|All the News of Lyran Tal||5/10/1260|
Fire and Ice
Not that you need to read my column to know that all hell broke loose in the Crosswinds Tavern a short night ago in the month of Blossombud, since I know news of that caliber spreads like wildfire. But my faithful readers should know I try to dig up that little something extra beneath the news that is more than news. This gypsy looks for something better. Something gossip-worthy. So let's start!
Did you know that Arch-Magess Shaftile Pyreslake was summoned to Shadokhan from her den of heat (and who knows what else ... more on that later) in Wadi Medani by the Emperor himself? That he called her in to deal with the large dome of ice that Freon made for himself in the common room of the Crosswinds Tavern? That could have explained her not-too-happy disposition when she visited the infamous tavern. Or could it have been the subject of her summons, the Ice-Mage, Freon himself?
Some observers say that Arch-Magess Pyreslake even commented on killing the Ice-Mage the evening of her tavern appearance, and this I do not doubt. The temperament of the Pyromantic Arch-Magess has been said to rival that of Mortis Sanguine himself, and histories have ample proof of the animosity between the Ice-Mage and the Pyreslake line.
It is a shame that an opportunity to rid the world of the crazy Ice-Mage was foiled by the arrival of a woman whose identity may never be known. A woman bearing dark hair, tanned complexion, and a hat reminiscent of an Oceanuusian seaman arrived through the Northern Portal and proceeded to deliver threats to -- and eventually attack -- the Arch-Magess of Thermador.
One would have expected a quick and fiery ending to the mysterious woman, except that she was accompanied by a gnoll -- familiar to many tavern-goers as one "Bleak the Gnoll" -- who drew a sword during the battle, after which the Arch-Magess' fire seemed to somehow extinguish itself. The mysterious woman at one time had Shaftile Pyreslake at knife point, but the battle came to an end when a magical little creature transported the body of Freon out of the dome of ice, and Bleak the Gnoll dragged him through the Northern Portal.
The exit of the sword spelled doom for the woman who dared to hold Shaftile Pyreslake at knife point. Her identity may never be known, for she instantly burst into flames, meeting her fiery death on the spot.
Another curious point of this whole mystery is that the woman was also accompanied by Irvin, the Iron Golem bearing number 88, the golem some tavern-goers may remember as the companion to the deceased Landelian DeBreyy. After his mistress' fiery death, Irvin remained in the commons, eliciting no further fighting or resistance. Considering that Irvin was last seen by me in the sands of Duval's Anvil, I wonder if the now-charred remains of the woman had any connection to the deceased bartender Landelian, or some strange loyalty to the mad Ice-Mage Freon. A few even claim that she admitted kinship to the Ice-Mage.
I have an inkling that much of this relates back to the events in Duval's Anvil as well as some stones that the former tender Landelian DeBreyy left unturned. But those are gossips I shall keep for another day. Until then, I shall let the speculations fly.
Knights, Knights, Knights!
With all the conflict that has become prevalent in the Crosswinds Tavern, the presence of the Silver Moon Knights can be felt more than ever in a place that has been decreed, by law, to be a sanctuary to many (even criminals, so long as they keep the peace within). But who commands these knights that we trust our security and life to? I thought I'd turn the spotlight on the generals and the captains that lead our nation's knighthood, those that have been seen in recent times in our state of Shadokhan.
Lord General Jinhiol "Hawksbane" Niliahas, a man of distinguished career, is now in his fifth decade of life. He is widowed, and rumors state that his heart will forever be bound to the one he had made his vow years ago. The Lord General is rarely seen amongst the populus, as he oversees the state of the Knights from Fort Ubolutiin. Although with the stationing of the Knights near Crosswinds Tavern, it is obvious the Lord General has taken special interest in this historical place. There are even rumors that the Lord General is nearly obsessively preoccupied with the Mad Mage Returned, Icaruss Ap-ol Ithgath. Good to see someone's on the job.
Then there is Captain Volaraine Deptonius Shakar, the illustrious and much respected head of the Fort at Wantlokin. This handsome captain of dark hair and single eye (his other eye ever bound by a patch since an injury years ago) has been reputed as a tactical genius, his fame only increased by his victory in the Goblin War only a few years ago. His part in forming the treaty with the Imperial Guards, avoiding certain bloodshed, doesn't hurt his reputation either. He is also known for capturing one of the members of the insidious Belladonna Sodality.
Recently, the revered Captain has been included in some gossips' lips, for after the return of the Emperor (post-Khan), Captain Shakar was said to be have been summoned to Thermador. Knights say that he had gone to fortify The Rock of Duval, the Silver Moon Fort in Thermador but my sources speak otherwise. Our handsome (and still single) captain was more than once in the company of Arch-Magess Pyreslake. They have been known, in the past, to hold one another in a bit of an unfavorable light ... but during this visit, it seems the two may have gotten acquainted with each other in a far more fond manner. They were even seen once sharing a private walk and a quiet and rather informal (dare I say intimate?) conversation with one another. Hmmm.
Then there is Captain Hadius Pergaeron from Arboria's Fort Klimteg. He arrived with the Lord General and Captain Volaraine during the siege of Dreven just after the Fire Rain, and was instrumental in the treaty of unification between the Silver Moon Knights and the Imperial Guards. There were rumors that a past history between Captain Pergaeron and the then Imperial Captain Michanek Pen'darric was less then pleasant, feelings that had not been forgotten even through the treatise.
But since the reconstruction of the Dreven City and the dismissal of the Imperial Guards, Captain Pergaeron has stayed in the capital city rather than return to the Fort within the Elven Nation. Recently, he was involved in the skirmish and the discovery of a little known crime syndicate known as the Triumvirate.
So what is the Captain still doing here in Shadokhan? Who knows? Mayhap he seeks a noble bride and Arboria's elfish blood does not suit his palate? A few gossips say that Captain Pergaeron may be seeking a higher promotion and perhaps even a change in station of his fort assignment. Reputation pegs him as an ambitious man, and overseeing one of the smallest forts in all of the Empire may be too small for his appetite.
For those of you ladies seeking advancement in society, as well as within the esteemed Knighthood, I'd say keep a close eye on this Captain. I doubt he will stay dormant in his career for long.
Great Harvest Bakery
Circle of Six Watch
Well, it has been over a year since we last caught up with our Arch-Mages. A few of them have made themselves more visible recently, while others have stayed out of the limelight through the year of trials and turmoil. But this gypsy has tracked all of them down to get you, my readers, the latest gossip!
The land of peace, prosperity, and good-natured farmers was anything but this past year, Luminii being hit hard with a mysterious epidemic of a fatal disease now known as the Twelfth Death. It has caused famine and much sorrow within the land of the plenty, but finally, the dark cloud seems to be lifting from the Plainlands. To punctuate this turn of season, the beautiful Vivomantic Arch-Magess, Annabella Morningstar, has finally found a new suitor! (some of my readers may remember that for many cycles, a flowering love between our Emperor and Morningstar was the hottest burning gossip on the mouths of romantics)
This new suitor is someone that is completely mysterious to me. It isn't the second most likely candidate, Roric Vellanur, who is Morningstar's self-proclaimed personal bodyguard, who has never publicly denied or refrained his obvious affections for her. Nay. This new suitor, tall-dark-handsome human male is often seen at her side in front of the public eye.
So who is this dashing stranger? No one at Nostrum is saying a word, but many whisper of possible connections to the Triad and possibly some associations to the ALF. In lieu of the heartbreak she suffered at the cold shoulders of the Emperor, some speculate that Miles Maudibe may have sent a "consoling distraction" to the dismayed Arch-Magess. As for possible ties to the ALF, it has been rumored for many years of Triad's possible connections with the productive and successful farmer's association. If this be true, I say Triad and ALF have much favors to be gained ... in the Luminiian Arch-Magess' bed!
From the beautiful to the kooky, rumors from the cold cliffside realm of the Aeromancers are not easy to catch! But a little birdie told me that Klackatonakin finally has reassembled his Aeromantic council to a full number (many of my readers will remember that after the coup by the Shrikes more than a year ago, the Cloosidian council was disbanded temporarily). But the efforts of rebuilding seemed to have tired out our aged Seleventi Arch-Mage, for once the order was restored, the realm was left in the hands of its councilmembers, specifically Guggan, Olo, and Breina Ashlyn.
And where did the Almighty Bird take off to? Where else? Oceanuus to take in the sun and the sand! He was seen last celebrating into the sunset with a female Seleventi companion. Name is unknown, but knowing the type of entertainment that is prevalent in the seaside realm, it wouldn't surprise me if her name comes with an inflated price.
Not to rain in on our Seleventi Arch-Mage's vacation, but the fair sunny isles may not have been the best choice for a get away from the chaos of rule. Why? Because the youngest member of the Circle of Six doesn't seem to be faring very well. Afflicted in the past with news of various illnesses then the massive oceanic destruction over a year ago and deaths of countless merfolk and sea life, it may be that the daughter of late Golaria Seamere may be losing her grip of political power over her inner council.
At a recent evening party in the Conch District, rumors were aswirl regarding General Kraang sending troops into Northern Oceanuus to deal with matters that were typically handled by Mermen. No official word has been heard from Northern Oceanuus, and Elorac Seamere remains silent on the issue.
Either the teenage marvel of Arch-Magess needs to grow into her mother's shoes soon, or else the Council might be looking to replace her with someone who can.
One thing that always holds true whenever I try to unearth some gossip on the elven Arch-Mage, is that it's always damn hard to do! Elven politicians are if nothing else, tightlipped. It must be to get all the air they can through their nostrils them being pointed so high in the air.
What I know is that the annual affair of the Joining and the Tivili occurred with the usual fanfare in Evergreen and Cennebrae, although rumors state that Tequin Shaldolf-Sundew made himself scarce through the festival. Last he was seen at any public affair was the wedding of the Imperial Princess Aslin Dreven to the Prince of Khorezim, Girard Khersones.
Maybe the age is getting to the old elf. What is he ... over five-hundred years old?
But on the opposite end of the spectrum is the High Druid, Cytorak "Brownleaves," the Leaflord. Human, energetic, free of spirit, and virile. I say Tequin Shaldolf-Sundew can learn a lesson or two about living it up, just by watching the Leaflord at work during the spring festival. I hear he is a man and a half in charm and physique.
Something tells me I should finagle myself an invitation to Evergreen's Tivili next year.
Well, what else has happened since this fiery-tempered Arch-Magess made her appearance in the tavern last cycle?
One thing. The once-most-eligible-bachelor -of-Thermador, Coll Maránta, has returned home with the Arch-Magess, ending his extended leave from the Dome. A pity. He had been seen more than once in Crosswinds Tavern during his leave, and speaking from personal experience, the loss of that tanned chest, chiseled face, and smoldering eyes, is a loss to the women of Shadokhan.
Further news on my favorite Thermador male, it seems Councilmember Coll does not get along with the newest member, Anlách Bronmín. For those of you not familiar with Thermador politics, Councilmember Anlách is the youngest and the newest addition to the Dome after the death of their eldest Councilmember, Corra. Maybe the only other male Thermadorian Councilmember is trying to flex his manhood and it doesn't agree with the former-one-and-only-male, handsome Coll.
Last bit of interesting gossip burning over the sands is the speculation that Shaftile Pyreslake may be with child. Why do the people of Wadi even wander to such far-reaching realm of possibility? Because they say that a woman calms her temper when she is with child, and Shaftile, the woman most infamous for her temper, has quieted noticeably. Most of her guards remain unburned and unmarked, and we know that Shaftile has been seen recently with at least one man in private ... Captain Volaraine Shakar.
Confirmation with a visual of a growing belly could not be obtained due to Pyreslake's preference for loose clothing. But the gossip of a possible heir to the Pyreslake's seat is gaining in heat, for midwives are beginning to lock their doors. None of them wants to be the poor sod chosen to deliver the fire magess' child, since their survival rate is predicted to be very, very low.
Only time will tell...
Last but not the least of course, is the land of swamps and undead. The rumors deepen as Arch-Magess Vep continues her ban on receiving private consul with her subjects. It has been nearly six months since Arch-Magess Vep has held public court and the street now says that Arch-Magess Vep is going mad. Rumors even go so far as to say she is practicing Mixed Magic and its madness has taken hold of her and she cavorts with demons.
Methinks it's just a sign of her sexual frustrations as she grew tired of the living and is experimenting with strange and the ugly.
This is one gossip I am happy not to chase down.
~Brynnalia Cal'e, gypsy extraordinaire
The local druid predicts a Sunshare with even more than it's fair share of sunshine. Toward the end of the cycle, though, farmers can expect relief in the form of summer showers.