the Scalders; indeed, the Faeli were notoriously slovenly creatures who liked to burn whatever they could and leave the remains lying there.

Our immediate discovery has forced me to reevaluate our understanding of Faeli culture. There is something here that we did not expect. Could this be related to the rumors of the Faeli celebration? Did some major event cause them to reverse their standard procedures? Our investigation here has only begun.

-Nodric Earthkin
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Last edited by ddicerc on Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:56 pm GMT; edited 1 time in total
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Frosty the Wolfpack
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:39 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

9 Sunend, 221 YW

The village was unusually clean. Puzzled by this discovery, we decided to split up, to cover more ground. That way, Nodric and I could gather more data, while also being out of the way of the crossbows when Frankuk got discovered. Trog™ and stealth are two words that should never be mentioned together.

I crept about the village, avoiding the main streets. While it would be bad for Frankuk to get spotted, I, a noble Areosa, would cause a far more unpleasant ruckus than a mere Trog™. I mean, I'm sure I could take at least five of them (that number would have been far higher if it had not been for the great cataclysm that stripped us of our most powerful Magic), but I did not plan on getting myself killed by some lousy Scalders.

In my wanderings, I came upon a most curious sight. Faeli spellcasters were placing magical lanterns in the windows of houses, and casting red and green light spells that hung over the streets. This was not fire, the preferred method of lighting to the barbaric Scalders, but harmless, non-destructive magical light. It was an astonishing sight.

In the village square, a particularly spectacular (though unrefined, given the nature of its creators) display of magical lights was set up. I could tell that the Faeli casters had spent a lot of time trying to craft this radiant masterpiece, so I crept closer for a better look. Of course, I had *ahem* forgotten about my anti-magical nature, so when I was about ten feet away, the entire thing blinked out of existence.

Too bad. So sad.

-Olvar Bungus
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:01 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dwarf and bat-kitty tel me to go by maself, so me go by maself to lern ubout fairi lites. Me yell at fairies to ask how they make pretty lites, but they no tel me how to make lites. They hit me with lites. The lites hurt. One lite made me sleepy, so me tuk a nap. When me wake up, bat-kitty stud over me purring. He had funny candel holder in his hand. Me still want no how fairies make pretty lites.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:56 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

An unfortunate incident concerning Frankuk prevented us from getting a closer look at the light phenomenon for the time being. (What part of "Sit here by yourself and don't cause any trouble" did that creature not understand?) Olvar was able to revive him, apparently none the worse for wear (although it also seems he is none the wiser for his experience. We shall have to keep a close eye on him.)

We decided to penetrate further into the Plaguelands. The next village we spotted was in much the same condition as the first, and the same curious lights shone in the sky. As we crept behind one of the huts, I spotted an odd sculpture. It was carved of wood, mostly of one piece, and depicted what appeared to be a misshapen Dwarven Warlord. A second piece of wood was carved and attached as the mouth, giving it a most peculiar and unsettling appearance. What was the purpose of this oddity?

On a whim, I placed it against my tongue. Surprisingly, it was sweet! Hearing some cackling voices nearby, we retreated behind some rocks to observe what would happen. Three Faeli came into view, carrying some the foul kachoo nuts, a product found only in the Plaguelands and generally shunned by other races. (I have tasted them. They are shunned for a reason.) One of the Scalders took a kachoo and placed it in the mouth of the creature, then yanked on a long extension of the mouth. The kachoo cracked neatly and efficiently. Making some rude comments about the Vagha™ (I understand enough of the Faeli tongue to know those words!), he popped the kachoo into his mouth.

Some mice skittered along the ground to scavenge the droppings. A female Scalder threw her shoe at the largest one, striking and killing it. The sculpture seemed to glow for a moment, but it was probably my imagination, as it simply sat there. The Faeli scooped up the mouse and walked off with it, their nuts, and the strange sculpture.

It seems like there may be a story behind that odd contraption. Questions dance about my mind. I shall have to look into this further.

-Nodric Earthkin
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:55 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

18 Sunend, YW

We have been traveling the Plaguelands for quite some time now. Every day, our findings get stranger. For instance, just a week ago I was stalking about a large Faeli keep, garnished with red and white tapestries. Seeing the fabric that was very much not-burned, I came closer.

The guards were all wearing strange red head armor with mysterious adornments of white wool at the tip and base. It was pointed, but floppy. It didn't seem strong enough to withstand even a single blow. By further observation, I concluded that it was really poor armor, because when I hit a sentry in the noggin with an icicle, he was out cold.

After some more time lurking about the fortress, and disposing of the Scalder sentry, I noticed a caravan approaching from the south. It was a most unusual sight, but we were used to the unusual by now. A team of Faeli slave-drivers was leading a chain gang of elves of both races toward the castle. The elves were not swathed in their regular garments, but strange uniforms of red and green, with pointed hats. They were led into the keep, where the large steel gates shut behind them.

There were too many sentries lurking about, and even with my ultimate elemental power and cunning wits, I could not devise a way inside. I would need some sort of distraction.

That day, when heading back to camp, I saw Frankuk lying dead, nothing more than a pile of charred Trog™ meat and bones. In fact, the crispy flesh was actually a welcome break from his regular goblin stench. I returned him to his pitiful existence, figuring that I might be able to find some use for him later on.

-Olvar Bungus
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:25 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fairies have fuzzy hats. Me want no where fairies get fuzzy hat. Me also want no where fuzzy treez kom from. Fuzzy treez luk like pine prins with stabby needelz, but they no luk alive. They also have no ayz. or armz. Me tuch tree, then fairies kum with lites on string. They saw me, then me saw brite lite. Me see kitty later, and my skin was krispy. Me heal later.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:08 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

While my Areosan colleague dealt with an unfortunate incident concerning Frankuk (again), I continued to explore the latest village we entered. I saw a large, and rather imposing, figure off in the distance. It was a strange sight. Large and lumbering, it bore no resemblance to any Faeli creature with which I was acquainted (and I was acquainted with more of these than I would care to admit, at least without some dwarven ale). Still, it seemed to radiate an elemental presence of water and fire, which was characteristic of the Scalders. Perhaps this creature was simply a new monster, not yet seen by outsiders. It could be a mutation, not meant for roaming the land. Or perhaps it was the first of its kind, some prototype of a new beast.

As it moved toward me (though I had thoroughly concealed myself, and was in no danger of discovery), I saw that it seemed to walk with an odd gate. (Why it was carrying one was beyond me. As far as I knew, there were no portals requiring one nearby.) The creature seemed to be old, and as it moved past me I recognized it as one I had encountered some years ago as a younger dwarf during my explorations in the southern Uruzaks. This was a creature that only appeared at certain seasons of the year, and had done so for as long as many could remember. When its age caused it to suffer damage, it would simply regenerate and appear once more the next year.

I watched as it moved past me, intent on reaching the village square. It carried some misshapen packages wit it, apparently intending to deposit them near a large tree in the center of the square.

I had been privileged once again to witness the passing of Carol, the ancient Yuletide troll.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:39 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

18 Sunend, YW

Later that week I figured out how to infiltrate the fortress that the Elves had been taken into.

I stood on a hill overlooking the stronghold. I had a large burlap sack with me, which held the key to getting in, and my Archmagi's crown, just in case I needed some extra mana. I waited until the sentries that were making their rounds passed, then dashed toward the wall. I planted the sack there and fled, praying that I could get away before the thing in the bag could unleash its purpose.

Just in time, I leapt behind a rock as Frankuk let himself out of the bag. He shouted something in Trog™, and there was a sound of crossbows going off and many explosions. The guards were distracted, and I glided over the basalt walls. I would pick him up later.

After some exploring, I found myself on the catwalks above a large crafting floor. Long rows of tables dominated this massive room, at and them sat scores of shackled elves, laboring away. Faeli taskmasters roamed about, beating elves that weren't working fast enough. From a large balcony, a particularly fat Scalder with long, sharp claws and wearing a red suit and black leather boots cackled away as he watched his slaves labor. "HA HA HA!" he laughed, or maybe it was more of a "HE HE HE!", or a "HOO HOO HOO!". The exact syllables don't matter. He clacked his claws together with delight. This is barbaric! I thought. I must stop this!

I leaped down to the factory floor. A taskmaster turned to me, and I dropped him with a shot of black magic. The Scalder with the Claws (who shall be referred to as "Scalder Claws" for simplicity's sake) shouted "Someone's being naughty! Seize him!" Before the guards could respond, I waved my hands, and the shackles fell of all the elves hands and feet. I said, "You won't use these fine people to make your weapons, Faeli scum!" Scalder Claws looked taken aback at my words.

"Weapons? They were making toys!"

I turned to the nearest work station. It was true. Sitting on the table was a collection of stuffed Web Birds, wooden Ettercaps, and light-up will-o-wisp toys, all in various stages of completion. I felt awfully silly, and, not knowing what to say, I struck down Scalder Claws with a lighting bolt. The elves, seeing their chance, turned on their masters, striking them down and taking their weapons. I slipped away from the commotion silently.

On my way out, I had the most queer feeling that I was forgetting something... something important.

I decided not to worry about it, eager to get back to camp to tell Nodric of my adventures from the day.

-Olvar Bungus
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