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Fashioning the Orb's Bane
There are times when I wish I were much younger... when I could buckle on my swordbelt, don my chainmail and close helm, and ride off to do battle with the forces of evil. Those were the days! Alas, the only sounds of battle I hear nowadays are those which ring in my ears from distant memory, while reports of fighting are told me by the survivors or participants thereof. Aye, and they are all narrated while we sit comfortably near hearthside, at table, over a mug of cider at a fashionable pub somewhere far removed from conflict.

Such were the circumstances surrounding a number of tales told me of events concerning the Orb of Soul Seeking, recently discovered affixed to the ground within spitting distance of the steps of Necropolis' dark and forbidding Keep on Felucca. For many days I had gleaned and gathered information about the Orb from various sources, some eyewitnesses, being sure to keep the wine bottle at bay from them until they had completed their stories. Now I am able to reliably and thoroughly construct a tale of my own, hopefully shedding more light upon the mystery surrounding the diabolical artifact that plagued fair Edinburgh Village for so long and which now claims victims of Yew's citizenry. 

The Orb is evidently the repository, perhaps prison, for an otherworld entity, which has expressed desire to be free of its confines. This being calls itself Io, and is able to take forms easily recognized by most all Britannians: first a poison elemental and, at present, a green-hued gargoyle. These are not, in actuality, the entity itself but are mere emanations of it sent to speak to its allies and to hunt for food--the souls of humans, "those of great evil or of great good." And it has not had to do this alone. It has been fed steadily by those of the Crimson Alliance and the Shadowclan Orcs, whom it seems to have an affinity for, and perhaps an alliance with. Its power grows quickly as a result. 

Onto this scene two necromancers have reappeared who harbor as much desire for control of the Orb as they have hate for one another: Armande deSade and Scaramandine II, leaders of factions of the Necromari, both of whom I have had the dubious privilege of meeting. While Armande is evidently trying to wrest control of the Orb for his own foul ends, Scaramandine has enlisted the aid of the Justice Defenders of Moonglow and citizens of the Village of Edinburgh, to fashion a weapon capable of shattering the Orb. I have learned that they found a suit of ancient and enchanted verite plate, smelted it and forged three weapons which Scaramandine is in the process of enchanting. The hope is that one of these weapons will succeed in smashing the Orb, ending its reign of terror forever. In doing so, it seems Scaramandine wishes to release the soul of his forbear and namesake, held in bondage by Io. 

Yet Armande is aware of this all, and just a short time ago unleashed his might and minions against the laboratory where Scaramandine sought to continue his enchantments on the weapons, hoping no doubt to disrupt the proceedings. Fortunately Scaramandine had many able defenders with him who met every challenge hurled against them: waves of Necromari mage lords, apprentice mages, their brigand allies from Wrong, swarms of elementals of all kinds, and one fashioned from the bodies of the dead: a powerful flesh elemental. The battle at the lab was long and hotly contested. 

Several defenders fell fighting, but none would give ground. In the end, they inflicted far greater losses upon their adversaries than they themselves sustained. At the height of the battle a few Necromari succeeded in entering the lab to attack the necromancer at work inside, but they were slain as well, some of them by spells from the defenders outside the lab. What damage, if any, they did to the spellcasting of Scaramandine is unknown, as the Necromari leader would not say. 

Only time will tell if the enchantments on the weapons will succeed, and this must be done with haste. For though it is believed that neither Armande nor Scaramandine possess a certain Spell of Focusing, which would enable them to use the Orb's powers just as their forbears did so long ago against the citizens of Minoc, both men seek the spell. Should either find it and use it, the fashioning of the Orb's Bane will likely be a matter of too little, too late. 

Published: December 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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