Special Edition Mini-Tribune Issue 20.1
Smenoq sat hunched over his desk in the empty Tribune office. The chittin chirped outside in the darkness of the jungle
and the candle on his desk had burned out long ago.
The ixit had intended to rest his eyes only for a moment, but now he snored heavily with his face planted in a blank sheet of parchment.
The air hissed like a kettle coming to a boil. Smenoq's ear twitched and he roused himself to look up through blurry eyes at the swirling gray cloud
of a faintly glowing portal opening up before him. He squinted at it in the dark, wondering if he were dreaming. Then the eye of the portal opened, and he winced at
the sudden bright light that shone through, raising a green claw in defence of his eyes. Something he couldn't see fluttered over his hand and smacked
him on the forehead. Then, just as quickly as it had opened, the portal snapped shut and Smenoq was left alone in the darkness. He grumbled a curse at
time mages and fumbled in his desk for a match. Once he lit the candle, he fetched the roll of parchment up from the floor where it had fallen after smacking
him on the head. As he read, he stopped grumbling and a toothy grin spread across his face. "Well," he sighed with satisfaction, "this will interest our readers!"
To Whomever Holds These Notes:
This publication and all contents are © Copyright Telgard RPG 2008. All rights reserved.
Carson Criswell, of the Order of Dargotten gives greetings and a plea: If you can contrive to deliver the contents herein to any House of the Order of Dargotten with news of my fate, I am firm in my belief that your efforts will be recognized and rewarded. I set these down to record elements of a strange tale, at the request of a most unusual authority, for a curious purpose. If you would know more, read on -- and if you would do me honor, then please see that this knowledge is not lost to my brethren with my passing.
First, about myself, I am an initiated squire in the Order, currently in service to Sir Elapoz, stationed in the town of Kel, kingdom of Korresh. Sir Elapoz and I set out to investigate an ancient and mystic locale overlooking Kel. During our investigations, the essence of Wrythanistan was invoked and channelled in such a way as we hoped would reveal the nature of the artifact -- whose lore and nature had been lost to the living memory of men and minotauri.
We succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. Also beyond any of our expectations, with the consequence that I seem to have been hurtled apart from the ordinary flow of Time and come to rest centuries in the future from my departure point. The world about me is vastly different and changed from that in which I was raised. Most importantly I must report that, at this time, a deep rift of estrangement has erupted between the Order and Mother Church. I suspect this rift to have been engineered and to be the work of an Enemy of subtle wit and vast power, but I know little of use beyond this.
With great good fortune and divine providence, I have made contact with members of an organization in lineal descent from the Order who continue to preserve our ideals, goals, and traditions. They know the signs and the words by which I am persuaded of their legitimate authority to direct me, and so I have placed myself in the service of one of their Chroniclers. Together we are embarking on a journey to puzzle out what we can of why I might have landed in this place, at this time, and how Dargotten's Creation might best be preserved.
I say this because, although this current age is an Age of Wonders, it is also an Age that has witnessed horrors. The sages here are concerned that, if I bring back too much knowledge of the wrong sort -- in the event I am able to return to Sir Elapoz -- I could precipitate a catastrophe of the sort we would prefer to prevent. Accordingly, I have been asked to prepare a report as I would give it to my superiors in a wholly uncensored version. This report will be reviewed by them, to determine what I might carry that would be dangerous and inappropriate. They will then do what is needful to see that I am unable to work more harm than good, as the best understanding of mortal man and the wisdom of the Order permits.
The Wonders of the Age:
The single most spectacular wonder of this age is that they have harnessed the power of flight! By virtue of large bags of 'rarefied air', they can lift specially purposed ships -- complete with passengers, crew, and cargo -- aloft and direct these vessels across great distances for trade and transport. What we call 'magic' is now the province of a class designated as 'Mechanicians' -- primarily composed of Delfae. The relationship between the Mechanicians and Mother Church is not yet completely clear to me, but I believe they are subservient to her hierarchy. In all other respects, however, they seem to enjoy an elite and segregated status equivalent to a combination of that of the Lords of the Red Guild and lesser nobility. A monopoly of arcane skill is still maintained, and may account (in part) for the harshness with which Mother Church has hunted the members of the Order into hiding or extinction.
The mechanicians, however, have brought many wonders into commonplace use. Magical conveyances have nearly completely replaced animal-powered transport or contrivance. There is much working of stone and metal. The buildings in the vast city of Kel far outstrip in size and splendor -- though not in artistry -- even the buildings of Maston in my age. Fine textiles and fresh water are widely available to nearly all the inhabitants through various complex and divers means. I cannot say their costs, but it is apparently within the means of daily laborers and clerks.
For Sir Elapoz: the Circle is, by the way, a monument raised to the honor of early Mechanicians -- or Mages -- supposedly raised by Leshya to honor services rendered to her in the war against the Scourge. There are elements of confusion in this tale, since the history of it seems to be better remembered in the later age than in the earlier. So, either the entire flow of time around the artifact has gotten itself turned around, or a new take has sprung from whole cloth and the true tale remains a mystery.
The Horrors of the Age:
Dragons are in the world and move freely -- however by all accounts there are some in league with the Wyrm and they spread chaos and destruction in their wake. There may also be goodly dragons, but it is not a topic on which people speak comfortably. Also, apparently a great Hive of horrible insects has erupted from beneath Maston -- consuming or enslaving much of the population there. The Great Cathedral, I fear, is lost to us.
These are the highest points of which I can write, and I fear I may have garbled matters even so. I will take some time apart for myself and then, if opportunity presents, add to this account at another time. May Faeterna bless you, Bewresha guide you, and Dargotten ever remember your name if you, who reads these things, sees that they reach the Order. In any case, whatever your daily condition and character, remember that you are not alone and every one of us is a part of the grand and glorious design of Dargotten. May you find grace and courage to last you all your days.