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Jack T. Lamplighter

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Jack T. Lamplighter last won the day on March 7 2017

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About Jack T. Lamplighter

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    Braemer
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    Been lighting the lamps all my life! What else is there to do? Nothing more important I assure you.

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    I never play! Fire is dangerous!

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  1. Read by Chatull Aventari Chapter Four. How Much for That Information? Thick mist in the early dawn made the still water of the lake reflect only the muted grey of the world around; even the birds were silent. It was quiet and mesmerizing to watch the nothing. After a long while of watching birds hunt low over the water, and rippling rings of movement in the water where fish pecked at bugs on the surface of the smooth deep blue, I went back in the inn and woke the other two women. We then all made our way downstairs from where we had fallen asleep on the second floor of the pavilion. After breaking our fast with leftover bread from our bags, we had a bit of a hike up the mountain to where the wagon collected us to start us on our journey to Ironhall. The jaunt out of Jade Mountains and over to the island’s shore had revitalized our bodies and minds and even our spirits lifted when, by midmorning, the mist had burned off enough to see the light flicker through and warm the chill out of the day. There were massive thunderheads and the sky remained in a darkened battle with itself high above the sea as we journeyed that day. I would have liked to have sung a song of joy and beauty, but I dared not. I was sure that sore vocal cords, the aches in my muscles, and the headache I still suffered were all worth the revelry around the firepit the night before, but this suffering wasn’t something I wanted to repeat anytime soon. From the looks of the other two, it appeared like Zyrina and Lucy would agree with me. Zyrina became horribly sick after her first meal on the ship and we teased her a little about her travel stomach, thinking the motion of the ship had set her off but Lucy went snooping and found a problem in the filthy kitchen. The ship’s cook had died of some mysterious stomach ailment just before we had boarded. Lucy first convinced whatever sailor had unfortunately pulled kitchen duty for this voyage that she was indeed a good cook and wanted to cook a meal, that she was bored as a passenger and would prefer to help in the kitchen. Lucy started by cleaning up the galley kitchen with hot water and soap, then she taught a few of the sailors a simple recipe for fish that they could do on their own. The captain humored her and then cheerfully let her cook the rest of the meals on the voyage after tasting his first helping of her fish stew and biscuits. He had three helpings. The rest of the crew were won over by the very same meal. Zyrina spent most of the voyage either sick or recovering from being sick. It looked like the sea did not agree with her, after all. I spent the days practicing a new sea shanty that I heard some of the crew singing one day while they scrubbed the deck. Most of the time I could be found wandering around humming the tune. When we arrived at Ironhall the sounds and sights near the docks kept our senses occupied while we searched for Violet’s ship and also for the young man called Finn Beanna. Although Fiona had been explicit about how to get to Ironhall, she was vague on the location of Finn’s working area or his schedule or pretty much anything other than he would know where all the ships that arrived at the local port were heading, or where they had been. Asking for him didn’t help. The locals stared at us as if we were asking why the sky wasn’t a lemon meringue pie and then they clammed up or wandered off. There was no help for it: we would have to search to find Laketown and then search Laketown from one end to the other. We split up and started looking. Zyrina eventually found him and called us over. He was sitting behind the Broken Docks Inn and looking for all the world as if he were avoiding being found. He didn’t seem especially friendly, either. We decided on a friendly approach anyway, with a gift of rum from my backpack and bread from Lucy’s. What man can withstand three beautiful women bearing rum and bread? I tell you that Finn almost did. We got so little information from him after several minutes of talk that we began to wonder at Fiona’s glowing endorsement. Finally, Lucy had had enough of the vagueness. “Fiona said he would know where the ship had gone.” Lucy complained in a half-whisper to me. Finn suddenly perked up. “Fiona, you say? You traveled from Jade Mountains. Is it Fiona Thatcher that you mention?” I looked him in the eyes, which he had finally dragged off of the map and scrap paper that he had been pretending to read the entire time. “Fiona. Yes, she gave you an encouraging testimonial but I’m skeptical at this point. You don’t seem to know much of what is outside your map.” At this I nodded toward the paper that Finn was rolling back up. Finn narrowed his eyes. “Can’t be too careful these days, ladies. There are far too many forces afoot to be glib about casually passing information.” Then he added casually, “How is Fiona? Her brother Oscar tells me nothing of her when he and I work at the docks, and he rarely works at the docks anymore.” I smiled to myself as I recognized Finn’s feigned casual interest in Fiona’s wellbeing. “Fiona was healthy and full of vigor when she left us to go cook stew for Oscar.” “What do you mean by ‘forces afoot’?” Zyrina interjected, curious. Meanwhile I was sizing up the young man and his surroundings. There were no clues that he would know the whereabouts of any of the ships that came and went in the harbour, let alone anything else in Ironhall. Lucy and I gave each other quizzical looks and shrugged our shoulders. Maybe Fiona was wrong about Finn. “Well, let’s see,” Finn narrowed his eyes and took a darting look around the area before speaking further. “Take that tattooed mage that waited nearly a week for the ship he arrived on to leave again. He had come from Spindleskog and arrived on a passenger ship that had scheduled to be here for a week. He was not pleased and tried to bribe the captain to leave again on his schedule, but the captain refused. The trouble-making mage asked probing questions about everything and everybody in the whole of Laketown and gave little away about himself.” Here Zyrina looked over at me. I stuck my tongue out at her and grinned knowing how inquisitive I seemed. “Why would some traveler button it?” Finn sounded truly perplexed even as he continued to look down while fiddling with the rolled parchment in his clenched hands. “What mage is this?” It was Lucy’s turn to perk up. “The quiet one?” Finn returned with a question. Finn found himself facing three pair of iron-tinged inquiring eyes. He decided that more information-sharing might be in his best interest. After finally putting down the now-wrinkled scroll and scrap of paper, he accepted the bread, then the rum. Then he added, “Did Fiona say if she was coming here to meet you?” He looked over their shoulders hopefully. “No. She is staying in Jade Mountains and not travelling with us. She did say she expected you for dinner on your return to Jade Mountain.” Smiling, I let him down gently and though he appeared to lose interest in us, he did perk up again when I repeated, “She did say she expected you for dinner.” He looked engrossed again following the promise of a meal in the future with Fiona, so I prompted, “Tattooed mage?” “Tattooed. mage. Tattooed mage,” he mimicked. Zyrina went completely still except her left hand which gripped her bow and her right hand which went automatically to the fletching on her arrows. Finn looked up in the silence after his sarcastic comment. The glaring didn’t cease, and those arrows in the sullen one’s hands looked sharp and deadly; so, he continued with a false bravado and an indifferent shrug to start telling what he knew of the mage. “Small, blue and green tattoos on his face, walked nonstop during the day. Didn’t sit much. Dressed in obsidian robes, I think. He carried a big blue bag and a little leather-bound book that he seemed particularly fond of. He spent far too much time reading to himself under his breath from the book while he waited for the ship’s repair.” Lucy shifted her weight and her armor squeaked loudly. “Do you know where he was going?” she asked quietly. He looked up for a flicker of a moment, “Nope, but he came here to go to the Caverns of Skrekk. Nope, I don’t know what he was doing there either,” he forestalled after seeing the question rising in my eyes. Then he added as an afterthought, “He wasn’t an especially skilled mage. He often got sidetracked during spellcasting if even something as harmless as a stray cat walked by. Every now and then he would try some magic, but it never seemed to go the way he wanted it to go. As well, the ship he arrived on needed repair from his onboard failures. There were several fires and one small explosion here in Laketown that I helped put out.” He puffed out proudly. “Not one building burnt down.” We stood motionless listening to him. He seemed to warm up to his story. He continued after a pause for a nip of rum straight from the bottle and a chunk of bread, which he tucked back into his robes without sharing. “That mage stomped around the village every single day rain or shine; walking, walking, always walking and muttering to himself, too. I tried to get him to go to the pub to share a pint and a story or two, but he’d just stare through me until I had to give up. It was that unnerving.” He shuddered a little. “We was all relieved to see him get back on the ship when she was ready to sail again.” At this, we all reacted with raised eyebrows. He took in our reactions and went on, “None thought we’d see the end of him, he was that picky about everything. As if there were something to pick from. The Sea Byrd remained the only ship that anchored in port at Ironhall for the entire week so in the end he went back on board but only after he offered the captain 3 times the normal passenger fee to take him back.” “The SEA BYRD? That’s my sister’s ship!” “When did it leave?” “Where did it go?” “Did you see a snowy lynx on the ship?” Finn laughed heartily at the successive questions and answered openly, “Yes. She left this morning, just as your ship arrived. Jade Valley is their next destination.” Here I gasped, “That’s my home.” Finn ignored me and continued, “The crew was muttering about the captain sending their best cook on an errand and having to drop her off along the way, but I didn’t hear where to. Something about a cook, a fish stew, and an escort mission.” He forestalled the next question shaking his head and wringing his hands in front of him, “No, I don’t know where after Jade Valley, but I know they are going to end up in Jade Island at Green’s Inch where Captain Violet likes to spend the winters.” He didn’t nearly look as ready to bolt in any direction at any minute anymore and I could see Rina had released the tension on her bow so she must be having the same thoughts as me. Zyrina gave me a curt nod after moving slowly around behind Finn again. I was relieved and thanked him by going on, “I really didn’t think it would be that easy to get this information we needed from you Finn, and here you just blurted some out.” Then Zyrina narrowed her eyes, jutted out her chin and asked him very directly, “What is it you want in return for this information?” Finn looked at her and shrugged. He had warmed up to us when he finally realized we were not searching for HIM particularly, and he was not the real target of our very pointy-looking arrows and blades. “Nothing,” he shrugged again. “You are friends of Fiona’s. If you had told me that at the beginning, we might have had an easier start.” He stared hard right back at Zyrina. “If you are looking for the Sea Byrd, the shipping schedules are usually posted on the public bulletin board near the arrival area, if it’s a town the Sea Byrd regularly docks in, that is. It’s the same for all the places that she travels.” Zyrina again strode behind Finn to take a leisurely look at the lake beyond. She gave me a quick wink and I nodded once, knowing. He looked at me, “Do you know where else your sister is sailing to?” I shook my head, frowning slightly. And to keep his attention on me I asked, “How long till she comes back?” “Could be weeks or months. Some of the locals have a betting pool on for odds of their returning date. Wanna place a bet?” At this, his eyes darted from side to side and he looked at Lucy and I, furtively. I shook my head no, as did Lucy. He turned to Zyrina who also declined to place a bet. “Fair enough.” “Good day, we will take our leave. Thank you for your assistance.” Lucy nodded her head to him. And with that curt farewell, we picked up our bags and walked out of town. The minute we were out of sight and earshot I asked Zyrina, “Did you get it?” “Yep.” She pulled the stolen papers out of her boot that Finn had been so intent upon when we first arrived. They had suffered quite a few wrinkles in the process but were completely readable still. “The Southern Red Branch” was scrawled across the top of a detailed map of Elysium Island with several towns circled in red. Jade Valley was one of those. And another scrap paper tucked inside the map simply said: 3-2-2 M “Now what the Titans does that mean?” Lucy was as perplexed as I was. “Same writing as that other paper with numbers, from Riverside, and from Scroda’s too,” she pulled them from her pack. “See?” Zyrina was right. Although the papers’ torn edges didn’t match, we could see that the numbers were drawn by the same hand. Still without understanding, Zyrina added the new set of numbers to the pile and tucked them all away in her backpack. “Have any of you heard of the Southern Red Branch before? Do you think they are part of the Red Sashes?” I asked the others as I ran my fingers over the raised embossed heading on the map. The only answers were head shakes or shrugs. No one spoke up. “Come on, let’s go home.” I decided. Echoes From the Caverns The post The Stone Dragon Series – Book 2, Chapter 4 appeared first on Echoes from the Caverns. View the full article
  2. Jack T. Lamplighter

    Play Release 101!

    Greetings Fellow Avatars! Release 101 goes live April 28th at 10:30 AM CDT. Welcome! The Catnip Games development team marks this monthly release of Shroud of the Avatar with new content and improvements. For Release 101 (R101), our range of mounts has been extended to big cats! For those wishing to participate in any community activities, upcoming one-time and recurring community events have been announced! Be sure to... Play Release 101!View the full article
  3. Jack T. Lamplighter

    SOTA NewsPlay Release 101!

    Greetings Fellow Avatars! Release 101 goes live April 28th at 10:30 AM CDT. Welcome! The Catnip Games development team marks this monthly release of Shroud of the Avatar with new content and improvements. For Release 101 (R101), our range of mounts has been extended to big cats! For those wishing to participate in any community activities, upcoming one-time and recurring community events have been announced! Be sure to also review the Player Guide and Known Issues for additional information on recent changes and upcoming fixes. News Announcements New Big Cat Mounts! Sneak Preview: Grusk Factory Release 101 Patch Notes Latest News and Q&A Friday Livestream Release 101 Subscriber Login Rewards May Login Reward Crown Store Updates Bug Brigade & Testing Directives Streamer Program Upcoming Release Dates Community Updates Community Events & Resources Project to Support: Shard RPG Project to Support: Embers Adrift Project to Support: Avatar Express Resources: Players Helping Players New Big Cat Mounts! Black Panthers, Jaguars, Lionesses, and Snow Leopards have been successfully trained to accept riders by the skilled and secretive New Britannian cat-trainers and are available for purchase in the Crown Store. They’re sure the other big cats will cooperate as soon as they identify the right kind of bribe treat… Sneak Preview: Grusk Factory Grusk Factory is not open for tours this month, but we have a couple of preview images from Sannio. …It looks dark in there. Very efficient, kobolds. Release 101 Patch Notes Below are a list of the updates that are live as of Release 101 (R101) in the game of Shroud of the Avatar! R101 is a content, improvements, and bug fixes month. Polish, additional improvements, and bug fixes are inbound for R102 next month. We hope you enjoy the changes that are live today as of Release 101! Crafting, Decoration, & Inventory Item Changes: Three new seating recipes can be found at deco merchant in the region of the Perennial Coast: Arched Wooden Armchair, Wood and Leather Chair, and Simple Small Wood Bench. SOTA-70426 Fixed Acara helm and glove material colors Updated Castle Teleporter to act as other POT Teleporters, allowing player to choose destination instead of being set to Castle Atos. SOTA-70351 Combat & Skill Changes: Fixed big cat skills: Re-added the pounce skill with its correct animation and fixed range issues and hooked up roar animation for roar skills. SOTA-70345 and 70346 Fixed issue with legendary lion referencing wrong visual, causing it to disassociate from its nameplate. (Other legendary cats still pending.) SOTA-70053 Fixes for Acara armor attunement effect not applying properly and not applying the air damage. SOTA-70166 User Interface, Store Information, & Lua Changes: Items can now be linked in chat. Right-click an item and click “Link to chat.” They cannot be linked in Universe; doing so will just result in the name of item being sent without the mouseover information. There is a character limit: the usual limit for player input is 384 and an internal limit to link items is now 2000 to allow multiple items to be linked at once. Added a /translate command to use in chat. This will translate the last line in the chat to the current language set in game options, or you can specify it when entering the command (e.g. “/translate en”). More information can be found in the player guide. Players can now use /time to display their local (real life) date/time, server date/time, AND New Brittania date/time in the chat window. SOTA-70427 Added a Lua Add-On Manager which can be found in the Window Selection menu in game. More information is in the forums here. Scripts using the new UI feature in Lua will have their window hidden between screenload and in game menu. Added two new Lua functions. ShroudOnExperienceChanged returns the amount of experience added in pool and the type, adventurer or producer. ShroudOnDisableScript() is a convenient method for a Lua scripter to clean up their script when a player disables it in the manager. More information about this in the forum and in the Lua API document. Made private party creation be on roll mode by default. Added a scrollbar in the description part of the crown store window to prevent some cases of icons overlapping the text. Large amounts of text will be more visible now as it won’t shrink anymore. Reduced the height of the teleport scroll UI a bit so it can fit on everyone’s screens. The previous fix for heartbeat sounds when entering a scene removed the trigger for low health. Now everything should work as expected. SOTA-70422 When someone is set PvP or is in a PvP scene and goes AFK they will get disconnected after being AFK for 20 minutes (or 10 minutes after the flag is set). Increased AFK flag time by 5 minutes. Names of PvP players will no longer be shown blue when typed in chat. Updated Housing tax/eviction timer email text to advise that the house with deco will be placed in the Property Manager instead of sent to the bank. SOTA-70358 World and Quest Changes: Fixed issue with young snow tigers spawning incorrectly. SOTA-70227 Players will now be able to see other players again on elevators/moving platforms. SOTA-69027 Avatars won’t appear crouched after getting off of elevators/moving platforms. SOTA-70341 Arabella: Added a “bonesteel” response that will remove an artifact from players who shouldn’t yet have it. Devotional Caretakers: Updated the logic to archive the “Tell Kiln Caretaker About Indigno” and “Tell Eastmarch Caretaker About Fastus” tasks. Path of Truth: Updated logic for “Travel to Blood River” and “Explore Artifice” to help them automatically archive when required. SOTA-70360 Aldwater: Fixed an issue where pavers were floating at the exit archways. SOTA-70386 Ardoris: Added extra logic to help clear Timothy the Enchanter’s “Find the Beast’s Lair” task, including saying by “hello” to him after completing the activity. SOTA-70382 Ardoris: Improved the logic which helps clear the “Mention Writ to Min” and “Ask Min Liang Tan about the Emperor’s Writ” tasks. Ardoris: Stephanie Broadmeadow now highlights with blue sparkles and waves her hands in relation to her “5 paintings” quest. SOTA-70383 Blood Bay: Plugged a gap below some rocks near a shoreline where ocean water could be seen through the gap. SOTA-70387 Braemar: Moved a floating pillow to the top of a bed. SOTA-70388 Castle Atos: Fixed a pathfinding issue where NPCs would sometimes stumble on cracks between floor pieces. SOTA-70365 Dysborg Ruins: Moved a fishing hotspot to a spot where it can be accessed. SOTA-70364 Grusk: Fixed a ladder with a bad teleport target. Improved how avatars can get to the top of the mountain by the factory. Adjusted some rocks that players could see through. Moved some floating trees to ground level. SOTA-70367, 70359, 70366, 70368, and 70361 Grusk: Fixed several floating bushes. SOTA-70385 Grusk: Moved floating bushes to the ground. Blocked a gap underneath several factory walls. SOTA-70398 Grusk: The Storehouse Container shelter now has a unique set of turn-ins. The common items are Metal Scrap, Small Ball of Clay, Animal Hide, and Animal Bone. The uncommon item is Crocodile Head. SOTA-70206 Malice: Hid several purple trigger volumes that were visible to players. SOTA-70300 Outskirts: Crafting merchants in all three outskirts each now sell one type of board recipe. SOTA-70354 Owl’s Head: Fixed a typo in the chat message for the “Get Morton’s Ledger” task. Owl’s Head: Improved the logic for how “Tell Morgan the Task is Complete” archives when talking to Morgan. Avatars who still have this task can try saying “the task is complete” to Morgan even if the quest has concluded. SOTA-70371 Sawtooth Thicket: Moved a floating axe to a nearby stump. SOTA-70362 Solace Bridge Outskirts: For quest reasons, players cannot skip the conversation with the alchemist. SOTA-69948 Solace Bridge Outskirts: Improved the logic which clears Filmore’s “Kill Wolf, Retrieve Collar” task. Avatars who have this lingering task should say “Betty” to Filmore to clear it. South Boundless Forest: Increased player count to 32 from 16. Spectral Mines: Added extra logic to help clear Timothy the Enchanter’s “Find the Beast’s Lair” task after defeating the archlapin. SOTA-70382 The Fall: Updated the tiger spawners to ensure all spawners worked and with a better chance to spawn high-tier enemies. SOTA-70363 Vertas: Moved several floating posts into the ground. SOTA-70399 Wynton’s Folly: Moved a piece of floating garlic to the ground. SOTA-70389 Player-Owned Town Changes: Argent Aspis: Upgraded to Hamlet. Avallon: Upgraded to Crossroads Village. Consolidated dev-placed teleporter boats. Chaos ar’ mori’elen ten’oio: Added new holdfast to Mistrendur, on the southern shoreline of the central island. Lamplight: Added new Holdfast to Novia next to the Elysium Mines. Meadow’s Edge: Upgraded to Metropolis. M’hul Island: Upgraded to Crossroads Village. Mith Trysull: Added new town to Novia southwest of Vauban Pass. Regnum: Added new Holdfast north of Ardoris. Shearwater Island: Added new island village along the shore west of Ardoris. Silk Road: Upgraded to Town. TheBonusRole Undercity: Added new Village in Novia near the Whiteguard Foothills. Twin Traders: Upgraded to Village. Player Dungeon Changes: Fixed some dungeon rooms and navmeshes: Hilt Rotunda, Hilt Spider Room, the Rise Dog Run, and the Rise Library. Latest News and Q&A Friday Livestream The weekly Community Livestream is Friday, April 29th at 4PM CT on Twitch! Join Chris “Atos” Spears and other members of the development team for a 1-hour community livestream! To enter the prize drawings, type “I speak for the trees” into any in-game chat channel OR make a purchase on the website Add-On Store. Please submit questions using in-game universal chat by typing “askadev” before your question. We’ll do our best to answer these questions live on the stream, and we’ll even be periodically posting answers to some unanswered questions in the forums each month. Watch on Twitch, Friday at 4PM CT! Atos and other members of the Shroud of the Avatar development team go live frequently on twitch.tv/shroudoftheavatar — be sure to get the channel on follow for notifications so you can join us right as we go live! Also, if you’ve missed our latest streams, check out our archive of content at our YouTube Channel. Like! Follow! Subscribe! Prizes!!! Don’t forget to also join the Shroud of the Avatar team and community over at all our social media venues: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShroudoftheAvatar/ Catnip Games Twitter: https://twitter.com/catnipgames Shroud of the Avatar Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShroudofAvatar Shroud of the Avatar Discord: https://discord.gg/shroudoftheavatar Release 101 Subscriber Login Rewards Seat your May Queen (or yourself) in style! The Rewards Program login items for Release 101 are regal and comfortable. This month’s collection includes a set of three new thrones: an Ornate Wooden Chest Throne (with container), an Ornate Wooden Throne with Gold Inlay, and an Ornate Wooden Throne with Velvet Panels (dyeable!) Subscribers to the Reward Program must log in during Release 101 to receive these special login items. The Shroud of the Avatar Rewards Program lets you earn the best rate on purchasing Crowns, AND receive monthly reward items! For the low price of $9 USD per month you will receive the following: 900 Crowns of the Obsidians every month Monthly Login Reward Items (about 3 per month) Exclusive Title every 3 months 3 Months: Keeper of the Faith 6 Months: Keeper of the Word 9 Months: Keeper of the Vow 12 Months: Keeper of the Flame 15 Months: Keeper of the Oath 18 Months: Keeper of the Pledge 21 Months: Keeper of the Bond 24 Months: Keeper of the Promise 27 Months: Keeper of the Covenant Pick any Dye 12-Pack every 6 months Pick any three of these 7 Obsidian Potions every month: Potion of Capacity: Increases carrying capacity Potion of Conservation: Reduces reagent use chance Potion of Expedience: Swift gathering on all gathering skills Potion of Precision: Increases Meticulous Collection to all gathering skills Potion of Preservation: Reduces armor and weapon damage Potion of Reclamation: Increases Salvage and Repair to all production skills Potion of Stamina: Decreases focus use from sprinting While subscribed to the rewards program, players also receive these special bonuses: Obsidian Potions are significantly more powerful! 24 Additional Deck Slots! May Login Reward Log in during the month of May and you’ll receive a Gothic Dining Chair with which to feather your nest. Crown Store Updates New in the crown store for Release 101: Black Panther Mount Jaguar Mount Lioness Mount Snow Leopard Mount Cantabrigian Cat Decoration Pet Gothic Curule Armchair 2 Pack Gothic Heavy Armchair with Arches 2 Pack Gothic Dining Chair 6 Pack Arriving May 4th: Ornate Wooden Chest Throne Ornate Wooden Throne with Gold Inlay Ornate Wooden Throne with Velvet Panels The Spring Seasonal store items are still available! These rare Spring items will remain on the store until May 3rd: Bunny Ears & Slippers Set Decorative Dyeable Egg Pack Flower Crown Lepus Mask 2017 Lepus Mask 2018 Silver & Gold Lepus Mask White Lepus Mask Rabbit Tailed Bodice Ensemble Replenishing Confetti Eggs Basket 2016 Replenishing Confetti Eggs Basket 2017 Replenishing Confetti Eggs Basket 2018 Replenishing Confetti Eggs Basket 2019 Spring Fountain w/ Floating Candles The Darkstarr store items are still available! These birthday items will remain on the store until May 28th: Darkstarr Basement Entrance Eternal Pattern Darkstarr Chaos Throne Darkstarr Chaos Throne (Reverse Colors) Darkstarr Clock Tower Darkstarr Clock Tower (Reverse Colors) Darkstarr Fur Collared Cloak Darkstarr Pavers Darkstarr Shield Darkstarr Shield Pattern Pack Lord British vs Darkstarr Battle Banner Mosh Emote Bug Brigade & Testing Directives! The Bug Brigade was established to improve how the community and the development team work together to improve the game. Since the Brigade’s inception, the program has gone through a number of changes and was eventually placed on hold. The stability of the game is as important to the development team as it is to the players, therefore the program was revamped and was relaunched. The Brigade has been up and running and the volunteers (Alley Oop, Echondas, and Justyn) are in a good rhythm for verifying and submitting bugs to the developers. If you have reported a bug that has not yet been addressed, please be patient while the backlog is being worked. The Brigade is working diligently to clean up the backlog of bug reports posted by players on the forums. Every month, a considerable amount of development time will be spent working many of the verified bugs which have been submitted to the team by the Bug Brigade. This focused effort on bug fixes would not be possible without the recent efforts of the Bug Brigade. Please take the time to thank these bug hunting aficionados when you encounter them in your travels! In turn, the development team would like to express a big thank you to the Bug Hunters! These community members are doing a fantastic job bringing so many bug reports to the team, and they’re doing it in a way which makes the process smooth and efficient. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Much improvement has been noticed by the development team and we’re so very excited to see the program’s continued success! The development team would also like to thank all of those who take time to participate in QA Testing Directives. Thanks to your hard work and dedication, many issues and bugs can be identified and fixed prior to content going to the Live Server! Keep up the great work! For those that wish to participate in future bug hunting endeavors, please check the forums regularly for upcoming QA Testing Directives. Don’t forget, the Bug Brigade is open to all players in good standing and bug rewards are SWEET! They will be awarded on a monthly progression basis with only minimal requirements to qualify. The available rewards to receive in progression via qualifying participation are as follows: Antennae Head Gear and Forum Title 1: “Bug Hunter” Single Ant Cloak Lady Bug Backpack Bug Painting A and In-Game Title 2: “Associate of Aphids” Ant Farm Insect Leg Table Many Ants Cloak and In-Game Title 3: “Bachelor of Beetles” Bug Painting B Bug Sprayer and /bugspray Emote Bug Painting C and In-Game Title 4: “Master of Moths” Butterfly Chair Corpion Chair (Pictured Below) Yellow Fireflies VFX and In-Game Title 5: “Doctor of Dragonflies” Hacked Oracle Flyer Giant Blue Butterfly Pet Butterfly Mask Dragonfly pet Fairy Wings Monarch Butterfly Pet Dragonfly Wings Hacked Oracle Crawler Blue Butterfly VFX Orange Fireflies VFX Orange Butterfly VFX If you’ve come to think of Shroud of the Avatar as your home, sign up and help make New Britannia a better place to live! To learn more about joining the Bug Brigade, please read the announcement thread by Ravalox in the main Bug/Feedback forums. Streamer Program Streamers of Shroud of the Avatar can participate in a program to showcase the game and be rewarded for their efforts. Any Streamer who wishes to be included in the Streamer Program can contact Laney via in-game mail with their Character Name and Twitch Channel information. If you have already signed up for the program in the past, fear not: you’re on the list and you don’t need to reapply. Streaming Rewards Program participants must adhere to our Terms of Service (TOS) and Community Rules while Streaming Shroud of the Avatar. Streaming Rewards Program participants must stream at least 10 hours of Shroud of the Avatar ACTIVE game play to remain in the program with reward accrual. Streamers will receive a one-time digital reward of in-game items after meeting the program’s requirements: Streamer’s Cloak, Streamer’s Camera, and the LIVESTREAMING title. Rules: To qualify for Streamer Rewards, each streamer must continue to meet the minimum requirements for 60 days after application. To accrue additional rewards, Streamers must stream SotA a minimum of 10 hours per month, tallied on the 1st day of each month, to remain in the program. Monthly Streamer Bundles: On the 1st of each month, qualifying streamers will be eligible to receive 50 Streamer Bundles. Bundles will be sent out to Streamers via in-game mail. A few things you need to know: Streamer Bundles are intended to be given away to stream viewers, not consumed by the streamer. Streamers are not allowed to put paywalls in place for the Streamer Bundles. (For example, giving away Streamer Bundles once the stream reaches a certain number of bits, subscriptions, or donations). Other Items of Note: Streamers in the program will be included in the SotAbot StreamPop function, appearing in the player-streaming channel in Discord. An optional “Streamers Kit” is available to the participating streamers as well as all players of Shroud of the Avatar, which includes graphics, overlays and other material. Streamers must be actively playing the game during their streams. Being away from the keyboard (AFK) for short periods is acceptable. If Twitch indicates the streamer is playing SotA but they are streaming other content or a timeout/login screen, they risk being removed from the program. Upcoming Release Dates Be sure to check out the Upcoming Events page for spotlighted events plus links to various areas to post or find events on our forums. The upcoming 2022 Release Schedule is as follows: This Release 101 – Apr 28 (Content) Release 102 – May 26 (Polish) Release 103 – June 30 (Content) Release 104 – July 28 (Polish) Release 105 – August 25 (Content) Release 106 – September 29 (Polish) Release 107 – October 27 (Content) Release 108 – November 17 (Polish) Release 109 – December 15 (Content) Community Events & Resources Greetings event holders and event attendees! So many fun and exciting events are available in the upcoming weeks. Be sure to get out there and participate, make some new friends, perhaps make some great emote, recipe, or gear trades, or get some adventuring and role-playing into your mix! Here are spotlighted events or updated community resources that we’ve noticed popping up lately on the official forums. Catnip Games Contests: Catnip Games Monthly Fishing Tourney: Greetings Anglers! The monthly Catnip Games Fishing Tourney is live! Join in on the fun! The R101 Fishing Tournament runs from 29-Apr-2022 at 12:00 AM (00:00) CDT to 26-May-2022 11:59 PM (23:59) CDT. Note that the R100 Tournament is still running for a few more hours until midnight on Release 101 day; you can still compete for the longest fish in the R100 tournament! For R101, catch the longest fish in any of these 4 categories: POTs (Saltwater fish only): Arlia, Avallon, Mystic Isle, Ordinis Mortis, Rampage Island, and Rock Ridge NPC Scenes (Saltwater fish only): Aerie, Ardoris, and Xenos PVP (Saltwater fish only): Verdantis Shardfall Lava (lava only): Rajazel (POT), Sunless Barrens Prizes in each category include: 1st Place: Player-Owned Town Village Lot Deed, Large Gold Fishing Trophy, Title 2nd Place: Player-Owned Town Row Lot Deed, Large Silver Fishing Trophy, Title 3rd Place: 50 Blood Leeches, Large Bronze Fishing Trophy, Title​ Catnip Games Monthly Treasure Hunting Contest: Want to go hunting for rare items? Want to see if you can beat other players in this quest for treasure? Well join in on the monthly treasure hunting contest, Avatars! The R101 Treasure Hunt runs from 29-Apr-2022 at 12:00 AM (00:00) CDT to 26-May-2022 11:59 PM (23:59) CDT. Note that the R100 Hunt is still running for a few more hours until midnight on Release 101 day; you can still compete in the R100 Hunt! For R101, loot the most of the specific items in 2 categories: PVP Scene: Rhun Ruins – Obsidian Chips, Corpse Wax, Chaos Plant Pollen, and various Ores 1st Place: Player-Owned Town Village Lot Deed, Large PvP Shard Trophy, Title 2nd Place: Player-Owned Row Lot Deed, Medium PvP Shard Trophy, Title 3rd Place: Melted Candle Cluster A, Small PvP Shard Trophy, Title​ PVE Scenes: Spectral Mines – Gems, Rocks, and Ore 1st Place: Player-Owned Town Village Lot Deed, Large Sword in the Stone Trophy, Title 2nd Place: Player-Owned Row Lot Deed, Medium Sword in the Stone Trophy, Title 3rd Place: Melted Candle Cluster A, Small Sword in the Stone Trophy, Title​ Recurring Events: Trash to Treasure Dropped Items Turn-In: Some unscrupulous fella has been flooding all of New Britannia with junk: Headdresses, Wings, Backpacks, assorted miscellany of every sort. It’s time to clean this trash up and so a bounty has been placed on all gear crafted by Coswald Dirthmire that is turned in each contest period! Lightbringer Isle Fishing Contest: Why not earn some extra prizes each month and participate in Lightbringer Isle’s monthly fishing tourney? Lots of fantastic prizes — don’t miss out! Combat & Crafting Sunday School: Head on over to Immortal City every Sunday from 7PM to 9PM CT to learn the tricks of the trade in combat and crafting! 500 Crown Leisurely Fishing: Sonja Solar and friends are running a continuous fishing contest in Brittany Fort “Now and Forever for All Eternity” which has wonderful prizes and objectives. You can now win 500 Crowns for record fishies caught in Brittany Fort by anybody at any time in history for display in Sonja Solar’s fishy aquarium museum. Be sure to watch the video indicated in the “Brittany Fort” link provided in the first post to see the full explanation of the contest rules. RHEC Traveling Pop-Up Fishing Contest: Keep an eye out in universe chat, trade chat, and the forums! Asmodi M’hul will routinely announces at least one pop-up fishing contest every week for those anglers out there anxious for extra prizes and fun! Lightbringer Isle Auction: Ladies and gentlemen! The Citizens of Lightbringer Isle welcome you to the weekly auctions! The auctions are about bringing together people from all corners of the community, with the Lightbringer Isle’s market being the perfect place to do so! Join us every Sunday at 11AM CT! Community Calendars: Avatars-Virtue Radio Calendar: Just when are all those talented DJ’s and streamers broadcasting? Don’t just guess, check out there very helpful calendar! Never again will you wonder when’s the best time to tune in! NBNN Calendar: This calendar provides a great schedule for NBNN and WRFB programing as well as many other community events. If you’re a fan of the Laz & Jack show or even if you’re hoping to catch them in action for the first time, this is the calendar for you! SotA Event Calendar: Event participants, take heed! Thoryk Omara has done a wondrous job creating a community event calendar which is available to all players of Shroud of the Avatar. Please make an effort to support this new calendar. The more resources players have at their disposable for event notifications, the better! Community Event Resources: Here are some fantastic resources for tracking down community events or posting your own events. Become involved! Create! Explore! Make friends! But most of all, have fun! One-Time Community Events Forum: Sometimes events happen only a single time, so you’ll not want to miss out on these events as they occur. Check out the forums routinely to spot these! Recurring Community Events Forum: Some events occur on weekly or monthly schedules which are a great way to routinely meet up with friends and to make new ones. Be sure to check this forum frequently for new events or time changes to existing ones. Game Master (GM) Potion Request Procedures: Shroud of the Avatar has an amazing in-game consumable for player event holders — the Potion of Temporary GM Powers! Players wishing to enhance their in-game community event by having GM Powers at their disposal need to simply follow the procedures outlined in this forum thread. Player Event Trophies and Special Item Requests: Would you like to request a special trophy or renamed item for a player event you’ve created? Head on over to this thread to see what’s available and to obtain more information about request procedures. Player Radio Station Forum: If you want to check out the latest and greatest from our in-game radio stations, go to the radio stations forum! If you’re a DJ, be sure to advertise your time slot and venue in this forum. Player Livestreams & Videos Forum: If you’re searching for a Shroud Streamer to watch, head on over to the streamer forum! If you are a live streamer for Shroud of the Avatar, be sure to advertise your Shroud stream by posting in this forum. Town Directory Forum: Want to find a town to live in or get your town listed in the directory, head over to the forums and check it out! Guild Directory Forum: Looking for a guild or want to get yours posted in the guild directory? Head on over to the forums and check it out! Fire Lotus Tavern: This wondrous role-playing and story writing forum is the spot to be if you love fan fiction and role-play. Community Resources: Looking for links to community and official resources for Shroud of the Avatar? Well look no further. On this page you’ll find links to a plethora of helpful resources created by the dev team or the community. SO many options to stay tuned-in with fellow community members. Please take advantage of all these wonderful options. Happy adventures, Avatars! Project to Support: Shard RPG Shard Studios invites you to enter the fantastic world Dárdünah, the vast shard of a shattered realm, as presented in the colorful pages of the SHARD RPG! Many years in the making, this system allows players to choose from a wide variety of animal people who are the main cast of the many adventures this otherworldly setting offers. Skyships glide through shimmering clouds past majestic crystal peaks. Giant insects prowl alien jungles or lurk in the sparkling emerald seas. Warriors with blades of diamond and amber duel across crimson sands. And mystics chant in shadowy chambers as their spirits wander abroad. Intro Sheet: For a quick glimpse into the world of Dárdünah, be sure to download the intro pdf! It’s packed with great information and features beautiful artwork, not unlike the artwork found throughout the many pages of this gaming system’s gorgeously designed manuals. Core System Manuals: It’s easier than ever to delve into Dárdünah, World of the False Dawn, with the Core Books Bundle! If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience this unique gaming system and setting, now’s your chance! This bundle includes two beautifully illustrated, full-color, hardcover books: the original Basic Compendium and the Magic and Martial Arts book! They contain everything you need to begin your adventures, and include instructions for the ritual magic and martial arts combat systems. These manuals also include 90 new Animal Templates upon which to base your character! Other Shard RPG Products: So many more manuals and gaming materials are available! Everything an avid tabletop role-player and game master needs to delve into the world of Dárdünah! So if you’re ready to experience a gaming world like no other, check out what Shard Studios has created for tabletop role-players on the Shard RPG official website! You’ll most certainly be immersed and amazed by the offerings of the Shard RPG! Project to Support: Embers Adrift! Help support one of our team members’ other projects, Embers Adrift! While not yet live, they plan to release later this year and you can join the closed beta now by pre-ordering from embersadrift.com. Check out their newly released video here: Project to Support: Avatar Express [Forum post by Vladamir Begemot] I’m pleased to report that The Avatar Express is clacking away furiously. News is being delivered and we have established systems to deliver it directly to your brain. You can use one of those systems by following us on Twitter at @avatar_express. Even more reliable due to its fully automated nature is joining us on the Discord server. News items are posted there via RSS. Or you can subscribe to RSS directly on the site. If you run an event, quests, etc, please consider helping out by self reporting. The Shroud community is big, and many things are happening that are never seen by others. With 10k monthly users, we would need a full time staff to track down everything that is happening. You can fill out the contributor form, message @that_shawn_guy here or post in the Discord server that you would like to help. There is no commitment once signed up, you can post as much or little as you like. Writing up your own events has several benefits beyond the immediate exposure. It serves as a record for others to see the history of New Britannia as we create it, in an attractive format. Publishing in the Express also has a higher chance than the forums of being seen by search engines and random readers, thus bringing more eyeballs and new players to the game. It will even make posting in the forums easier! You can upload images to your news item, and then link to those images in your forum post. No more need for 3rd party image hosts! So if you have something going on in your guild or town, or want to be a Reporter, Cartographer or Historian, please join us! Resources: Players Helping Players The official SotA New Player Welcome Forum and the Player Created Resources Forum have the best player created resources for Shroud of the Avatar, whether it’s a Player Written Guide, a Video Walk-through, or a Wiki-type Website. Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing of all things community. View the full article
  4. I'll be hosting a livestream on the Shroud Twitch channel starting at 4pm this Friday 4/15 Chris will be joining the stream as well to talk about the articles released today announcing Richard working on a new game. I'm planning on talking about a bunch of topics, related to what I've been working on for SotA, and what's next. So please join me on Friday for a SotA Town Hall style stream! View the full article
  5. Read by Addy Chapter Three. At Last. A week prior up the mountain: Still early in the day, before Lucy Featherbright opened the front door of her cozy farmhouse, even before she had folded back her cozy goose-down quilt, she just plain smiled for the joy of being alive. The beginnings of a glimmer of light across the serene mountain lake peeped in her open window. After finding and dressing in her not–quite-fresh garments and then stuffing a piece of cheese and a not-quite-fresh roll into her pants pocket, she turned to leave the small hut. Her amber eyes twinkled as she swung the heavy door open and leaped down the two steps. Novian dawn was usually a spectacular showy event in the cool autumn mornings here in the backwoods forests of Jade Mountains. When the first rays popped over the peaks behind the little cabin nestled above the hamlet, Lucy watched the morning tree shadows shorten and gnawed on her dried-out roll and crumbly cheese. Warmth finally started soaking into her chilled skin as she watched the day open before her. The light brought some thin autumn coziness with it. She turned her face to the light, soaking up all the sunshine she could. Already the light was not as strong as it had been in the summer and Lucy was aware that the cold would be upon them soon enough. Sighing, she finished the last bite, then turned to focus on the covered wagon in front of her cottage that she had abandoned half-unloaded in an exhaustion-fueled arrival. Last night she had let Torgin’s furry companion off its leash after she had finished maneuvering the little wagon up the steep mountain path. The cat quickly and silently disappeared into the nearby forest. Lucy was used to this; Kitty had done so every time she arrived at the farm. Now upon waking, she realized her twin brother’s large snowy lynx had not yet returned from its nightly stalking in the woods. “Huh,” she snorted to herself. “Go figure.” A pry bar leaned nearby, and she soon started prying at the closest barrel and scooped a couple salted fish out when it opened, their red and blue colours sparkling in the early morning light. Hoping to entice the beloved pet out of the nearby trees, she sang out, “Here Kitty Kitty,” shaking the wet and iridescent fish she had picked out for the large snowy white lynx. Early autumn had not completely changed Kitty’s coat to the more subtle colours of winter and some of the dark streaks were still visible in her sleek coat. It made Kitty nearly invisible in the wild. In the past, when Torgin had left Kitty with Lucy, the suspicious feline often liked to watch the lake below from just past the edge of the tree line near the cliff. But this morning, Kitty was not there nor at her doorstep like Lucy expected. Not at the edge of the forest in the tree line. Kitty was not in the corral annoying the new colt, nor the orchard, nor the garden. When Oscar arrived she made him help her search instead of working with the animals. Not even her hired hand had seen the wildcat. Kitty was not at the little farm at all. There were many places that Kitty could be found, but she could also disappear at will, it seemed. So, Lucy shrugged and set the fishes near the front door where Kitty would find them when she came back from whatever she was doing, then she kept unpacking from her recent trip to Jade Valley. The Cabalists had caused quite a stir there and Lucy was still disappointed that the artifact she hunted had disappeared again with barely a whisper. Well, at least Phlebus was working his way through all the tomes on the subject back in Central Brittany. Lucy was certain Phlebus would find the trail eventually. He was thorough. And motivated. The little-known magic artifact book appeared to fascinate him, too. She didn’t much notice the passage of time until the sun dipped behind the mountain. The air suddenly chilled and Lucy, chopping wood, shivered. She decided she would finish her task upon the morrow. Those abandoned, uneaten fish were rather bloated and slimy now and quite vile smelling as well. With a shovel and holding her breath, Lucy scooped them up and carried them over to the fire she liked to keep going nearby. In she tossed some sage and a little rosemary to keep the biting insects away and disguise the smell of the rotting fish burning. She took a seat on one of the massive wooden chairs near the fire and poked at the coals to stir them to action. The fish burnt with stunning flashes of red and blue. Eventually they crumbled to ash as she sat smoking her long pipe while staring into the flames long into the evening. By morning, Kitty had still not reappeared, and Lucy was starting to think about what Torgin would do if Kitty were still missing when he returned. Shrugging and going back to her task, she at first assumed Kitty was nearby, and she gave the topic very little thought. In the end, the next day Lucy gathered up a few hides to trade in town; she would take a quick look around in case Kitty had wandered down to the merchants or to check out the fishing vessels. Lucy assumed that Kitty would reappear after whatever curious thing that had caught the large feline’s attention was devoured or became boring. Other than the merchant, Richard, who stayed late and haggled with her over the hides but took them in the end for a fair price, she didn’t see anyone else out and about in town. She also didn’t see her lynx anywhere and so she climbed steadily back up the mountain to her home before the sun fell. Her days were filled with emptying the overstuffed wagon, chopping wood, and baking. Kitty still didn’t come back. Now Lucy was worried. This was not like Kitty. It was time for action. Lucy sent her farm hand Oscar to the village with a scribbled note addressed to her friend Zyrina in Jade Gardens asking for help to find Kitty. Zyrina was the best tracker that Lucy knew. There was no telling how far the lynx had travelled, and Lucy was sure that Torgin would not accept that Lucy didn’t do anything to find his companion. Lucy was getting a little more anxious about the missing pet and knew how wide the area was that Kitty could travel in a short time. Maybe Kitty went looking for Torgin. Oh, this was bad. Very very bad, and Lucy wanted to avoid seeing Torgin lose his temper if she could. Reinforcements were on the way because Lucy trusted Zyrina would come help. That calmed her down a little. A few days later, just outside Jade Mountains on the top of the cliff overlooking the seaport below that connected the west island with the center island of the Mistrendur, she stood with her spyglass out. Lucy could see that the Sea Byrd’s flag was still flapping in the wind down at the pier at the ocean shoreline. The ship had stayed in anchorage for the entire time Lucy had laboriously climbed up from the dock to her small home in the backwoods of Jade Mountains and settled in. It must have been waiting on a passenger, or maybe it had repairs to do. Lucy was sure it would not be there for much longer though. She wondered if Kitty had gone back to the ship for some reason. This morning was shaping up to be another clear and warm day and she had much to accomplish before Zyrina arrived. Lucy had hardly seen anyone except her farmhand since her return and a good cup of tea with the locals sounded like a perfect way to catch up with the news while she waited for Zyrina, including asking if anyone had seen Kitty wandering around. Maybe someone in the hamlet below had seen Kitty, and she could resupply the farm after her long absence, too. Gossip was the grease of every small holding, and this one was no different. Surely someone would have noticed Kitty’s presence. Later in the day when her chores were done, after she had planned for Oscar to stay on while she was away again, she flipped her hair out of the way after changing to town clothes and hitched up her backpack. Climbing down the mountainside was by far Lucy’s favorite walk no matter the season. Though coming back up left her breathless, letting her body flow down the mountain felt like skiing down on snow even though it was early autumn, and she wore boots today instead of skis. Lucy didn’t know how far Torgin’s pet had wandered in the last week, so this might take a few days of looking. The fire was out, and the colt had several days of feed and a good supply of fresh water. Oscar would check in every day and keep the place going for her. He was a reliable farm help who she enjoyed bossing around. He didn’t say much except ‘’As you wish” and that was comforting in a way Lucy didn’t quite understand. Lucy left one final message with Oscar in case Zyrina came straight to the farm. * This morning in the hamlet: At the outdoor seating area with the lakeside open to view in front of her, Fiona Thatcher looked across the water and saw an air balloon circling to land up on Central Mountain. There would be custom today as explorers came to the lake to hear the stories from the locals about the goings-on in the lake that night years ago. She did nothing to dissuade the rumors but also had no stories to tell. She had not been in the small hamlet when the event took place and always suggested they ask the old wagon drover as he was the one involved. No, he didn’t work anymore, he was far older than that. No, he wasn’t in town today that she knew of. The answers were automatic. Giving the long countertop an extra hard rub, Fiona gathered up the rag she was swabbing with and tossed it into the nearby bucket of hot soapy water. She didn’t like to clean up after the sloppy sailors who frequented the lakeshore crafting pavilion from the docks nearby, but it was honest work, and she was intent on honoring her parent’s memory by continuing to support herself and her little brother Oscar. Upon becoming adults and being released from the orphanage that raised them, Oscar and Fiona chose the farthest point from Old Riverside in Jade Gardens that they could afford to travel, and one where they knew one person. Lucy Featherbright. The Avatar, who had rescued them from certain death when they were far too small to protect themselves, lived here. The hamlet of Jade Mountains suited them just fine and even the balloon ride here was an exhilarating and stunning experience for the young people who had never been outside the orphanage. There wasn’t much of the constant danger from inexperience on the open road in a balloon journey either. Though they still learned a valuable lesson about trusting strangers after one of the many stops when someone they thought was a new friend disembarked with some of their few valuables before they noticed they’d gone missing. When they first arrived at Jade Mountains, there wasn’t much work available for the young brother and sister but both Oscar and Fiona were sturdy, healthy, and had a clear understanding that they needed to earn their keep. With their motivation and their even tempers they soon both found employment and lodgings. Oscar got work at her farm right away and Lucy made sure Fiona had employment close to their home for a fair wage, enough that with her tips and his earnings they managed to keep themselves without any handouts. She could see the small charcoal drawing their parents (before the orphanage when everything changed) commissioned of the two of them hanging behind the counter. Since she spent most of her day here, she kept it with her. It was the only thing she had from the time before. Old Riverside no longer existed, and their parents were gone too. She shook her head and spoke sternly to herself, “No musing, Miss. It’s looking forward only, remember?” And with that she started whistling as she ran up the few steps to the open-air cooking area. Upstairs in the pavilion was far more sedate and comfortable seating but the farmers and dockworkers around these parts preferred a seat around the campfire overlooking the water, or maybe at the long countertop if they were feeling especially spruced up. She gave the fish stew another stir with her big wooden spoon before starting on the pile of dirty dishes. She was glad to have a job at all, so she stirred the soup and sighed, enjoying the view of the lake in front of her while she listened to the gossip of the nearby residents sipping their beverages. Catching a flicker of light reflect up the mountain beside the lake she turned. Shading her eyes with one hand, she set the wooden spoon down near the pot and used her other hand to add to the shade. She could see Lucy Featherbright running down the mountain at full tilt. Even from this distance Fiona could see that it was her friend. This was a welcome sight. She had heard from Oscar that Lucy disembarked from the Sea Byrd last week when it arrived at the docks at the seashore below this mountain town. He had been working for one of the taverns near the docks at the seashore off and on, too. Even if she wasn’t very happy with his choice to spend more time around sailors and pirates, the money he got in tips more than soothed her qualms (and fixed the pail and bought the cotton to make a warmer blanket). Then, a couple days ago, he had come down from Lucy’s farm with that letter that Richard the merchant saw him send with the post. Fiona knew Lucy would be brimming with fresh gossip from far away. She smiled and gave a wave. Lucy waved back and continued toward the local merchants as Fiona knew she would. Jessica and Richard would be glad for the business. Lucy would stop by and visit with Fiona later; she always came for tea after securing supplies with the merchants. The heavy kettle Fiona swung over the fire would boil before Lucy arrived and the tea would be piping hot, just like the gossip. A few of the locals wandered into the hamlet’s crafting spot after their workday to do repairs and Fiona served their food and drink and gossiped among them while she waited to catch up with her friend. The big bonfire by the lake was a natural place to visit, especially for those who liked being outdoors instead of in an enclosed area. Fiona’s attention was diverted by the needs of her scattered patrons, so it didn’t seem as if much time had passed at all until Lucy strode over to the firepit where Fiona stood, handing out ales and stews to a couple of travelers. Thankfully, Lucy waited until the food and drink were in the hands of the customers before Fiona got one of those big bear hugs Lucy was famous for. Plopping down on an empty nearby bench, Fiona pulled Lucy down to sit beside her. “Have you seen my Kitty?” Lucy urgently blurted. “How’s Oscar?” Fiona asked anxiously at the same time, hoping his cough had subsided. “Staying up at my farm while I’m gone.” “No. There’ve been no strays here.” “You never ask about Oscar, what’s up?” “Where are you going?” They both burst out laughing and had just taken a breath in anticipation of enjoying a good catch-up session, when the one of the sailors got up to leave and made some loud noise or other. Lucy had been looking down at the fire but when she raised her eyes to see what the noise was that startled her, past the noisemakers on the pier, she saw Zyrina securing a small boat along the wooden plank walkway stretching across the water. With a bellowed, “Yes!” she jumped up and ran to greet her friend who had rowed up to the shore in a small vessel with neither her nor Fiona noticing. “You made it!” Lucy grinned. “Yes, and Lily Byrd will be joining us, I think. If she got my messages, that is.” Zyrina answered after the bear hug that Lucy bestowed upon her. After a quick introduction, Fiona left to fetch a bowl of warm stew and an ale for the newcomer, as she looked worn out and parched. Then, with a nod to Lucy, Fiona went back to her job serving the next wave of those who were starting to come in for a bowl and a brew, both from the balloon which had finally landed (generally she directed these folks upstairs to the comfortable seating there) and the locals after a day of fishing and logging (who liked to drink and eat in the open near the water and away from the building itself). She threw a promise to sit down when she could take another break over her shoulder as she turned to serve the newcomers. * Lucy was talking a mile a minute and Zyrina was blowing on her still too hot meal when I arrived, striding across the wooden pier. Long before one of them looked over toward the boardwalk I watched them as I got closer. This time, it was Zyrina’s turn to yelp in greeting and run to meet me. Then, after the infamous Lucy bear hug, we three old friends gathered together by the fire. After Lucy finished her story of gathering supplies for her farm, and since Zyrina was still eating and obviously not going to stop, I sat between them and began chatting about my journey here on one of the newfangled air balloons which landed at a higher mountainous area near the lake. Flying through the air was exhilarating and I only frightened the balloonist a couple of times when my screams got away from me. I felt justified because on most occasions I was able to stifle them and just clenched my hands far too tightly instead. The other passengers appreciated my control; it appeared as if they were both experienced balloon travelers. “After my first fright-filled flight, to Rina’s,” I nodded toward her, “on this one I was beginning to believe the fear was fading a little. Air travel truly is the wave of the future and these balloonists are brilliant. Or maybe my uncle’s medicinal rum, which I had had a few large nips from, kicked in.” I winked and watched Lucy nearly fall off the bench from laughing. Zyrina even chuckled. Regardless, this last trip was far more interesting because I could open my eyes every now and then and look around, and far easier on our eardrums. I went on to say that Land and Air’s arrival and departure point was not near the hamlet of Jade Mountains, but also found out that’s the closest to the lake that most of the wagons or air balloons would venture. My friends could understand my complaints about how far the walk to the settlement was from the top of the departure point, though. “At least the balloon crowd knew about a shortcut which was the wooden plank dock across the lake that cut journey’s length considerably. I simply followed the crowd for a while until I spotted you both here by the fire.” “The pilots wouldn’t talk about it either. They just gave nervous little laughs, but that just made me more determined to find out why so many won’t come closer.” My frustration was obvious. “There’s a story in there somewhere and I’m going to find out what it is. I’m not called sticky-beak for nothing!” Here Lucy and Fiona exchanged a private look between them, and both had huge grins that they tried to hide. Fiona finished gathering our empties and took my order of another round and a stew. “The air balloon had touched down just barely long enough to toss the baggage out and lift me and the others over the edge of the railing. Then they were airborne again, the pilot looking around nervously the whole while.” Shrugging, Zyrina threw in, “Seems like something spooked them in the past?” Lucy nodded in agreement, with a neutral expression. “Whatever the fear of the young balloon pilot, I harbour no such qualms. The mountains shone after the rains and the smells were vivid. It was a longish walk down here, but it has refreshed me. Most of the local traffic was not by wagon but by foot, sometimes with small wheelbarrows that people pushed or pulled, so I had lots of company as I walked down the path. None of them would talk about why the arrival point was so far from the hamlet and gave me a wide berth if I pressed them. But here I am, arrived. Finally,” I reported satisfied. The pretty server, who Lucy introduced as Fiona Thatcher, placed a steaming bowl of stew in front of me with a thick chunk of dark bread and handed me a mug of ale. With a grateful smile, I took the meal from Fiona and set gold coins on her tray for her kindness, before she rushed off to clean up some mess near the counter. The foul mood I had nursed all the way down the mountain and across the lake could not withstand the joyful reunion of my adventurous companions nor the scent of Fiona’s stew. Then, as I became distracted from describing the joys and woes of balloon travel, I gave a sigh, picked up my bowl, and stuck my legs out in front of me with a weary look. “Okay, What’s this about Kitty? Where is Torgin? What’s Phlebus doing these days? I’m ready for the adventure to begin but I have no idea what is going on. Spill!” As Zyrina and I tucked into our stew, in her indirect and wandering way, Lucy began again telling the story of the missing snowy lynx. She was anxious that we understood this was not typical behavior from the cat. Kitty didn’t DO this; she didn’t run away. Something was up. Lucy could feel it in her bones. “We need to find Kitty,” she stuttered shyly after her long speech. Zyrina and I exchanged a meaningful look. Lucy’s bones were ALWAYS right. “Well, Lucy. I guess we need to find that lynx,” I agreed. Turning to my somber tracking friend I asked, “Rina, do you have any idea where to start? What direction Kitty might have gone?” Zyrina gave me a patient look and decided to shrug. Lucy kept hoping that she would see Kitty sauntering up with a large fish grasped in her powerful jaws and was still searching the area thoughtfully; even as we sat and talked, she twisted and turned to see all directions. So, as she nodded in agreement with my words, she also turned hopefully toward Zyrina. Behind Zyrina I could see Fiona, walking by with a full tray in her arms, pause midstride after hearing our chatter and turn to face us. “Um. I nearly forgot” Fiona interrupted sheepishly, “I think I know where your lynx has gone, Lucy.” She started handing out the mugs. We all turned as one to stare at Fiona who now was extremely uncomfortable under the intense gaze of so many faces. “I didn’t realize the kitty you asked about earlier was a snowy lynx.” She shifted the tray and began the tale, “As you know Lucy, Oscar was working down at the sea docks last week when your ship arrived, and he says after you disembarked with your wagon and headed up here to your farm that the Sea Byrd made arrangements for repairs and planned to stay on and gathering supplies and trading with the locals down at the sea docks for a week or so. When they were finally ready to depart this morning, and just before she sailed, one of the locals who was down at the dock working said he saw a large snowy lynx that walked up the gangplank and jump onto the Sea Byrd after the purser had an altercation with a mage dressed in black obsidian robes, who was finally allowed onboard. He heard Captain Violet order her crew to ignore the lynx. Then, she sent a note over here, in case anyone asked about a large snowy lynx. I didn’t know that that is the Kitty you were talking about before. It’s on the bar over there.” She gestured with a nod of her head to the countertop behind her. Zyrina got up and headed over to pick up the paper. “That’s my sister’s ship!” I exclaimed, “Captain Violet Green.” “And? And?” Lucy could not wait any more and blurted out, “Do you know where the Sea Byrd’s next port of call might be?” while tugging on my sleeve. I shook my head, but Fiona nodded quickly, “Indeed, she is heading for Ironhall.” After a pause she added, “You could ask Finn Beanna in Ironhall, he’d know where she docks, I bet. He’s someone Oscar met while working at the docks before he got farm work. Finn will either be at the dock, or perhaps at one of the Inns called The Broken Dock, I think at a small community called Laketown nearby Ironhall. Go up to Central area here in Jade Mountain and you will find a wagon up by the town crier that will take you to the ship that goes to Ironhall. When you get to Ironhall then find Laketown…” She nodded her head in the direction that I had arrived, “…up where your balloon landed. Invite Finn for supper with Oscar and me next time he comes this way. Likely he will like that. Like me, he watches who comes and goes in his village and he will want to hear why you came by. Gossip is his trade.” Glancing at the note left on the bar, Zyrina nodded in agreement. “Yup,” she added, “it says Captain Violet recognized Kitty from your trip here and expects you to collect her from the ship the next time she is back near Jade Mountains.” Wailing, “I’m not waiting that long; I don’t know when they will be back. We need to go find them.” Lucy lurched over to Fiona, and she gave her friend a big hug. “You’ve just saved us a lot of trouble Fiona. I think that calls for another round, don’t you?” Fiona’s eyes smiled. “Coming right up!” After delivering her tray of drinks to a table upstairs, she moved smoothly behind the bar and started pulling a fresh jug of ale for the group. Turning back to the fire and speaking quietly, Lily leaned toward her friend, “So. ‘Rina. Spill. I can see something is bothering you, and Lucy can see it too. Where’s Torgin? Why is Kitty not with him?” Zyrina leaned in closer to the group on the bench and took a deep breath. “Okay, don’t get mad Lucy but Torgin has gone off after another rumor.” Lucy blanched, “Wha… alone?” “No. With Phlebus.” Zyrina shook her head quickly then took a deep breath, “After we arrived in Central Brittany, Torgin left me at Byrd’s Boardinghouse and continued on over to Phlebus’ favorite library at the castle. All this time Phlebus has been looking for information about that little book you all found, Lily. During his search he asked the older librarians in Central Britanny if they had heard about such a book of magic in the past. Only one old librarian knew of it and after getting to know Phlebus a little he shared that he had spoken last year with a stranger who appeared to have had some very intimate knowledge about the contents of the book. Phlebus said it was rumored to have an unknown spell of great significance involving the essence of life itself. It had gone missing during the Fall as far as he had been aware. The old librarian himself had not seen it and even so he hoped it was never found. He explained that there was always more danger in such magic if used with the wrong intent. Phlebus didn’t get much more information than that about the book, and he didn’t pass along his own discoveries because the old bibliosoph didn’t seem like he wanted to know much about the present but he did ask after the stranger who had been enquiring the year before and had been told by the librarian that the scholar had stayed with a bard in Central Brittany; he remembered because they had a long chat about a lute and strings and music scores that had been purchased at Scroda’s shop. That’s where Torgin and I went next.” We were spellbound. Zyrina swallowed a gulp of ale then continued in the same low voice, “There was little at Scroda’s that had anything to do with the book but a scrap of paper with the words ‘stolen from us’ and then some unreadable smudges and then ‘The Dragon’s Breath near Jade Valley’ scribbled on it and this…” 5-4-3-2 R I took the scrap of paper from her and studied it. I couldn’t think what the numbers meant, only that it might be a combination for a lock or chest or something. I handed it to Lucy to look over. Zyrina took a breath and continued. “Of course, we had to go and try to find River’s Cross near Jade Valley and see what we could learn there. After finding our way through the fog (which is the only time River’s Cross appears – out of the mists – if it appears at all) we found a town burned to the ground, and only one building still standing. The Dragon’s Breath Inn. We did find a lone bartender and sat for a pint and an earful. We talked for a whole evening and eventually learned the tale. River’s Cross is the last known location of the book.” She paused before warning, “It’s gruesome.” She looked over at Lucy, whose tender heart was well-known and who appeared to shudder a little. “You remember there was a group of mages who stole that artifact from Emrys while he was trying to deliver it to Lord British after the adventure Lily Byrd told us about while she was trying to rescue her friend Arabella during the Treasure of Mystery Island?” Lucy looked confused and shocked but shook her head slowly looking apprehensive. With a look of surprise Zyrina went on, “You don’t? Well, Lily can tell you that part later; I heard the whole story from Emrys when we were asking him more about what you found in that treasure chest. It was a small leather-bound book of magic. An artifact from before the Fall. Someone ambushed Emrys and took the book from him before he could return it to the library in Central Britanny. At least he survived the beating he was given. We lost the trail there.” She nodded at Lucy then over at me, “Then remember we found out a group of mages in that hidden temple under Jade Valley had been using a book of magic to build their temple out of people they had turned to stone in The Stone Dragon? And we interrupted their attempt to turn a human into a dragon?” I nodded, rapt. She went on, “We each know that ending. At least one of those mages escaped with the book just minutes before we could capture the survivors. It turns out that one was not alone, and the escaped mages fled to a sleepy little hamlet called River’s Cross that used to be across a covered bridge near Jade Valley. That’s where the Dragon’s Breath is located. They convinced the locals that they were a peace-loving group of magic workers just waiting to make their mark in Novia and meanwhile would treat the locals when they were sick. The mages were welcomed into the community just as many of them started to fall sick and need attention from the mages. At first, the mages healed the small scrapes and cuts they were presented with and that’s all they did, but then folks slowly started disappearing one by one until the hamlet was nearly empty.” Lucy squeaked and covered her eyes as if that could stop her from hearing Rina’s story. Zyrina paused but then went on, “At that point, one night all the mages rose up out of their temple underground and into the Dragon’s Breath Inn for a celebration. The bartender at the Dragon’s Breath heard things then that both shocked and frightened him that night, but he stoically continued to serve the drunken bunch of mages without giving away his dismay. Their COTOS were just as valuable as the next person’s gold, in his view. That view changed. During all that drinking, those mages did a lot of bragging. The bartender took his time telling of all the things they bragged about, but I’ll summarize for now and tell you the whole tale later: the group of mages had been killing villagers one by one and used their human essence and a spell to brew an ale that they thought would extend their lifespans. That night they started tasting their own mix of kegs they had brewed from the villagers. It made them feel euphoric; they believed they had succeeded and were proud of it, too. However, most of the villagers were now missing and the remaining few had started whispering among themselves about the mages. The mages were making plans to go to another hamlet and start making another batch of the vile drink. It seemed they believed they had extended their lives and were arguing whether they could expand them even further, and eventually they started to dare each other to do other spells from a little leather-bound book they left on the table while they were playing their drinking games. That night, they got excessively drunk. Too drunk to spell-cast responsibly, let alone spell-casting from that book.” Fiona had silently moved closer with a tray of drinks and she handed another ale to Zyrina. She took a sip from the fresh ale before resuming, “Blind drunk, while arguing and bragging about their prowess, some of them foolishly conjured one of those spirit dragons from a dragon bone they had dragged up out of their lair and a spell they tried to interpret from that little book. This time they were far too successful. As soon as the spell was cast, the bone burst into flame and then grew before their very eyes into a flaming shape of a full-sized flying dragon. Before anyone could properly end the spell, or even before they realized what they had achieved, the shadow dragon razed nearly the entire village.” Lucy seemed to be properly horrified. “Like the one we saw nearly materialize in the graveyard at Jade Valley?” Zyrina nodded and saw me start to squirm a little from trying to sit still during her long speech as she continued, “The important part is this, the bartender saw one mage who hung back and didn’t join the others: a quiet one who kept himself to himself and didn’t drink. During the ruckus after the spell was cast, he picked up the book when the other mages were concentrating on the newly-appeared dragon before the bartender escaped to his hiding hole. The quiet mage grabbed the book and hid it in one of his cloak pockets then quickly faded into the background after putting some kind of protection spell on the Dragon’s Breath. But before he disappeared, a piece of paper dropped out of the little book that the mage didn’t notice, and the bartender picked it up before he fled into his basement to hide. The bartender missed seeing the brave farmers who came to help fight off the attack and the avatars from as far away as Jade Valley that came to help because he hid in his basement as anyone would do. In the end, the dragon was overcome, but not until the mages who had cast the spell were dead and the hamlet destroyed. The bartender gave the paper to Torgin who brought it to me.” Zyrina went silent for a moment before looked directly at Lucy, “Torgin has gone after that mage. He returned to the libraries of Central Brittany to find Phlebus and together they were looking all over Novia to hear of whispers and rumors of strange magic. Then, after last winter, he left me a message saying he found something and that they both were heading out to Spindleskog to track that mage who they are now positive had the book when he left River’s Cross.” In the quiet while we all took a minute to grasp what she was saying, she added “Here is a copy of the paper the mage had dropped.” She handed it to me. It had the same series of numbers on it that was left at Scroda’s but a different letter. 5-4-3-2 C “ALONE?” Lucy’s voice was shaky as she took the paper from me after I glanced at it. “To Spindleskog?” Zyrina nodded. “I couldn’t stop him, Lucy. So, I wrote Lily Byrd and asked her to come meet me. I knew we would need help to catch up to him and I knew you would want to know what Torgin was getting into, as well. I’m glad Lily caught up before we left again. I don’t know if Torgin can manage on his own with just Phlebus against a group of rogue mages with a magic book. I know we will have to find him, but let’s find Kitty first, OK? I have a feeling Kitty knows exactly where she is going and maybe that’s where Torgin will be.” Lucy sighed and nodded. She was left looking at the scrap of paper and comparing it with the other one. It was the same script, and the numbers matched but what was the R and the C? What were the numbers for? A combination? An address in Novia? We were all stumped. Just then Fiona arrived back at the firepit with another full tray of frothy ales and wine in large mugs and some crunchy salty bits of fried potato as the talk changed back to things of local interest: gossip and tidbits of news from the world outside the small mountain hamlet that didn’t include shadowy mages with magic artifact books. During the merriment, we came to an agreement: tomorrow we would journey. We made our plan to take a covered wagon from up at the central transportation area to find a ship to Ironhall. Fiona gave us a detailed description of how to find Ironhall that included catching a covered wagon from here to the West Island docks, taking the ferry to the Middle Island dock and from there finding passage to Noreach, Mud, Estgard, and finally Ironhall in the far northwest of Norgard. It would only be a few days travel if we were lucky. Lucy tried saying West Island and Middle Island fast five times and that started us giggling. I fell over laughing. Tonight, we would laugh and dance around the fire and sing with Fiona until the dark forced Fiona to abandon us and go start her own home fire so that her little brother Oscar would have a warm meal when he finally arrived home from up the mountains. * Fiona thought Oscar would have his work cut out for him taking care of their own garden and caring for Lucy’s place since Lucy was obviously leaving again. Lucy always made sure that Oscar was well-paid for his efforts and Oscar preferred to work at Lucy’s farm above all others. Fiona appreciated Oscar being away from the docks and especially the lessons Oscar was learning from Lucy when she had time to teach him about the plants around the mountainside and their medicinal uses. The extra effort to take care of both places would be a strain on Oscar. Maybe she would advise him to stay up the mountain and she would handle their garden herself. Smiling, Fiona gave a wave and wished Lucy and her new friends the luck of the Titans, not knowing why they travelled, only that under the gaiety, concern from some unnamed danger was giving each of them a grim look in the corners of their eyes and a thoughtful quietness underneath the frantic merriment. She hoped Lucy would return soon and tell her the whole tale, but she could see that none of them were willing to talk about it tonight. She could hear them still singing around the campfire by the lakeside as she waltzed all the way to her little home just down the lane. Echoes From the Caverns The post The Stone Dragon Series – Book 2, Chapter 3 appeared first on Echoes from the Caverns. View the full article
  6. We are streamlining the POT upgrade process! Please see THIS thread for info! View the full article
  7. Jack T. Lamplighter

    SOTA NewsPlay Release 100 Now!

    Greetings Fellow Avatars! Welcome to Release 100! The Catnip Games development team marks this 100th monthly release of Shroud of the Avatar with new content and improvements. For Release 100 (R100), a new adventure scene has been added to the game: Grusk! For those wishing to participate in any community activities, upcoming one-time and recurring community events have been announced! Be sure to also review the Player Guide and Known Issues for additional information on recent changes and upcoming fixes. News Announcements New Adventure Scene: Grusk! New Fetid Fish! Quest Resets For Everyone! Release 100 Patch Notes Latest News and Q&A Friday Livestream! Sales and Bonus Events Crown Store Updates April Login Reward Release 100 Subscriber Login Rewards Bug Brigade & Testing Directives Streamer Program Upcoming Release Dates Community Updates Community Events & Resources Project to Support: Shard RPG Project to Support: Embers Adrift Project to Support: Avatar Express Resources: Players Helping Players New Adventure Scene: Grusk! The modern kobold metropolis of Grusk has opened its gates to humans! Nestled by the Eye of the Artificer in Mistrendur’s Rostfelt region, on the shore of the beautiful Reykturfloi, this Tier 10 town has sights for the discriminating tourist with Episode 2 access. Get to know another culture! The residents of Grusk are happy to discuss their views on history and their daily lives with an appreciative audience. Enjoy the sea breezes as you sit and chat at the fabled Grusk Lighthouse. Visit fine dining establishments, both at the scenic docks and in the bustling upper town. Don’t worry about distances when planning your outings: Grusk is at the vanguard of modern public transportation and the town is well-serviced by several free trolley routes. The townsfolk power them with quite an assortment of windmills, taking advantage of the winds off the bay, and geothermal energy from the nearby springs. Grusk is not just a tourist spot, though: this is a busy port town with extensive warehouses, businesses that support their fine tradition of technological crafting, and a diligent guard force. Some even say that the Governor is in line to become the next Grand Artificer of the kobolds! Under the monumental moon towers, automatons make their way through the city, working constantly to keep it clean. Pick up a unique autonomous companion of your own to bring home. Ouside the city proper, walk along extensive beaches! Enjoy fishing under the swaying palms, fly a kite, you might even find a pearl! …or head up into the hills for a challenging hike: enjoy the heat of mineral springs and thrill to the sight of their geysers, with plenty of wildlife to view along the path to them! New Fetid Fish! Araipama, Barramundi, Spotted Catfish, Longnose Gar, and Tigerfish have been discovered in the fetid waters of New Britannia! We’re not sure where they’ve been hiding, but this Spring seems to have drawn them out. The recipe-writers of New Britannia have already created trophy recipes for each, with food recipes to come soon. Quest Resets For Everyone! Oh no, a kobold hacker has reset everyone’s quest flags! …Well, reset their quest RESET flags. If you’ve already used your once-per-character quest reset, you’ll find another is available to you now! Read more about what this entails specifically and how to accomplish it in the Player Guide. Release 100 Patch Notes Below are a list of the updates that are live as of Release 100 (R100) in the game of Shroud of the Avatar! Despite the new scene, R100 is a polish, improvements, and bug fixes month. Content, additional improvements, and bug fixes are inbound for R101 next month. We hope you enjoy the changes that are live today as of Release 100! Crafting, Decoration, & Inventory Item Changes: The irish-themed wax cylinders delivered in R99 have had their no-trade flags removed for greater playback flexibility. Created new recipes for Saber-Toothed Tiger and Snow Leopard trophy mounts and rugs. Added Recipe for Sweet Cunning Cat Stew and distributed to the Vertas Pass elves (Patched into R99) Added Recipe for Potion of the Stalking Cat, Aether and distributed to the Breach (Patched into R99) Added ability to place easter baskets on POT land as deco. SOTA-70324 The weight of bone powder has been reduced. Fixed naming inconsistency with tamed Red Ice Snarlers. SOTA-69512 Fixed naming inconsistency with tamed Saber-Toothed Tigers. SOTA-70249 Fixed naming inconsistency between mounted stag antlers and their recipe. SOTA-70257 Fixed Cat Claw not appearing in crafting tab. SOTA-70254 Corrected a typo in the label for carcasses of the Saber-Toothed Tiger. SOTA-70280 Animal bones can once again be placed on your kitchen counter. SOTA-70240 Fixed Tall Tiki statue eye flames turning off at certain angles with GPU occlusion on. SOTA-69997 Fire elemental statue should now burn forever again. SOTA-69417 Combat & Skill Changes: Changed name on big cat attack to be generic since multiple cat types use it. SOTA-70250 Fixed various issues with big cat attacks: fixed incorrect names on some attacks, claw attacks will now alternate left and right claws, and fixed an issue with Rend using a bite attack animation. SOTA-70250 Big cats will now correctly scale vfx used on them. User Interface, Store Information, & Lua Changes: Teleport to Zone Scroll Window Enhancements In R100, to help players identify and get to the special events and contest when they are occuring, the Teleport to Zone scroll window shows color-highlighted scenes. These listings will be color-highlighted for a few hours, days, weeks, or longer, depending on the duration of the activity. Monthly fishing tournament scenes are blue Treasure hunt scenes are brown Daily special fishing POTs are yellow Special events may appear in red Note that if your avatar has not yet visited one of these highlighted scenes and the scene is technically still “locked” for your zone scroll, you might take this as an opportunity to visit the scene while the activity is taking place. In the Deck Selection window, decks now have a number shown and can be moved up and down. That number can also be clicked to be changed manually. Players can now tab between quantity and price in the player vendor UI. The pet status bar will now show the time you have left to resurrect it before it permanently dies. In the journal UI, text can now be selected and copied for descriptions of tasks and the journal entries. Disabled the scroll with mouse click in entries to allow for selection of text. When a party leader sets the loot mode to roll, a confirmation window will open for players that don’t have Auto-Roll option checked asking them if they want to enable it. The teleport to user window has a bit more height and can be resized vertically. Added a label in the store UI to get episode 2 if the player doesn’t already own it. Teleport to friend scrolls will now show episode 2 locations greyed out and with a tooltip to buy episode 2 access. Instead of attempting to load the map and bouncing back, the message will appear before teleporting. The Decoration Palette can now be resized horizontally and diagonally. Lot Deed window is now resizable horizontally and diagonally. SOTA-24298 When dragging horse from inventory to hotbar, the combat bar will no longer be highlighted. Made the highlight color of selected text more visible for books, parchment, and cards. SOTA-31232 Made the background of character sheets’ equipment slots a bit taller so the equipment icons can fit in correctly. Shogun Armor Set store screenshot is no longer blurry. SOTA-70232 Renamed White/Gold Throne and Footstool set in store for consistency. SOTA-70124 Several fixes for the AFK status. Players will be disconnected if AFK too long in a adventure scene (about ~45 minutes). Other players should now see the AFK tag when someone goes AFK. SOTA-66937 Fix for an exception when clicking ‘Hide Task’ on the current task UI when journal has not been opened in that sceneload. Scrolling in journal entries with mousewheel will no longer hang between entries. When adding your name to permissions on a lot you already own, a message will appear in chat instead of throwing an “OperationInvalid” error and closing the window. SOTA-23292 Subscribers will now be able to copy and create decks from 24 to 48. Non-subscribers will be able to create up to 24 decks. SOTA-69854 Updated the loading tip on astrolabes. Added a background to the upper buttons of the recipe book so when it’s behind another UI it will bring the recipe book to front. SOTA-70243 Changed the depth of the filter box on crafting stations so they don’t interact with other UI. SOTA-68035 Fixed default language not showing properly in language options. Tentative fix: The moon tower’s sound shouldn’t play during sceneload anymore. SOTA-70308 Tentative fix: The dragon statue’s sound in Arx Draconis shouldn’t play during sceneload anymore. SOTA-70317 Tentative fix: The low-health-warning heartbeat sound shouldn’t play during sceneload anymore. SOTA-59883 New scene maps: Artifice Entrance (patched in R99) Boreas Colossus (patched in R99) Demig’s Battle Camp (patched in R99) Anseldale Etan Glen Exile Island Greenfall Grumridge Grusk Grusk Moon Tower Magna Planitia Nesoskia Parrot’s Roost Pericaliya Platinum Keys Smaragar Snell’s Bend Created and assigned Dungeon Map Cards to 55 interior scene: Artifice Blackblade Pass Broken Echoes Silver Mine Bunker C Bunker T Caverns of Skrekk The Clink Compendium of Pain and Suffering The Confluence Chamber Courage Club Crypt of the Avatar Cursed Maze of Tartarus Despair Dysborg Vault The Epitaph Equitas Passage The Fall Forest Cave Graff Gem Mines Hilt House on the Hill Isle of Storms K’rawl K’rul Kas Vault Kiln Cistern Kingsport Sewers Libris Vault Lost Whiteguard Silver Mine Malice Midmaer Passage Midras Vault Myrkur Necropolis The Obsidian Trials Opalis Vault Owl’s Head Sewers Paladis Passage Psilocybin Lair PVP Castle Arena PVP Castle Arena (Teams) Quel Passage Resolute Sewers Rhun Vault Ruins of Ravensmoor Serpent’s Spine Mines Solania Catacombs Spectral Mines Spindrift Passage Tartarus The Tower of the Shuttered Eye Understorm Gold Mine Upper Tears Valhold Palace Verdantis Mines World and Quest Changes: Seasonal Monsters: The Envy Angel has gone dormant and the Arch Lapin has returned. SOTA-68797 Novia: Added a visible path to Castle Atos and a light on the road where the path begins. POT and PRT Templates: Added and adjusted ambient sounds in all these templates. SOTA-70302 The Isle of Storms: Made multiplayer rather than solo-only to allow for social events. Novia: Fixed the overly-shiny mine entrance at Spectral Foothills. SOTA-64351 Random Encounters: The spelling of the “Sculpture Merchant” title has been corrected. SOTA-70281 Multiple Scenes: Floating Balloons: Corrected rotation of floating balloons to properly represent wind direction. Aerie: Updated some of Minerva’s responses to help ensure she clears the “Get Ingredients for Minerva” task. SOTA-70268 Aerie: Updated the logic for Lord Macsen to stop him from suggesting he’s got a quest when he doesn’t. SOTA-70296 Blood River Forest: Updated the cave tunnels so that rain no longer comes through the ceiling. SOTA-70230 Blood River Outskirts: Updated the logic used by Alberic to clear some tasks. Boreas Colossus: Removed trim from a one-way invisible wall that could be seen from the wrong side. SOTA-70231 Braemar: Adjusted the trigger volume for the Lum’s Lament song. SOTA-70277 Braemar: Removed the possibility for silence to be played when players are trying to listen to the song for Lum’s Lament. SOTA-70277 Castle Atos: Added “color,” “animal,” and “food” keywords to the game-playing children as in-character debug tools to help understand which fox-and-rabbit daily flags an avatar has. Castle Atos: Added a fix in the fox-and-rabbit game so that avatars who delayed their first game by a day can still return and start a new game. SOTA-70259 Castle Atos: Rotated the map of Novia on the tavern wall so it’s no longer mirrored. SOTA-70234 Castle Atos: Shrunk the leashes for the ‘rabbit’ children to help keep them in their hiding locations. East Vauban Foothills: Fixed a visual glitch with the towers being visible upon puzzle completion. SOTA-68014 Graff Island: Improved the logic which archives the “Return Samael’s Ring” journal entry. Halls of Artifice: Removed a small, white sphere from within a cage. SOTA-70299 Lamech’s Bazaar and South Midmaer Way: Fixed several stuck spots throughout these scenes. SOTA-70233 Libris Ruins: Moved a door that was too far from its doorway. SOTA-70292 Malice: Hid a purple trigger volume that was visible to players. SOTA-70300 Malice: Improved the logic to help clear some tasks near the end of the Path of Love storyline. Norgard Fens: Corrected the size and orientation of several resource nodes, especially ore nodes. SOTA-70269 Northern Grunvald Barrens: Moved several floating stones to the ground near exit archways. SOTA-70223 Owl’s Head: Adjusted terrain so the mountain’s slip is no longer showing. SOTA-20897 Snowy Tundra Encounters: The snow leopard and snow tiger encounters no longer include normal tigers. SOTA-70279, SOTA-70278 Soltown: Updated Ashton’s responses to ensure he always has a response for the “awakened dead” keyword. SOTA-70267 Soltown: Updated SLT-3113’s responses to help archive the “Visit Banker in Soltown” task. Spite: Updated the response from Thetis for the “spirit talker” keyword. The Outlaws’ Run: Improved the logic which auto-archives the “Mention Miloslava to Milosh” task. SOTA-70305 Vertas: Norgrast the merchant now sells alchemical supplies. SOTA-70301 Player-Owned Town Changes: Crafters Town: Changed owner (Patched in R99) Mt. Arigatou: Renamed POT, changed biome to Mountains 01 – Right, updated interconnections (patched in R99) Chiron Beta Prime: Upgraded to Hamlet Player Dungeon Changes: Players lost in extensive player dungeons will now have a compass marker showing the direction of the exit. Player Dungeon Foyers: Now with Echoverb™! SOTA-65603 A team of Kobold masons have rebuilt the Pristine Spider player dungeon room so the connections are now operational. Navmesh for all player dungeon rooms should be corrected/created now, so pets should be able to follow their owners through *all* player dungeon rooms (except Undead Ravensmoor). Latest News and Q&A Friday Livestream! The weekly Community Livestream is Friday, April 1st at 4PM CT on Twitch! Join Chris “Atos” Spears and other members of the development team for a 1-hour community livestream! To enter the prize drawings, type “April Fools” into any in-game chat channel OR make a purchase on the website Add-On Store. Please submit questions using in-game universal chat by typing “askadev” before your question. We’ll do our best to answer these questions live on the stream, and we’ll even be periodically posting answers to some unanswered questions in the forums each month. Watch on Twitch, Friday at 4PM CT! Atos and other members of the Shroud of the Avatar development team go live frequently on twitch.tv/shroudoftheavatar — be sure to get the channel on follow for notifications so you can join us right as we go live! Also, if you’ve missed our latest streams, check out our archive of content at our YouTube Channel. Like! Follow! Subscribe! Prizes!!! Don’t forget to also join the Shroud of the Avatar team and community over at all our social media venues: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShroudoftheAvatar/ Catnip Games Twitter: https://twitter.com/catnipgames Shroud of the Avatar Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShroudofAvatar Shroud of the Avatar Discord: https://discord.gg/shroudoftheavatar Sales and Bonus Events To celebrate R100, deed upgrades and store sale items will be 30% off (rather than the usual 20%) as well as Crowns of the Obsidians (at 20% off) and double XP through Noon on April 11th! Crown Store Updates New in the crown store for Release 100: Castle Tower Teleporter Ancient Xenossian Winged Plate Helm Dyeable Spotted Cat Ears Dyeable Striped Cat Ears Black Panther Cub Jaguar Cub Snow Leopard Cub Snow Tiger Cub Arriving April 19th: Dyeable Cat Ears Tiger Cub The Spring Seasonal store items are still available! These rare Spring items will remain on the store until May 3rd: Bunny Ears & Slippers Set Decorative Dyeable Egg Pack Flower Crown Lepus Mask 2017 Lepus Mask 2018 Silver & Gold Lepus Mask White Lepus Mask Rabbit Tailed Bodice Ensemble Replenishing Confetti Eggs Basket 2016 Replenishing Confetti Eggs Basket 2017 Replenishing Confetti Eggs Basket 2018 Replenishing Confetti Eggs Basket 2019 Spring Fountain w/ Floating Candles The Darkstarr store items are still available! These birthday items will remain on the store until May 28th: Darkstarr Basement Entrance Eternal Pattern Darkstarr Chaos Throne Darkstarr Chaos Throne (Reverse Colors) Darkstarr Clock Tower Darkstarr Clock Tower (Reverse Colors) Darkstarr Fur Collared Cloak Darkstarr Pavers Darkstarr Shield Darkstarr Shield Pattern Pack Lord British vs Darkstarr Battle Banner Mosh Emote April Login Rewards Log in during the month of April and you’ll receive a SotA Commemorative Painting and accrued “Centenarian” titles as part of this month’s Centenary theme. Congratulations on surviving so many centuries since the Cataclysm! There was a Great Cataclysm six hundred and forty one years ago that devastated the planet and caused a great upheaval of not only the land but also of its peoples. The exact cause or possible purpose is still a mystery yet to be solved, but the Outlanders’ presence, along with Lord British, has given great hope to the inhabitants of New Britannia. To recognize the Outlanders who have come to their lands and have chosen to stay so long, a title for each Britannian century will be bestowed upon those who visit this month. Release 100 Subscriber Login Rewards Avatars! Rewards Program login items for Release 100 are a must-have — don’t miss out! This month’s collection includes a pet Tiger Cub and dyeable Cat Ears! …Those ears won’t confuse your cub at all. Subscribers to the Reward Program must log in during Release 100 to receive these special login items:The Shroud of the Avatar Rewards Program lets you earn the best rate on purchasing Crowns, AND receive monthly reward items! For the low price of $9 USD per month you will receive the following: 900 Crowns of the Obsidians every month Monthly Login Reward Items (about 3 per month) Exclusive Title every 3 months 3 Months: Keeper of the Faith 6 Months: Keeper of the Word 9 Months: Keeper of the Vow 12 Months: Keeper of the Flame 15 Months: Keeper of the Oath 18 Months: Keeper of the Pledge 21 Months: Keeper of the Bond 24 Months: Keeper of the Promise 27 Months: Keeper of the Covenant Pick any Dye 12-Pack every 6 months Pick any three of these 7 Obsidian Potions every month: Potion of Capacity: Increases carrying capacity Potion of Conservation: Reduces reagent use chance Potion of Expedience: Swift gathering on all gathering skills Potion of Precision: Increases Meticulous Collection to all gathering skills Potion of Preservation: Reduces armor and weapon damage Potion of Reclamation: Increases Salvage and Repair to all production skills Potion of Stamina: Decreases focus use from sprinting While subscribed to the rewards program, players also receive these special bonuses: Obsidian Potions are significantly more powerful! 24 Additional Deck Slots! Bug Brigade & Testing Directives! The Bug Brigade was established to improve how the community and the development team work together to improve the game. Since the Brigade’s inception, the program has gone through a number of changes and was eventually placed on hold. The stability of the game is as important to the development team as it is to the players, therefore the program was revamped and was relaunched. The Brigade has been up and running and the volunteers (Alley Oop, Echondas, and Justyn) are in a good rhythm for verifying and submitting bugs to the developers. If you have reported a bug that has not yet been addressed, please be patient while the backlog is being worked. The Brigade is working diligently to clean up the backlog of bug reports posted by players on the forums. Every month, a considerable amount of development time will be spent working many of the verified bugs which have been submitted to the team by the Bug Brigade. This focused effort on bug fixes would not be possible without the recent efforts of the Bug Brigade. Please take the time to thank these bug hunting aficionados when you encounter them in your travels! In turn, the development team would like to express a big thank you to the Bug Hunters! These community members are doing a fantastic job bringing so many bug reports to the team, and they’re doing it in a way which makes the process smooth and efficient. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Much improvement has been noticed by the development team and we’re so very excited to see the program’s continued success! The development team would also like to thank all of those who take time to participate in QA Testing Directives. Thanks to your hard work and dedication, many issues and bugs can be identified and fixed prior to content going to the Live Server! Keep up the great work! For those that wish to participate in future bug hunting endeavors, please check the forums regularly for upcoming QA Testing Directives. Don’t forget, the Bug Brigade is open to all players in good standing and bug rewards are SWEET! They will be awarded on a monthly progression basis with only minimal requirements to qualify. The available rewards to receive in progression via qualifying participation are as follows: Antennae Head Gear and Forum Title 1: “Bug Hunter” Single Ant Cloak Lady Bug Backpack Bug Painting A and In-Game Title 2: “Associate of Aphids” Ant Farm Insect Leg Table Many Ants Cloak and In-Game Title 3: “Bachelor of Beetles” Bug Painting B Bug Sprayer and /bugspray Emote Bug Painting C and In-Game Title 4: “Master of Moths” Butterfly Chair Corpion Chair (Pictured Below) Yellow Fireflies VFX and In-Game Title 5: “Doctor of Dragonflies” Hacked Oracle Flyer Giant Blue Butterfly Pet Butterfly Mask Dragonfly pet Fairy Wings Monarch Butterfly Pet Dragonfly Wings Hacked Oracle Crawler Blue Butterfly VFX Orange Fireflies VFX Orange Butterfly VFX If you’ve come to think of Shroud of the Avatar as your home, sign up and help make New Britannia a better place to live! To learn more about joining the Bug Brigade, please read the announcement thread by Ravolox in the main Bug/Feedback forums. Streamer Program Streamers of Shroud of the Avatar can participate in a program to showcase the game and be rewarded for their efforts. Any Streamer who wishes to be included in the Streamer Program can contact Laney via in-game mail with their Character Name and Twitch Channel information. If you have already signed up for the program in the past, fear not: you’re on the list and you don’t need to reapply. Streaming Rewards Program participants must adhere to our Terms of Service (TOS) and Community Rules while Streaming Shroud of the Avatar. Streaming Rewards Program participants must stream at least 10 hours of Shroud of the Avatar ACTIVE game play to remain in the program with reward accrual. Streamers will receive a one-time digital reward of in-game items after meeting the program’s requirements: Streamer’s Cloak, Streamer’s Camera, and the LIVESTREAMING title. Rules: To qualify for Streamer Rewards, each streamer must continue to meet the minimum requirements for 60 days after application. To accrue additional rewards, Streamers must stream SotA a minimum of 10 hours per month, tallied on the 1st day of each month, to remain in the program. Monthly Streamer Bundles: On the 1st of each month, qualifying streamers will be eligible to receive 50 Streamer Bundles. Bundles will be sent out to Streamers via in-game mail. A few things you need to know: Streamer Bundles are intended to be given away to stream viewers, not consumed by the streamer. Streamers are not allowed to put paywalls in place for the Streamer Bundles. (For example, giving away Streamer Bundles once the stream reaches a certain number of bits, subscriptions, or donations). Other Items of Note: Streamers in the program will be included in the SotAbot StreamPop function, appearing in the player-streaming channel in Discord. An optional “Streamers Kit” is available to the participating streamers as well as all players of Shroud of the Avatar, which includes graphics, overlays and other material. Streamers must be actively playing the game during their streams. Being away from the keyboard (AFK) for short periods is acceptable. If Twitch indicates the streamer is playing SotA but they are streaming other content or a timeout/login screen, they risk being removed from the program. Upcoming Release Dates Be sure to check out the Upcoming Events page for spotlighted events plus links to various areas to post or find events on our forums. The upcoming 2022 Release Schedule is as follows: This Release 100 – Mar 31 (Polish) Release 101 – Apr 28 (Content) Release 102 – May 26 (Polish) Community Events & Resources Greetings event holders and event attendees! So many fun and exciting events are available in the upcoming weeks. Be sure to get out there and participate, make some new friends, perhaps make some great emote, recipe, or gear trades, or get some adventuring and role-playing into your mix! Here are spotlighted events or updated community resources that we’ve noticed popping up lately on the official forums. Catnip Games Contests: Catnip Games Monthly Fishing Tourney: Greetings Anglers! The monthly Catnip Games Fishing Tourney is live! Join in on the fun! The R100 Fishing Tournament runs from 1-Apr-2022 at 12:00 AM (00:00) CDT to 28-Apr-2022 11:59 PM (23:59) CDT. Note that the R99 Tournament is still running for a few more hours until midnight on Release 100 day; you can still compete for the longest fish in the R99 tournament! For R100, catch the longest fish in any of these 4 categories: POTs (Freshwater fish only): Blackrock Cove, Brittany Fort, Knight’s Watch, Novia Market, PaxLair, Rock Ridge NPC Scenes (any fish): Harvest, Highvale Outskirts, Noreach PVP (any fish): Libris Ruins, Dysborg Ruins Lava (lava only): Midnight (POT), Sunless Barrens Prizes in each category include: 1st Place: Player-Owned Town Village Lot Deed, Large Gold Fishing Trophy, Title 2nd Place: Player-Owned Town Row Lot Deed, Large Silver Fishing Trophy, Title 3rd Place: 50 Drudge Leeches, Large Bronze Fishing Trophy, Title​ Catnip Games Monthly Treasure Hunting Contest: Want to go hunting for rare items? Want to see if you can beat other players in this quest for treasure? Well join in on the monthly treasure hunting contest, Avatars! The R100 Treasure Hunt runs from 1-Apr-2022 at 12:00 AM (00:00) CDT to 28-Apr-2022 11:59 PM (23:59) CDT. Note that the R99 Hunt is still running for a few more hours until midnight on Release 100 day; you can still compete for the longest fish in the R99 Hunt! For R100, loot the most of the specific item in 2 categories: PVP Scene: Kas Ruins – Chaos Plant Pollen 1st Place: Player-Owned Town Village Lot Deed, Large PvP Shard Trophy, Title 2nd Place: Player-Owned Row Lot Deed, Medium PvP Shard Trophy, Title 3rd Place: Fire Magic Glowing Mug, Small PvP Shard Trophy, Title​ PVE Scenes: The Outlaws’ Run and Deep Ravenswood – Animal Hide 1st Place: Player-Owned Town Village Lot Deed, Large Sword in the Stone Trophy, Title 2nd Place: Player-Owned Row Lot Deed, Medium Sword in the Stone Trophy, Title 3rd Place: Fire Magic Glowing Mug, Small Sword in the Stone Trophy, Title​ Recurring Events: Trash to Treasure Dropped Items Turn-In: Some unscrupulous fella has been flooding all of New Britannia with junk: Headdresses, Wings, Backpacks, assorted miscellany of every sort. It’s time to clean this trash up and so a bounty has been placed on all gear crafted by Coswald Dirthmire that is turned in each contest period! Ironhall Tournament & PvP Training: The Player-Owned Town of Ironhall holds weekly player training events every Saturday at 1PM CT. Events are held in the village of Virtus Mons in Ironhall and can be reached easily via use of the fast travel signs. M’Hul Island Monthly Fishing Contest: Join Asmodi M’hul and friends at M’hul Island for their monthly fishing tournament that lasts from Release Day to Release Day! Prizes are available! Lightbringer Isle Fishing Contest: Why not earn some extra prizes each month and participate in Lightbringer Isle’s monthly fishing tourney? Lots of fantastic prizes — don’t miss out! Combat & Crafting Sunday School: Head on over to Immortal City every Sunday from 7PM to 9PM CT to learn the tricks of the trade in combat and crafting! 500 Crown Leisurely Fishing: Sonja Solar and friends are running a continuous fishing contest in Brittany Fort “Now and Forever for All Eternity” which has wonderful prizes and objectives. You can now win 500 Crowns for record fishies caught in Brittany Fort by anybody at any time in history for display in Sonja Solar’s fishy aquarium museum. Be sure to watch the video indicated in the “Brittany Fort” link provided in the first post to see the full explanation of the contest rules. RHEC Traveling Pop-Up Fishing Contest: Keep an eye out in universe chat, trade chat, and the forums! Asmodi M’hul will routinely announces at least one pop-up fishing contest every week for those anglers out there anxious for extra prizes and fun! Lightbringer Isle Auction: Ladies and gentlemen! The Citizens of Lightbringer Isle welcome you to the weekly auctions! The auctions are about bringing together people from all corners of the community, with the Lightbringer Isle’s market being the perfect place to do so! Join us every Sunday at 11AM CT! Community Calendars: Avatars-Virtue Radio Calendar: Just when are all those talented DJ’s and streamers broadcasting? Don’t just guess, check out there very helpful calendar! Never again will you wonder when’s the best time to tune in! NBNN Calendar: This calendar provides a great schedule for NBNN and WRFB programing as well as many other community events. If you’re a fan of the Laz & Jack show or even if you’re hoping to catch them in action for the first time, this is the calendar for you! SotA Event Calendar: Event participants, take heed! Thoryk Omara has done a wondrous job creating a community event calendar which is available to all players of Shroud of the Avatar. Please make an effort to support this new calendar. The more resources players have at their disposable for event notifications, the better! Community Event Resources: Here are some fantastic resources for tracking down community events or posting your own events. Become involved! Create! Explore! Make friends! But most of all, have fun! One-Time Community Events Forum: Sometimes events happen only a single time, so you’ll not want to miss out on these events as they occur. Check out the forums routinely to spot these! Recurring Community Events Forum: Some events occur on weekly or monthly schedules which are a great way to routinely meet up with friends and to make new ones. Be sure to check this forum frequently for new events or time changes to existing ones. Game Master (GM) Potion Request Procedures: Shroud of the Avatar has an amazing in-game consumable for player event holders — the Potion of Temporary GM Powers! Players wishing to enhance their in-game community event by having GM Powers at their disposal need to simply follow the procedures outlined in this forum thread. Player Event Trophies and Special Item Requests: Would you like to request a special trophy or renamed item for a player event you’ve created? Head on over to this thread to see what’s available and to obtain more information about request procedures. Player Radio Station Forum: If you want to check out the latest and greatest from our in-game radio stations, go to the radio stations forum! If you’re a DJ, be sure to advertise your time slot and venue in this forum. Player Livestreams & Videos Forum: If you’re searching for a Shroud Streamer to watch, head on over to the streamer forum! If you are a live streamer for Shroud of the Avatar, be sure to advertise your Shroud stream by posting in this forum. Town Directory Forum: Want to find a town to live in or get your town listed in the directory, head over to the forums and check it out! Guild Directory Forum: Looking for a guild or want to get yours posted in the guild directory? Head on over to the forums and check it out! Fire Lotus Tavern: This wondrous role-playing and story writing forum is the spot to be if you love fan fiction and role-play. Community Resources: Looking for links to community and official resources for Shroud of the Avatar? Well look no further. On this page you’ll find links to a plethora of helpful resources created by the dev team or the community. SO many options to stay tuned-in with fellow community members. Please take advantage of all these wonderful options. Happy adventures, Avatars! Project to Support: Shard RPG Shard Studios invites you to enter the fantastic world Dárdünah, the vast shard of a shattered realm, as presented in the colorful pages of the SHARD RPG! Many years in the making, this system allows players to choose from a wide variety of animal people who are the main cast of the many adventures this otherworldly setting offers. Skyships glide through shimmering clouds past majestic crystal peaks. Giant insects prowl alien jungles or lurk in the sparkling emerald seas. Warriors with blades of diamond and amber duel across crimson sands. And mystics chant in shadowy chambers as their spirits wander abroad. Intro Sheet: For a quick glimpse into the world of Dárdünah, be sure to download the intro pdf! It’s packed with great information and features beautiful artwork, not unlike the artwork found throughout the many pages of this gaming system’s gorgeously designed manuals. Core System Manuals: It’s easier than ever to delve into Dárdünah, World of the False Dawn, with the Core Books Bundle! If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience this unique gaming system and setting, now’s your chance! This bundle includes two beautifully illustrated, full-color, hardcover books: the original Basic Compendium and the Magic and Martial Arts book! They contain everything you need to begin your adventures, and include instructions for the ritual magic and martial arts combat systems. These manuals also include 90 new Animal Templates upon which to base your character! Other Shard RPG Products: So many more manuals and gaming materials are available! Everything an avid tabletop role-player and game master needs to delve into the world of Dárdünah! So if you’re ready to experience a gaming world like no other, check out what Shard Studios has created for tabletop role-players on the Shard RPG official website! You’ll most certainly be immersed and amazed by the offerings of the Shard RPG! Project to Support: Embers Adrift! Help support one of our team members’ other projects, Embers Adrift! While not yet live, they plan to release later this year and you can join the closed beta now by pre-ordering from embersadrift.com. Check out their newly released video here: Project to Support: Avatar Express [Forum post by Vladamir Begemot] I’m pleased to report that The Avatar Express is clacking away furiously. News is being delivered and we have established systems to deliver it directly to your brain. You can use one of those systems by following us on Twitter at @avatar_express. Even more reliable due to its fully automated nature is joining us on the Discord server. News items are posted there via RSS. Or you can subscribe to RSS directly on the site. If you run an event, quests, etc, please consider helping out by self reporting. The Shroud community is big, and many things are happening that are never seen by others. With 10k monthly users, we would need a full time staff to track down everything that is happening. You can fill out the contributor form, message @that_shawn_guy here or post in the Discord server that you would like to help. There is no commitment once signed up, you can post as much or little as you like. Writing up your own events has several benefits beyond the immediate exposure. It serves as a record for others to see the history of New Britannia as we create it, in an attractive format. Publishing in the Express also has a higher chance than the forums of being seen by search engines and random readers, thus bringing more eyeballs and new players to the game. It will even make posting in the forums easier! You can upload images to your news item, and then link to those images in your forum post. No more need for 3rd party image hosts! So if you have something going on in your guild or town, or want to be a Reporter, Cartographer or Historian, please join us! Resources: Players Helping Players The official SotA New Player Welcome Forum and the Player Created Resources Forum have the best player created resources for Shroud of the Avatar, whether it’s a Player Written Guide, a Video Walk-through, or a Wiki-type Website. Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing of all things community. View the full article
  8. Read by Chatull Aventari Chapter Two. Where Are You? Creeping carefully through the starlit dark, I could finally make out the little brown and green elven cottage isolated out by itself in the woods. The door sounded solid when I knocked upon it. Its wood was decorated with small sigils all around it, but I couldn’t make them out in the starlight. Zyrina didn’t answer her door but she also didn’t lock it. It was open. She was obviously expecting me to go right in, right? Well, I hoped so anyway, because that’s exactly what I did. The first thing I saw was her sofa, and since it was exactly the right softness, I decided to rest my eyes for a minute and promptly fell asleep waiting for her to return. Not enough hours later, upon waking with the dawn, I winced at the crick in my neck from sleeping crumpled up on this sofa. Where the heck was I? When I rubbed my still-tired eyes, I remembered the mad dash to get here and the emptiness on my arrival. …and now felt the emptiness of my stomach, too. I became aware of gnawing hunger and rumbling bits. In her kitchen, I found some bread and cheese and a little jug of ale left on the table. I also found a note from Zyrina. Munching thoughtfully on the still-soft bread and the sharp cheddar, I picked up the note in my free hand and started reading. Dear Lily, Yes, I know I’m not there. I meant to be there. Really, I did. I have not lured you away from your library on a whim and I’m sorry I’ve gone. I left food and drink and left the lights on for you too. The bed has fresh bedding if you arrive needing to sleep. I would be there except Lucy Featherbright sent me an urgent message. She has been looking after Torgin’s lynx while he and I left to find Phlebus to find out more about that artifact. Anyway, Kitty is missing. …or Kitty left to find Torgin, Lucy was quite unclear on that point. There was honey on her letter and some of the writing was a bit smeared, too. What I know is Lucy needs to hear what Torgin’s been up to too, so that’s why I’m heading to Jade Mountains to find Lucy. There’s no telling where she will wander looking for Kitty and we both know she will get lost the minute she hits the edge of Jade Mountains. She’s worse with directions than you are. I’m pretty sure that she lives up the mountain overlooking the Hamlet of Jade Mountains. I know it’s a lot to ask you to follow me there, but I promise you will want to hear what I’ve learned. Then you can help Lucy and me look for Kitty. Torgin will not be happy if Kitty is actually missing. Lily, that little leatherbound artifact book it’s… well, it’s just not something we can ignore. Please come soon, Zyrina P.S. Remember there is a balloon by the stone bridge; it will take you to Jade Mountains faster than travelling by foot. However, if you insist on travelling by foot (yes, I remember your aversion to all things taller than two stories, but speed is important) you need to make your way to the far western Island of the Mistrendur and when you land at the port go straight to the top of the nearest mountain range to find Jade Mountains. When you arrive in the hamlet, stand in front of the Oracle Confirmatory facing away from its door. From that spot, Lucy’s place is up the mountain exactly at the southeast mark on your compass. If you really can’t find it then go to the Central location of Jade Mountains to talk to the Town Crier; they will direct you too. Z Boy, I wish I had read that part about the bed before falling asleep on the sofa. I rubbed my neck again and shrugged my shoulders trying to loosen the aching muscles there. Sigh. Well, I could go back home and wait to hear what they have learned the next time Lucy or Zyrina make their way through Jade Valley, or I could go on to Jade Mountains and find out firsthand. Of course, this really wasn’t a choice, I knew I was going to Jade Mountains. My bag was still by the door. I took another chunk of cheese off the wheel and wrapped it in a small piece of cloth I took from Rina’s scrap bag, before tucking the rest back in the cool of its urn and setting the urn in the cool corner of Rina’s kitchen. Then I tucked the rest of the bread carefully in my favorite clean handkerchief before sliding it into the top of my backpack with the cheese set carefully in beside it. Provisions secured, I tidied up before securing the door. Since I had just arrived by balloon, I knew exactly where it left Jade Gardens, sort of. I felt determined to get to Jade Mountains before anything else happened. Hopefully, I would arrive there alive. Hopefully, I wouldn’t scream so very often during flight this time. These contraptions were not for the faint-hearted! Kitty disappearing was disturbing. Torgin was bound to that lynx and would not accept her loss lightly. So, I was absolutely willing to offer effort and time to help my friend, of course keeping in mind to only offer help that does no damage to my own life because that kind of thing isn’t helpful and creates even more trouble ahead and I’m not a martyr. Even so, I still had a crush on Torgin and could feel my heart swell a little and my face flush just thinking of him. Of course, I was going to help. That little artifact book was more and more becoming the carrot at the end of a string that I didn’t know I was seeking, and I was beginning to believe it was far more important than we even guessed when I first came across it years ago. I took one last look around Zyrina’s place after tidying up. Lucy’s letter to Zyrina was still on the writing desk upstairs and of course I snooped… I wasn’t ashamed of it either. Zyrina, I know we all just got back home, but I need your help Rina, ‘cause Kitty’s gone missing and Torgin will KILL me if he finds out I’ve lost him. Please come as soon as you can, Lucy Featherbright That settled it, I was heading to Jade Mountains. I picked up my pack from beside the door and walked decisively out, pulling it shut behind me. Echoes From the Caverns The post The Stone Dragon Series – Book 2, Chapter 2 appeared first on Echoes from the Caverns. View the full article
  9. The Quiet Mage Part Two of The Stone Dragon Series By Lily Byrd ByrdPress NBBN 00115-003 Read by Asclepius ‘There is Virtue in sacrifice for the greater good. There is no Virtue in sacrifice without purpose.’ Tsuneo, Shogun of Ardoris. Chapter One. A Letter Arrives. Late in the afternoon at the end of summer, I arrived at the bottom of this sheer pebbled cliff path a little dusty and a little thirsty after skipping down from the ancestral home of the Byrd family. Perched above the lush coastal town of Jade Valley here on Elysium Island in the southwest of Novia, the Moon Tower Keep may be slightly crumbly and possibly still full of mice (even with cats in residence), but it has stood the test of many generations and would sturdily stand for many more generations. It had been there when the Jade Valley Moon Tower was completed on Moon Mountain centuries ago. I recall the sudden appearance of Aunt Morgana, Owain’s sister, and the building of her keep up beside the tower. Her insistence that the Byrd family would be caretakers of the tower would not be quelled and so we all became caretakers and still are to this very day. Even Aunt Morgana, long lived as she was, eventually succumbed to an untimely demise. Novia was not safe from incursion and my aunt fell to one such event centuries before. “Hmpfh.” I grunted. I had just realized that as I departed from the keep that morning and waved goodbye to Daisy, that I had returned the same wave from the parapet each time I left the keep over the generations all the way back to her grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother and after all this time I only just now looked old enough to be a grandmother for the fifth-generation adult granddaughter of the woman who first took me in. Taking a moment to stare out to sea from the bottom of the mountain, my stride slowed. I had been here in Novia a long time, a very long time. Straightening up to stretch my spine, I ran my fingers through my tangled blunt cut silver hair and reminisced. I had arrived as a grown woman from an Outlands that I barely remember. There is only a vague recollection of who I was before being swirled into a rip of space and time that deposited me here on the shores of Novia. There was no way to find out where I had come from nor how to return to that unknown place. I was a stranger in this land with nothing and no one to guide and protect me as I learned where I was and that I could not return. Those were dark years. “Enough of that,” I scowled. Then with a shake of my head to clear it of the despair that still lingered. “Just LOOK at that sky!” and I spun in a circle laughing joyfully at the sight of the crescent bay spread out before me. Thankfully, no one was near to see or hear me have this conversation with myself, as many of the local Novians were already suspicious of the woman who didn’t die. When I had appeared in Novia, the good people who took me in gave me a sense of belonging that has lasted through several generations. An outlander, some called me, but the Byrd family has always made me feel welcome and loved here in this sometimes-brutal land. Just walking a wooded trail could be a life-and-death adventure in these territories, as I had learned early on after arriving in Novia unequipped and uneducated, during a surprise encounter with a large mountain troll. It was vital to have a clan of people who would help each other. That’s what the Byrds were like. We helped each other, daily. Early on, I learned what a powerful symbol the Ankh could be and that, as an Avatar in Novia, I was destined to feel the piercing of death without the permanence of death over and over here in this world, brought back by the grace of the life-giving Ankh. There was something special about being from away that gave the effect of immortality to those of us who were thrust into this place from another realm. Though I aged, it was slowly. Decades would fly by for the Novians while I barely changed at all. It was unnerving but something I had come to accept here as normal for me. Centuries of Novian time have passed since I first arrived and there has been much to learn, even as a not very enthusiastic learner, training in family history and customs, accounting, law, geometry, cooking, medicines, potions, archery, self-defense, geography, music and so much more. I trained animals to be my companions and sewed armor for myself over and over, making stronger armor as I learned from experience just how to make a seam last, how to cobble a shoe, mend a stocking, how to aim a bow, and how to fletch an arrow properly. I learned magic and potions, spells too, and heal many who ask for a healer in this world. And still, with all this knowledge and after all these years, the most pressing thing I have to do today is to pick up supplies in town for the annual brewing of hops and grains. “It’s good to be ALIVE!” I shouted into the wind. I grinned, then laughed out loud again. I could no longer see the family crest that I had helped to stitch nor the crest of the guild that my family was part of, both flapping in the breeze from the ramparts of the stone keep but I knew later that I would still be able to see at least the tower’s tops from town. It was still a long walk from where I was all the way over the stone bridge and into the town proper. The banners would not be visible again until I returned up Moon Mountain, but I would be able to see a smoke signal and if there was danger there would be a signal with lamps. That meant return immediately. Three long, three short, and three long blips of light would alert me to a pirate attack, or a dragon, or anything exciting at all. There had not been a signal in the last several decades since that business with the stone dragon, but my family had firmly instilled a sense of responsibility that meant I would still check over every now and then through the day to see if there were any smoke or lights flashing from the towers. I could always enjoy the hope that something exciting would occur. It rarely did. This year, for several phases of the planets, I had been working with our caretakers and gardeners, digging in the dirt, tending to a heap of neglected accounting and correspondence for the Byrd family businesses, and generally poking my nose in all of the family affairs. Today, it felt exhilarating to be out of the stuffy old rooms and into the clear afternoon light, free from paperwork and ink. I stopped to catch my breath in the shade under one of the large swaying trees along the path by the edge of the bay. From here, I could see all the way across to the fishing shack beyond the pier. One ship was in mooring which meant the markets might have the ingredients I needed to find. This mostly-peacefully valley at the edge of the sea was warm and fair, but the bit of bite of air in the mornings told of changes up in the high mountains of Elysium that would soon flood the valley with colder winds, even if today the air was still warm and windy. No matter, I was now away from my desk in the tower and my work was caught up (sort of), though I did stuff the last few letters in the drawer and pretend to myself that they were complete. I’d be back soon enough and could feel guilty then. It was my own fault really; I had put it all off for far too long. Earlier in the week, when I could not sit still any longer and simply could not look at one more piece of paper, I had escaped out into the gardens to help a little with the preparation for harvest of the brewing grains that we grew in raised beds on the wide tops of the walls of the old keep. My wildly eccentric Aunt Morgana had always said that if we were under siege at least we had dirt to grow food in… and dirt to put out fires from flaming arrows… and dirt to bury the dead in if it came to it. Now I was glad that she had them installed; the view while I gardened was stunning. Although leaving the harvest work to my Uncle Owain’s cousin’s daughter’s family was probably something they all wished I would do, I did a little anyway because I nearly always felt a great deal better after working with the living plants than I ever did after balancing the bookkeeping. I hadn’t recently killed even one of the precious hops and Uncle Owain grudgingly admitted my gardening skills had matured since I had first arrived in Jade Valley, though he was drunk at the time and didn’t remember saying anything nice at all when I reminded him of it. No matter, I had heard the words and taken them to heart. It didn’t matter whether I got praise from him for learning, so it didn’t really matter to me whether he remembered saying anything. He was right, I had improved. That’s the part that mattered; I had improved. I could see the plants and they were healthy. That was praise enough. This year so many of the Jade Valley farmers were still recovering from the devastating events of the destruction of River’s Crossing that none could spare help for our harvest this year. We were on our own after all, so even my hands were welcome when we are this shorthanded. The harvest is imminent and, with a distinct shortage (due to rodent activity) discovered at the last minute before dumping the sacks of sugar into the vat for brewing (yes, vermin are still an issue up here in our kitchen storage even with the addition of my many beloved cats), someone needed to be sent to town for sugar. Errands need running and since I am still the least experienced farmer among the whole keep, I was sent to procure the things on a list placed carefully in my apron pocket by our cook and brewer and cautioned to return right away. NO DAWDLING!! Several warnings of time management that I could have done without followed, but this reputation is the result of years of forgetting to do assigned tasks. I can’t escape my past. I sighed. “At least I’m out from behind that desk.” I murmured to no one. It may also be that this was the family’s way of getting me out of the way and out of their fields, but I didn’t mind; I needed to walk some of the energy out of my mind after sorting numbers, and anyway, it was time to check on the Hall of Enquiry and Learning. There were always books to sort and shelve when I had a free moment and, truly, as the town’s only librarian I felt responsible for the state of the bookshelves. I wasn’t a very good one, and quite slow at cataloguing anything at all, but I was fairly enthusiastic about reading the books in the library at least and could recommend a good book or direct patrons to the section they wanted to browse. Finally, I made my way over the Stone Bridge of Happy Arrival after meandering past Doc Tud’s hospital and the Jade Valley Lighthouse. On the town side of the bridge, I didn’t go into the busy marketplace; I first waved to Becky, one of the Town Criers, then I turned south and walked past the Graewitch Gardens’ Vegs and Regs Market, the Jade Rose Tea Room, and the Byrd’s Nest Inn, where I saw the new barmaid sweeping the stone steps before the afternoon crowd starts trickling in. “Hello, Lily!” Her friendly greeting rang out as I passed by. Gathering up my skirts, I hurried my step past the Hall of Enquiry and Learning, mostly so I wasn’t tempted to go inside before I gathered the needed supplies. I waved at my neighbor as he hurried by on his own business across the street. Then, like a sweet breeze through a cherry tree’s blossoms, the sight of my little cobble cottage near the river greeted me. This view never seemed to disappoint and, of course, the scent of roses carried me the rest of the way home. I stepped up to the little white archway covered in small, flowered vines and a picket fence bordered with more flowers. Looking back north toward the market, I took a deep breath, enjoying the sensation of the clean fresh breeze off the bay mixed with the cooking smells at the food vendors nearby and the sounds of commerce winding down for the day. Sometimes living near this center of commerce and trade was too much for my senses but today I grinned as the haggling and hammering sounds wafted toward me. Glancing at the ancient solid stone structure of the Hall of Enquiry and Learning next to my little cottage reminded me that there were errands to do here in town before I could make a cup of tea and put my feet up with a good book. Tending to books is the passion that keeps me sane while I listen to and write stories of adventures: those that locals tell me from their travels in the lands and, sometimes, adventures I’ve lived through. I collect and catalog the books written by other Avatars as well and spend many enjoyable hours reading those tales in the comfortable seating at the Hall library. Books that I’ve written are far rarer, as I really am not as brave as many of the more experienced Avatars whose stories of courage, truth, and love I never tire of hearing. Wandering adventurers also leave their stories for me to keep in the library or I collect them during my own travels. That little library collection has become my rock while I grapple with grief of losing those close to me. I had grown to love and respect my adopted family and always enjoy watching them grow from sweet babies to old grumps, but each time their deaths are still profound. Setting up and running the library was the only interest I found I still had any stomach for after most of my adopted family died in the raids on Port Phoenix long years past. Sorting and cataloguing books kept me alive while I grieved the loss of people whom I cared for deeply. Many of those days are lost to the swirls of my mind but the result was that the bookcases had been built and the Hall of Enquiry and Learning had been set up. My sister Violet and I had escaped our family’s fate only through a personal act of rebellion. The punishment for our rebellion was living while they had died. Though grief and guilt are a painful journey and one that each of us learns to cope with on our own, I had come to terms with the loss over time. The pain has dulled with time but didn’t disappear. I tried not to dwell on it today. It was when the entire Byrd family holdings were given over to the care of my sister Captain Violet and I that I, Lily Byrd, started to learn the history of the world I had been thrust into and that I now found myself loath to leave. I felt I had let my family down with a variety of youthful indiscretions, so I now intended to learn to perform my family duties to the best of my ability even if it was too little and too late. Only, I missed the adventures and indiscretions. I missed my parents and Aunt Morgana. Those thoughts led me to other friends who had gone missing: Dragosani, Calan, Joe, and all those others lost to the swirl of the Outlands. I missed people here in Novia too, Lucy and Torgin Featherbright and Phlebus. Lastly, most of all I missed the quiet and thoughtful archer, Zyrina. She and I had become close friends while she tried to cope with some Obsidian magic that had plagued our valley and the menace of an old mysterious book of magic. People tend to bond when facing large enemies of immeasurable strength with unknown odds of survival. I smiled then, remembering the stories of fighting for her life alongside her friends. Even though it had been years since we lost the trail of the mysterious magic book. Although I had not heard from any of my fellow adventurers for far too long, I still longed for something new and exciting. A large sigh escaped me then, and I crossed my arms in front of me. I knew telling stories of brewing, gardening, mushroom-finding, or fruit-growing didn’t have the same appeal to the folk who might stop by to hear a local story or two at the library either; story-time had become just me sitting among the books reading bits from my favorites to myself. Living here in a farming and trade village really wasn’t much of an adventure, but this was a good village to settle into if you want to watch the world go by. Most of the local library patrons enjoy enough of a thrill from reading about the world or hearing the stories I tell them about the goings-on in Novia, gleaned from travelling and listening. They were the farmers and fishers who found no sense in leaving their valley to travel anywhere. I respected their caution regarding travel but did not share it to the same degree. I may not seek out spider-filled caverns on my own, but I travelled as often as I could, and I carried a bow and several poisoned arrows with me at all times, even here in Jade Valley. Looking down after my musing, I realized I had halted while beginning to open the squeaky door of my little wooden post box. I winced and promised myself to remember to oil it before the day was over…for sure this time. Truly, it’s not an overly exciting event, opening a squeaky and mostly empty post box. Generally, if anything were in it at all, it would be flyers for various sales and events, but today among the sales fliers there was a letter. I smiled and plucked it from the fliers now destined for the outhouse paper stack. I could recognize Zyrina’s writing anywhere. Having just been recalling past adventures that we shared, I really wanted to savor this moment, pour a cup of tea, sit in a comfortable chair, and enjoy opening the missive but my impatience once again got the better of me and I didn’t even make it inside the gate before I haphazardly tore the envelope open in my haste to get to the paper inside: Dear Lily, I’ve just arrived home. Come quickly. There is too much to tell since we parted. Here’s a quick summary: Torgin found another lead regarding that little artifact that you found (yes, Emrys confirmed that the artifact that you dug up when Arabella was kidnapped during the Mystery of Treasure Island Adventure was indeed a little leather-bound book). Then the artifact vanished again only to reappear when we all joined forces in Jade Valley during The Stone Dragon Mystery. Merrik Dragon’s suffering was profound during that adventure and was absolutely linked to a specific spell from that particular little leather-bound book. Torgin and I found out it resurfaced at River’s Cross when mages misused a spell from its pages while drunk. Phlebus helped us find the thread of the story but I won’t divulge more details here as they are many and hair-raising; it was not simply a dragon burning down a village as we thought it was, that’s for sure. This is the first time Phlebus, Torgin, or I have heard whisper of this book in many years. It is far too dangerous to leave to the continued misuse of the uneducated with ill intent. Torgin had much to say on the topic which I would like to tell you in person. Come soon. When you arrive in Jade Gardens, you can find the little elven cottage I rent from your sister Violet Green and her friend Aslinne Gradh. Remember there is a hot air balloon that will bring you here from Jade Valley; it’s faster than ship or wagon. Please hurry. I’m going to need your help, Lily, at the very least to help get Torgin out of whatever it is he’s getting us into this time. Bring your herbs and potions; we will probably need them. …and your bow. We will definitely need it. Please help, Zyrina Well. Now THAT was a letter. I absentmindedly stuffed it into my little skirt pocket and patted it smooth. This was going to take a little planning and a lot of effort. And I definitely was not going to help with the harvest nor finish my bookkeeping. Now I was really smiling. First, I needed to get the provisions sent up the mountain, then I needed to arrange for help at the library while I was gone. Of course, I rushed madly off in all directions. And of course, the letter worked its way out of my pocket during my preparations and I didn’t have a clue how to find the cottage when I finally arrived in Jade Gardens days later and exhausted after dark. Wandering into the hamlet after the hot air balloon dislodged its passengers, I found myself lost for several hours traipsing among magnificent gardens, one after another heady with fragrance and flowery night blooms. Eventually, hearing him call out the hour, I came across the town crier near the docks. He directed me to the little elven cottage that Zyrina rented from Violet Green and Aslinne Gradh (Sequanna knows how they got into property ownership together… I assume it was the spoils from a gambling wager of some sort). So, I set out in the correct direction this time, and made my way by starlight to Zyrina’s home. Echoes From the Caverns The post The stone Dragon Series – Book 2, Chapter 1 appeared first on Echoes from the Caverns. View the full article
  10. Jack T. Lamplighter

    SOTA NewsPlay Release 99 NOW!

    Greetings Fellow Avatars! Welcome to Release 99! As many of you might have noticed, next release is a huge milestone for us. Release 100! Due partially to us wanting to make Release 100 extra special and the short month, Release 99 is largely polish and just a handful of new features! The headliners items for this release are some much-needed quest journal improvements and the final entries into the big cats family along with unique ROAR effects for all tamed big cats! The new town of Grusk was very close to making it for this release as Sannio has been working hard on fleshing out the NPCs and expanding the quests in the scene but we decided to save it for next month’s exciting celebration release! For those wishing to participate in any community activities, upcoming one-time and recurring community events have been announced! Be sure to also review the Player Guide and Known Issues list for additional information on recent changes and upcoming fixes. Release 99 Patch Notes! Below is a list of game changes and new content that are live as of Release 99 (R99). New Journal UI Mounted Young Fish – added mounted decorations and recipes for all young fish types Fixed Leather Backpack deco floating issues SOTA-69784 Fixed issue with Lion Cub Pet missing Dismiss option SOTA-70050 Fixed typo in Stone Dungeon Room Spawned (Random Encounter 2) blueprint Fixed issue with tamed crocodile names not displaying correctly SOTA-69582 The lion roar should now properly mesmerize nearby hostile opponents The lioness should now grant nearby friendly players a life attunement buff The tiger roar now grants nearby friendly pets a bonus to critical hit chance Jaguars now have a unique roar that grants some limited magic resistance to those nearby Black Panthers now have a unique roar that grants a modest dexterity bonus to those nearby Snow Tigers now have a unique roar that reduces the fire resistance of enemies that hear it! Sabertooth Tigers and Snow Leopards, wild and tamed. Sabertooth Tigers have been spotted in the Normal, Hard, and Extreme difficulties of Lamech’s Bazaar and Desert Encounters in Novia, Hidden Vale, and Mistrendur! When tamed, their roar grants party members additional strength! Snow Leopards have invaded the Obsidian Panopticon and Snowy Mountain Road Encounters and Snowy Tundra Encounters in Novia and Mistrendur! These fierce creatures have a roar that increases crit damage vs enemies that hear it Splintering Strike has had its damage calculation changed to do slightly less base damage but factor in attunement to increase the overall damage Glacial Glissades damage has been reduced slightly to be in line with other, similar skills Aether amplifiers will no longer take up a deco slot to make it easier to place them for temporary events R99 Reward: Set of Leprechaun Bowler Hats R99 Reward: Set of Ancient Xenossian Urns R99 Reward: Sparse Clover Paver Set R99 Login Reward: Irish-Themed Wax Cylinders Fix: Fixed lua function ShroudGetGameTime day and month which was giving 1 less than it should. Fix: Fixed lua function ShroudSetInputText. Added commas to the lists of locations given by town criers. SOTA-70084 Player can now use hotkeys for decks 13-48. SOTA-69855 Fix: Stripping URL bbcode from lua as this was not suppose to be allowed. Added ShroudGetEquipments to lua function which work the same way as ShroudGetInventory Loot that is rolled in party will now appear in “Recently Looted” sorting option. Estgard: Updated the journal entry for “Convince Knight in Estgard” to help clarify what needs to be done. SOTA-69871 Ferig’s Battle Camp: Ean should now pay players some gold as instructed by Ferig, even after the avatar has finished the Courage path. Highvale Outskirts: Fixed a typo in one of Esmeralda’s responses. Necropolis Barrens: Updated the gates at Envy Angel’s home so that NPCs don’t simply walk through them. SOTA-70198 Solania Catacombs: Fixed a typo in the logic used by Whiteguard Helena’s responses to fix a build error. Solania Catacombs: Updated the logic in Whiteguard Helena’s responses to help ensure the Ichor Witch’s Skull is removed after the completion of the quest. Soltown: Updated some text and logic used in Jeanne’s responses to improve how players give her the silver necklace. Corrected the display name for the Eternal Pattern: Feathered Leather Wizard’s Hat. SOTA-70203 Additive Loot Table update for spiders in the Player Dungeon Spider Room (Hard and Boss) to drop blueprints. Display Name changes for player dungeon spider rooms are now more consistent. Deco can now be placed in the Hilt Spider Room (Debris Deco) Player Dungeon Room SOTA-70202 Corrected Z fighting in the long connection hallway for the Spider Deco and Spider Pristine player dungeon rooms. Eliminated warnings seen when loading into a dungeon with the Pristine or Debris Deco versions of the Player Dungeon Spider Rooms placed. Moved all uncategorized dungeon recipe book entries into the smelting category. (Spider Totems will be in the correct category as of R99 patch1) SOTA-68339, SOTA-70220 Blueprints for the (Pristine Deco-able) Spider Player-Dungeon room and the Spawning Spider Player-Dungeon room will now drop in Hilt as expected. SOTA-70201 Added the following subscriber rewards to the store to appear on March 19th: Leprechaun Bowler Hat 2-Pack, Sparse Clover Pavers, Ancient Xenossian Urn 3-Pack. Added the Very Sparse Small Pavers to the store to appear on February 24th. Adjusted some icons for brightness. Added bowler hat patterns to proper classification. Added GDOC_Occludee components to all 21 prefab variations of the gustballs so that when players have GPU Occlusion set to “on”, the gustballs do not mysteriously disappear at odd moments. Five new wax cylinders are now available as loot in the Floating Barrel (Flotsam) which can be fished from the waters of the moat at Castle Atos. Avatars! Rewards Program login items for Release 99 are a must-have — don’t miss out! This month’s collection includes Xenossian vases, Leprechaun Bowler Hats, and a new paver set! Subscribers to the Reward Program must login during Release 99 to receive these special login items:The Shroud of the Avatar Rewards Program lets you earn the best rate on purchasing Crowns, AND receive monthly reward items! For the low price of $9 USD per month you will receive the following: 900 Crowns of the Obsidians every month Monthly Login Reward Items (about 3 per month) Exclusive Title every 3 months 3 Months: Keeper of the Faith 6 Months: Keeper of the Word 9 Months: Keeper of the Vow 12 Months: Keeper of the Flame 15 Months: Keeper of the Oath 18 Months: Keeper of the Pledge 21 Months: Keeper of the Bond 24 Months: Keeper of the Promise 27 Months: Keeper of the Covenant Pick any Dye 12-Pack every 6 months Pick any three of these 7 Obsidian Potions every month: Potion of Capacity: Increases carrying capacity Potion of Conservation: Reduces reagent use chance Potion of Expedience: Swift gathering on all gathering skills Potion of Precision: Increases Meticulous Collection to all gathering skills Potion of Preservation: Reduces armor and weapon damage Potion of Reclamation: Increases Salvage and Repair to all production skills Potion of Stamina: Decreases focus use from sprinting While subscribed to the rewards program, players also receive these special bonuses: Obsidian Potions are significantly more powerful! 24 Additional Deck Slots! Bug Brigade & Testing Directives! The Bug Brigade was established to improve how the community and the development team work together to improve the game. Since the Brigade’s inception, the program has gone through a number of changes and was eventually placed on hold. The stability of the game is as important to the development team as it is to the players, therefore the program was revamped and was relaunched. The Brigade has been up and running and the volunteers (Alley Oop, Echondas, and Justyn) are in a good rhythm for verifying and submitting bugs to the developers. If you have reported a bug that has not yet been addressed, please be patient while the backlog is being worked. The Brigade is working diligently to clean up the backlog of bug reports posted by players on the forums. Every month, a considerable amount of development time will be spent working many of the verified bugs which have been submitted to the team by the Bug Brigade. This focused effort on bug fixes would not be possible without the recent efforts of the Bug Brigade. Please take the time to thank these bug hunting aficionados when you encounter them in your travels! In turn, the development team would like to express a big thank you to the Bug Hunters! These community members are doing a fantastic job bringing so many bug reports to the team, and they’re doing it in a way which makes the process smooth and efficient. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Much improvement has been noticed by the development team and we’re so very excited to see the program’s continued success! The development team would also like to thank all of those who take time to participate in QA Testing Directives. Thanks to your hard work and dedication, many issues and bugs can be identified and fixed prior to content going to the Live Server! Keep up the great work! For those that wish to participate in future bug hunting endeavors, please check the forums regularly for upcoming QA Testing Directives. Don’t forget, the Bug Brigade is open to all players in good standing and bug rewards are SWEET! They will be awarded on a monthly progression basis with only minimal requirements to qualify. The available rewards to receive in progression via qualifying participation are as follows: Antennae Head Gear and Forum Title 1: “Bug Hunter” Single Ant Cloak Lady Bug Backpack Bug Painting A and In-Game Title 2: “Associate of Aphids” Ant Farm Insect Leg Table Many Ants Cloak and In-Game Title 3: “Bachelor of Beetles” Bug Painting B Bug Sprayer and /bugspray Emote Bug Painting C and In-Game Title 4: “Master of Moths” Butterfly Chair Corpion Chair (Pictured Below) Yellow Fireflies VFX and In-Game Title 5: “Doctor of Dragonflies” Hacked Oracle Flyer Giant Blue Butterfly Pet Butterfly Mask Dragonfly pet Fairy Wings Monarch Butterfly Pet Dragonfly Wings Hacked Oracle Crawler Blue Butterfly VFX Orange Fireflies VFX Orange Butterfly VFX If you’ve come to think of Shroud of the Avatar as your home, sign up and help make New Britannia a better place to live! To learn more about joining the Bug Brigade, please read the announcement thread by Ravolox in the main Bug/Feedback forums. Updates to the Streamer Rewards Program! Several months ago, a program was proposed for the Streamers of Shroud of the Avatar. The ultimate goal being to showcase Shroud of the Avatar while giving SotA streamers a reward for their efforts. The program is currently in Phase I, with Phase II technology currently being discussed and worked internally. So, let’s talk Phase I! Phase I: Streamers who wish to be included in the Streamer Program must contact Laney via in-game mail or in a private message on the forums with their Character Name and Twitch Channel information. If you have already signed up for the program in the past, fear not, you’re on the list, and you don’t need to reapply. Streaming Rewards Program participants must adhere to our Terms of Service (TOS) and Community Rules while Streaming Shroud of the Avatar. Streaming Rewards Program participants must stream at least 10 hours of Shroud of the Avatar ACTIVE game play to remain in the program with reward accrual. Streamers will receive a one-time digital reward of in-game items after meeting the program’s requirements: Streamer’s Cloak, Streamer’s Camera, and a brand-new LIVESTREAMING title. Future incremental rewards will occur at 6-month intervals. (More information to come). Rules: To qualify for Streamer Rewards, each streamer must continue to meet the minimum requirements for 60 days after application. To accrue additional rewards, Streamers must stream SotA a minimum of 10 hours per month, tallied on the 1st day of each month, to remain in the program. Streamers must be actively playing the game during their streams. Being away from the keyboard (AFK) for short periods is acceptable. If Twitch indicates the streamer is playing SotA but they are streaming other content or a timeout/login screen, they risk being removed from the program. Items of Note: SotAbot: Streamers in the program will be included in the SotAbot StreamPop function, appearing in the player-streaming channel in Discord. Graphics & Overlays: An optional “Streamers Kit” is available to the participating streamers as well as all players of Shroud of the Avatar, which includes graphics, overlays and other material. Watch the forums for more information, coming soon, regarding Titles, future rewards and for info on Phase II of the program. We love our Streamers, so get out to Twitch and follow them, watch them, and support them! Upcoming Release Dates Be sure to check out the Upcoming Events page for spotlighted events plus links to various areas to post or find events on our forums. The upcoming 2022 Release Schedule is as follows: This Release 99 – Feb 24 (Content) Release 100 – Mar 31 (Polish) Release 101 – Apr 28 (Content) Community Updates & Resources Greetings event holders and event attendees! So many fun and exciting events are available in the upcoming weeks. Be sure to get out there and participate, make some new friends, perhaps make some great emote, recipe, or gear trades, or get some adventuring and role-playing into your mix! Here are spotlighted events or updated community resources that we’ve noticed popping up lately on the official forums. Note, we are putting a hold on our official Catnip Games events while we train up our new community person! Special Announcements: Quel Regional Market Now Open: Tired of searching endlessly for what you’d like to buy? Well, the Britannian Mining Company feels the same way, so they’ve created a well-organized and easily accessible vendor town. And the best part… All row lots inside the settlements are FREE for any merchant in New Britannia to claim! Recurring Events: Dragon Hold Fishing Invitational: Located above the Whiteguard Foothills, Dragon Hold hosts a monthly fishing contest with prizes allocated per trophy type as well as largest overall fish. Rules and prize details can be found on the notices at the fishing shop easily reached by teleporter. Happy fishing and good luck to all! Trash to Treasure Dropped Items Turn-In: Some unscrupulous fella has been flooding the loot in New Britannia with junk: Chrismas/Holiday Themed Items! It’s time to clean this trash up that’s plaguing the loot tables, so a bounty has been placed on all gear crafted by Coswald Dirthmire that you find in loot. Turn in what you find every contest period! R96’s contest period lasts until December 28th! Ironhall Tournament & PvP Training: The Player-Owned Town of Ironhall holds weekly player training events every Saturday at 1PM CT. Events are held in the village of Virtus Mons in Ironhall and can be reached easily via use of the fast travel signs. M’Hul Island Monthly Fishing Contest: Join Asmodi M’hul and friends at M’hul Island for their monthly fishing tournament that lasts from Release Day to Release Day! Prizes are available! Lightbringer Isle Fishing Contest: Why not earn some extra prizes each month and participate in Lightbringer Isle’s monthly fishing tourney? Lots of fantastic prizes — don’t miss out! Combat & Crafting Sunday School: Head on over to Immortal City every Sunday from 7PM to 9PM CT to learn the tricks of the trade in combat and crafting! 500 Crown Leisurely Fishing: Sonja Solar and friends are running a continuous fishing contest in Brittany Fort “Now and Forever for All Eternity” which has wonderful prizes and objectives. You can now win 500 Crowns for record fishies caught in Brittany Fort by anybody at any time in history for display in Sonja Solar’s fishy aquarium museum. Be sure to watch the video indicated in the “Brittany Fort” link provided in the first post to see the full explanation of the contest rules. RHEC Traveling Pop Up Fishing Contest: Keep an eye out in universe chat, trade chat, and the forums! Asmodi M’hul will routinely announces at least one pop up fishing contest every week for those anglers out there anxious for extra prizes and fun! PvP Fishing with RHEC: The RHEC anglers of New Britannia will be hosting PvP fishing contests in The Brave Coast! There are 3 tourneys which will take place on July 23rd and July 24th from 7PM to 9PM CT, and July 25th from 5PM to 7PM CT. Hope to see you there! Lightbringer Isle Auction: Ladies and gentlemen! The Citizens of Lightbringer Isle welcome you to the weekly auctions! The auctions are about bringing together people from all corners of the community, with the Lightbringer Isle’s market being the perfect place to do so! Join us every Sunday at 11AM CT! New Player-Created Resources: Crafting Q&A with Coswald Dirthmire: Recently, streamer extraordinaire Coswald Dirthmire hosted a crafting Q&A session in the town of Haven Ridge. As the 3rd installment of Haven Ridge’s Q&A series, it turned out to be a highly informative event. Please watch the video and see what you missed! Community Calendars: Avatars-Virtue Radio Calendar: Just when are all those talented DJ’s and streamers broadcasting? Don’t just guess, check out there very helpful calendar! Never again will you wonder when’s the best time to tune in! NBNN Calendar: This calendar provides a great schedule for NBNN and WRFB programing as well as many other community events. If you’re a fan of the Laz & Jack show or even if you’re hoping to catch them in action for the first time, this is the calendar for you! SotA Event Calendar: Event participants, take heed! Thoryk Omara has done a wondrous job creating a community event calendar which is available to all players of Shroud of the Avatar. Please make an effort to support this new calendar. The more resources players have at their disposable for event notifications, the better! Community Event Resources: Here are some fantastic resources for tracking down community events or posting your own events. Become involved! Create! Explore! Make friends! But most of all, have fun! One-Time Community Events Forum: Sometimes events happen only a single time, so you’ll not want to miss out on these events as they occur. Check out the forums routinely to spot these! Recurring Community Events Forum: Some events occur on weekly or monthly schedules which are a great way to routinely meet up with friends and to make new ones. Be sure to check this forum frequently for new events or time changes to existing ones. Game Master (GM) Potion Request Procedures: Shroud of the Avatar has an amazing in-game consumable for player event holders — the Potion of Temporary GM Powers! Players wishing to enhance their in-game community event by having GM Powers at their disposal need to simply follow the procedures outlined in this forum thread. Player Event Trophies and Special Item Requests: Would you like to request a special trophy or renamed item for a player event you’ve created? Head on over to this thread to see what’s available and to obtain more information about request procedures. Player Radio Station Forum: If you want to check out the latest and greatest from our in-game radio stations, go to the radio stations forum! If you’re a DJ, be sure to advertise your time slot and venue in this forum. Player Livestreams & Videos Forum: If you’re searching for a Shroud Streamer to watch, head on over to the streamer forum! If you are a live streamer for Shroud of the Avatar, be sure to advertise your Shroud stream by posting in this forum. Town Directory Forum: Want to find a town to live in or get your town listed in the directory, head over to the forums and check it out! Guild Directory Forum: Looking for a guild or want to get yours posted in the guild directory? Head on over to the forums and check it out! Fire Lotus Tavern: This wondrous role-playing and story writing forum is the spot to be if you love fan fiction and role-play. Community Resources: Looking for links to community and official resources for Shroud of the Avatar? Well look no further. On this page you’ll find links to a plethora of helpful resources created by the dev team or the community. SO many options to stay tuned-in with fellow community members. Please take advantage of all these wonderful options. Happy adventures, Avatars! Project to Support: Ghostbusters: The Gates of Gozer Immersive theatre. 3D binaural sound. Real ghostbusting. Get your tickets now! We are excited to share, Starr “Darkstarr” Long’s (Executive Producer at The Acceleration Agency) latest project: Secret Cinema’s “Ghostbusters: The Gates of Gozer.” Travel back to the ‘80s and experience never-before-seen storylines based on the original film in this live virtual adventure. Get ready for the jaw-dropping detail of any Secret Cinema event, brought to you online and to a whole other level! Team up with the Ghostbusters to investigate paranormal activity, explore the infamous 550 Central Park West and uncover spine-chilling secrets from other dimensions. The world needs saving and you’re the one for the job! Project to Support: Shard RPG Shard Studios invites you to enter the fantastic world Dárdünah, the vast shard of a shattered realm, as presented in the colorful pages of the SHARD RPG! Many years in the making, this system allows players to choose from a wide variety of animal people who are the main cast of the many adventures this otherworldly setting offers. Skyships glide through shimmering clouds past majestic crystal peaks. Giant insects prowl alien jungles or lurk in the sparkling emerald seas. Warriors with blades of diamond and amber duel across crimson sands. And mystics chant in shadowy chambers as their spirits wander abroad. Intro Sheet: For a quick glimpse into the world of Dárdünah, be sure to download the intro pdf! It’s packed with great information and features beautiful artwork, not unlike the artwork found throughout the many pages of this gaming system’s gorgeously designed manuals. Core System Manuals: It’s easier than ever to delve into Dárdünah, World of the False Dawn, with the Core Books Bundle! If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience this unique gaming system and setting, now’s your chance! This bundle includes two beautifully illustrated, full-color, hardcover books: the original Basic Compendium and the Magic and Martial Arts book! They contain everything you need to begin your adventures, and include instructions for the ritual magic and martial arts combat systems. These manuals also include 90 new Animal Templates upon which to base your character! Other Shard RPG Products: So many more manuals and gaming materials are available! Everything an avid tabletop role-player and game master needs to delve into the world of Dárdünah! So if you’re ready to experience a gaming world like no other, check out what Shard Studios has created for tabletop role-players on the Shard RPG official website! You’ll most certainly be immersed and amazed by the offerings of the Shard RPG! Project to Support: Ember’s Adrift! Help support one of our team members’ other projects, Ember’s Adrift! While not live yet, they will be releasing a schedule soon detailing their timeline. Check out their newly released video here: Project to Support: Avatar Express [Forum post by Vladamir Begemot] I’m pleased to report that The Avatar Express is clacking away furiously. News is being delivered and we have established systems to deliver it directly to your brain. You can use one of those systems by following us on Twitter at @avatar_express. Even more reliable due to its fully automated nature is joining us on the Discord server. News items are posted there via RSS. Or you can subscribe to RSS directly on the site. If you run an event, quests, etc, please consider helping out by self reporting. The Shroud community is big, and many things are happening that are never seen by others. With 10k monthly users, we would need a full time staff to track down everything that is happening. You can fill out the contributor form, message @that_shawn_guy here or post in the Discord server that you would like to help. There is no commitment once signed up, you can post as much or little as you like. Writing up your own events has several benefits beyond the immediate exposure. It serves as a record for others to see the history of New Britannia as we create it, in an attractive format. Publishing in the Express also has a higher chance than the forums of being seen by search engines and random readers, thus bringing more eyeballs and new players to the game. It will even make posting in the forums easier! You can upload images to your news item, and then link to those images in your forum post. No more need for 3rd party image hosts! So if you have something going on in your guild or town, or want to be a Reporter, Cartographer or Historian, please join us! Resources: Players Helping Players The official SotA New Player Welcome Forum and the Player Created Resources Forum have the best player created resources for Shroud of the Avatar, whether it’s a Player Written Guide, a Video Walk-through, or a Wiki-type Website. Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing of all things community. View the full article
  11. Interlude: Old Pete Read by Asclepius Nearly a decade later at the Dragon’s Breath Inn in River’s Cross close to but across the river from Jade Valley. Sitting in the old Dragon’s Breath Inn several years after his adventures in the area, Phlebus was enjoying the peace of the quiet afternoon after his leisurely walk down to the valley. He took another sip from the half full pint in front of him on the table. His ship had docked in Port Phoenix nearby and he had walked to the valley from there. It was time. He had been waiting for the right moment to ask the brewer about a rumour he had heard in his travels. When Phlebus finally asked the question, Old Pete was thrilled to tell the story to another passerby. It wasn’t often that anyone asked him for a story anymore. It wasn’t often that anyone travelled this way into the valley anymore either. “River’s Cross was a quiet little hamlet once. Before those strange elves usin’ magic showed up out of nowhere. They became the darlin’s of the village. There was even dances out in the square once in a while and me ol’ Uncle Clarence used to play his accordion for them. That was before. Before the residents all started disappearing like, one by one. No one really noticed till there was only me left tending the bar. I don’t mind, really. But it gets kinda lonely all by meself.” “I gets travelers now and then. People like yourself travellin’ into or out of Jade Valley sometimes stop here to catch their breath before the long hike out of the valley. There’s not much to see now, but River’s Cross was once a right gem of a hamlet.” Old Pete took another sip from his whiskey. “Seems you are interested in hearing more about my little pub. It’s called the Dragon’s Breath Inn ‘cause o’ what happened the night the elves left town. Well, I’ll tell ya, but I warn ya now…. it’s not a pretty story. And it doesn’t end well.” He stopped to sip again from his drink then went on, “It all started about a decade ago when those elves showed up. They sauntered into town like they knew where they were going and had the money to pay for it, ya know what I mean? It was the stink of magic that gave em away, an’ I don’t hold truck with no magic. I din’t pay em no mind long as they paid for their drink in gold and din’t get too uppity. Soon they had some of the other residents building a sort of temple for em. Somewhere they did their whispering and magicking. It used to be over down the lane, but it ain’t there now a days. Least ways I ain’t seen no one around there for a while now. Not since that night they all got drinking that special ale they had been promising that they were making for everyone in the Hamlet.” Old Pete tipped his glass to Phlebus again before swallowing. “They built themselves a brewery an set up doin little magic spells for folks to speed healing, or add a pox to an enemy, you know, regular stuff like that. Well then, after awhiles they were in here one night whispering. Always whispering. But that night they was purty excitable. Giddy almost, for that lot.” “They was discussin’ the finished product they had made. An Ale. And not just any ale. Somethin’ special that never been thunk up befores. Ale of Essence they bin callin’ it. Ale of Essence? Now them is some fancy words for that swill. There was no reason for them to be so dang excitable about it. It didn’t taste right to me at all an’ I spit it right out, but them mages told me that it would give me everlastin’ life if I drank some. I don’t see no difference. Though I rightly am still alive so it must be workin’, eh?” He stopped to cackle a bit to himself over his joke before going on. “Anyhoo’ it was a mostly dark and stormy night. We was all huddled around the bar and tryin’ to stay warm. You know the kind o night I’s talkin’ bout? An after a few pulls from their special cask, them elves started arguin’ who was the better magic user. You can imagine that it ain’t my place to get in the middle of angry drunk mages so’s I just stayed back here and sorta hid behind the hutch over there. They was castin’ spells and drawin’ funny shapes in the air with their wands, and soon enough they got serious. That’s when I got scared. Real scared. They wasn’t foolin’ round anymore. One o ‘em decided to try to do a spell big and the others were shouting at the caster to stop cause an I quote “we didn’t get it right even with the whole group of mages in the temple”. It didn’t convince the mage to stop, and they just kept chanting an’ tossed some ol bone on the ground out front of the inn. T’other one, that one that was with all them elves but was human but still a magic user ya know? The quiet one. Well, he started a different chant, and I could feel the hairs on my arms rise up and let me know there was trouble. Big trouble. The quiet one’s chant put a shimmer around the pub. I ain’t never seen nuthin’ like it afore. Then the shrieking started. And the fires and the roaring and the fires. Them fires was sumthin’ alright.” He paused again lost in thought. He sipped awhile at the cup he nursed in the crook of his arm while he spoke. “I looked outta that window over there and saw the shadow of the creature fly over us. It was huge, scaly, orange and spewin’ fire outta its maw every which way. Somebody tol’ me it was a dragon, I ain’t never seen one o those before. Don’t wanna see another one either. That shimmer from the quiet mage protected the pub from the dragon’s breath that night. We was the only building left standin’ the next day. Them mages mostly perished tryin’ to control that dragon thing in the night and lucky for them when the warriors from Jade Valley saw the dragon flyin’ round the valley they came and battled it to death. I don’t know what finally happened, but it got kilt some which way. You can see the bones scattered over there behind the inn in the woods still. The few mages that were still living the next day wandered off quick as a wink muttering something about everyone would know where they were now, and they needed to find some mage who had run off with their special book. It’s been pretty quiet these days, but you can sometimes see the smoke and feel the shadow of that dragon flyin overhead. I reckin that shadow thin’ is looking for them mages even still. Now iffin you want some o’ that Ale of Essence you is gonna hafta go find one o’ ‘em what makes it. I ain’t going alookin’. More Ale?” He finished with a flourish. “Do you know where they went?” Phlebus asked quickly, covering his pint with his hand. “Nope, but I heard tell that someone called Nestor was the leader even iffin he weren’t herebouts. Maybe you’s can ask ‘im. Come back on in for a visit sometime won’tcha?” Old Pete waved as Phlebus downed the rest of his drink and rose to leave. Echoes From the Caverns The post The Stone Dragon Series – Interlude – Old Pete appeared first on Echoes from the Caverns. View the full article
  12. Interlude: The Mages of the Red Branch Read by Alleine Dragonfyre The evening of celebration had quickly soured in the small hamlet of River’s Cross near the second entrance to the valley past the old, covered bridge that led to Jade Valley town. The quiet mage completed the shimmery air spell that would continue to shield the pub for the rest of the night at least. He had been enjoying his drink before all the trouble broke out and old Pete didn’t deserve what was going to happen to his establishment. The buffer would at least protect the inn, and the innkeeper if he was smart enough to stay inside it. When several of the others started arguing about why the dragon summoning spell had not worked when they were at the old location in Jade Valley itself, why it would certainly work now, and they started calling on each other to make another attempt, then the mage knew they no longer deserved to be in charge of that magic book. It had been a subject he had been contemplating for months now. After discovering that the room of casting they built in Jade Valley was made from blocks made from stone bodies of people, he found himself questioning everything he knew about the Southern Red Branch. And when they built the brewery in River’s Cross using the stone bodies of villagers who weren’t sweet enough to become part of their Ale of Essence, he knew they had not learned anything at all from their experiences. There was something missing in the teachings he had grown up with and no one was willing to answer his questions about virtue and vice anymore. The elf mages who raised him didn’t have much time for his questions before, but now they had become surly about even considering his questions at all. He wanted to know where the book came from and how they happened to have it. He wanted to know the face of the person who created this magic. From what he experienced, this book had brought only pain and suffering to everyone who they encountered, and their own group was splintered and decimated. This was no way to build a new society of order and calm. He thought the book might be cursed or worse, have come from before the fall when magic worked differently. No one would answer any questions about The Fall either. Cataclysmic. Devastating. That’s the description he was given, and it was expected to do. They swore that he could not squeeze knowledge from them that they didn’t have. He knew something was wrong with their logic and their thinking, but he had no way of determining what it was and no one in his cabal would help him search for the answers. The elven mages wanted power but had no plan how to become powerful nor what to do with that power if they were able to attain it. He was sure there was more to success than simply attaining power to do what you wanted to do. He watched them get more and more angry as they huffed and puffed and chanted. The rest of his group was single minded in their pursuit of success. He waited until the other mages had looked up the spell again, put the book aside, and were focused on the summoning spell itself. Finally, he was ready to act. Quickly slipping the magic book under his garment into a small pocket he had stitched there for this very use, he made his way to the Obsidian dias on the roof of the pub to get a better view of what the drunk remnants of the Southern Red Branch mages would summon. He kept a travel scroll in his hand, ready to leave with the book. The dragon they eventually summoned was not part human this time. It was massive and glowed a shimmery orange colour. It wanted nothing to do with any of them. It was bent on destroying those who summoned it and anyone else who came into its path. Its struggles against the drunk mages’ control did not waiver. It turned and attacked the hamlet time and time again. Fire rained down and the buildings in the hamlet soon smoked and flamed. The billowing smoke attracted attention as it became obvious that fire was spreading. Within a short time, folks all the way from Jade Valley started arriving to fight the fire. Someone quickly dispatched back to Jade Valley to beg for assistance from the few outlanders and townsfolk who could battle a dragon, too. After the dust and fire and rain of the battle subsided, everyone left gathered to find out just what had happened. Jade Valley townsfolk found the remnants of the mages’ brewery and potion shop. They learned that the essence in the ale the mages had been experimenting with in their basement brewery was made from the remains of the townsfolk who had disappeared from River’s Cross hamlet. Whether it actually gave eternal life was difficult to tell without testing. No one was going to test the brew. It was destroyed. They tore the brewery down and obliterated any trace of the evil the elven mages had done. The few elves who remained alive were shackled and taken to the Jade Valley Jail to await trial. The dead were buried, and the fires raked over until they were cold. The mage watched all this while hidden in plain sight on the rooftop of the inn. He took another long pull from his now warm ale before muttering a spell to use his last travel scroll. He vanished with the magic book in his pocket and a keg of Ale’s Essence tucked under his arm. Echoes From the Caverns The post The Stone Dragon Series – Interlude – The Mages of the Red Branch appeared first on Echoes from the Caverns. View the full article
  13. Black Rose Chronicles, chapter 15 Background music by Smartsound After a lengthy talk with Astor she explained she wanted to go back out and try to help once again with this threat from the Undead. He agreed and said that things will be fine and for her to come home as often as she could. Although the lands seemed huge they were not. Many of the locations were within day or two for travels. And with the wagons and ships and even the Lunar Rifts it was easy to fast transport to anywhere in the realm. With that she donned her newly crafted armor and freshly honed weapons. Packed her backpack with a few necessities and she headed over the stone bridge towards the exit of town. She would hop the ship from Hidden Vale to Brittany and then take the ship from there to Ardoris. Might as well head back in that direction since she had already started some work there. She was not too thrilled about doing back there but she did what she had to do After what seemed like months she walked into Knight’s Watch. Tired, dirty and hungry she trudged to her house by the river. When she walked up she notice that her quaint little house was no longer little. It had been built up to a sprawling stone building. It was near dark and she did not enter the house. Maybe Astor thought her dead after so long away and let someone else build in her place. After a good night’s rest she would seek him out. So she headed to the tavern where she could get a quick meal and a cot upstairs. When she made her way through the door the tavern was crowded. Many folk stood and sat around. Some gent named Omegaflux was at the piano banging out a lively tune while another named Ozzy Questor was trying in vain to keep up on his bagpipes. The laughter and talk were so loud even over the din of music. Bella saw Astor standing behind the bar and she approached. When the door slammed behind her the noise died down. Many of the faces she did not know or did not know that well, but she kept moving. “Master Cerberus” she said once she found her voice. “Did you give me up for dead?” Smiling across the counter he shook his head in humor “Nay, Milady. I know it would take more than some undead rabble to take you down.” She looked at him for a moment and slapped her hand on the counter. “Then perhaps over a pint you can explain why my house is missing.” All the fellows in the tavern broke into laughter. Some shouting to Astor I told you so and such. He too chuckled at her comment. “Now now Bella. Don’t get your knickers in a twist. You were gone but a month when we all here in town decided that you needed a much better house than you had built.” Putting up his hand to stave off her retort he continued. “Bella we all in appreciation for what you did to help the others build up their homes decided to make you a grand house indeed. Furnishings and all. So when you come home you can sit back and tell us your tales from your journey.” The man named Ozzy came forward and peeked sideways at her. “Tis a fine fireplace i built ya Miss. Hope it keeps ya warm on cold nights” Others approached and told of the things they did to help as well. Bella couldn’t help but blush, smile and even shed a tear for all the welcomes and the help. She looked back at Astor as he stood beaming behind the bar. She pointed a finger at him as if saying…I will get you for this. Then immediately rounded the counter and started pouring more pints for all. “Drink up my friends and celebrate my return…..but i have you know I won’t be cleaning up the mess.” As the revelry continued into the night Bella snuck up the back stairs and found an empty bed in the far corner. She cared not if anyone else came up there. All she wanted was sleep. As soon as her head hit the pillow she was out like a light. The next morning she rose from the bed and quickly made use of the washstand. Washing the smell of pipe smoke and ale from her face and neck she quickly changed into some regular clothing. She would definitely have to brush out her leather armor later in the day. Gathering up her things she hoisted her pack on her back and made her way down the stairs. Setting a chair upright she sat down for a moment. The fire had gone cold in the fireplace, so she gathered up some kindling and small logs and got a nice fire started. Going behind the bar she looked about for a kettle and a tin of tea leaves. Both were nicely stored underneath the counter. Checking the bucket of water next to the counter she deemed it quite fresh so poured it in the kettle and set it on the fire to boil. Searching around she found some food and quickly made a trencher of assorted items. Cheese, lemon bun, apple, grapes and a jar of butter. Plate of food in hand she placed it on the table. Then pulled the porcelain teapot from under the counter and a cup. This will be the first good tea she had had in a while. Those taverns elsewhere could not make a decent cup of tea for anything. As her tea steeped, she nibbled on the food in front of her. It was very peaceful and quiet inside. There was not much going on outdoors either except the chirping of the birds. This was one thing she did enjoy about Knight’s Watch. The quiet. As time moved on and the town grew, she was able to do more adventuring. Often the residents of Knights Watch gathered and went on hunting parties. This she enjoyed a lot. She felt more at ease and enjoyed the company of her town companions. Often as not they would get into some real messy hunts, but the revelry of the group made it enjoyable. She was feeling quite content with her life as it was going. Still at certain times of the day or night her thoughts drifted back to her crew from the Black Rose. And of her old world where her family was. But it wasn’t long till a lot of those memories were just that Waking one morning early she slipped her feet into cozy kidskin shoes and grabbed her oversized robe. Funny she thought to herself the men in this town still have not gotten the right proportions in making clothing for her. Usually, they had to take in and stitch up once she put them on. But this robe she would not allow them to adjust it. She loved it just like this. Slowly walking down the staircase she ran her hands along the stone. “Tis a fine house we built ya lassy”. She could still hear them the night they told her about the house. Pffft. It wasnt a house at all but a small castle keep. Huge in her eyes and all hers. Often times she would have them over for pints and meals and often times she would find someone sleeping off the revelry by the fireplace. Indeed, she had a grand fireplace. She loved it all the more because they worked so hard building it for her. Fine furnishings and the occasional knick knack decorations they thought a fine lady would like. Although she had been far from lady like they still regarded her none the less. Reaching the ground floor her trusty dog Roofus greeted her. Twirling in circles the lunk of a dog followed her towards the back door where she opened it up to let him out. Then she made way to the kitchen. The men wanted very much to provide a fine kitchen for her, but she refused. She had no idea how to cook on such things as they called pot belly stoves. She liked cooking on a hearth. The jug of water sat on the table and she filled the kettle full. Stoking up the fire she put it on to boil. Taking down her fancy tin of tea leaves that Astor had gotten her on one of his adventures she sniffed at the aromatic leaves. Smiling she took a pinch and put them in the teapot and waiting for the water to boil. Today was to be a busy day. Many chores waited for her and the first thing she planned on doing was going into Kingsport to purchase some seeds. She had asked a couple of the men to build her some planting boxes as she was determined to grow some fresh vegetables and she was going to start some fruit trees as well. While out she planned on riding up to Owl’s Head to get some other things that she knew she couldn’t find in Kingsport. It was going to be a busy day indeed. After many months of being idle in her mind. Bella decided to venture back out into the lands. She had become restless staying in the Hidden Vale. She felt the draw of the sea and the need to put some newer lands under her feet. Sitting around the large table in the tavern of Knight’s Watch she chatted with the others on places they had been and things they had seen. Since there were all brought to this world much the same as her she knew they too had been of the adventuring spirit. Whether from needing to do so or hired to do so they had covered the entire realm. Many of those places she had travelled with them and many she travelled alone. But she felt she needed to move. At least for a couple months. The Fall season was approaching so it would be a good time to travel. Packing up her travel pack and gathering up her weapons she looked it all over to make sure she was set for a journey. Food was carried light as she was able to hunt and forage for pretty much what she needed. And when near towns she was sure she could come up with a decent meal in those. After the talk a few nights back with her fellow townsmen she knew where she was heading. Now to just get on the road and start moving Echoes From the Caverns The post Black Rose Chronicles 15 – by Belladonna Rose – narrated by Asclepius appeared first on Echoes from the Caverns. View the full article
  14. Jack T. Lamplighter

    3D Portal Adventure 2

    A new chapter in this enthralling video adventure! The link to the video is here: Chapter 2 Having established her crew, reluctant as she was to have a crew, Lady Beth began to step through the dimensional gate she had opened. Tiger_T and the Catdude stepped up to follow her. As Tiger_T neared the horizon of the portal, he noticed a slight tingle in his fur, almost, but not quite unlike a static charge. He moved his hand towards and away from the portal to see how it affected the tingling. The Catdude: “Yeah, weird, isn’t it? Is this your first time through one of these?” Tiger_T: “Yeah” He continued his testing. Tiger_T: “Interesting. The CTC doors are different, like normal doors. I’m curious as to what it will be like to walk through it. I guess I will know soon enough.” <Render 6> Meanwhile, Lady Beth had mostly stepped through the portal, save for the hand she was using it to hold the portal open. Lady Beth: “Come along, gentlemen.” Tiger_T: “Aha! Here’s our marching order!” He carefully walked forward. As his nose contacted the horizon, he felt a prickling sensation that propagated through his body, peaking at the parts as they went through. Coming out the other side, he shook off the effects. Tiger_T: “BRRR! Like being combed the wrong way!” He began looking around. The Catdude stepped right through the gateway. He got wobbly on his feet as vertigo momentarily swept over him. Initially, he reached for Beth’s hand to steady himself, but remembering that he had not obtained such permission to touch beforehand, he braced his hands on his knees instead. The Catdude: “Just a moment, My Lady. I always get a head rush when I step through these things. Five more seconds…..and done! He shook his head to clear it and recovered. The Catdude:“The headache will last an hour more, but I will manage.” He joined Tiger_T in looking around. CD: “Hmm, I wonder where we are.” Meanwhile, Tiger_T pushed down a few patches of fur on his tail. Tiger_T:“I guess I came through OK.” <Render 7> ## Feel free to add in based on your own impressions. ## Tiger_T and the Catdude stared out in rapt fascination over their surroundings. Tiger_t notice that the “clouds” were not moving. T_T: “Ahh, like unto Van Goh’s Starry Night. Very impression as all I usually see is standard YeOldeEarth Sky. ” CD: “Indeed so. Funny thing, when Lady Beth first mentioned great height, I thought we might be headed to either Nar Shadda or the Cliffs of Eos but we are at neither. We are at someplace I have never been before and I am glad of it. My lady, thank you for letting me come with you.” T_T: “Say, Lady Beth, where exactly is ‘here’ anyway?” Lady Beth gave no answer and stood quietly at a jutting pier, as if awaiting something. It did not take long for that something to come into sight. <Render 8> T_T: “I think I see something coming towards us. A…blimp? CD: Ahh, an airship with sailing ship gondola. A beautiful way to sail the skies, although, if the weather takes a certain turn, the voyage can become…interesting. <Render 9> As the vessel approached, Lady Beth addressed her companions. Lady Beth: “This will be our transport during our time here. I will renegotiate the contract and bill of lading. How much do each of you and your equipment weigh?” Tiger_T: That’s our ride? Cool! My weight? I do hope an estimate will be exact enough. Umm, I should be around 82 kg, and my backpack should be around 20 kg. The CatDude: I weigh between 105-110kg, my gear is 40 kg, half of which is ammo. I suppose the captain will have some demands regarding storage. <Render 10> As the vessel pulled up to dock, the ramp extended out to the board gate of the ship. Lady Beth began to walk towards the ship but then she stopped and turned around to face her feline companions. LB: “Gentleman…if you trust me then please wait for me there. I’ll…be…back.” T_T: “ Umm…okay” CD: “yes, my lady, I will wait as you wish.” Lady Beth proceeded to the ship and went aboard. Tiger_T turn to the Catdude with puzzlement. T_T: “I don’t see why she would bring us here only to then change her mind. That alone is reason to trust her.” CD: “I learned to trust unicorns with my life. The first lesson I learned about them is that they are honest to the expense of politeness. It can be off-putting to humans the first time around, but you get used to it. If nothing else, it explains unicorns generally make for ineffectual politicians. This probably has something to do with the crew, seeing as we are not part of the original contract that she is now having to renegotiate.” Tiger_T nodded his assent and understanding. Presently, Lady Beth returned and they snapped to attention to receive her next instructions. Echoes From the Caverns The post 3D Portal Adventure 2 appeared first on Echoes from the Caverns. View the full article
  15. Read by Addy Chapter Nine. Kobolds, Trolls, and Liches? Oh My! Torgin stopped to check the torch supply they had left piled along the tunnel before their descent into the dark, after he ran back up to the main corridor. He also took a good look at his own equipment while he waited for the others to climb out of the sloping tunnel behind him. Doing the chores had kept his mind occupied but as he cleaned the blade of his axe, he had time to think. He was shaken by what had been done to the human volunteers in the experiment room. Those volunteers who were experimented on didn’t get anything out of the deal; it was not mutual. It was torture. People should not have to suffer nor lose their lives simply for the curiosity of others. Shuddering a little, he could not help but hope he would overcome whatever other evils he would find ahead. With a deep breath and nod of his head to these private conclusions, he turned and watched Phlebus, Lucy, and finally Zyrina emerge from the smaller tunnel. They had a moment to speak quietly among themselves and check their own gear as the newcomers caught their breath from the climb out of the troll pit. “What was done to those people…” Phlebus couldn’t even finish his sentence. He simply pursed his lips and shook his head. Zyrina looked away from the others and kept her thoughts to herself, but the slump of her shoulders was obvious. “Now we have to watch for kobolds, liches, and trolls?” Lucy asked as she looked both ways down the tunnels anxiously. “Who doesn’t like variety?” Torgin joked, trying to lighten his own mood and that of his sister, too. With a crooked half smile Lucy answered, “Ale, yes. Enemies? Not so much.” She shrugged and chuckled, “I prefer a nice strong dark ale and a single weak enemy.” “This way.” Torgin peered ahead into the semi-dark hallway that went on and on. The others followed quietly. Zyrina at the end of the line watched their rear. “Here we go a wandering throughout the mines so black. And as we go, I love to sing, my rucksack on my back.” Lucy stopped for a minute to light her torch, then continued loudly, “Come on join in! Falderi faldera falderi falder ha ha ha!” Her chorus rang out and echoed down the tunnel. “SSSHHHH! Lucy, are you TRYING to get us killed?” Zyrina shushed her friend. Lucy shot her an annoyed look, “How do you not know a single mining song at all?” Then they heard movement ahead of them in the tunnels and Lucy looked stricken. Zyrina had her bow ready to shoot before anyone even blinked. “I’m sorry,” Lucy whispered as her brother withdrew his axe from its holster. “I was trying to lighten the mood, too.” When Zyrina saw Torgin drop his weapon back into its holster and crouch down she still kept her arrow nocked and drawn, aimed just beyond Torgin’s left shoulder. Lucy couldn’t see why Torgin knelt, either. Then, snowy lynx paws wrapped around Torgin’s neck, and a fuzzy feline muzzle gave the side of his face a nuzzle. “I told you to stay put,” Torgin spoke gruffly to the lynx who rubbed up against his leg after he stood up again. “We have been gone a long while.” Lucy excused Kitty’s behaviour. Phlebus immediately stopped casting the bolt of electric energy that he was preparing, and Zyrina dropped the point of her arrow before releasing the tension on the string. Kitty walked a few steps into the dark then came back to the group and gave Torgin a piercing look before she padded down the corridor again. She was confident that Torgin would follow her. Torgin spoke over his shoulder as he started following the lynx into the gloom ahead of them. “She knows where to go.” “How does she know that?” Zyrina wanted to know. Lucy shrugged. “I don’t know, but Torgin hasn’t ever been wrong about what Kitty knows.” Lucy kept in step a little distance behind Torgin, humming a tune quietly to herself while holding the torch high. Torgin had light enough to see where he walked without blinding him. Phlebus and Zyrina followed quietly. Kitty, of course did not need the light but stayed close enough ahead that Torgin could make out the white and black swish of her tail every now and then at the edges of the light cast ahead of him. When Torgin stopped suddenly in the corridor so did everyone else. No one was daydreaming this time. There was an exit from the main corridor off to the right just at the edges of where the torch lit the darkness. Torgin spoke quietly, “Kitty sat down and faced that opening. There must be something in that cavern, or she would have gone in there or past it.” Still whispering, he nodded toward the entrance to the cavern, “Be ready.” It was a mid-size cavern, with dripping stalactites and stalagmites growing up from the floor to meet them around the room. Steaming pools of greenish mineral water collected in some of the hollows formed by the constant dripping. In the middle of the room there were several dead bodies on the ground around a small glowing lantern. But the most striking of the particulars was the large shimmering lich in the middle of the room who had just turned from its killing spree. Torgin drew his axe and took a deep breath. Zyrina stepped from the back of the group and worked her way up to beside Torgin. When they touched shoulders, it was time. “AAAAAARRRRRRRRR!!!!!” Torgin’s shout as he sprung through the door caught the attention of the lich. Next, Phlebus stepped through the doorway and spoke the final words for his fire ring spell. A large circle of flames shot up around the lich. The fire only burned Phlebus’s target; Torgin was untouched by the inferno. Torgin led off with a knockdown, pushing the lich right into the middle of Phlebus’s magical blaze. Zyrina entered to see Torgen swing his axe to strike the liche. The reverberation stuck the lich in place. Her arrows soon followed. She knew that Phlebus’s spells would not be the most helpful in this fight; physical strikes were the most effective way to overcome this magical monster. Liches were powerful mages but if Torgin and Phlebus could hold the lich in place she could send arrow after arrow into the target. Phlebus’s spells were long and complicated. Every time he was interrupted, he had to begin at the beginning. Magic was not very effective against a powerful lich mage because of all the interruptions; but he was doing what he could to assist. Zyrina was learning it was worth her effort to make sure that no one interrupted him while he was casting, and she took it upon herself to be his protector while he cast. It had taken him years to learn and to perfect these spells, but they were magnificent. She was proud of her friend; he had been only a handful of years out of childhood when they had parted. Now he had grown into a resourceful skilled mage. She grinned and went back to firing arrows one after the other. With the lich now stuck in place, Phlebus was already deciding on his next spell as he felt the healing touch of Lucy nearby. Lucy was casting a spell that she called Soothing Rain. It would keep healing each of them for a short time while they fought, no matter where they went in the room. Plebus was speaking a spell that would create a fire elemental wisp. It would strengthen any of the fire spells he cast. Immediately after it materialized like a human sized flame beside him, he began another ring of fire. Between them, Torgin and Phlebus kept the lich pinned in place. Zyrina kept firing arrow after arrow, even though it felt like she was assaulting thin air. Lucy helped everyone when she added some kind of boost to their health and movement speed with a song she was playing on her harp while interspersing faster healing spells to each of them individually. Her calls of “Asen-Reno” could be heard over and over again. It was this welcome surge of energy that helped Zyrina to stay focused when the lich started wearing away at her defenses. She fired arrow after arrow in piercing shots. The battle did not take long. Soon enough the lich was a crumpled heap of opaque gelatin at their feet and Torgin was nudging it with his foot to make sure it stayed dead. He dropped to kneel for a moment after making sure the thing was not coming back to life. “Ancestors,” was all he would say when he stood and saw Zyrina’s questioning eyebrow. “Are these dead the kobolds that ran off earlier? Or the ones who left before we arrived? Is the book on any of them?” Phlebus was already looking through the pockets and bags of the closest body. “They aren’t all kobolds. Look. This one is an elf. High ranked mage by the look of it.” Zyrina showed the body she had just turned over onto its back that was laying on its own by one of the pools in a dark corner of the cave. “Elves too?” Lucy’s eyes went round. “This is really too much.” Phlebus called from the back of the room where he had gone to examine yet one more of the stone statues. “There is an elf back here with a letter in its pocket, too. I can’t read the beginning of it. It’s smudged.” “Listen to this!” he called out again, and began to read aloud, “‘…have my suspicions about the fidelity of that mage we discussed previously. You know the one, the quiet one. I can’t recall his name. He doesn’t seem to take the usual approach to any of our activities here in the temple and doesn’t allow anyone to say “because we always did it that way” as an acceptable answer to his queries about procedure. I’m not sure if you remember he grew up here. Captured as a baby from one of the villages we passed through a couple of decades ago. The Southern Red Branch has been the only family he has known, and he has been a trial for us to raise. I still doubt the wisdom of keeping him here but bowed to the council’s request. After we realized he would not be a good volunteer for the procedure to bind him with a dragon, things deteriorated even further. You remember the reports of his protest when he found out we had used spiders from the southern caverns to conduct our early experiments? The protest signs? The petitions? Yes, well lately he has begun questioning the wisdom of casting spells using the assistance of the moon shards. Can you imagine? It’s not like he asks many questions, I’ve barely heard him speak and not often above a whisper, but those questions stick with you. Like this one: “Does it hurt the dragon when we merge it with another being?” What a silly question! Regardless of the cabal’s trials, I look forward to a visit with you. My best regards to your family, Nestor. I’m certain we will be out of this mine for Sequanna’s fest and can meet at…’” Dejectedly Phlebus concluded, “I can’t read any of the rest.” Zyrina spoke up then, “This Kobold has a part of a letter, too. I don’t think kobolds wrote this, either. This bit is addressed to Nestor, the Southern Red Branch. Listen: ‘The liches definitely have the book. Several of our mages have gone to the room of casting to retrieve it from them. After they left, several kobolds came screeching past our hiding spot in this cavern then continued down the corridor, and up to the lich room. I think that the kobolds are trying to claim the book for themselves after having discovered its power when they came upon the experiment room. It’s a good thing we were already leaving when the kobolds battled their way through the troll guards. I am certain they did not see us sneak out of the area while they were fighting. I am confident in the abilities of our mages to withstand a few kobold miners with weapons, but it didn’t seem needed. We are hiding here until the book is returned to us or we are all lost trying to retrieve it. I realize its importance. I am certain it was left when we fled the room of casting yesterday during the lich attack. If we had not forgotten it, we would already have left the area. The liches who attacked us are members of the Dougan family. It seems they have been trying to protect their family member, Merrik Dougan, who was one of our human subjects in the experiment. There were several clones of that human that failed but we used the original Merrik Dougan, and he lived through the transformation. There still are few more clone specimens in the vats for further experiments. We had finished with the experiments on animals as they were too stupid to try to control. I suppose all of that’s moot now. We have to leave. Liches have been attacking for months, but the attacks intensified yesterday when the kobolds became roused after discovering our trolls and experiment room. The liches are not in the mood to go back to their crypts. Kobolds are attacking everything they find but they have left us alone so far in this cavern, but I don’t feel sa…’” Zyrina looked up then. “Blood covers the rest of the page,” she finished. Phlebus mused, “Do you think this Nestor is their boss?” Torgin reasoned, “Regardless, I think some kobolds found these elves hiding here, killed them, and were plundering when the lich attacked them.” “The mages are all elves!” Lucy shouted far too loudly in her excitement, “Does that mean the mages who had the book are all elves?” No one moved for a moment taking in what must have happened in the room just before they arrived. In the quiet of the gloom in the damp and sulphur smelling cavern, Kitty spoke up, “Mrroeow.” Torgin’s chuckle filled the cavern before the others shushed him, but the silliness was a relief after their battle. They were soon all heaving with silent laughter each time that Kitty beckoned. “Kitty.” Torgin looked to his pet. “What is it?” Kitty left the room. Torgin followed. “Come on, there are more of them,” he called over his shoulder. Slowly the others regained their composure before turning to follow Torgin and Kitty from the cavern. “I think Kitty knows more than we realize.” Lucy voiced what they all were thinking as they gathered up their bags. “It’s a little spooky alright. Okay, get ready. There are bound to be more of those liches and elves, and maybe some kobolds too,” Zyrina reminded them, as if they had forgotten. “And trolls, don’t forget them,” Lucy muttered. “Right, kobolds, elves, liches, and trolls.” Phlebus grinned. “Your favourite.” He winked at Zyrina who smiled but did not laugh at Lucy’s fear. It’s not easy moving through damp dark muddy tunnels far underground looking for liches, elves, trolls, and kobolds. Not easy and not fun. Not at all. Torgin stood at a bend in the tunnel and grunted, “The path splits several ways. One of them rises. That’s the path to the liches. Hopefully, the magic book is still there. It needs to be taken from those elven mages. Listen, you can hear the sounds of battle now. Can you hear it?” Then, shuddering with anticipation, he took his axe out of its holster before reaching down to just behind Kitty’s ears and gently scratching the lynx standing by his knee. “Thanks, Kitty.” She melted into the shadows of the tunnel before they moved further on. Now, they completely gave up stealth. The ones ahead in the fight could not hear anything but the battle around them so it was a waste of time to try to hide any longer. After a short jog up a small incline and around a few bends, they entered what looked like an ancient room carved out of large blocks. There was light streaming from somewhere. Phlebus was sure this was another of the ancient rooms that had been buried during The Fall, or perhaps later, from the Obsidian period. They were found buried through all of New Britannia. There were large stone statues of humans leaning on the hilts of their swords, with the tip on the ground in front of each of them in a line along each of the long walls. In the middle of the room about halfway down the length, was a raised plinth with a big dragon leg bone laid on top of it. Nearby was a moon shard shackled with big metal chains to the ground. All that was at the base of a set of steps that led up to a throne at the very back of the room. Phlebus had no more time to contemplate the architecture. His spells were needed, and they took all his focus to cast. He took a moment to collect his thoughts, then something inside his head cleared and he knew that he had reached that part of him that could touch the magic there. This magic always took something from him, too; he knew that no magic was created without cost. Sometimes that cost was to his own body, like now. He continued to be more than willing to help his friends survive this battle, even if it meant a few changes for a few days. The changes were not usually permanent, and his hair had never remained snow white; he regained its dark luster in a matter of hours. His skin always smoothed back out, and his bent back straightened from the arthritic creaks that took hold of him while he cast. Magic that affected a whole area of enemies was incredibly draining to continue to cast and took longer to recover from afterward too. This was the fourth battle of the day. Phlebus was beginning to look ancient and frail. He hoped he had enough stamina and focus for the battle ahead of him. He felt the small pouch of vials Lucy had handed each of them earlier. ‘Take these when you have no power left and they will rejuvenate you,’ she had promised. He knew she was a competent potion maker and trusted that they would indeed revitalize him. She had also handed him some cold Demon Tea stored in a waterproof pouch. He never could figure out how she managed to always have exactly what he would need, but she did. Every time. He had sipped it quickly before entering the room. Torgin paused to take stock of what they faced before finding his first target. There were at least two liches that Torgin could see near the doorway that were not engaged in battle inside the room with the kobolds. There were several figures farther in who were battling up a set of stairs. As quickly as he could he took two deep breaths and then plunged himself into the fray. This time it was not just one single lich. It was mayhem. There were many liches, in battle with kobolds. Although the liches had killed most of the kobolds before they arrived there were still a few battling the liches, and now battling Torgin too. Torgin hopped over a few of their bodies on his way through the battlefield. The waves of attacks by liches seemed to go on for hours and by the end it was difficult for Torgin to even raise his axe without shaking with strain. He was half-heartedly swiping at the last kobold when Zyrina’s arrow pierced its chest, and it joined the others on the ground. Zyrina was out of poisonous arrows and had used all her steel headed ones. She had been picking them out of the dead and reusing the ones that still had integrity in the last minutes of the battle. Over at the entrance to the room, Phlebus had been knocked completely out cold near the edge of the fighting, but his eyes were now fluttering open as Lucy tended to him. Even Lucy’s supplies of reagents were sadly and nearly depleted and they were all barely still standing from exhaustion. When the room was finally silent, Torgin dropped to his knee again, followed this time by Zyrina. Lucy wove between the two of them, touching each and casting spells to speed their returning strength and health. She cleaned and patched superficial wounds as they recovered their breath. It had been a vicious fight. Yet here they were, still alive and with a sizable pile of defeated liches and kobolds on the marble floor all around the room. “Well, you two are in fairly good shape, considering. Even Phlebus is coming around after that bonk on his head.” Lucy patted Phlebus gently on the back to reassure him as he pushed himself to a sitting position. “At least there weren’t any trolls.” Torgin chuckled, “Indeed not.” When Torgin and Zyrina could stand they began searching among the dead with Lucy. Zyrina kept her bow and remaining arrow in her hands and Torgin did not sheath his axe. They were not sure if there was going to be more fighting even as they knew they would have a difficult time surviving another attack. After a few minutes of silence, Phlebus was ready to speak. “Did anyone see the book?” Unanimously, around the chamber there was a headshaking among the others. “There are elves among the fallen.” Zyrina reported as she bent over yet another body. “I don’t remember fighting any elves. They must have died before we arrived.” “Well,” Lucy said quietly while exploring around up the stairs at the end of the room. “There is a chest up here.” That woke them all up. “Chest?” Phlebus repeated while jumping to his feet unsteadily. He nimbly ran up the flight of stairs only to stop and stare with Lucy. “Are you kidding me?” Lucy was looking down at the mostly empty chest hidden behind the large throne. “The book isn’t here. There are a few wood scraps, a little bit of gold, and some old clothing.” Phlebus began feeling around the chest to check for a secret compartment. Down on the floor of the room, Zyrina and Torgin continued to go through the pockets of the fallen. “It’s not here.” Phlebus sounded disappointed after his thorough search of the chest. It was just a common chest. “There is a note in this fellow’s pocket.” Zyrina pulled the folded parchment from the pocket of the dead elf in front of her. “It reads, ‘success or death.’” “This message says that too.” Lucy threw the crumpled paper back to the ground after taking it from one of the fallen elves. “I found something.” Torgin called out. It was part of a letter that had obviously fallen out of someone’s pocket and been trampled in the battle. Most was not readable, but the message was clear. “Listen to this! ‘Nestor, I write as we pack to leave. We will get that magic book back from the liches regardless to the cost of our lives. Kobolds are close behind us. I can hear them in the passages. We have abandoned the experiment room. There is nowhere left to hide in these caves. Spiders and liches have taken over. Kobolds are digging everywhere and will soon find all our secrets here. There are rumours of others sneaking about. They must be searching for the book of magic, too. Several more liches broke free of our controls and turned to stone right in front of us. It is now confirmed that when using this magic book that when we lose control of a subject that they turn at once to stone. We shall teleport once we have recovered the magic book from the liches at their lair. One more battle. Success or death.’” The rest of the page is torn and stained with gore. “The Southern Red Branch got here first.” Then he spat. Such a small clue and so profound. “Turned to stone?” Lucy was considering something. “Did he say that the subjects were turned to stone when they lost control of them?” “Yes. That’s exactly what is written here. Apparently, those people in Jade Valley had been under control of these mages for some amount of time.” Phlebus bleakly pointed out. “Governor Hari is not going to like that at all.” “Where are the Red Branch now?” Torgin asked quietly and grimly. “Who is Nestor?” Lucy asked again. “I don’t know Lucy, but I’m sure going to find out,” Torgin vowed. “I’ll join you,” Phlebus pledged. “The governor will want to know more about the Southern Red Branch, as I’m sure will Lord British and Arabella. I don’t think they have suspected that the old obsidian magics are being revived right under our noses.” Zyrina was searching for any sign or possible direction the Southern Red Branch had gone but there was nothing. “Teleport scrolls,” she frowned and sniffed. “We won’t find them now.” Phlebus knew from experience that if Zyrina couldn’t find a residue that no track could be found. Teleport scrolls were the worst. After reading the words on a scroll, the reader is transported through space to a new location in Novia. The location is chosen new each time a scroll is read. Then the scroll disappears as well, in a puff of blue smoke. Completely untraceable. Zyrina hated them. “Then there is no way to find out where they have gone.” Phlebus shook his head, “They won’t be back now that this secret enclave has been routed and they have the magic book. There are no further answers here.” “Time to go make a report to Governor Hari?” Lucy asked hopefully. Phlebus nodded. “Just like that? It’s over?” Torgin looked disappointed, “I thought there would be more to it than that.” Then he kicked at the rock staircase with the toe of his boot. “No, it’s not over,” Phlebus vowed. “Jade Valley may now be rid of this menace but I’m going to find out who is responsible. They can’t hide forever.” He thrust both his arms over his head in a salute of courage just as Zyrina got to her feet beside him. Zyrina coughed, “Phlebus when was the last time you bathed?” Phlebus looked startled then shrugged and laughed heartily. “Apparently after I have a bath, that is.” There was a general chuckle around the group. After gazing around fondly at his friends as they gathered their things to find their way out of the mine, he could hear Torgin telling Lucy what it was he wanted to do topside. A meal and a hot tub sounded perfect to him, too. In that order. “Thank you, my friends. You have bravely fought with me to protect this town and valley. I have great respect for your skills and talents and the honour of fighting alongside each of you makes me very proud to call you friends. We were able to discover what was causing the trouble here in Jade Valley. Maybe even stopped it from happening again. But we don’t stop there. We seek justice for those who have suffered loss. With patience and wisdom, we may yet discover where the Southern Red Branch has fled. They may have gotten away this time, but our search continues.” He thumped his fist for emphasis. “We know what signs to look for now. We have done what we set out to do even if the answer was far grimmer than we imagined it. The loss of Jon the Caretaker weighs heavily on my spirit as I’m sure it does on each of you.” They all were silent for a moment recalling finding Jon in the cavern across from the Trolls. “The valley will know what happened to their family, friends, and their livestock. This day we will expose the Southern Red Branch. This day we chase them from this fair valley. They may go into hiding. We will wait. We are patient. That malevolence needs to be addressed. And we are more than up to the task. We shall prevail.” And he finished with a flourish of his hands that cast a boost of spirit to each of them seemingly unintentionally. The effects were obvious. The group seemed all to stand a little taller. Lucy snorted. “Did you practice that while we were fighting?” She winked at Phlebus. “That was a better speech than the one you gave when we were heading out to the unknown.” Then she broke into a fit of laughter. It was infectious and soon the whole group was grinning. Even Zyrina lowered her bow then smiled. After gathering up their belongings Torgin lead the group out. Turning left upon leaving the room of casting, he soon spotted Kitty waiting patiently at the exit to the main mining area. It was a long walk out of the mine to go tell the townsfolk that the mine was empty of kobolds. “Did you think your first assignment was worth it?” Lucy inquired of Phlebus as they trudged back to the entrance of the mine. “Yes.” He grinned. “Absolutely. It’s too bad we can’t follow the Red Branch anymore, but I’ll keep looking for them. I’m sure someone will want to know where they have gone.” “I just want an ale and some sleep. I’ll even buy the first round.” She winked at Phlebus. “That’s what I like to hear!” Torgin’s step took on a little more spring. “Come on, let’s get out of this place.” “We’re done.” Zyrina sounded as if she were relieved that they were at the end of their adventure. For now. May you all find the courage the truth and the love in your own lives, till next we find the magic. Echoes From the Caverns The post Stone Dragon Series – Book 1, Chapter 9 appeared first on Echoes from the Caverns. View the full article
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