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Posted by on 1999 Feb 23 |

356: The Year in Review

(The Provinces: 8 Akroeg 357)

As the year was beginning, we had just recovered from the terror that stalked the realms of the undead, the uncouth, and even, dare I say it, the ungodly as the dreadful storm overtook us. The gift of life was severed and spirits roamed, confused. When these dark days were lifted, we spent the last of the days of 355 recovering. With this behind us, we began the year a bit more wary, and for most of us, with more favors than before!

At the beginning of the year of the Crystal Hare, 356, Leth Deriel was the site of a summit held between the L’Karm and representatives of the Provincial governments. Ralel, on the orders of Queen Morganae, was arrested there.

But time moved swiftly by, the Annual Bardic Tournament Winners were announced, Ogres were found squatting in previous wildlands (no small challenge, either) and a small force of Gorbesh attacked the Crossing. Gorbesh scouts were also seen around Shard at times.

An earthquake up in Ker’Leor unearthed a relic obelisk of immense power. Visions led to it, Scholars and Amiss studied it. Finally, in a blaze of light beams seen around the Realms, it seemed to re-align our very moons. Trouble was, near as we could figure out, there was one moon short from the time it was created. And in the wake of these shooting beams of light, there came a rain of lurid green lightning, death, and awful spirits. When it was all over, moon mages noticed a lot of difference in the power of the moons, we witnessed the revival of an old, and far more accurate timekeeping system, but the old artifact was reduced to slag.

The social news highlights of the year included a cozy rennovation at the Paladin’s guild, and a continuation of the popular End of the Week concerts by various skilled performers. A huge festival, the Ten’ra Agalith, opened in Shard again with many merchants and games. Oddly enough, it was at a different time of the year this time — and of course, no city officials were available to comment on the anomaly. Everyone had a delightful few weeks’ fun at the open houses by some of our Guardian Mages, including Treveri, Derry, and Shalnhh.

But the most visible social function of the year came near the end of the year in a huge Ball up in the Baron’s Keep. And turned into a brawl of nobility!

Wren Windflower, bardess captured by the Gorbesh during the seige of Sorrow’s Spring, was rescued from her years of ordeal to the cheers of the citizens of the Realms. No sooner had she recovered somewhat than a paid assassin, one of our own citizens, slew her for 35 platinum pieces.

But that was not all the surprising criminal actions of members of our society which we watched rise from the depths of depravity. Some people openly joined L’Karm and held meetings and recruitment for the terrorist organization. Other little gangs of thugs tried to terrorize and bully youngsters. And the price of life must have gone down, because violence in the name of "sparring" is rampant on our very streets now, without even regard to being fairly matched. Indeed, the lessons of violence on each successive generation of arrivals in the realms is heartbreaking and clearly evident.

We never knew what brought them, or where they went, but mistletoads brought a horrific plague to the Crossing. In the earliest days of the epidemic, just passing through an area where someone was coughing was enough to infect you, and most died from it. An emergency situation was declared by a number of organizations and leaders as the plague continued. They tried to get a grip on the consumption that was spreading faster than empaths could ever hope to keep up with. Quarrantines were set up while scholars and philosophers, who were still alive, wondered what had happened, and how to prevent it again. While some people stood out as heroes, saving the dead and dieing, others took the baser route and looked out only for themselves. While some who were infected quarantined themselves, others gleefully ran to neighboring cities, purposefully spreading the plague.

Half the year had gone by with hardly another word out of Leth Deriel when some news brought an interesting twist to the events at the beginning of the year. It seems that Ralel and Lindryl are Husband and Wife. Estranged, but still, they were married. As people pondered this new information, and all its ramifications, another public forum was scheduled.

By far the biggest news of the year was to dominate the last portion of the year as public passenger service was restored to Qi’Reshalia. First the new dock was made ready, and then, those who had prepaid seats on the boats got a preview. An expensive one, in both time and coins for the lifts. As people prepared to travel, guilds hurried to make sure they taught spells that would be useful in water habitats, and once there, bards found several water resistant intsruments for sale at the Luthiere in Ratha. Many brave adventurers died blazing some very trecherous paths on the Isles.

The year did not go out quietly. By the time Jeolandu arrived, there were fylgja and dire visions and warnings at holy altars. Immense goblin forces inundated the Crossing with an organization that seemed to outdo anything defenders could muster. The Kra’hei claimed many a soul under Ratha.

Velmix resurfaces, spouting the same cryptic nonsense about the One and True King on the heels of the goblin attack.

But on the darkest night of the year, the Hag herself rode her terrible black unicorn across the skies and rampaged the Crossing with wave after wave of fearsome creatures and endless deaths.

And with no small sigh of relief, we all woke up to the sunshine and the dawn of the new year, 357 years after the Victory of Lanival, in the year of the Silver Unicorn.

Talk about your favorite, or not so favorite parts of the year. Did I miss something? See the message board for more.