Solania

It had been a night of grand merriment when I stumbled out of the tavern in Solania. The reason for my visit and cause of celebration is both unknown and unimportant. But the festive nature of the evening took a downward turn when I entered the privy and found I was not the only occupant.

To make matters worse, my confederate was in a tattered soldier uniform. While I am not entirely familiar with the emblem, members of the constabulary, especially those encountered in a privy should be avoided. But there was something entirely not right about this situation. Then it struck me.

“Egads my dear fellow! You’ve obviously had quite a night of revelry, and no shame in dispensing with the overflow ale, but your clothes will be in quite a ruinous state if you don’t get up off the privy floor! Further, you should latch the door when the premises are occupied, I feel a dash awkward about this encounter.”

“Outlander! What great fortune I find you here!”

“Now see here!” I quickly explained. “First, there is to be no talking in a place such as this! It should be considered sacred ground. Eyes forward. No talking. Those are the rules. Second, I don’t know what you’ve heard, or what you think you know, or what that old spinster claims, but it wasn’t me, I was never there and plenty of people in the realm wear this style of hat!” I emphasized my point with many hand gestures and the attempt to hypnotize the soldier. “And on top of that, this is the largest privy I have ever encountered and that alone is disconcerting!”

“I am Helena of the Whiteguard soldiers and it’s urgent I speak with you!”

“Beg pardon? Helena?” I asked.

“Yes, of the Whiteguard.”

“Helena, I believe you are in the wrong privy.”

“Privy? No, Outlander, you are in the Solania catacombs. And I am need of your help.”

“Not a privy?” I asked.

“No,” she replied. “A catacomb and death awaits around every corner. This is why we must speak.”

“A catacomb you say.”

“Yes,” she answered. “It has been a catacomb for quite some time. The privy is quite a distance in the other direction. How many libations have you consumed this eve?”

“That is of no consequence!” I stated. But, if you will you excuse me for a moment, I have an extremely urgent matter to attend to, and it must be done in private. Peeping eyes only make me nervous.” With that, I retraced my steps as best I knew how. Moments later I returned and picked up the thread of our conversation.

“Now, you say you need my help?” I asked.

“Yes! To help defeat the Ichor Witch!” she said with great fervor.

“Ah I see. And let me guess. She is some sort of terrible abomination roaming about this dank and terrible place and you want me to risk life and limb to venture into the catacombs, defeat this horror where others have failed and bring you back some sort of token of the deed. Does that sum it up?” I said.

“Well, as a matter of fact, yes. But how did you know?” she with great confusion.

“This isn’t the first catacomb I’ve mistakenly stumbled into,” I replied. “And what is it you would like me to bring back? Some sort of heirloom? A trinket of some kind?”

“Bring me the head of the Ichor Witch!” she demanded.

“Great Halmar’s Teeth!” I cried. “That’s a bit grim don’t you think? A swatch of clothing seems sufficient if you asked me.”

“No! I need the head, I wish to use it for scrying to determine the origin of this terrible menace!” she said, her voice full of venom, the bandage on her head shaking wildly.

“Perhaps it would be best if I escorted you to a healer. It seems you have suffered a rather debilitating head wound and a lie down is what you need rather than the severed head of some witch.”

“No!” she insisted. “I need the head! It will reveal all and I must have answers! It is important to me, to the Whiteguard, perhaps even to all of Novia!”

She had a determined air I couldn’t help but notice.

“My goodness, quite a few requests for heads in backpacks these days. But if you insist, I will see what I can do. I have to confess, I think there are better ways of handling this sort of thing. Popping the heads off witches seems a little less than noble,” I said.

“The whole head!” she said again.

“Yes, yes. The whole head. Now point me toward danger,” I insisted.

“Follow that path,” she said pointing down the corridor. “I’m quite sure you will run into one of the Bloodbone creatures and all will be revealed.”

“Bloodbone? That sounds dangerous,” I commented.

“Oh, it most certainly is. How do you think I got the head trauma?” she said.

“Does it have to be tonight? I’m not really in the mood for head trauma,” I answered.

“Well, certainly not. I can be any time you like. Shall I quill you in for next week?” Helena retorted.

“Oh, is that possible?” I asked. “I’m sure there is an opening after bath night.”

“Absolutely not!” she bellowed in a shrill voice. “Now get in there!” Her gestures were frantic and a little unsettling.

I did as instructed and slowly crept down the dank corridor. As predicted, skeletons leapt out from the shadows intent on stabbing me in the vital organs.

However, after crushing their brittle bones to dust, I found I was in possession of someone else’s vital organ and it pulled me deeper into the catacombs.

“Now see here unknown force,” I said. “I don’t take direction from disembodied organs! That leads to nothing but trouble!”

But it was no use. I tried to go my own way, but the sway of this grim fetish was rather overpowering. I was guided through twists and turns leading me to a most grisly chamber.

“Curses and blast! Yet another hideous chamber of death, or worse,” I said.

The macabre relic compelled me forward, into the circle of Bloodbone fighters, frightening cauldrons and shocking columns of light and fire. This ridiculous heart that had somehow been stashed in my pocket wouldn’t let me leave. It drew me right into the middle of the fracas putting me face to face with the terrible creatures.

It my panic and want to stay alive, I let loose with many exuberant slashes and run in an unpredictable course, weaving a web of confusion. I was working on me, so I could only assume I was making progress against them.

Unbeknownst to me, my gyrations triggered some sort of summoning ritual as the Ichor Witch made her appearance. Like so many other diabolical creatures that materialize from the vapors, she was not pleased to see me. Her cry of burning my soul or some such insult clued me in to her distress and that there would be no chance to sit down over tea and discuss matters.

As such, I dispensed with the pleasantries and skipped over the pithy monologue that normally explains my adversaries malcontent behavior and went for the cleansing fire.

Fire is the natural enemy of witches and seems to bring out the worst in minions. I was thusly attacked from all sides. Amidst a cacophony of debilitating strikes, fireballs and spells that nearly rendered me unconscious, I lashed out to defend myself.

I swung at everything that moved, and several things that didn’t. My Whirling Blade cut a destructive path, broke a few vases and upset a few cauldrons. But soon the hall was quiet except for the sound of dripping fluids from unknown origins.

To my great surprise and relief, the witch and her minions were crumpled in a heap on the floor. Despite my belief this is no way to get a trophy, I did the nasty work that needed to be done and returned with the witch’s head in a bag.

Returning to the guard, I handed over the trophy and stood by anxiously to hear the conclusion of this strange mystery. But what the guard mumbled made no sense and was borderline incoherent. She claimed the witch came from both here and there, was both old and young and was a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

“Are you sure you shouldn’t lie down before taking on such measures?” I asked. “I may have stumbled in here by accident, but what you say makes no sense.”

Then, tossing the head at me, she claimed, “I have learned all I can, I must now ponder upon this new information. Here, enjoy the skull.”

It was now a blackened husk with frightening, glowing eyes that seemed to stare straight into me.

“What the deuce am I supposed to do with this?” I asked in horror. “I don’t want your cast off skulls! I’m not traipsing through town with this disgusting relic without a darn fine reason!”

“I don’t know, turn it into a lamp. Put it on the mantle. Save it for the Samhain season and scare some little urchins within it.”

“Oh I say, it would indeed look quite fetching on the mantle. I do have those pieces of Naturamas that could use a centerpiece,” I said mulling it over. “While I don’t disagree with your decorating ideology, I feel you are deeply troubled to have come up with it.”

“Bah! That is just the green monster of jealousy talking!” she retorted coldly.

“Be that as it may, I bid you good evening. These have been troubling and sobering events. I believe it best for my mental well being to spend some time in the tavern washing away these memories.”

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Gadzooks my dear fellow! This is no place to take a rest! And goodness sake, lock the door when facilities are occupied!

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Oh my, this looks bad. Very bad indeed. Are those pools of blood coming to get me?

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Very well, I admit, I have a room full of these looted skulls. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m quite sure I’m not the only one.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

There must be something to all this sewer spelunking Alley Oop has been doing lately because when Blake Blackstone and I caught up with her, she was amidst a large group of adventurers who shared her passion for exploring the lower realms of the city. And I have to admit, there was a lot more waiting for us down there than I would have imagined.

It started off like you would expect – the slimy floor, the dirty “water”, the horrible smell, the floating Solania “trout”, but as we worked our way through the twisty tunnels, things started to get a little strange. Not that meeting up in the sewers underneath the city wasn’t strange unto itself, but there was more. The Ebon Cultists have begun to set up shop in other parts of the Soltown sewers and now the Elves have taken up residence in the sewers of Solania.

We discovered one of their lairs wherein they had set up a battle encampment. Oh my, what are they training for? Should we prepare for an impending attack? Many of the soldiers were lingering around, but we caught them off guard. And once the jig was up, the dirty scoundrels came out of every cranny and nook! We were outnumbered for only moments, but it seems the skeletons are in league with the Elves and felt it necessary to join in the fracas!

The small catacomb was alive with battle. Fireballs flew, swords clashed, bows were drawn. I could barely keep track of Alley and Blake. I knew they were in the thick of battle, but they were lost to me in all the chaos. But it wasn’t long before the tomb like chamber fell silent again and we surveyed the area.

While no one has been looking, they’ve managed to set up their tents complete with training dummies and areas for laying out battle plans. This caused me a great deal of concern. These no good devils are up to something and if we’ve found one nest, there surely must be others!

From what I can tell, they’ve managed a way to connect these underground tunnels and are secretly traveling between cities, probably stockpiling weapons. This is no good. It seems Alley was onto something the whole time.

All seemed quiet in the sewers for the time being so Alley, Blake and I made our way over to the West Veiled Swamp. I had heard rumors about a ruined city so I wanted to investigate. Turns out the rumors are true and we found ourselves among some old structures. But that’s not all. The land has reclaimed the city and many deadly creatures were stirring around.

As we studied the remains, pondering it’s fate, something slithered in the growth. I assumed it was a rabbit or perhaps a wolf trying to sneak up on us. But as Blake separated the swamp reeds and peered in, we discovered this swamp is teaming with crocodiles! The massive beast bolted out of the water and tried to take Blake’s hand! He barely managed to pull away in time and thus saved the indignity and embarrassment of having to get a wooden hand made. That would surely affect his chess playing ability.

But the near miss was enough to infuriate Blake and in an instant he and Alley were bashing the fiend senseless! All the trashing and noise must have alerted the others because more were coming at us. They were trying to be tricky by staying under water, but we could see their beady lifeless eyes and my fire arrows were able to penetrate the water and turn them into a flaming buoy. Blake and Alley would then pounce and dispatch the creature.

The crocodiles weren’t the only danger, of course the skeletons like to hang out in places like this and so do huge spiders. Those damnable skeletons like to lie in wait and pretend they’ve already been slain and when you get too close, they pop up and start swinging. On no you don’t Mr. Bag of Bones! That trick may work with the new adventurers, but you won’t get away with that on me! Death Touch to the face!!!

So what are these ruins? What happened here? It looks like we have the remains of a religious building and perhaps some statues to their leaders? This may have been a thriving community at one point, but it won’t be around for much longer. The buildings are toppling over and sadly, the grave markers are sinking away into the soggy earth. If we don’t find some information about these people we may lose who they are forever.

Before we left for the night, I managed to collect some fine hides from the crocodiles and plan to make myself some very festive boots. I fancy they will look quite sharp and if I have enough hides to make another set, I bet they capture a handsome price.

 

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Egad!! There’s a horrible, lifeless figure coming right at us! Oh wait, that’s Blake’s shadow. Got a bit edgy. All is well.

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And what do we have here? Pitching your tent in the Solania sewers eh! This can only mean one thing! I’m not quite what that one thing is just yet, but when I find out there will be hell to pay!

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Take that you dirty Elven Mage! You and your nefarious battles plans have been thwarted! And One Zero’s dog is going to use your balls as a play thing!! What do you think of that?! Well, you can’t think, because you’re dead. So nevermind.

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We take a moment to savor our victory for putting a kink in their scandalous plot. We also discuss who’s going to carry the rug back to town.

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Oh my, some sort of religious building

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Crikey! She’s a beauty!

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Blake takes a moment to pose with his crocodile prize. Pair of boots coming up my good man!

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That’s right you overgrown lizards! You picked the wrong guy to mess with! It all comes down to you being turned into a pair of slippers! Maybe a nice coin purse with the leftovers.

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I wonder who this fellow is? This is a quality item and the level of detail is quite striking.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

I was enjoying a calm evening near the shores of Kingsport when something caught my eye. With all the swordplay that goes on these days, I hardly bat an eye to such goings on, but this struck me as different. First, the sword in question was a flaming one. When it comes to fire, especially when brandished as part of a weapon, it pays to take heed. But it was the fact the sword was floating in mid-air that caused me to have a bad case of the heebie-jeebies. I stared in both amazement and wonder, which is actually not easy to do at the same time. And seeing the sword looming menacingly and hotly so close to me made me wonder if it were friend or foe.

I introduced myself to the sword but got no reply. At first I thought this rude and pondered whether I should make mention of it. But pointing out the faults of a hot blade may not be the best course of action upon first meeting.

I offered to buy the sword an ale so that it might slake it’s scalding thirst and again I got no reply. I decided to try a different approach and inquired if the sword was looking for others of it’s kind. I said I would be happy to make introductions with Harry and perhaps he could find a Halberd or Cutlass that it could be friends with.

It was then that I heard wild snickering and giggling. “Well this is odd,” I thought. “I’ve been laughed at by a lot of things in my time, but never a flaming sword.” I wasn’t sure if I should be offended or glad at the jocularity. But then, out of the thin air appeared Alley Oop who was being quite the trickster and playing on my fear of both things that are on fire and things that are invisible. There was a bad experience of it we shall speak no more.

She was practicing her stealth moves and thought I would make a good test subject.

With an awkward laugh and shrug of the shoulders it was off to Solania to look around the town and take in some of the housing structures. It seems the good people of Solania are a creative lot and have done up their houses in fine fashion. There are even some messages of good tidings spelled out in bread. And as I have learned in my travels, a message spelled out in loaves is a message worth heading.

There is also an interesting arena, a rather impressive banquet hall and a nicely done crafting area. And it’s also been shown you don’t have to put up a grand house in order to make a nice home. If you happen to be in the area for the Grand Tour, or the Public Merchant or the Blacksmith, I say stick around and have a look at the some of the architecture from Sir Danz, Vyrin, Iyono Semarier and Malevolent Kitty.

While there I decided to take a quick run around the walled fortification. I wanted to make sure the city was safe and well protected. Plus the guard told me, in rather crass terms, to stop climbing on the city statues before he had to place his sword in a rather unsavory place.

It felt like I was floating on air and when I checked I discovered the reason. I was floating on air. My powers of levitation had once again kicked in and I didn’t even realize. I really do need to control this better.

As a final exploration of the night, we paid a visit to one of the guard towers back in Kingsport. I thought it would be a good idea to use my powers of levitation to sneak up to the top and get a real good view of the city. In the beginning it worked quite well.

Getting to the top was easy business, I simply used the ladder. Once there, I noticed that Kingsport is surrounded by mountains that don’t appear on the map I’m used to looking at. Strange business indeed, but beside the point. And with that I climbed over the side and used my powers to suspend myself while I had a look around. It was going quite swimmingly and even Alley decided to give it a try.

The problem came when I realized my mug of ale was empty. This caused me a great grievance, which caused me to stop thinking about not crashing into the ground, which resulted in me crashing into the ground.

Mistake made. Problem noted.

I limped back to the bar and said that was enough flaming swords and levitating for one night.

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Oh my goodness, this is a bit unexpected. Hello flaming sword of death! We’re going to be friends right?

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Well now, service for 60? I wonder why I didn’t get an invitation?

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Shaded bar area and fountains to cool my feet? Lovely!

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A poignant message spell out in foodstuffs? I better take heed.

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What do we have here? Is this an arena with a bar? When does the even start? Yaks meat? Hot wine?

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You know, sometimes a tent, a fountain, some plants, a few rugs and a Dragonbone chair are all you need in this world. Ooh, I wonder if a gypsy lives in this tent? Gypsies love tents.

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Oh my goodness, these powers can be tricky to take control of sometimes!

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Ah, the view is lovely from here. The air is crisp, the sun is bright, the birds give off the most delightful sound. WTF?! Is this mug empty???

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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