Nujel'm - Well, it was certainly an evening to remember.
The main street of NuJelm was lined with tables and flowers,
and brightly clothed vendors wearing masks. The vendors sold these masks, as well as
instruction booklets for the Festival, and a very few fireworks wands.
The masks ranged from the horrific lizardman tribal masks to animal
headdresses. Food was on the tables in great abundance, and even with the huge crowds, did
not disappear quickly. The exotic layout included dates, coconuts, and doughnuts, some of
which it is rumored the great chef, Ben Kahns, prepared for the occasion.
The festival was a chaotic affair
throngs of people
everywhere, talking, yelling, screaming
the clashing of bright clothes was hurtful
to the eye, and everywhere thieves worked the crowds, searching for the elusive dark red
Box that would earn them the Prize of the Festival.
The carrier of the Box turned out to be Hurley IronWood, who was
quite inconspicuous in the crowd, until someone spotted the box, and a great cry ensued.
Hurley escaped the crowd, though, and then switched clothing with Ben Kahns, which further
confused the Game.
It was in the spirit of the Festival... Ben explained, grinning. And
it was fun!
Here is an account of the Game from Lissa of Yew, a frequent patron
of the Great Horns Tavern:
Twas mighty good to see many of my friends at the Festival of
Masks in Nujel'm last eve! The Game was an absolute riot of pack-snooping, the food was
plentiful, and the island was packed.
Far into the festivities, I rode Marr to the entrance of the
Silver Bow for a breather. A young man by name of Jasper Coin trotted up and politely
asked if I knew where a Healer might be found. I directed him to check the docks, he
thanked me, and trotted away again.
Some time later, after Marr and I had each enjoyed a snack,
the young man returned and asked if I had any lockpicks. I told him I had none, and was
not sure if any could be had on Nujel'm. One named Urian strolled up then, and suggested a
Tinker might have them. Urian wandered off, and Jasper shared with me the urgency of his
situation: he had managed to steal the Game box! He quickly showed me the box, and nearly
begged me to help him obtain some lockpicks. Being in a festive mood, I agreed to run back
to Magincia and buy some for him.
Jasper hid in the Silver Bow to await my return, and I rode
Marr as fast as I could through Otto, and on to the Tinker of Magincia. Once I confirmed
the price of the lockpicks, I got the necessary gold from the bank, bought them all, and
rode quickly back. As I circled the interior of the Silver Bow, Jasper came out of hiding
and I quickly passed him the lockpicks.
He suggested we adjourn to the docks where it might be safer
to work the lock. On the way, he thanked me profusely for my help, and promised to repay
me. Well, the poor lad broke all ten lockpicks in no time. He admitted he had never taken
the time to learn the skill, and that now might be a good time. I offered to take him to
Magincia and help him find training there. Alas, none of the shopkeepers of Magincia knew
that particular art, and all of the thieves wandering about claimed not to train whilst
working. What to do?!
I knew we should have much better luck in Jhelom, for I know
it to be a city of scoundrels and thieves. I offered to show the way, and asked Jasper if
he knew the Recall spell. He did not, and asked me if I could Gate him there instead. I
agreed to do so, so we went to the bank. I retrieved a Gate scroll, invoked its power, and
followed Jasper through its blue light into Jhelom. Again, we scurried about looking for
someone to train him; again to no avail. Jasper spent what little gold he had on another
batch of lockpicks, prepared to try again, training or no training.
As we were leaving the Provisioner's shop, a green robed seer
by name of Ozryn appeared and followed us outside. He greeted us, and we informed him of
our dilemma, not mentioning the Game or the box. After several minutes of brainstorming,
another thief wandered near, and Ozryn suggested we ask him. Jasper approached the thief
Maurice, and Maurice agreed to train and quoted his price! Jasper shyly admitted that he
was now penniless, and asked if I could again help him out. As I was thoroughly enjoying
this adventure by now, I told him I would be glad to, and turned Marr toward the bank.
Maurice started to wander off, so I told Jasper to keep talking to him, thus keeping him
still long enough for me to get the gold and return.
I galloped Marr to the bank and back, and handed the gold to
Jasper. Maurice whispered some trade secrets into Jasper's ear, and his eyes went wide
with the knowledge! I encouraged Jasper to try the lock again, and heard it spring a few
moments later. Success! Knowing the box was trapped, I then suggested we go to the Healers
in case the trap was a deadly one. All was quiet in the Healers', so we moved to a corner
and held our breath while he lifted the lid of the box. Jasper was engulfed in flame! My
heart stopped, but he was still standing! Having no reagents or bandages with me, I
insisted he hide until he Healed up enough for me to Gate us back to Nujel'm. Jasper told
me the prize claimwas indeed inside the box, and was fairly jumping up and down in
excitement! Just then, two angry warriors rushed into the Healers, asking if we had seen a
ghost. I said, "Nay!" but the two remained and waited. Shortly, a ghost appeared
and was resurrected, whence the two warriors pounced upon him and slew him! This was
repeated a few times, then the two seemingly decided that their justice had been served
and left. Jasper was now totally healed, and we took one step on the way to the bank when
I found myself standing in the street in front of the Nujel'm
palace! I shrieked and looked vainly about for Jasper! Twas no sign of the lad. I had
visions of him stranded and alone in Jhelom with no way to return here and claim his
prize. My heart sank as I rode slowly toward the bank, thinking I'd Recall back and try to
fetch him. As I approached the gazebo, I heard his name being announced as the winner of
the Game! Breathing a sigh of relief, I moved Marr and I off to the side of the gathering
and listened to Marsett's speech, scanning the huge crowd for a glimpse of Jasper. I could
not see him, though, and once the crowd dispersed, I asked around if any knew where he
went. No one I asked had seen him. Thinking he might wander by and find me instead, I
waited in the street for a bit. Tiaganna came up then, and we chatted a bit of the
Festival and bounced some naming conventions around for the Skara councilmen. When
Tiaganna left for the meeting, I sadly made my way back through Otto to Magincia.
Recognizing Epini's horse outside the Great Horns, I dismounted Marr and went inside to
inquire if she or anyone else had seen Jasper Coin. None had, so I stayed on to chat a
About ten minutes later, Jasper came in! He had been looking
for me, and wanted to repay me for helping him. We started to walk to the bank together,
and he told me of his prizes: a magical cloak of invisibility, and 1000 gold pieces. He
had also become more famous! Jasper told me that he had also been somehow transported back
to Nujel'm as I had. Sadly, someone had killed him when he arrived in an attempt to steal
the prize claim, but the murderer felt remorse, and gave him another 500 gold by way of
Jasper tried to give me 1000 of the gold as his partner, but I
could only accept 500 to cover my expenses (I am not hurting for gold). The skill was his,
I merely provided transportation, funding, and guidance. A more gentlemanly and honorable
thief I have not met, and I vowed my friendship to him before he left for Britain, his
home. I've not had such an adventure in a long time, and will remember it fondly for many
days to come!
I also had a chance to interview Marsett, the Master of the
Ceremonies and Vizier to the Sultan, replacing the late Aleyh Jaskinor. He was an
interesting man, unlike his fellow NuJelmites his clothing reflected utility and
function rather than flash, and his manner of speaking was more concise and educated. I
later learned he was schooled in Vesper, and was appointed a Vizier for his grasp of
Genn: Many of the festival attendees were disturbed
that they would lose karma playing the Game
Why have such activities then?
Marsett: Those from the mainland often do not
understand our ways here in NuJelm
every player in the Game always knows the
risks he runs. We dont expect the mainland to understand this. They see only a
crime, and react to it. We here in NuJelm, though, honor the winner of the contest.
In this instance, the ends justify the means.
Genn: And the accusations that the winner, Jasper
Coins, cheated because he did not work alone?
Marsett: In any contest, is it wrong to seek help
in what you have no knowledge of? The Game is not meant to be easy. Jasper showed common
sense in seeking help, and was fortunate enough to find one willing to assist him in his
Genn: And the shortage of fireworks wands?
Marsett: An oversight in organization
contact that was supplying them turned out to be less than reliable. I apologize to all
that sought them.
Genn: And the Eye of Dahsk? It was not in the Box
Marsett: Nay. The Sultan has decided that since
certain unknown parties seem to be interested in the Eye, that he would not place it in a
compromising position. This is unfortunate, since the Eye has been a part of the Festival
as long as any of us can remember.
Genn: It was noted that the elusive Sultan did not
make an appearance during the Festival
Marsett: The Sultan is a busy man, and his free
time is very valuable. Be assured he watched the Festival from afar, and was pleased with
the results. As for public appearances
his enemies are numerous, it is well known
that his policies and his city are actively disapproved by the Lord British and his
minions. He sought to avoid a confrontation.
Genn: Final question: Was the Festival a success?
Marsett: Aye, I think so. Many do not understand
that chaos is a large part of the festival. The huge crowds, the yelling, the screaming,
the numerous accidents involving the city guards
all are part of the
Festival. I hope all enjoyed it, and shall return next year.
Of course, like all large planned occasions, not everything went
according to plan. The Festival started an hour late because the vendors and their
supplies were delayed, and they only sold a few of the rare fireworks wands that were
and the food was a long time in being brought out. Everything was put in
place though, and the Festival began and sucessfully concluded after several hours of
feasting, drinking, talking, and general revelry.
Your roving reporter, for one, stayed in bed the next morning, with
an ice pack upon her head, and a grinning tribal mask on her pillow...
From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, Monday, June 29th 1998