Meanwhile... 5:1 The Pax Thyatis
A Declaration by the Emperor of Thyatia

Let it be declared, in every town and keep within the Empire, and her Holdings and Allied Lands within the Grand Duchy and the Emirates, and let it be heard throughout the Known World and lands beyond where His Imperial Majesty’s Divine Writ shall reach, and posted in every tavern, the words of Manfried Tolkien IV, Emperor by the Will of the Eight and by the Word of Vanya, Supreme Lord of Thyatia:

Whereas the Eye has fallen and the God of Tyranny been slain on this day by the efforts of the glorious hero and Cleric of Mighty Vanya Viatrix Reichart, and

Whereas King Deidrich Koertig, Hand of the Emperor and Commander of His Vast Legions, has already met with Li-Coreon, Voice of the Diamond Throne, in the ruins of the fallen Eye, and begun the process of making peace between our Great Peoples, and

Whereas the Imperial Calendar rests now on the year 302 of the Age of Steel, the Fourth and Longest of the Ages on the Calendar, now,

Therefore, let the Age of Steel be ended. Let the Long Celebration begin. Let the work in the fields be only to keep them fertile; let the granaries be opened, and a Season of Rest come upon the lands within the Empire. Let the Calendar begin again, and today be the first day of the first year of the Age of Ramparts. Let the walls of our cities never stand under Orcish threat again. Let this be remembered, in Ages to come, as the Pax Thyatis.

Meanwhile... 5:3 A Sudden Raid
A Moment in Threshold

The stench of the creatures filled the air. Tyler Palintus struggled to hold what calm he had. He was a barman, not a soldier, but tonight, it seemed, every able-bodied man and half the women in Threshold were playing the part.

They’d come from the east, as best Tyler could tell, from the direction of that cursed swamp in double-cursed Gullavia. Scaly hides, strange eyes that seemed not to hold souls, and that awful, gut-wrenching stench.

The elf – Sellion, he’d said his name was, the last time he’d stayed – stood beside him, saber even with Tyler’s own spear. The spear had belonged to Tyler’s grandfather, and he hadn’t been sure when he grabbed it from the mantle that the rusty head would stand up to a fight, that the old haft wouldn’t crack on the first blow he dealt with it, but so far the old weapon had stood up well. Better than its old wielder.

“What are they?” He called out, voice muffled by the cloth that filtered just enough of the stench away that he could stand to breathe at all.

“I’ve not seen them before,” the elf murmured, his quiet voice still plainly audible over the din of a dozen skirmishes. Tyler drove another creature to the side, barely avoiding being disemboweled by the heavy saber it carried, and Sellion ran it through with his rapier. “But they match the stories of the troglodytes.”

“Humbug,” Tyler growled, then dashed forward, winding himself but wounding a creature armed with a bow before it could fire at Dietrich Durgan, who was with his wife fighting another of the monsters near his shop. “No such thing!” He called out, catching the creature’s blade on the haft of his spear. An arrow from Sellion to its forehead downed it, and Tyler reached for its sword.

“Touch that not!” Sellion said, suddenly there, his hand on Tylers. “Troglodytes may indeed be but stories, but if stories are made flesh tonight… their steel is the poison of Laogzed.”
Tyler nodded, withdrawing his hand from the sword. “Good point,” he admitted.

“They strike the mill,” Sellion said, his head lifting quickly.

“I have to hold the inn. My wife and daughter…”

“Will suffocate in the smoke, or fall to poverty, should the town’s mill fall. In a day like this, the fate of one is linked to all.” The elf’s voice made Tyler believe he knew that from experience.

“Dietrich! Lanna!” Tyler called out to the smiths. “The mill!”

Together, the four charged.

Meanwhile... 5:8 A Letter from Coreon
The Beginning of Things

With Respect, to Monique d’Ambreville, Prince-Magician of Glantri,

I write to you in full acknowledgement of both our friendship and our mutual loyalties, and of your exceptional devotion to the causes of justice and peace. I understand that your goals and those of She Who Sits on the Throne coincide, and that you and your family fought bravely at the Eye.

Long have the Principalities of Glantri tolerated – and openly encouraged – an institution that we both recognize the evils of. I refer, of course, to the institution of serfdom – of keeping persons bound to land in labor for a master they do not choose. That institution is weakening; however, a slow dismantling is not sufficient – it never has been. The only acceptable outcome is that serfdom and all other forms of slavery within the lands which call themselves civilized be dismantled with all haste. I understand, from our last meeting, that you agree with the Empress in this matter, and that you avoid acting openly on that agreement out of worry of revolt by the nobles.

You can inform the nobles that you have the Empress’s support.

-Li Coreon
Voice of the Throne in Bastion

Meanwhile... 5:10 Dreams of Fire
The Raven Speaks

It was the same place where she had fallen asleep. It always was, when the Raven came to her. Yet usually, the sky was that of the brightest sunrises on the loveliest days in Rhoona; tonight, it was shadowy, with billowing clouds threatening a downpour that could drown villages.

The raven swooped at her. On most nights, it landed before her or on her shoulder, speaking so quietly she had to lean in to listen; tonight, it was wings and talons and fury, and it was all she could do not to raise her arm to defend herself.

The attack never came. The crimson bird broke off its dive inches from her cheek, near enough that she could feel the wind of its wings as it shot upward with a high, long scream.

The scream held no words, yet she heard its meaning as easily as a baker took an order of buns.

“Entropy’s spores ride Uisge’s winds!” The cry said, though she did not know who Uisge was, what Entropy’s spores could possibly be. “They seek to take root on the Great Tree! Beat against them, child! Send them back to the dark grove from which they sprung up, for their rooting on the Tree can only be cleansed with flame!”

She opened her mouth to ask the raven what it meant, what any of it meant, what had made it so angry, but it wheeled in the air and dove again. “The flame the elves knew! The flame the elves knew!”

Then the ground under her split open with a crack loud enough to wake the dead, and a burst of heat engulfed her, consumed her…

She sat bolt upright. She was on her hammock, in the small cottage she’d built with help from some of the villagers. Her dreams of the Raven always brought comfort. Tonight… she shook, drenched in sweat, enough that her hair was pasted to her skin and her nightgown clung to her. That scream still echoed in her ear, mixing with her own scream as she’d awoken.

She would not sleep again, tonight.

Meanwhile... 5:10 The Nest Leaves You
In the Dancing Swallow

Halzad Kalmalk, Dwarf bard, scald to the Kings under the Mountains, Taleteller to Emperors, and man whose lies about himself were only excused by the truth of his tales, sat on a stool at the Dancing Swallow, watching his apprentice. Badger was one of the few people Halzad had ever cared for – his father was a drunk, his mother absentee, the lot of his brothers either bastards or useless. He’d never married. But the day he’d first seen the girl who called herself Badger – a girl whose real name was hidden even from Halzad – his stony heart had softened just a little.

Thankfully, the girl had never given him reason to regret it, until today. Until now. Now, he watcher her perform one of the most difficult of the Twelve Songs – I Am Her Love, Yet I Love Her Not – and he smiled sadly. A proper performance of the song required dance, singing, and playing the fiddle, all stopping for somber spoken storytelling. Traditionally, it would be performed in Aelfish; that Badger had the villagers eating out of her hand in Thyatian was a further testament to how far she had come.

It would be time to start on her own, soon. As soon as he had a chance to go without her.
He was proud of her, and painfully sad.

Meanwhile... 5:10 Threshold's Pulse
Gisela's Diary

This, the first day of Spring. Old Whitebeak made his first appearance in the skies over town today, doing his dance for one of the small females – I think one of those hatched last year. Magog hides his joy at the first flowers just as well as he did a year ago; Dietrich has once more started his annual round of horseshoe-making in preparation for the plowhorses coming next week. Six births, two deaths, a small blizzard, and the every-second-noon eruptions of Crystal Pond.

Everything here moves like a heartbeat at rest, the same year after year.

My service to the Nine does bring me joy, my friend, and brings what little variety my life holds. Auril teaches that life is best with a regular rhythm; Pholtus, that justice comes in a roar but stays with peace. Yet Lir tells us to seek new experiences, the Raven Queen that the best preparation for the Final Passage is to take crossings from which there is no return.

I admit… I envy them sometimes. Eridne and Badger and that strange girl from the woods. They see so much more than I do, my friend. They touch the places far from the town, the wild places where things must change as much as the town stays the same. Magog takes Eridne to monster burrows and bandit camps; the girl from the woods goes wherever she wishes, and according to Halzad, Badger has even met the Emperor of Thyatia once.

Is it the place of some to simply remain where they are, while others see the glories of Mystara? Is that the will of the Nine? Is the fall of Tyranny a warning not to look too far past one’s place, or an invitation to freedom?

-A Note to my Paper Friend
On the First Day of the First Month of Spring, by Patera’s Reckoning
Gisela Brenier

V1 In Search of the Unknown Session 1
Threshold, the Caves of Quesqueton

The story begins with Phaenna arrested by Magog and placed in a barrel in the drunk tank in Threshold’s jail, watched over by Eridne. Nuriyah bails her out, and they set about their mission – retrieving a two-hundred-year-old bottle of sunbeam feywine from the Caves of Quesquaton, to deliver as a gift from the chief of the Giantish enclave to the Commander of Rattail Keep.

Phaenna and Nuriyah hired Eridne as a scout, and, after interviewing candidates, Badger as a healer. They then set off for the two-day trip from Threshold to the Caves, followed by Tyreshia. Eridne caught sight of Tyreshia and confronted her, but her confrontation was interrupted by a Charm Person spell and an attack on the camp by a giant centipede.

After dispatching the centipede, the party continued to the Caves. There, they found a pair of secret doors and proceeded through the one to the east, finding the home of Roghan the Fighter. A mysterious bedroom beyond an encounter with giant wolf-spiders (whose attack finally revealed the presence of Tyreshia to the others) yielded a golden comb and a full-length mirror. Badger caught Tyreshia hiding an amulet her mother desired after a fight with a goblin. In Roghan’s bedroom the group found heavy tapestries depicting the warrior’s exploits, and in his trophy room huge tusks and a wyvern skin. In a lounge, they found the feywine they sought; after retrieving the feywine, they faced goblins in the dining room.

After clearing the dining room, the party left the dungeon for a long rest and to stow their treasure.

Session Start Date: 1 Spring 1 5:10
Session End Date: 1 Spring 4 5:10

Meanwhile... 1 Spring 2 5:10 Departure of the Dwarf
Prelude to a Sad Badger

Lily Palintus hummed softly as she wiped the bar in the common room of the Dancing Swallow, cleaning yet another day’s spills away until the bar shined and was ready for tomorrow’s drunken patrons to undo all she did. Fill a glass, glass gets emptied. Clean a bar, bar gets dirtied. At least Ariane didn’t shrink again after she spent a day caring for her – though feeding her seemed to get undone with startling speed.

Her father, poking at the fire, spoke. “Headin’ out, Halzad?” That startled Lily, who looked up to see the dwarf, bags packed and halfway to the front door.

“You know me, Tyler. Never stay in one place long.” Halzad tipped his hat to Lily. “A pleasure as always, Mistress of the Swallow.”

“You’re always welcome back, Master bard,” Lily replied, though she frowned. “Are you going after the group Badger headed to Quesquaton with?”

“Ah, yeah…” Her father blinked. “Your girl did run off with the Ylari and that tiny drunken giant. You pickin’ her up on the way out? I doubt they’ll appreciate the interruption.”

Halzad brought a hand to his eye, and for a moment Lily could have sworn she saw him wipe a tear. “She’s the first apprentice I’ve taken since you took the bar, Tyler… you don’t know.” He tugged a chair out, dropped his bag to the nearest table with a loud thud, and sat in the seat, straddling it. “There’s a way my kind does things… not dwarves. Members of my tradition. Older than song itself, they say, started when the elves and dragons were trying to split the world between them. Apprentice is ready, they’ve got to go out on their own, right? But sometimes they don’t know they’re ready. Sometimes they’ll never know they’re ready. They’ve got to find out for themselves. So you send them out, and make sure they can’t come back to you easy.” He sighed, lifting his hands. “Right hand over here, showing something shiny.” From between his middle and index fingers, he pushed out a Thyatian gold crown, twirling it from finger to finger. “A new song, a treasure fit for a king, or at least an Archduke, an adventure for the ages. And the shiny’s real. But the real thing’s going on over here…” He opened his left hand, and in it was the necklace that had, a moment before, been around Lily’s neck. He passed it to her with a smile of professional pride. “The apprentice’s master’s sent her off on her own, and he’s gone off on his own. She’ll find him, or the College, soon enough, but it breaks off the apprenticeship right quick. I’m not sure it’s right, but it’s how it’s done.”

“Don’t you want to leave her a note?” Lily fastened her necklace back around her neck, giving Halzad a disapproving look that managed to make the dwarf wither a little in his seat.

“What’s there to say?” Halzad spread his arms. “Seven years, we’ve walked or ridden the roads from Vestland to Darokin. We’ve played Thyatis, Glantri City, Rhoona where the Slayer slew the Dragon. I’ve sung for Hulite war-chiefs while Badger lit their ale-tents with song and magic. Seven years since I took the girl from a place I wish I could forget and I’ll never forgive myself for the fact that she remembers. What needs saying’s been said. All that’s left…” He tossed the coin to Tyler, another to Lily, and lifted his bag. “Is the road.” He tilted his head. “Tell her…” He looked to Lily. “You’ll know what to tell her, for me. And make sure she’s got friends. The road’s only a friend when there’s more friends waiting at the next town.”

Then he was gone, into the night.

V1 In Search of the Unknown Session 2
Never Again, Tom Moldvay. Never Again.

The party continued their exploration of the Caves of Quesqueton. They finished exploring the Gnashroot goblins’ territory, then moved on to troglodyte territory.

Troglodyte territory was twisted and dark, home of horrors like the grick and the violet fungus. They found temples and shrines to Laogzed, but also the library of Zelliger, Roghan, and Melissa. Within the library, they retrieved books and a key for Zelliger’s cipher.

Tyre got a book of lore written in Zelliger’s cipher, and the party as a whole retrieved a great deal of treasure, much of which they will have to sell at Rattail Keep. Badger returned to Threshold to find Halzad gone.

Session Start Date: 1 Spring 4 5:10
Session End Date: 1 Spring 6 5:10
Downtime Ending: 1 Spring 8 5:10

Downtime Use

Eridne: Crafting (4 doses antivemon) 2/10 Dose 1
Badger: Practice a Profession (Wealthy)
Nuriyah: Practice a Profession (Comfortable)
Phaennah: Living Comfortable Lifestyle (Cost: 4 GP)
Tyreshia: Training (Thieves’ Tools) 2/250
Dietrich and Lanna: Crafting (Plate Armor) 2/200

V2 Keep on the Borderlands
Just a summary of time

Adventure Start Date: 1 Spring 8 5:10
Reached the Keep: 1 Spring 10 5:10
Reached Caves of Chaos: 1 Spring 12 5:10
Left Caves of Chaos: 1 Spring 14 5:10
Returned to Keep: 1 Spring 16 5:10
Returned to Threshold: 1 Spring 18 5:10
103 Days Downtime: 1 Summer 29 5:10

Downtime Use:

Eridne: Healer’s Kit (Learn) 65/250
Badger: Research Zelliger’s Lorebook 103/200
Nuriyah: Learn Aegis 103/200
Phaenna: Artillery (Learn) 103/250
Tyreshia: Thieves’ Tools (Learn) 105/250
Dietrich and Lanna: Crafting Plate Armor (113/250)
Expert Looking at Medallion: 105/200


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