Journal updates slow down from “infrequent” to “almost never” as the interval between entries grows to years or more. I do manage to pass some fighter tests, take part in a pirate battle, and even help out with an ethereal defence, but that’s about it.
Gradi, 64 Spring 556 (11/6/04)
I have been putting off updating my journal (along with many, many other even more important things), and I have kept putting it off, and continued to put it off, and now I find that I have allowed several seasons to go by without even trying to take up my pen. It’s not that I never come out of the library (although I am never out for long these days), or that nothing interesting is going on (I have seen reports by other, more regular, correspondents about discoveries in the Pitch Caves, numerous University of Puddleby expeditions, and the ever-popular Feast of Tsrrin; but other (dare I say outside) events have been taking up what little time I once was able to devote to the journal, and it’s time for me to face the fact that my situation isn’t going to change in the immediate future. For the moment I am just going to recognize the de facto state of my schedule and place the journal on hiatus, with the hope (but not the promise) of taking up the quill again once things (such as they are) settle down a bit. Thank you to all who have taken the time to read these pages over the years, and especially to those dedicated few (and I’m sure there are very few) who have put up with my increasingly sparse publication rate this past year. Everybody else: see you in Puddleby!
Terrdi, 20 Autumn 560 (11/26/05)
It’s hard to believe that it has been over four years since I last put quill to parchment; it is even harder to believe all of the changes that have taken place during those four long years of continued exile. Many friends (and enemies, it must be admitted) have left our island home, either to return to the mainland, or to journey on to other realms. New exiles have arrived from time to time, but their numbers are far less than would be needed to replace the departures, so the net population of our town of Puddleby has been slowly decreasing. And yet each chaos storm brings more changes, with the advent of the Order of Rangers, the establishment of (possibly) regular ships to and from long-rumored Peaceton, and the ability of certain Mystics to control the motions of the mysterious Cloud.
Hard as it is to believe, my major personal accomplishment was finally passing the sixth circle test after years of unsuccessful attempts. After taking a break from trying for almost a year I was not only able to do in the beasts with a considerable health buffer, but I managed to gain 72 coins worth of skins in the process! Having reached this pinnacle of fighterly prowess, I have turned my training attention to the Fell and Gossamer blades, and am bringing my skills up to the level that would qualify me for either Champion or Ranger, depending on which course I ultimately decide to pursue (if any, I may just stay a regular fighter, especially given the rather extreme popularity of the Ranger subclass these days).
As if I needed to be reminded. (v412)
23 coins for the first wendy… (v412)
…nothing at all for the BRO… (v412)
…only 20 coins for the second wendy… (v412)
…but a big 30 coins for the sasquatch! (v412)
Of course, many other events have taken place over the last few years while I have been spending more and more time in the library. There have been Newbielympics, invasions, Pitch Cave explorations, and even the by-now traditional Feast of Tsrrin and Feast of Fools, which this time involved an extended trip down memory lane, at least for those of us who were exiled before the Ripture War. Most of these developments I have had to learn about second hand, either by talking to exiles on my (increasingly infrequent) trips out of the library, or by reading about them on the ever-useful Thoomcare scrolls. Of course, every once in a while I manage to make my way out of the library and actually see something interesting first hand…
Sarir forgets his boat. (v402)
I think he looks nothing like me… (v393)
A blast from the past. (v382)
Too many ’Shaks! (v375)
The Ancients have been taking a bit more interest in our little island lately, and are working hard to make sure that our population doesn’t dwindle away to nothing (or at least dwindle away to one dwarf hiding in the library, as I sometimes fear). It is gratifying to see that there are still some exiles around who are interested in the future of Puddleby, including some that I had heard were no longer going to be around at all (Slyph’s name comes to mind, for example). Those of us who remain can only hope that the Ancients will succeed in their endeavors.
Joe holds forth. (v399)
And there are still places I have yet to explore, areas I have never visited; just the other day I joined a group touring the ’Noth underground, where there is a mysterious impenetrable barrier that I first heard reports of many years ago but even today have never seen with my own eyes (and still haven’t, as we couldn’t find our way there); I have heard rumors that there are still undiscovered secrets on Gungla Island, despite years of exiles conducting detail explorations; and there are many places that even I, in my long-sought Sixth Circle status, dare not venture alone.
Tangy yet damp. (v364)
Looking the beast in the eye. (v364)
Looking back over the past few years, I am reminded once again of the amazing sense of community and friendship that we have found in exile here in Puddleby; and that despite many of of going our separate ways, we will always remember these years of exile, toil and strife on these small islands, lost in the midst of a vast ocean. Even if I am now spending almost all of my time in the library, I still find that when I can snatch a few moments to venture out into the town center I am always greeted by some other exile I have known and adventured with over the years. We will always miss those who have moved on, but our community continues to muddle on as best it can, and I can even find some hope for the future. Who knows what adventures I may yet find?
Posing for the camera. (v339)
And perhaps I’ll even find time to write about them in my journal…
Lundi, 46 Autumn 560 (12/3/05)
Having reached (at long last!) the exalted pinnacle of Sixth Circle, it is only fitting that I should be reminded of how really minimal my fighting skills are by meeting a couple of very hungry cave cobras while wandering about Gungla Island by myself. A group of helpful exiles quickly set out to rescue me, only to meet the same (still hungry) snakes and join the ranks of the fallen. Lucky for us Typ managed to keep his head (and his feet) and chain us back to the landing, but with so many on the chain it proved difficult to paddle against the current and reach open water, we kept getting flung back on to shore (and adding to the already substantial pile of broken boats on the beach). Being a stubborn halfling Typ just kept on trying until at last he managed to slip past the rocks, and we were all soon back in town and fully healed.
Lots of driftwood. (v416)
Somdi, 79 Autumn 560 (12/11/05)
Hard as it may be to believe, I managed to make it out of the library for a few minutes to take part in at least some of the big pirate rumble that was recently arranged between Cap’n Stinkfist, our resident pirate and former Admiral of the Puddleby Navy, and the minions of Rotbeard, a no-good pirate of the ’Shak variety. I joined the action after an initial beachhead had been established on the south shore of Ash Island, which was swarming with ’Shaks of all levels, from lowly swabbies up to elite guards that were a battle even for the strongest exiles. But Cap’n Stinky had brought with him many of those strongest exiles, an impressive force as large as any I’ve seen recently, with strong fighters such as Yor, Flemming and Frozen Shade to keep the worst of the pirates at bay while numerous bloodbladers such as Snow Lion and Ragin’ Cajun whacked them down, and many strong healers such as Axell, Veer and Talin to raise the bloodbladers after they (as usual) got whacked themselves. I myself was able to put my recent fell blade training to good use by stabbing numerous ’Shaks in the back, which is no more than they deserve, the scurvy dogs!
The line of battle. (v418)
Hoggle lays some monkey on a ghastly. (v418)
There was a bit of back and forth as we fought our way up the island towards the Dark Temple, and on one occasion near the dismal pond I found myself a little slow to retreat (not my usual mode of operation) and was trapped when the rest of our army pulled back by a sudden swarm of nasty ’Shaks. For a short while things looked bleak as we sensed a number of strong healers falling to the south, but our forces quickly rallied and Frozen Shade made an impressive chain run to collect the fallens and bring us down to the main force for healing. Our next assault went quite a bit better, and we gained control of the area outside the Dark Temple, where the ’Shaks had parked one of their ships in a couple of puddles and were using it as a base of operations.
The ’Shaks seem to annoy Yor. (v418)
Cap’n Stinky tries to get organized. (v418)
Now things got a bit confusing, at least from my point of view, as some people tried attacking the ship (which was packed with pirates), while others headed into the dark temple (which was packed with undine, including a number of greater deaths). At one point there was some sort of explosion of some sort, and treasure, coins and quite a few fish started raining down around the outside of the Temple, which combined with all of the pints of grog the ’Shaks were dropping all over the place made for a bit of chaos. I tried to help chain a few exiles out of the DT, where I learned that I can take one (but not two!) hit(s) from a greater death, but was only able to haul out a few exiles, and at least once (after those two GD hits) I had to be chained out myself. And now I finally ran out of time, and had to retreat to the library, thus missing out on the final chapters of the adventure.
A hot time in the Dark Temple. (v418)
Later on, Lonesome Dove told me at least some of what happened after I left. It seems that Rotbeard was eventually cornered and brought down, but that the even more menacing Necro, some sort of necromancer de luxe, was able to escape despite a valiant flanking attack on the Dark Temple via the Dark Chamber. Necro has a number of evil powers, including the ability to summon those pesky GD’s, and (even more worrying) the ability to raise exiles in undine form to battle against their friends, I would guess that he has somehow mastered the strange magic responsible for the goings-on during the Feast of Tsrrin. We can only hope that Necro doesn’t continue his researches and come up with even worse magic with which to attack us. Still, I think we must count the day as a victory for all things Puddlebian, and certainly a triumph for Cap’n Stinky, who is now able to claim bragging rights as the premier pirate in our local waters.
Terrdi, 71 Autumn 564 (11/26/06)
The years have been flying by and the exiles have been drifting off like autumn leaves floating away on chilly northern winds, and I fear that I continue to spend most of my time in the library contributing to the general lack of old-timers out and about. If not for updates to the venerable Thoomcare Media Network I would have very little idea as to what is going on outside the dusty shelves, and on the few times I do manage to stumble outside I rarely find any interesting rumors or gossip circulating in the town center. In truth, the population seems to have stabilized to some degree in recent seasons, but at a much lower level than in the former glory days; and it seems that the only way to get to the more challenging areas for hunting or exploration is to join up with a regularly scheduled group, which I find difficult to fit into my irregular clanning; the impromptu trips that I have relied on in the past just don’t happen very often these days.
I’m sure we all feel like this sometimes. (v428)
I do make it out for short jaunts up to the cloud, or across the water to Gungla, on a fairly regular basis, and am able to gather enough coins to keep my storage locker paid up and finance my extended stays in the library. Every once in a while I manage to help out with a rescue (or provide an opportunity for others to rescue me), or tag along on a trip to hunt some sasquatch, or other safe areas that don’t require much time; but I have been unable to help out with the exploration of Metzli Island, or the difficult and challenging exploration of the Orga Stronghold beyond the nasty ‘noid caves. I very rarely hear about expeditions to former hotspots such as ‘Noth Island, Lyfe Island, or the Ethereal Plane, but I don’t know if this is due to lack of information on my part or because folks just don’t go there any more.
Babes in the (dark) woods. (v432)
Without the ability to join disorganized hunts in more difficult areas, my options for solo experience gain have grown much more limited, and about the only time I get a kill is when I find a frost giant on my coining trips to the cloud (and those are just kills these days, not the vanqs I used to look forward to). In the old days I could always find an area where I could find a few beasties to kill rather than slaughter, at the moment I don’t know of a good place to go where I can usually find a challenge that gives me some solo experience without ending up flat on my back.
About the only kind of experience I get these days. (v455)
Of course, on the few times I do manage to make it out of the library and to join up with a few other exiles, it is still possible to have fun and grab some experience and coins on the side. For example, we had a highly successful Orga Camp raid just before the Feast of T’srrin (mainly due to Lorikeet’s simply amazing ability to rod hundreds of lightning bolts at a time) where most of the exiles took part in full costume; on one occasion I at least made it ashore on Metzli Island to battle the dreadful bugs and scary cats on the beach; and every once in a great while I still see an old-time exile or two from the distant past. On the other hand, I haven’t been keeping up my journal (several years since my last entry, making the term “very irregular” seem like a substantial over-promise), and when the Fighter Guild finally introduced new circle tests I discovered that I was much too weak to even hope to pass 7th circle, although many exiles were able to do so with ease (and a few even managed 8th circle as well).
The costumes must have confused the orga. (v463)
But it’s always darkest before the storm, and into each life a little rain must fall; so I can hope (against the firm evidence of the past) that I can find a little more time to adventure in the lands, and that a few more exiles will be about when I do so, and that I will find that magical hunting ground where I can hit the beasts but they can’t hit me, while showering me with coins and experience.
OK, maybe I’ll settle for just the coins...
Soldi, 40 Spring 568 (9/22/07)
It’s hard to believe, but I happened to step out of the library the other day, and…well, actually, I could stop right there, the fact that I was even out of the library is astonishing enough; despite my wishes I almost never get out these days, and then only to gather a few coins and pay my storage fees. But I do get out every once in a great while, and this time I had no sooner stepped out than somebody in town square mentioned to me that a group was about to attempt to thwart an ethereal incursion on Metz Island. At first I thought that I would have to take a pass, since I know that pretty much any place on Metz is very difficult to reach, but it seems that some clever exiles were moving the green portal to the site of the incursion, so that it was a simple matter of making a trip to the South Forest to hopping through a couple of mirrors to join the group. There I found a wide range of exiles, both the powerful and the not-so (I include myself in the latter group these days). We were moving the portal through passes in the interior of Metz, fighting the many wendies and dark-rock ‘myrs and trying to dodge the variety of rocks and pebbles they were tossing our way. Finally we reached the location of the incursion, where we eventually cleared out most of the ‘myrs so that Wangah Rah could set up the proto-kyuem out in the middle of a small valley; meanwhile the bulk of the exiles established camp around the green portal on a nearby plateau.
Aravir sums up the landscape. (v511)
We reach the objective, which certainly deserves a “whew.” (v511)
The camp location was not entirely secure, as there were more ‘myrs and wendies sneaking up from behind, and a number of them were tossing rocks from the tops of nearby hills where we couldn’t reach them. Now the real problem began, as the incursion started and hordes of etherial creatures poured in through the ripture. Most of these weren’t terribly strong, but there were a lot of them, and when a big wave arrived at the same time as several ‘myrs things could get pretty frantic, and we would be forced to retreat back to the plateau to heal up in preparation for another rush into the valley. We could mow the ethereals down pretty fast, but we took a lot of damage in the process, and even with the large number of healers present we would occasionally need a breather to catch up. Having the green portal on the plateau was a lifesaver, as reinforcements could arrive during the battle and help turn the tide when things were looking grim, and I saw a number of amazing chain runs to pull exiles out of the valley for healing (I took part in several of these as chainee). And once Kyloter pushed me out of the valley with the entire ethereal horde pounding on him, an impressive feat even for a dwarf.
Chipping away at the dark ‘myr. (v511)
Battling tentacled horrors from the EP. (v511)
I gather that the point of the exercise is to prevent the ethereals from killing the “sprites” that flow from the ripture to the proto-kyuem, taking the form of small whisps of vapor; if enough sprites made it intact then the kyuem would stabilize the area and the incursion would be over, but if most were killed by the malevolent ethereals then ethereal warming would increase, which I understand is a bad thing. Although we were beaten back several times, we managed to hold the area near the kyuem open for long periods of time, and as more troops arrived the periods became longer, until finally the kyuem started a steady glow and the ripture was closed. Much celebration (and healing) followed, and the clever exiles prepared to move the green portal back towards civilization. I decided to take a short vacation in Camp Dred (where there were no rocks or pebbles being tossed at me, I think that was the hardest part of the whole battle). I have been told that if the exiles can establish a few more kyuems then a stable pattern will have been established and the threat of ethereal warming will have been averted; I’m glad I got the chance to take even a small part in one of the battles to help save Puddle from yet another threat.
The sprites drifting towards the kyuem. (v511)
We win! (v511)
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