An uneasy peace

Rylthae Penston


    ‘Twas a bright and sunny day in Moonglow and many took the opportunity to visit the resplendent menagerie of creatures housed in the local Zoo. All around were filled with good humor and laughter. With nary a storm cloud to be seen for miles on the horizon, this was the perfect day for an enjoyable trip to the wonders of the land.

    This hardly seemed the same Britannia that has fought numerous attacks on the various landmarks around the mainland. A gathering of evil that was thought impossible since the passing of Mondain have struck and then withdrawn.

    Gaining a foothold of logic in these tumultuous times has proved too large a task for any one citizen. Whilst most of us go about our daily affairs trying our best to forget, there are a number of individuals whose sole duty is to make sense and bring about a plan of action for dealing with these threats.

    Sage Humbolt has been busy investigating the Liches Lathiari and Kyrnia. Although we have a relatively detailed biography of their rise and fall, we know next to nothing about their latest incarnation, and what plans they have for the citizens of our fine land. Their first attack, a diversionary effort, was successful in gathering the tools they needed to bring about a device capable of raining a finely ground shrine stone upon the land. Thanks to the selfless and tireless efforts of Sage Humbolt, this plan was stopped before it could be enacted. Although we believe all of the Shrine stone was interred after a lengthy search by the fine citizens, the Liches themselves are still at large. With such powerful evil loose in the land, the goodly Humbolt has made it his duty to uncover the secret of their regenerative powers and provide a solution as to how we may stop them.

    I had the pleasure of interviewing the honorable Sage for this article. Although his time is a commodity as rare as the very reagents and crystals he plies his trade upon, he saw fit to offer us these words about the Liche situation:

    “Mine hand hath turned the very substance of the ether in order to gain insight as to their dread powers. Alas, I have discovered that in order to stop these fiends a number of components are necessary for me to gather. I would rather my lips not speak of these items in such a public forum, for the danger of the Liches seeing this writing is great indeed. Lest fear freeze ye from positive action, however, allow me to assert that I shall be ready to call upon the people of Britannia to help me gather these items before the Liches manage to once again threaten the smallest part of Britannia.”

    When asked if he knew about the process that allowed for the corruption of the shrine stone; he had this to say, “‘Tis the one mystery I have not been able to unravel. A magical force as strong as any this land has seen…one capable of magicks of such celestial control that are able to transmute the nature of living stone. I would think Mondain walked among us, if his brain hadn’t been on public display.”

    UP: Do the Liches have a collaborator? Are they aligned with the Zog Cabal?

    Humbolt: “I think not. The Zog Cabal is a group of living men and women. The Liches have an aversion to life so strong that any collusion with more than one mortal would be next to impossible. Nay, I believe that the forces, which have decided to strike so suddenly, are linked differently…”

    With that, Sage Humbolt went into his briefing with Lord British.

    Another aspect of the land’s disquiet was fostered by the actions of one Lord Juo’Nar, formerly of Trinsic. When the Zog Cabal revealed themselves in their shameful assassination of Hartham (the late Trainer of the Trinsic Fighter’s Guild) then acting captain of the Guard CrawWorth ordered an investigation the likes of which hath not been seen since the Orc Wars. It was discovered, by Finth Desryn, that Lord Juo’Nar had been redirecting the treasury and armaments of the Paladin’s Guild to unknown sources. On a mission to route out any influence the Zog Cabal may have on the city, Lord Juo’Nar was immediately questioned.

    Although Lord Juo’Nar denied being involved with the Zog Cabal, the evidence of his theft was above debate. He quickly fled from the city and returned with a mercenary force. This force attacked the city ruthlessly whilst Juo’Nar secreted himself to the shrine of Spirituality, killing a band of monks who were consecrating a valuable artifact. Having stolen this artifact he fled into the wilds, seemingly without a trace.

    CrawWorth then disappeared, leaving only a note that hinted at the distraught temper that had consumed his soul. He claimed to be out to hunt the Zog Cabal, and that he would return soon. No sign has been seen of him since. We can only pray for his safe return.

    Installed in CrawWorth’s place was Finth Desryn, the man responsible for the discovery of Juo’Nar’s treachery. Finth took a large burden upon his shoulders when he assumed the title of protector, and more tragedy was to strike this proud city. His wife, in charge of a caravan would be horribly murdered, the caravan’s goods stolen by Juo’Nar’s forces. His guards had been dispatched to protect the shrines of the land, but alas, this was another act of misdirection on the part of Juo’Nar. The caravan had always been the intended target.

    Finth has not taken this time of piece as an excuse to sit idly by. He has been meeting with his top advisors day and night to outline contingencies to deal with future aggressions. Aggressions he assured this scribe were soon to come. Here are some of his words, taken from an interview I recently had with this figure:

    UP: With the tragic loss of your wife, how have you been handling the continual crises, which seem to befall this region?

    Finth: The loss…My wife’s death, at the hired hands of Juo’Nar’s mercenaries, is the one spark which has fired me through these sleepless nights of planning and investigation. I would rather our thoughts and words stay focused on those problems and not return to my wife, may the virtues keep her.

    UP: Agreed. How do you feel about Juo’Nar’s involvement with the Zog Cabal? Has he been providing them with the weaponry and funds they need for an all out assault against the bastions of order in Britannian society?

    Finth: If thou hath asked me such a question before the last attack, mine answer would surely have been clear. However, after the message I received and the nature of his actions I do not believe he is involved with the Zog Cabal.

    UP: But it was your testimony that the funds he redirected were being sent to Cabal contacts…

    Finth: What I said a month ago is of no concern now. The facts as they stand are these: he seeks an order of his own creation, he seeks a world under his control. He seeks the destruction and ruin of, not Britannia, but the nobles who have cast him out. The Cabal wishes chaos, they will follow a different course, I believe.

    UP: Does your change in opinion have anything to do with the message that Juo’Nar left behind after the previous attack? It seemed to be aimed at you.

    Finth: Of course, I exposed him. What other reason could there be for that? He seeks revenge against the noble class, but above that he seeks revenge against me. I have no further comment. Good Day.

    Finth then returned to another battery of meetings with persons of all disciplines. Trinsic rests uneasily during these quiet times. However, in Minoc and Vesper, the attitude is much different. Having won a major victory against the Trolls who began to assert claims over the north lands, and even slaying one of the leaders (G’Splat), they feel that they have made their lands relatively free for the common citizen to explore. Doubts remain about the stability of that safety with the other events, and a reprisal by G’Thunk for the death of his brother is anticipated. A bounty has been put on the head of G’Thunk, with a larger reward being offered if the fiend can be returned alive.

    The Trolls seemed to be executing their actions under the direction of a mysterious figure. This figure even managed to teach G’Splat how to read and write (as journals on his corpse showed) this level of education allowed for an organization never before seem in Troll society (if such gutter creatures can be referred to as having a society at all). This figure was revealed in the journals only as LM. G’Thunk must be found alive in order to gain the knowledge of whom this figure is. Although his location still remains a mystery, Troll attacks have indeed been rare. It is wondered if they are gathering their forces in some remote corner, waiting for the moment to strike. Or, if G’Splats death so demoralized both the remaining leader and his followers that such a recurrence of violence is not likely to happen on such a scale for quite some time.

    Troubling questions indeed do plague us during these times of seeming inactivity. The evil, which has struck with such force, seems to be re-gathering its strength. Will you be prepared for the next attack? I hope that we all shall be prepared for the onslaught, and with the help of such dedicated citizens we should be able to best these fiendish forces before they can render any permanent damage to the lands we hold so dear.

    As always expect all of the latest news to be reported by your faithful UP staff.

From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, Monday, March 9, 1998