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The Elyrian Trade Alliance Welcomes the Competition!

OFFICIAL NOTICE FROM The elyrian trade alliance:

“It has come to the attention of the Council of Counts that the members the Council of Zygethia have formed a national trading guild. Zygethian planning documents leaked to the Elyrian Trade Alliance by members placed within Romaria, a Zygethian county, have shown that Zygethia’s Council, in an attempt to emulate the economic benefits of the ETA have decided to form their own trading guild.

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Zultra: The Misunderstood King?

It’s easy for us to forget where we come from. Often times I catch myself wondering where I would be if it wasn’t for my burning desire to chase the next story. My parents spent their whole lives tending the flocks and fields under the sun. Perhaps that could have been my destiny had strange circumstances catapulted my writing in front of so many of you. This thought spurred a detour from my journey and I decided to sit down with an old friend, Zultra of Zygethia. I wanted to ask him about his roots, and the criticism for seeking the crown.

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It’s a Bandit’s Life for Me

As I write this article, I am sitting on a stump in the middle of what may be the worst squalor I have seen in all my days on Elyria. I am being held in a cage made of roughly hewn logs, bound together with hempen rope and spikes. Some rotting straw has been scattered on the ground, presumably as a bed. The stench makes me wonder if it isn’t meant as a privy, however. My captors have been gracious enough to provide me with a scrap of parchment and some charcoal to write with, and I have been asked to write a tale of their “bravery and, ya know, how we’ve stood up to that barstid up at the castle (they presumably mean our beloved Duke – his keep is a short distance up the river)”. Not a one of these louts can possibly be literate, but I will do my best to tell you, dear reader, from what I’ve seen here at this den of thieves.

This morning I was on my way north, following the river road to the Ducal seat to interview the townsfolk about his Grace’s most recent levies to support the conflict along the Western borders. One moment I was walking along, the next I heard a footfall behind me and I knew no more. I awoke some time later, surrounded by a gang of toughs. Each seemed more brutish than the last, and their unwashed stench almost overwhelmed me. Their leader goes by the charming sobriquet of “Gasher”, and he explained my situation to me.

Y’see, writer man, what we’ve gots ourselfs here is a bit of a misunderstandin’. That fat arsed pollock up t’castle, he run every one of us out of house and home, he did. Take ol’ Jiggy there,” he said, pointing at a one-eyed gentleman who had been staring at me unblinkingly with a most distressing grin on his face. “Jiggy was a barber not that long ago. Damn good one too.” This explained the razor which ‘Jiggy’ was fondling, clearly. “But that sod and his bloody taxes! Jiggy lost everyfin! So now he’s one of us, and we ain’t gonna give up until the people put that barstid in his place!” A ragged muttering of agreement passed between the rest of the men.

Apparently this motley crew makes its living by kidnapping travelers and ransoming them back to their families, along with more prosaic highwayman activities. About 10 men call this camp home, somewhere in the wilds off of the river road. An informant from the town I had spent the evening in last night had apparently passed word of my status as a writer in the Elyria Herald ahead to the bandits, and they believed that Master Wilshire would be willing to pay for my release. That, along with the story, I have been ordered to write was enough to make them think I was worth the effort.

The camp is stirring, a man has just ridden in with a sack of coin. Apparently the Herald felt that I was worth the ransom, praise Ao! The scabrous scoundrels are on their way over now, I shall show them the article and tell them it is a testament to their heroic deeds, et cetera.

Editor’s Note: This article was next to the unconscious body of Mr. Belleme as he lay in the street outside of the Elyria Herald this morning. His clothing had been removed, and a note had been written on his chest: “I was a scribe, you illiterate swine. -Gasher”

What Lies Beyond the Oceans?

For quite some time now, I have heard some rumors in the saloons about some people planning on going on, “a cross-oceans suicidal mission“. The idea first came to me as unthinkable, as nobody has ever come back from sailing out that far. But this time I soon realized, with the rumors distilling into pristine information, they might actually achieve the impossible…

Determined to seek out the truth, I have joined some of the meetings of the missions’ supporters. In fact, as explorer and reporter myself, I am well informed on the main reason of the failure of previous similar attempts: communication. Indeed, the further they go into the oceans, the more risk they take, therefore they are less likely to return with their discoveries. But this time, they are planning on a completely different approach. What if, Gods forbid, they never plan to return?

Indeed,this is why the supporters call the mission suicidal themselves. Firstly, I thought it is some kind of joke to show off their courage, but I soon understood they actually mean it, and it is exactly why I think they might succeed. No, dear Elyrians, I have not lost my mind, let me tell you the magic word first: telepathic bond. It is known that among the well-born Elyrians, there is often some kind of telepathic bond among the closest family members, allowing them to communicate remotely and without delay. Using this bond, sailors will be able to tell their relatives about their discoveries.

The organizer of this expedition, known by the name of Kirvin, is determined to make this project a reality. I had the opportunity to arrange an interview with him, let’s peek into the mind of this bold explorer.

Gharen Yang: I have heard that you are planning on forming an expedition to explore the oceans, can you tell our readers about your main ideas? And maybe a bit about yourself too?

Kirvin: Really the idea is just to go across the ocean and see if we can find land or the edge of the world if there is one. I just like exploring the open world, you know. Curiosity plays a big role in it. If you’ve read the classic tales, there’s always a whole world full of secrets and when you, for instance, see a cave or island on the map you want to go see what is there. It’s like that I’d say.

GY: “Is it true that you plan to go as far as you could, and will never turn back?”

K: “At least until I hit another continent. I wouldn’t stop at an island but I would stop at a continent to get a base of operations set up for exploring it. Honestly, I am not afraid of dying on my journey. My family is here on the Continent, I have already said farewell and planned every eventuality. Depending on how successful my journey will be, my family might be inspired and consider ocean traveling again, but who knows. Personally, I wouldn’t bother coming back to the Continent. I don’t think I’d really have a reason to.”

GY: “So, how many supporters do you have now? Do you have an estimate of the crew members for the final expedition?”

K: “No idea. I just put up the discussion in the saloons so that it’s much easier to organize when there’s actually something to do. And I don’t really see any reason to have a limit on the amount of people that want to come. I suppose if we run out of boats and supplies and can’t get more we would have to limit it.”

GY: “Now, let’s talk about the organization of the expedition, have you already decided on any specific plans? Do you foresee any major difficulties you will need to handle?”

K: “Nope. We are at a very early stage of the project, there are a lot of unknown about what to come, so there’s no point making any plans yet.”

GY: “And finally, can you share a guess about what you might find beyond the oceans? Or maybe what you expect to find?”

K: “It only depends on what the Destiny and the Gods have planned for us honestly. I suppose I’d expect another continent like ours, but maybe with different spreads of biomes. And who knows what else awaits us. After all, the arch-prophet Caspian said once that the Destiny would eventually bind the Continents…”

During the interview, I have attempted, like a mermaid luring sailors, to raise up different scenarios (discoveries of hidden bounties or ancient relics, mutiny during the expedition…) to test the resolve of Sir Kirvin. Nothing seemed to phase him, his mind is so focused on this one sole goal, exploration. And it seems like this resolve is shared among the missions supporters who accepted to share their thoughts with me:

Amberic: “I chose to go on this expedition because of the sheer audacity of it. It is a terrible risk, but terrible risks can lead to great profit. No mindless creature would purposefully choose to do such a thing. Such ventures are the province of Mann, and by undertaking them, so do we prove ourselves.”

Ragnar Ragnarsson: “I have signed up for this so that I can be one of the first to see the edge of the world. If I die doing so then all I can say is there are far more boring ways to end one’s time in this world.”

Facing this collective display of unshakable determination, I was moved in spite of my usual skepticism and I can not help the growth of this feverous question in my mind : what lies beyond the oceans?

From your faithful reporter,

Knowledge from Information, Wisdom from Knowledge

Gharen of the House Yang

Count Raithe Belfort: Seige Master of Arthos

The County of Avenshire has long been known as a haven for foresters and lumberjacks. It was also a Sanctuary for Mages when Magic was prominent. Our largest forest, The Ravens Forest, is rumored to have the essence of magic flowing through its roots. Today I continue through the lands of Arthos to search for King Miles. My fears that something terrible has happened to him increase each day, the rumors along the path of those who have spoken to him recently have been silent.

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Zygethia Says Open Borders are Good

OFFICIAL STATEMENT regarding open border policy – KING ZULTRA OF ZYGETHIA:

Zygethia believes in the right of diplomacy and to encourage this, King Zultra himself goes to various kingdoms to initiate good relations with those that do not oppose us.

King Dragor Supports Open Borders for Nirath

I’ve yet to grasp what happened exactly
But I am ashamed of some of the hostility that occurred, Nirath is a hearth for all and a guest house for all to take shelter in.
All are welcome, friends or foes, we turn no one back if they don’t bring the sword to our gates.
As an old thing I’ve learned from my good father, if a man is to be your enemy, have the courtesy to meet them face to face and tell it to their face.

Treason or Tantrum?

The sun was bright this morning, the smell of fresh Canis rabbit cooking over a bed of hot coals reminded me I was alive. After all the pungent aroma of such a creature only has two reactions in people. One either looses their last meal, or subconsciously licks their lips in anticipation. Being from the farm myself, I found that my now growling stomach hadn’t forgotten the taste of Canis. Ah, memories.

However this isn’t to share the delicacy of canis, or debate it’s polarizing taste. Rather I must inform you about an even I was merely a witness to.

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Daemonic Cults – Horror or Hoax?

“It’s right this way, Master, you’ll see for yesself soon enough!”

My guide is a short, wiry fellow, with dirt-caked skin and a crazed gleam in his eye. He refuses to give me a proper name, insisting the I call him “Maebolg”. We’re currently shuffling through a narrow crawlspace underneath his rather ramshackle home, where his mother (Doris Clatchey, 58) and two cats (Misty and Whiskers, ages unknown) currently reside with him.

“Here we are, Master! Behold! The dread idol of SARNOCH!”

The crawlspace has opened up into a sort of root cellar, and ‘Maebolg’ has prostrated himself in front of a crude… altar is the best word, I suppose. A rough plank has been laid across two sawhorses, and a pair of guttering tallow candles give the dread idol a sallow glow. The idol itself is clearly the motheaten head of a cat inexpertly sewn onto the body of a leffit, and sawdust has leaked out around the stitching. I thanked ‘Maebolg’ (real name Peter Clatchey, 32, as told by his mother) for his time and left, skirting a sack of potatoes on my way back to the crawlspace.

Talk of daemonic cults has been on the rise lately in these frontier towns, and they have been blamed for everything from soured milk and ruined crops to murdered children and wives. Almost every villager I have spoken with knows someone who knows someone that has had dealings with these cultists, but the closest I have gotten to any actual cult activity has been Maebolg and the dreaded Sarnoch. I sincerely doubt that they are capable of murder, but I can vouch for the soured milk – the tea Mrs. Clatchey offered me had chunks of it floating on the surface.

I spoke with County officials to determine what the government stance on the issue was. The harried clerk at the local constabulary (Timothy Harper, 22) confirmed that no cultists have been arrested, jailed, executed, or even brought in for questioning. “Quite frankly, Mr. Belleme, all this ‘cult’ business is simply rumor and superstition. People out here have enough trouble without dragging daemons into it. Last year it was evil spirits, this year it’s cultists, and who knows what the peasantry will come up with next year.”

Walking back to my lodgings at the local inn, I considered what I have seen so far. In the interests of objectivity, I cannot say that daemonic cults do not exist. But I can certainly say that whatever truth there may be in this story is buried under a mountain of falsehoods and tomfoolery. And clearly my lines of inquiry have brought me to the attention of at least one of the local pranksters, as a scroll of oddly pale leather has been shoved beneath my door while I was out. A rather dark brown, flaking ink has been used to draw what I believe to be a crude dagger, pointing downward, bisected by three horizontal lines. “Get out of our town, scrivener” is written below this rather sinister picture. Clearly just another variation on the theme of the ‘dread idol’, but nonetheless… I believe I hear the road calling, and the beds here are not the most comfortable. Time to take my leave.

Travel Safely,

-Trug de Belleme

Economic Report: Flooded Market

I consider myself lucky, as my profession permits, I have a lot of leeway to chase a story. And even though on the surface, a story in a hamlet called the ‘Crescent Knoll’, could make any person in my situation roll his eyes. I was determined to give the Crescent Knoll a new breath of life, in its sad, miserable state, partly due to me gambling the last of my travel fund away. Unfortunately, it was looking pretty bleak when the only thing to write about that would closely resemble a ‘compelling piece’ was either the mediocre brews of the Rocky Basin Tavern or the occasional hoodlums that frequent the area. That is, until a traveling map-maker had discovered a rich vein of iron just a half days ride from the hamlet. As soon as word hit about the ‘mountains of iron’ that was just ’lying on the ground’ for anyone to take, a boom town was born.

The tiny hamlet of Crescent Knoll, which you’d need Angelica’s Blessing to find it on a map, was your run of the mill, agricultural community. It had its farmers, lumberjacks, a blacksmith and
carpenter. Pretty standard stuff. As soon as the first prospector came more and more prospectors trickled in, with a caravan of tools and digging equipment in tow. Pretty soon the Rocky Basin Tavern was at max capacity and couldn’t even keep any men in the stables.

Not only were the prospectors new to the Crescent Knolls, but rolling in on the tailcoats of the prospectors were the traveling merchant caravans, who to them, I suspect the Crescent Knolls look like anything else to them, coin. The merchants were quick to set up booths, sometimes right outside town, out of the back of road worn wagons. They’d sell necessary items, such as trail rations, replacement parts for broken mining equipment, in return for a direct access to iron ore. It was almost a symbiotic relationship, because these poor Crescent Knollers couldn’t purchase the ore fast enough. I’d come to find out this standard practice in boom towns, be it copper, silver or gems, miners will flood the local markets with precious metals, driving prices down. Merchants are key in stabilizing the market, trading their newly acquired goods in lucrative contracts back in the cities.

On a final note, readers. If you do happen to travel the roads to Crescent Knolls, please hire a body guard or two. In an attempt to glean more information about the direction Crescent Knolls was headed, due to its newfound wealth in iron, I attempted to schedule an interview with the Crescent Knolls Elder Councilmen, Rudolf Igman. In my short time tenure in this thriving hamlet, rapid expansion was in the works, with rumors of families migrating to settle in these rich lands. Unfortunately, I had only found out recently, that Elder Councilmen Igman had been indisposed (the word being passed around, murdered) due to an altercation that had transpired on the roads by a band of ruffians, looking to cash in on the hard work of others. Not only has the Crescent Knolls attracted prospectors and merchants alike, but the less savory types as well.

Remember, my loyal readers, protect your assets.
In this life and the next, I bid farewell for now.
~Merx Tandun

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