Edinburgh's Agonies End: Felucca's Now Begin

Erik Valstrom

UP: Catskills

    The long wait is over. The dire peril which held the village of Edinburgh, and myself, spellbound in an iron grip of mystery and terror has come and gone. Their mine is now free of evil and the miners return to their work as before, safe except from occasional attacks by marauding brigands who proliferate the area. The village, "sleepy" perhaps, but far from being a "backwater" town described formerly by Armande deSade (if that is who he was), goes about its business as usual once again. For the rest from the horrors that plagued them, I am sure they are grateful.

I had to leave the village for a while, hoping my contacts would continue to supply me with information about events I knew would transpire there in the meantime. This they did, ably. I hereby express my utmost gratitude to them, though they must remain safely anonymous. They have told me tales which, had I not done much research on the subject myself, I would scarcely have believed.

What began as the discovery of a vein of gold in the mine and the appearance of gold elementals issuing from it - leading to numerous attacks by brigands, pirates, mages, elementals, and even a dragon on the village - ended recently with the sudden revelation of the object which was concealed within it, its subsequent theft by Spyte the Knife, and his loss of it on Felucca. The object was identified as the Orb of Soul Seeking, which I shall write more about at a later date.

The vein of gold, which became so small due to the issuance of gold elementals from it and from being melted by attacks from firestorm elementals--a combination, apparently, of fire and air elemental forms--and a fire-breathing dragon, was rendered ineffective, no longer able to seal the Orb within and restrain its power of teleportation. Thus, the heroic efforts of the villagers and their allies to guard and keep watch over it proved futile. For when the gold finally disappeared the Orb was found near a point of land near the coast, south of the village. It then began utilizing more unusual properties, as poison elementals appeared above it, silent sentinels which did not attack, thankfully. Yet those who stood guard around it were nevertheless subjected to attacks from swamp tentacles which it evidently summoned to harass and kill them. And if that were not enough, the evil mages returned with brigand allies - no doubt recruited from within nearby dungeon Wrong - and made several powerful attacks, slaying many. The Orb continued to consume souls, and at least two fell prey to it during these last days: the pirate Captain Caine, and his consort, Ursula. Both were seen in ghost forms and then in what can only be described as shriveled and discolored shades, were drawn into the Orb, shrieking in abject terror. The villagers, despite their poor treatment at the hands of these two notorious villains, were nevertheless moved to pity but could only stand by helplessly and watch.

Then the fateful day came, when I met Spyte the Knife in Britain. I caught him as he was hurrying from the bank, carrying several backpacks with him. He tried to flee, but Andar was too fast for him and he, burdened heavily, stopped running.

"What do you want of me, storyteller?!" he inquired, none too kindly.

I asked him what was his hurry, and why he sought to avoid me. I was shocked by what I thought I saw in his eyes: tears, whether of anger or grief, I knew not. He looked up at me and his eyes pierced right through me. I could see then he had indeed been weeping.

"Ursula is dead!! The villagers brought the Orb near to our ship, no doubt hoping it would kill me as it did Caine. Ursula was there alone, and it took her! Now they will pay!"

I knew the villagers of Edinburgh were goodly folk, incapable of such wickedness, and I told him so... that he must be mistaken. He shook his head, but I could see he was grieving terribly and it overwhelmed him with a certain madness.

"No matter! I will make good on it myself! I know what must be done!"

I sought to pursue the matter but he would say nothing more and most discourteously told me to be on my way. This I did, reluctantly, but wisely, for those who trifle with this man court disaster.

I learned later that while the villagers and their allies were fending off an attack, Spyte ran upon the scene dressed in Stanton Kyre's enchanted verite plate armor and stood by the Orb, seemingly entranced by it. Suddenly he picked it up and hurried away using his hiding skills to good advantage. When the attacks died away, the guardians of the Orb began searching for him. He was last seen creating a facet gate to Felucca and fled through it, having first said something like, "Fear not, I know what to do." He left no trail to follow and the guardians, wearied by the fighting and toils of standing watch over the Orb, could not long continue a search for him.

A mage, Scaramandine II, or perhaps Armande, it is not known for sure, then appeared. He displayed great anger that the guardians had allowed the Orb to be stolen, though he himself, earlier, had been unable to pick it up himself. He revealed not only his displeasure at the loss of the Orb but also a measure of satisfaction that he no longer had to conceal his true intentions where it was concerned. Clearly he wants it for his own dark purposes, and is committed to finding it.

This artifact is now loosed upon Felucca. It has eluded even the grasp of Spyte. He told me as much, and while he can be deceptive, his words ring true. Spyte wanted to destroy it to free the soul of Ursula, but it only used him to escape to Felucca where it might work new evil. Evidently, by sensing or guessing his intent or by peering into his mind, it teleported away from him soon after he had acquired it and brought it to Felucca.