More new discoveries were made this year, as the paths past the foothills were finally discovered, leading to...more foothills, and a cave full of very strong 'noids. A new mystic path was discovered on Ash Island, leading to another Keep, this time with scarmis tunnels beneath it. I managed to complete the maha challenge, but that's about it as far as personal acomplishments went.
Soldi, 20 Winter 544 (11/13/01)
The new year has brought with it the winter season, and with the shorter days Lyfe Island has fallen out of favor for exploration, especially since exiles are fearful of contacting the strange and debilitating "lyfeanthropy" disease. Those who are affected report feeling much weaker during the day, and during the night when they assume their man-cat shapes they tend to go through clothing rather fast, and I've heard reports that they suffer from fleas something fierce. The good news for sufferers is that Fat Alice's hut on the beach of the island is now renovated, and she has once again taken up residence there, and is even offering the luminescent salve that cures the affliction for sale. The bad news is that she is charging upwards of 10,000 coins a dose, hardly surprising given the rarity of the ingredients, but still a bit much for those on a tight budget. Even more interesting is that she now is offering another salve for sale at an even higher price, nobody seems to know what it does but potion expert Coriakin is trying to raise funds to purchase a sample so it can be analyzed in the alchemy lab. On other fronts I've heard that with Lyfe Island off limits a large group of exiles headed for the foothills again, where some major battles were fought but no new paths were discovered. There continue to be reports that a Certain Clan has found a way past the foothills into territories unknown to we, the great unwashed, but I'm not sure if this is fact or fiction.
These guys again. (v206)
Lundi, 35 Winter 544 (11/17/01)
Last moon I decided I would try to take on the maha challenge, which requires you to kill fifteen plains mahas within 90 minutes. After several trips to the Savannah to find it mostly bare of brown kitties (but usually with lots of savannah mahas and thousands of vermines), I managed to be down there when Tater was doing a rescue nearby, and she gave me a quick heal and spotted a couple more of the plains mahas to help me reach the required total. I earned a hefty number of coins (in addition to the numerous maha skins I collected on the hunt) and earned a bit of experience as well. Then just the other day I was lying fallen in the courtyard of Tenebrion's keep waiting for a rescue (don't ask), when suddenly Umbrion appeared nearby. He made a couple of snide remarks about rats (I had plenty already, thanks), but then when the rescue party showed up and got me on my feet he stuck around to have a little chat with us. It seems he was looking for Tenebrion, who missed some sort of appointment; he seemed very interested in the "strange stones" mystics have been getting from the Orga, and told us that he was still planning to provide us with a permanent portal to the Ethereal Plane once we delivered six of them. On the other hand he was more evasive about the amulet survey which several mystics are conducting, he said that variable readings were to be expected and that what he and his brother are most interested in locations with lots of extreme readings. He seemed amazed that a group of exiles was so polite (even the Zos were well behaved), and awarded Perkusi a free amulet as a reward. He may have a while to wait for those "strange stones" though, I don't think there was even an attempt at the Camp this just past full moon.
Another item for the trophy case. (v206)
Umbrion answers a few questions (sort of). (v206)
Merdi, 59 Winter 544 (11/23/01)
Well the big news this moon is the discovery of paths leading beyond the foothills by explorers of the LIFE group. Koric reported a number of details about the expedition, which found its way to an area that is so packed with dredlocks and big pink orgas that even a strong force of exiles was unable to make much of an impression. It also seems that the Pogue Mahone clan has been exploring the same system of caves, but natually I don't know if they have found anything of interest or not. There are rumors that a large unruly mob is being formed to see if the even-more-dreadful passage can be forced, but as usual I expect to be stuck in the library when it takes place. According to Katpus there is an orga stronghold somewhere past the foothills, and also a library of some sort. I've been doing some hunting off Lyfe Island again, including a couple of trips to the basement of Alice's hut, which now seems to have a nest of cave cobras somewhere, and a couple more trips to the Dark Temple to whack the liches that have taken to lurking in the entrance area. With a fast healer or two along it isn't too hard to back these up into the corner and wait for them to lose their balance, after which they are easy pickings.
We enjoy the traditional Zo victory cry. (v206)
Soldi, 69 Winter 544 (11/25/01)
Before the recent chaos storm I tagged along for at least part of the first expedition to the foothills, but I only made it as far as the trainer cave before I had to take a break, so I just remained there with the trainers until the storm came through and transported me back to town. While I was there I started studying with Rodnus, several healers have "suggested" that I might be a little too hard to heal. I later heard that the first expedition was unable to penetrate the Dredwood, but soon after the storm another large group headed for the hills and found the orga forces greatly reduced, allowing a major breakthrough and the discovery of several new areas. As it turned out the orga were just waiting for a chance to pounce, and the group was defeated by a backspawn as it tried to retreat from a battle with some new 'noid breeds, a lot of people were later rescued after being transported to the Village by zealots.
With several areas still unexplored, and the 'noids still to be shown who is boss, a third major expedition was put together and headed into orga territory. With Gurgi calling the shots we ran through the Snaggy, the Hollow, the Outback, the Dred Passage and the Western Foothills in near-record time. Once in the Eastern Foothills we were able to quickly overcome the unsuspecting orga and map the remaining areas. There were a large number of 'locks and pink orgas of all types, but with a large group we had no trouble doing them in (except for the occasional hatred, which was zued for later). But when we got to the waterfall that leads to the 'noid cave we encountered a setback, none of the pathfinders could find the way past the falling water and in to the cavern. After waiting a while we did a bit more exploring to search for other paths, encountering many strong tree giants in one area but not having any luck finding other exits. We then set up housekeeping outside the 'noid cave to allow pathfinders to study it in detail, but we were beset by continuous raids from the orga, including at one point no fewer than four hatreds. I decided to camp out back in Kiriel's valley, which is the safest spot found so far; a lot of folks headed back to town, but there are still a few of us hanging out here, and we may do a bit of exploring (or just get slapped down by the orga and have to depart).
Alone in the Outback. (v206)
The Unruly Mob heads through the foothills. (v208)
A little trouble at the entrance. (v208)
Lundi, 77 Winter 544 (11/27/01)
My trip to the Foothills ended in less than optimal fashion, I managed to hook up with a number of other exiles for another attempt on that darn waterfall, and things were going pretty well at first, we were able to move about the greener parts of the hills pretty well, but when we moved in on the rocky part we were met with a storm of lightning bolts, and when Sor tried to open the path through the orga barricade we had trouble following and he ended up trapped on the wrong side. After a quick regroup we tried to march right down the middle of the road, only to meet a hatred at the crossroads. With our fighters under heavy 'lock fire from all sides we were soon losing exiles, and when I hooked a few of the fallens on a chain and ran for cover I discovered that more 'locks had appeared to our rear and were waiting to greet me with open arms, along with more lightning. Those of us who made it to the west decided to hang out fallen for a bit, but when I woke up from a short nap I was met by a zealot and was in the Orga Village within a few minutes, along with several other exiles who had fallen in the fiasco. I wasn't able to hang out waiting for the rescue and ended up with depart #36, which I largely blame of the extra lightning bolts that the orga seem to be dealing out these days. Still, it was interesting to be part of an exploration group and see some new territory. I also learned that it would be a good idea to leave a 'lock bashing team behind when attacking the barricade area, it's possible we could have recovered if we had been able to retreat to a bolt-free zone.
I think my comment pretty much sums it up. (v208)
I end up in the midden with the other trash. (v208)
Sombdi, 6 Spring 544 (12/2/01)
Things seem to have settled down a bit, and now spring is here to cheer us up even further. I haven't been able to go on any more major expeditions to the foothills, and have returned to my usual hunting grounds, including a trip to the Valley to chase (and be chased by) a big angry sasquatch. I am continuing to study Rodnus for the present, although I can't really see much difference yet; it still takes a long time for most healers to heal me from red (something that happens all too often), and even the super fast ones have to pause for a moment when raising my fallen carcass (also still too frequent an occurrence). I've heard from Lundar that my clanmate Robin got a strange stone at the past full moon raid, which surely makes him one of the top stone-getters (as far as we know...some of them might have been taken in secret). And now that the days are getting longer again, I'm sure that there will be more expeditions to Lyfe Island soon...
Time to mow the barley. (v208)
Fordi, 26 Spring 544 (12/7/01)
I've heard that a recent trip to the eastern foothills didn't find any new paths, and was still unable to penetrate the waterfall that leads to the new 'noid area (and possibly leads to further discoveries, although at the moment I suspect that once we finally get in there and kill the 'noids we will find yet another dead end). I've been doing a little more Valley hunting than usual, along with a few trips to the Dark Chamber and Temple. One of those trips to the Valley turned into a nightmare, we cleared out the entrance cave with only a little difficulty but then met a number of panthers and cougars just outside, and then when we tried to retreat half of us went to the "safe" cave and the other half went back to the entrance cave, where they were met by several cave cobras. Those of us on the outside made a number of attempts to clear the cats, but didn't have sufficient forces, and finally on one of our sorties we come out of the cave to be met by six more cave cobras lying in wait! After a couple of vain attempts to kill the snakes Veer was the only exile left in the cave, where he wisely remained while Axell organized a rescue, a rescue which managed to kill some but not all of the snakes in the entrance before falling itself. Finally a massive second rescue arrived and dispatched the cobras, and there was much healing. Then a few days later I was able to help out some of the same exiles who had rescued me, Veer organized a rescue for another Valley group fallen in the same spot that I had been fallen, and this time with fewer snakes we were able to get everybody up on the first try.
Three furies predict their coming demise. (v208)
I find a well-gnawed bone. (v208)
Sombdi, 48 Spring 544 (12/12/01)
Well, there's been quite a bit going on the past couple of moons, although most of it seems to managed to take place while I'm in the library. OK, all of it seems to take place while I'm in the library. The big news is that the Separ suddenly appeared in town one day, this strange fen wandered in and handed it over to Tessa Malthus, much to her surprise (and the surprise of many other exiles who had spent many zodiacs searching for the thing, never suspecting that there was no chance of finding it on our own... we just had to wait for it to show up). The good news is that the Separ is able to cure exiles of the strange infection caused by Qual "dewing" them, often with spectacular results (Althea told me she vomited up a palidew when she was "separ-ated"). Many exiles who have been cured now report that they were forced to do Qual's bidding while in the infected state (something that I've suspected all along), although for the most part this seems to be limited to helping Qual trap some rather gullible exiles. The other thing that Tessa learned from the former Separ holder was that being "dewed" was just the first stage in the disease, and that the eventual end result was 'nothdom, which explains where all those 'noths came from and what happened to the former inhabitants of 'Noth Island... except for Votenkath, it seems, who is very interested in the Separ indeed.
The other news was something I heard from Achates the other day, he told me that a group had been able to reach the waterfall in the Eastern Foothills again and this time several pathfinders were able to find their way in to the 'noid infested cave behind, where there was a pitched battle against the extremely strong 'noids in which the exiles ultimately prevailed. Achates was quite excited about the chambers discovered behind the waterfall, and in particular a crumbly wall at the back, but to me it sounded like another dead end. I suppose having expert pathfinders able to pass through the waterfall is a small price to pay for my own sudden inability to enter the Northwest Forest, I keep going back to try and remember the way in but I just can't seem to recall the trick now, so I won't be able to help out on those quick NWF rescues any more...
I haven't seen one of these in a while. (v210)
Terrdi, 73 Spring 544 (12/18/01)
I've been doing a lot of coin collecting lately, and not much else of interest, other than the fact that I have now rediscovered the path into the Northwest Forest and hence can now once again help out with rescues up there. I'm still not sure why I lost the path for a moon or so, but by going up there as often as I could and taking a look I eventually figured out the trick to getting past the trees and into coin collector heaven. I also managed to come out of the library shortly after noon on the past full moon, where I learned that Zorton had been successful in getting a strange stone; and I saw Lundar sporting a new yellow belt the other day, it seems he has reached the exhaulted rank of bard. I gave him the bone I had found a little while ago, but it proved to be defective, those instrument makers are still pretty picky about the raw materials. And now another chaos storm is at hand, who knows what might happen next?
Must be my lucky day! (v210)
Soldi, 77 Spring 544 (12/19/01)
Here I am complaining about how nothing exciting has happened lately, and sure enough the next time I come out of the library I notice that there seems to be something going on north of town, there is sunstone chatter about battles in the Queen's Chamber of the hive, and exiles are falling to various types of "scary bugs," or scarmis beetles as some call them. I'm not sure how it happened, but it seems some eggs showed up in the QC and hatched all sorts of nasty beetles and myrms, which quickly tunnelled up to the North Field and started running roughshod over the exiles in town. After some touch and go we managed to collect a significant force in town center, and then quickly advanced up to the field despite several backspawns on the way. Against my better judgement I joined a rush down the pit to the QC, where we were met by wall-to-wall beetles; needless to say nobody lasted long. I soon passed out from my wounds, and when I came to there I was in the temple, lucky for me the Chaos Storm had brought me back to town and (I hope) cleared the bugs from the hive.
Fighting the scary bug in town square. (v210)
Afrit explains what awaits us. (v210)
What awaited us. (v210)
Sombdi, 14 Summer 544 (12/26/01)
After an extended stay in the library I came out to find a number of changes in the lands, the Passes have suffered extensive rearrangement in the last chaos storm and are now even more unstable than before, with lots of falling rocks. And a snowy area has opened up near the North Field, which seems highly unstable given that it is now mid-summer, I don't expect it to stick around for long. And as if this weren't enough I got a call from Lundar to come help out on Ash Island, where he and Hrothgar were investigating a new mystic path that leads to the outside of a walled enclosure. Inside the enclosure we could see green grass, trees, and flowers, all much more healthy than the dead sticks and weeds that are the usual ground cover on Ash, and a couple of those pesky scarmis beetles. We were unable to find a way inside the enclosure at the time, but Lundar has reported that later on he and a group of exiles discovered freshly-dug tunnels that lead inside, where there is a large keep similar to those inhabited by Tenebrion and Umbrion; speculation is that this is the residence of one of the 'Brion brothers, although at the moment I'm not sure if anybody has gotten inside or seen any inhabitants. Unfortunatly for the brave souls who invaded the Pen there was no exit other than skull gates that lead directly to the Ethereal Plane, where there are a number of really nasty creatures that make short work of any exile invaders. The Ethereal connection makes it pretty clear that this has something to do with the 'Brions, but the location on Ash is pretty unexpected, although it occurs to me that Tenebrion has used Darshak mercenaries in the past...
Decorations are back up in town. (v212)
Lundar and Hrothgar show me the Scarmis Pen. (v212)
Terrdi, 39 Summer 544 (1/1/02)
After some battles with bad weather I'm starting to get back into the swing of things, doing a bit of coin hunting and helping out with a rescue in the Orga Camp, there were a bunch of 'locks in there and it took a while to get enough healers on the scene to allow us to rush them, but then Axell showed up and the bolt throwers were rapidly dispatched. Tater gave me a potato, with which I was able to earn a gift, which turned out to be a sparkle stone; at the moment I don't know if anybody has determined a use for these yet, but when they do I'm now prepared. And just the other day Lundar led a small group into the McBolie cavern, only to discover that our pathfinders couldn't see the exit that leads to the Drake Den; it had been a while since they had attempted it, and the route had gone sour for them, in much the same way as I forgot the Northwest Forest entrance a little while ago. My belief is that the only way to open a path that you can see but not enter is to go back and attempt it a number of times. I'm not sure that sitting and staring really helps, most of the difficult (for me) paths that I eventually learned involved just coming back day after day and trying again. Of course, what do I know, I'm only "good to see you" with pathfinding...
I've heard this before... (v212)
Fordi, 55 Summer 544 (1/5/02)
The recent chaos storm seems to have brought with it a disturbing new development, the strength of some monsters has greatly increased, in some cases to the point where they are next to invulnerable. A number of people have told me about a recent infestation of super cloaks in the Dark Chamber that resulted in numerous departs, and Koric has reported that there were a number of extra-strong beasts on a recent trip to the Valley; I have also heard rumors about super 'noids. At first I didn't think this would affect me much, but then just the other day as I stepped out of the library I was startled when a small rock whizzed by my head, missing by just inches. There was a huge crowd of exiles in the town square, just finishing off the last of a major 'myr invasion that had included some very strong rockfolk. At the moment I haven't heard any theories as to why this is happening (although I can think of a few myself, ether leakage or dark bubbly or a plot by Zonk). Not all beasts seem to be affected, Koric reports that the orga don't seem any stronger, and I helped out with some liches in the Dark Temple that seemed relatively wimpy.
I couldn't bring myself to kill it... (v212)
Last 'myr of the invasion. (v214)
Fordi, 83 Summer 544 (1/12/02)
It's been a long lazy summer for me, and now as it is finally coming to a close I have heard a rather incredible rumor that Prue, she of the green skin and somewhat prickly personality, has died in an unexpected accident involving a strange witchy ceremony gone horribly wrong. I haven't actually seen the body myself, and there is another rumor that some of Prue's sisters-in-witchiness are trying to raise a large number of coins for a memorial, which does make one wonder if this is yet another scheme to fleece the less financially savy among the exiles, but at least for the moment most of the people I have spoken to assert that she really is dead. If true this is a sad day for Puddleby, Prue has always added a lot of color to the local scene. I myself have been doing a lot of lying around fallen, although I have yet to find any evidence of the super-strong beasts that have been reported in various locations for the last moon or two. I was poking around Ash island a while ago and met a couple scarmis bugs, and after taking a few swings I beat a hasty retreat offshore, where I met Yor and Mork. We tried to make a run for the hollow tree but now there were dozens of the bugs, and I was chased down and whacked. Lucky for me Yor made it into the Dark Temple and with Tara's help he raised the alarm and a strong force of exiles joined them for a pitched battle against the crawlies. Despite the best efforts of the larvae to devour me I was quickly raised. I have heard that hunts in the Scarmis Pen have become pretty common now, but I'm still not sure if anybody has confirmed whose castle that is in the center; I have also heard that Cimmbrion, yet another of the 'Brion brothers, has been seen at Tenebrion's keep in recent weeks.
A bad day on Ash Island. (v214)
Soldi, 23 Autumn 544 (1/19/02)
The more I say I'm going to get out of the library more, the more time I end up spending in there. As a result most of the interesting stuff I've heard about has been second hand, a lot of it from Achates, who recently got infected with lyfeanthropy (and is also suffering from a bad dye job). He was telling me wild stories about a "garden" filled with scarmis bugs, which I gather from other reports is located below the Scarmis Pen that Lundar showed me a while ago; it seems that the bugs have been very busy, and there is now a warren of twisty passages down there. Ach was also going on about zodiac signs, I think he was talking about something on Lyfe Island but I'm not really sure. Koric has been reporting on hunts in the Orga Outback, although I haven't heard about any further attempts on the Foothills in recent moons. I've been spending a lot of time looking for ore lately, after the recent rockslides in the passes there seems to be a lot less of it about. I've had a few more exiles come to me for balance regeneration training, now I'm thinking about spending some time working on the fell blade that I've been lugging around for ages now. Oh, and I'm also planning to get out of the library more...
Achates looks a little hairy. (v216)
Terrdi, 47 Autumn 544 (1/25/02)
I actually managed to get out of the library a bit more this moon, but what with that and some other projects I'm working on I haven't been able to keep up with my diary. I've been able to take part in a couple Valley raids that managed to stay on their feet (for the most part), and when Achates tried to organize a drinking contest in town one day I stepped forward along with Crunch to guzzle the beer. There was only one problem, we used the extra-big kegs and had one drinker per keg, and as it turns out the kegs will pop after a certain time and that time is shorter than the time it takes for one person to drain it, at least at the slow and steady pace that I was setting. I also discovered that there's a slight chance of spillage even if you are only moderately drunk, much to my embarrassment I managed to fumble a drink even as I was poking fun at Achates for having spilled his last attempt. Other than that there's news that Melabrion, yet another of those pesky 'Brion brothers, has been about in the land; several people have spoken to him, including me, he seems to have a liking for dwarfs and is trying to meet as many as he can, even relatively unimportant dwarfs such as myself. The only useful information I got out of him was a clear statement that he doesn't live in that keep on Ash Island that's located in the Scarmis Pen, but he indicated that he was interested in further meetings, so perhaps we will learn something then.
A futile drinking contest. (v216)
Must have been a pretty tricky skin... (v216)
A t'rool tries to lead me astray. (v216)
Lundi, 80 Autumn 544 (2/2/02)
Well here it is, the end of the year, and me sitting in the library again. I'm sure there's stuff going on, I've heard rumors that Merlisk and Wangah are up to their summoning tricks again, and we had a chaos storm and everything, but I fear that I'm missing pretty much everything. Earlier in the past month I tagged along on a couple of expeditions to the Scarmis Pen, the outer tunnels weren't too bad, but on one occasion we tried to take a shot at the Queen's Chamber, and with a large number of first time visitors it didn't go too well. After a number of chain runs folks were still fallen inside, but I heard that after I left a big group of exiles managed to retrieve most of the fallen, although some were so chewed by the larva that they couldn't be raised and had to depart anyways. I've been having bad luck with chains lately, so the few times I have made it out of the library I've had to do a bit of skinning to make up for it.
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