Ultima Online Event Arc

By Lady Flame

2010 World Wide Events

The Title Will be Changed once we know more about what this event is about.

As normal I will update this thread as the events unfold and will cover events that have a world wide universal outcome. But some of these events will be handled by local shard EMs and so although the outcome will be the same as other shards the event itself will differ from shard to shard, these will be identified by an * beside the titles. The shards events I will be reporting from will be Europa's.

 1. Lost & Found Part - 1 (Sherry finds hidden room in Castle)

2. Good Outpost Make Good Neighbors (Discusion on building in Abyss)

3. Abyss Frontier (2 houses built in Stygian Abyss)

4. In the Shadow of Virtue (lost and found part 2)

5. In the Shadow of Virtue – (Lost and Found part 3) (ricardo's password to Lord British's vault

Lost and Found – Part 1                                                          

The Guards were sent information on an investigation Sherry the Mouse was undertaking.

Lost & Found - Part 1

Amber Turner                                                      26 Feb 2010

Sherry’s whiskers shivered with anticipation as she crept between the aging stones of the castle. She’d suspected for quite some time that something lay behind the oddly foreshortened wall of the throne room, but it wasn’t until recently that she’d been able to find a place where the stones at the base were weakened enough to force a way through. Clearing away the crumbled stone had taken several tail-wrenching trips until a few of the castle servants began offering helpful hands. The end result was a new mouse hole and a dust coated Sherry but no amount of debris in her fur could detract from the thrill of discovery: soon she would be where no mouse had been before!

The air was close; chokingly full of dust and heavy with time. As she pulled herself through the tight confines of the hole and into the chamber beyond Sherry blinked in surprise. The area was faintly illuminated! Nervously casting about for the source of the glow, Sherry fastened her gaze upon a small bundle of what appeared to be silk. The source of the illumination was coming from within. Gingerly Sherry extended a claw to prod at the dusty fabric only to recoil with a startled squeak as the aging cloth parted and tore, disintegrating to reveal a strange translucent shape.

Tail in claw, Sherry edged closer to investigate…

 They immediately travelled to Castle Britain and unable to find Sherry the Mouse they spoke to the servants and Guards, who were unable to provide any additional information.

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2. Good Outposts Make Good Neighbors                             

The Guards recieved information on a visit with Queen Dawn from Queen Zhah. 

Good Outposts Make Good Neighbors

Mark Steelman

02 Apr 2010 12:34:23 EST

As Dawn was about to step into the receiving chamber, she paused in front of the mirror near the door and tucked a ringlet of her brown hair back into place.  It defiantly popped free again.  Dawn clenched her lips and shook her head slowly.

How did I ever end up playing the part of queen? she thought to herself as she examined her appearance in the mirror.  I am a warrior, a third-generation royal guard.  I have fought orcs and ophidians and demons and giant, mutant plants and all sorts of monsters… and now it seems I must face tea parties with potentates and dignitaries.  I am unsure which is more likely to kill me.

Dawn didn’t have a problem with the gargoyles nor with Zhah specifically.  Zhah was cordial enough but Dawn always felt that the gargoyles were hiding something… she hadn’t figured out what and she didn’t want to appear suspicious of her allies without just cause.  The one thing she was sure of was that Zhah had come to her for aid; that the gargoyles definitely needed help, and it was her duty to the Virtues -- nay, her instinct -- to help them.  Nevertheless, Dawn preferred to be more straightforward in her dealings than her current position allowed; all this smiling and posturing and primping made her feel like she was about to split in two.

Wetting her finger to smooth her left eyebrow and resigning herself to the state of her hair, Dawn made a final adjustment to her gown, took a deep breath and then entered the receiving chamber.

Sitting alone in the room, (“alone” if you didn’t count her personal guard of eight well-armored, demonically-bewinged gargoyles), was Queen Zhah.  Dawn forced a smile to prevent her lips from clenching again.  She found gargoyles to be a bit… well… horrific, and though she had been taught from a young age not to judge a book by its cover, she found herself wishing she was armed with more than the dagger strapped to her calf.

“Welcome Queen Zhah, it is good of you to visit us again.”  The two women embraced each other in a cool but cordial greeting, punctuated with a ginger peck to the cheek.  Dawn’s hair snagged on one of Zhah’s horns as they did this, but she quickly patted it back into place as gracefully as she could.  With the greeting now resolved, the leaders of the largest kingdoms in two worlds sat down to tea.

After what seemed to Dawn to be an eternity of idle chit-chat, Zhah brought their meeting to the point.  “My dear Dawn, as much as it pains me to dispense with these pleasantries, I would like to discuss our mutual problem.”

“Indeed, Zhah,” said Dawn leaning forward, “the Stygian Abyss….”  Dawn found tactical military planning so much more interesting than discussing the optimal flight paths between her castle and Zhah’s palace.  That Zhah wouldn’t use the runebook she had given her was annoying to say the least.  “I’ve given this matter a great deal of thought.” Dawn continued, “Britannia has no intention of sealing the Abyss or of trying to banish the entrance as this would prevent travel between our worlds.  Britannia remains committed to our treaty with your people and we value the cultural exchange.” 

Dawn almost startled herself with the diplomatic flair of that last statement.   Had that come from her mouth?  She thought it had sounded rather queenly… didn’t it?

Zhah sat back and raised her peaked eyebrows.  “Well, we are glad to hear it….”  Now it was Zhah’s turn to clench her lips, but she continued without missing a beat.  “I assume you have attempted to build an outpost there?”

“Indeed,” nodded Dawn, “and I assume you have as well.  I also assume you have met with similar problems.  It seems that something is very different about the Abyss relative to the worlds where we live.”  Dawn sipped her tea, deferring the conversation to Zhah.

“Indeed we have.  There is too much chaos in the abyss to build structures there.  And yet, it appears that someone at some time did so.”  Zhah examined the dessert tray.  “Do any of these have meat in them?”

“The sausage balls do, but the mincemeat pie actually doesn’t,” said Dawn, gesturing.

“Your mincemeat pie doesn’t have meat in it?  ‘Tis a pity,” said Zhah, taking a sausage ball.

“I suppose so.” said Dawn with a genuine smile.  Dawn was quite pleased; she had always felt similarly.  She resisted the urge to ask Zhah what gargoyles put in their mince.  “As you were saying, something is preventing us from building there, but my councilors believe that it is actually the taint of evil.  It’s most likely from the Slasher of Veils and not Chaos.  I’ve always thought of “Chaos” as a political matter, not a magical one.”

“Hmm…” said Zhah.  It wasn’t obvious at that moment if she was reacting to Dawn’s statement or to the taste of the hors d’oeuvre.  Zhah looked pensive and laid the other half of it on her plate, wiping her long fingers absently on her napkin.  “Well,” she said after thoughtfully chewing and swallowing, “I won’t presume that your advisors are incompetent… but if they are right about the demon in the Abyss preventing you from building… then your architects use a strange magic indeed.”

Now it was Dawn's turn to raise her eyebrows; as she did so, she felt the half-hour's worth of careful smoothing and penciling give way.  She was sure her eyebrows would eventually be her undoing but no matter; it appeared this parlay was all but over.  It was obvious that Zhah did not have the secret to her outpost building problems.  However, it was also obvious that she would not take the building of a Britannian military outpost in the Stygian Abyss as an aggressive act.  That was all she’d really needed to know.

Dawn picked up a sausage ball from the tray and examined it.  She crinkled her brow and thought, I hope those book-hugging mages come up with a solution to this outpost problem before some new beasty pops out of that chasm and eats us all.  She popped the savory snack into her mouth and smiled to herself with a new thought as she turned back to the conversation with Zhah.  Maybe I can just feed the beasty these meatless mincemeat pies that no one seems to want.

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3. Abyss Frontier                                                                       

The Guards checked Castle Britain regally and soon meet Sir Geoffrey The Captain Of The Royal Guard in a side room at the castles entrance. When the Guards approached him he quickly spoke to them.

I’m sorry, I have nothing for you at this time

You must visit Dexter in the Castle and get a lamp of Spirituality before you can get a quest from Sir Geoffrey.

The Guards went to speak with Dexter The Royal Mage who was waiting for them up stairs in a room.

So, you are one of the candidates for the position Ranger of the abyss? Very good, I will help you prepare.

For Dawn’s campaign you will need a lamp of spirituality. A lamp of spirituality detects extreme levels of good and evil. In this case we are using it to detect evil... and err, good.

Anyway, it doesn’t detect the garden variety evil that one might normally find in Britannia or it would just be changing color all time and not be very useful. It detects infernal evil, as arch-demon levels of evil. You are going to be using its power to detect the influence of the Slasher of Veils! When you are in the Stygian Abyss, you will see its light turns from white to purple, this is due to the vice corruption.

I will make one of these lamps for you but you will need to gather the ingredients. The ingredients are both common and rare, but I assume that you are prepared for adventure? The ingredients are... are you writing this down?

The ingredients are:

1] a lantern

2] a silver sapling seed

3] a rare serpents egg

4] a dark wisp orb

I hear the rare serpents egg can be found near the lair of Medusa in the Abyss... very dangerous, better you than me... err, no offence intended. The wisp orb is an item that is usually protected by dark wisps. I understand there are some in Ilshenar, if you see some wisps look around for a treasure chest, a wisp orb will be inside... it’s weird, I know. Hmm... I wonder how they open the chest? Anyway, I’m pretty sure you are going to have to kill the wisps to break the spell on the chest.

Are you prepared to take on this dangerous quest?

The Guards nodded and left to collect the needed ingrients.

Travelling first to the Stygian Abyss the Guards made their way towards Medusas lair. They soon found the snake mounds and stated to charm snakes to collect the necessary  Rare Serpents Egg.  From there they made their way to the North western corner of the dungeon to gather A Seed Of The Silver Sapling. With these two items safely tucked in their bags they travelled to the depths of Wisp Dungeon in Ilshenar. There they discovered a new breed of Wisp much better trained than the Dark Wisps they were used to. Pairs of these Dark Wisp [Guardian]s would protect the Dark Wisp Treasure with their lives, and it was only after destroying both could the Guards access the Dark Wisp Treasure and collects the necessary Dark Wisp Orb. The final component the Guards bought from the Tinkers in Britain on their way back to castle British and to give the all to Dexter.

Very good, it will only take a minute for me to combine these.

Dexter moved quickly about the lab, dipping the ingredients in strange chemicals, putting them into strange contraptions, and occasionally hitting them with a hammer.

Here you go,

He smiled at them as he handed over what he had made.

One bona fide lantern of spirituality. If you ever need to refill it, you can use regular lamp oil. Take this to Sir Geoffrey, he will tell you what to do with it. You can find him at the guard station by the gate of the castle.

As instructed they went straight to Sir Geoffrey The Captain Of The Royal Guard. At first Sir Geoffrey instructed them to go speak to Dexter, and then a thought came to the Guards.

You must be holding your lamp of spirituality so that Sir Geoffrey knows you are prepared before you can get a quest from him.

So proudly they held up there lamps in their hands to show Sir Geoffrey that they were prepared.

Hail citizen! I see you have a lamp of spirituality. I now have an important mission for you on behalf of our queen, Dawn.

It is her majesty's desire to have an outpost within the Stygian Abyss: however, it is currently impossible due to the strong vice influence of the Slasher of Vails. Unfortunately, killing him is not the simple answer and we must fight his influence by other means. I would ask you aid in this campaign: your service will place you in the queen's favour and will be rewarded.

Now, this is news to me but I am told there are locations in Sosaria called virtue nodes: ii seems these locations radiate virtue.  Dexter says that there are more of them in Trammel than Felucca, but they are fairly common and they clean the vice from the world. He believes that we will be able to use lamps of spirituality to discover virtue nodes in the stygian Abyss and then use them to push back the influence of the Slasher of Veils enough to build an outpost.

Use your lantern of spirituality to seek out these virtue nodes, your lamp will glow green when you find one. Bury this virtue crystal at the spot and it grow and amplify the node, which will cause additional nodes to be revealed. If we can discover and strengthen enough nodes, they will create a location that pure enough that we can build an outpost... Will you take the quest?

They simply nodded their acceptance. Sir Geoffrey handed them a Virtue Crystal and simply instructed.

Bury the virtue crystal in the specified location.

Accepting the virtue crustal they left to search for the right location within the abyss. Entering the Abyss they stopped a moment to think.

They recalled that Sir Geoffrey told them to bury the crystal near a virtue node in the Stygian Abyss so they did not bury it there.

They looked at the lantern and noticed it now gave off a purple glow and after much searching the glow suddenly turned to green, they had found the right spot.

They carefully buried the virtue crystal in the ground near the virtue node. Their quest was complete. So they return to inform Sir Geoffrey.

Well done. As the corruption in the stygian abyss is cleaned away, we hope more virtue nodes will be uncovered that are currently overwhelmed by the presence of the Slasher of Veils.

 Behind me you will find my war chest. As the kingdom has many challenges that I must address and the rewards at my disposal are varied, I ask that you take one item from it and return again tomorrow.

The Guards return daily to repeat Sir Geoffre's quest and everyone received a reward from his war chest, but a few were lucky enough to be rewarded with either a Frostguard Talisman or a Ranger's Cloak Of Augmentation.

Whilst this was going on within Sosaria a similar quest was being done within Tur Mur the lands of the Gargoyles.

The Gargoyles searched out Lorrelinlem the Lens Maker.

What? Oh, you’re here about the lamp of singularity. Hmm ... No worries, I can make a new one, just give me a few ...

Wait, I don’t have the ingredients...

Ok, well, here’s the deal. I can make you a lamp of singularity but now will need to gather the ingredients. They are... wait... oh, I know, they are:

1] a lantern

2] a draconic orb, found in the abyss near the lair of the Stygian Dragon.

3] Cherry blossoms from the Shrine of Direction... err... wait, that shrine has been consumed in void. Oh, I’ve heard of a place in the human world, the shrine of Isamu... sure, I’ll just have to straighten them out a bit... get some cherry blossoms from that plant.

4] a flaming bud from the Cyclops in... wait, that place was consumed by the void too... Hmm, I hear from visitors that there are Cyclops in the Lost Lands of the human world, some of them may have a flaming bud treasure.

Ok, so if you bring me those things, I will make you a sandwich... wait, I mean I will make you a lamp of singularity.

The Gargoyles first went to Titan Valley in the Lost Lands and soon discovered two vigilant Cyclops [Guardian]’s defending a Cyclops Treasure chest which seemed to glow and was locked. Once however they were victorious over the vigilant Cyclops [Guardian]’s the glow vanished and it became unlocked. Quickly opening the Cyclops Treasure chest they took their prize, a flaming bud and they left for the Stygian abyss to collect a draconic orb. It was not long before they had found what they sort and they now travelled to the shrine of Isamu on the Isle of Isamu-jima . They took the necessary Cherry blossoms from the trees and calling by a provisioner to buy a lantern they returned to Lorrelinlem The Lens Maker.

Ah, you’re back. Oh, I see you have some... stuff.

Oh right, you wanted me to make a sandwich. No, wait, don’t tell me... you wanted me to make...

Give me a small hint... starts with... oh, a lamp of singularity! I got it! Ok, no problem, I can do that.

Here you go! Now, you need to go to the Royal City and speak with Uskadesh. You can find him in his office at the Ministry of War, east of the city.

Taking the lamp of singularity and thanking Lorrelinlem for making it they flew off to speak with Uskadesh.

May the queen find favour with you! I see you have obtained a lamp of singularity, pity they have been rare for so long...  anyway, no time for regrets, we have important work for you and your lamp! Queen Zhah has declared that we will have an outpost in the Stygian Abyss to watch for new threats to our people and by the Principles we will have one!

So far, our efforts have been unsuccessful due to energies of the abyss being too unstable. Anything we build their crumbles within the hour.

Naxatilor, whose wisdom has always served us well, has recommended a strategy. There are places in Ter Mur the Mystics call “order nodes.” These locations are the source of all order and stability. They connect to each other and create a framework on which we build our magic and our society.

Naxatilor believes that these nodes also exist in the Stygian Abyss... despite its apparent utter chaos. I want you to travel the Stygian Abyss where the chaos makes your lamp glow red. If you find n order node, your lamp will glow blue. Plant the order crystal that I give you there.

As the crystal grows in the energy of the node, the node will be amplified and push back the chaos, hopefully revealing other nodes and ultimately an area of stability where we can build our outpost. If you will take this quest, your service will be rewarded from my war chest.

Taking the order crystal the Gargoyle forces made their way into Stygian Abyss. No sooner had they entered then the lamp lights glowed red as foretold and after some searching they found a spot where it glowed deep blue.  

They carefully buried the order crystal in the ground near the order node.

With their quest complete they returned to Uskadesh  The Minister Of War to make their report and gather their reward.

So, there is hope after all. Your success and knowledge that Naxatilor’s plan may yet succeed is very encouraging. These times are dark and our people need a victory.

Behind me you will find my war chest. As there have been many demands placed on it in recent years, my capacity to reward those who serve is varied and I ask that you take one item at random from that chest as your reward.

Perhaps in time the order node that you have reinforced with the crystal will strengthen more nodes in the way that your success has strengthened my resolve. We must succeed, there is no other option.

Each day they returned to search for more nodes and bury more order crystals. A few of them received a Frostguard Talisman or a Warden’s Armour Of Augmentation from Uskadesh’s war chest as their reward.

After many trips to the stygian Abyss the news had finally was starting to be spread that things had changed, so the Guards quickly raced to speak with Sir Geoffrey.

Oh good, you’re back. Now that we have found a suitable place to build an outpost, we have one final task. All houses in Sosaria are protected by a powerful magic that keeps them secure. This magic  is infused in ink that we use to make house deeds. Our normal house deed ink has failed to deed the outpost so Dexter has been working on an alternate formula.

Because so many have helped get us to this point, Queen Dawn has decided to turn the selection of the Ranger of the Abyss over to fate. To that end, I have been ordered to commission those who have helped with this campaign to test the new formulas.  Whoever tests the winning formula will be appointed the Ranger of the Abyss.

You will need your lamp of spirituality for this test, take the lamp and the ink into the Stygian Abyss and go to the location of the Outpost. When your lamp has turned its normal color, pour the ink into the flame. If the formula is right, the flame will dance wildly, otherwise it will probably go out. Return to me and report your findings and you will be rewarded from my chest.

As told they took the Virtue-Infused Ink to the outpost location in the Abyss where their lamp burned with a normal flame and poured their ink over it.

Unfortunately, the ink sputters impotently, dousing the lantern, this was not their lucky day.

The ink turned colour and they returned to Sir Geoffrey to report this and collect another reward from his chest.

Oh, the vexation!

Ah, well. I shell tell Dexter and he will have a new formula for you to try tomorrow if you wish to have another go at it. Please take a reward from my war chest for your service.

Daily they returned to do the quest again and again till one day the news was received that someone had received a Ranger Of The Abyss Commision ticket when doing the quest and they proceeded to build the human/elf outpost in Stygian abyss.

During this time a similar situation was happening in the Royal City, Uskadesh the Minister of War was giving out a quest for a Gargoyle outpost.

I have some bad news. A new problem has come upon us but we must be strong. All houses in Ter-Mur are protected by powerful magic that keeps them secure. This magic is in the ingredients of the ink which is used to deed the house. The problem is, our ink is not working in the Stygian Abyss, even where the lamp of singularity does not detect chaos.

Now for the good news. You have a very small chance to become the Warden of the Abyss. Naxatilor is trying to create an ink formula that will work in the Stygian Abyss. I have in my possession a vial of one of his new formulas.

I offer you the chance to take it to the outpost site and test it. The queen has declared that whoever tests the formula that secures the outpost will be appointed Warden of the Abyss.

Test the ink by pouring the vial into the flame of your lamp of singularity while standing in the spot where we are building the outpost. If this is the formula that works, you will know it immediately as the flame will sparkle and pop. If the formula fails, it will probably douse the lamp. Either way, you have done another service to your people and I will reward it from my war chest.

Taking the Order-Infused Ink the Gargoyles did as requested. For days the reaction they got from placing the Ink on the lamp was dissapointing.

Unfortunately, the ink sputters impotently, dousing the lantern. This was not your lucky day.

They returned to Uskadesh and collect their reward.

Hmm... this is most unfortunate. I will be relieved when this matter is put to rest.

But so be it, we shell persist. I will tell Naxatilor that we need a new formula. Come back tomo 

They kept trying differant formulars until finally the news arrived that someone had successfully found the right ink and received a Warden Of The Abyss Commision ticket, so it was that a Gargoyle outpost was constructed within Stygian’s Abyss.

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In the Shadow of Virtue  (Lost and Found Part 2)                   

Whilst everyone was assisting with the Stygian Abyss outpost quests some interesting information was leeked from Castle Britain

In the Shadow of Virtue  (Lost and Found Part 2) 

Captain Avery stood before Queen Dawn at attention, even though with Lord Francesco dead he wasn’t technically a member of any militia.   Old habits from old identities die hard, thought Sherry.

A few moments earlier, Captain Avery had entered the chamber and found Queen Dawn and Dexter the Mage in an animated debate.  He didn’t seem to notice Sherry the mouse, with whom they had also been speaking, because she was under the edge of the sofa by one of the legs.  All three of them had stood as he entered the room; their shame in his presence was palpable.

“Oh, I’m sorry to interrupt, your highness.  I will come back later.”

“Please come in.  We are discussing something that concerns you.” said Dawn, almost apologetically.

“Yes, your highness.” And thus he had sprung to attention.

“At ease, Captain.” Dawn’s usual verve was returning and she smirked.  “This isn’t an inspection.”  She extended her hand to him to welcome him.  Avery stepped forward, took her hand and bowed until his forehead touched the back of it.  Well, at least he managed not to salute her again, Sherry thought.

The queen blushed at his gallant, if awkward, gesture.  “I trust that your accommodations here at the castle have been acceptable?” she fumbled.

“Yes your highness, it is far above what I am accustomed to.”  Avery said with a pleasant smile.  He quickly added, “I meant to refer to when I was living in the barracks of Lord Francesco, of course.”

Wow, thought Sherry, Now I bet Dawn and Dexter wish they were hiding under the sofa….  Avery is truly a remarkable man to resist bitterness after so much hardship, Sherry thought to herself. 

Eight months ago, after a distinguished military career, Avery had been framed by Casca for the murder of the royal council and thrown in Yew Prison pending execution.  Only recently had he been absolved of the crime and released.  It seemed that with all that had happened he had simply been forgotten.  In an obvious attempt to say, “I’m really really really sorry we accidently left you in prison for eight months for a crime you didn’t commit,” Queen Dawn had made Avery her personal guest at the castle.

Prison has changed him, thought Sherry.  He seems more serene now.  In earlier times when Sherry’d seen him in the castle, he was always rushing by, saluting, reporting, listening to new orders, and rushing off.  Since his return from Yew, Avery spent most of his days in the gardens or out by the shore.  He seemed to avoid the more bustling parts of Britain and preferred the grass and the sun and the sea.  Even his clothes were more relaxed; linen shirts and soft leather boots were his uniform these days.

“One of your charming tales led Sherry to make an important discovery.”  Sherry noted that Dawn was becoming skilled at recovering from awkward social moments.  It must come with practice.

Sherry smiled to herself as she recalled the tale that had begun her quest.  Avery certainly can do a spot-on imitation of Ricardo, she mused.  Well, I suppose they spent enough time together in prison.

In her mind, Sherry could see Avery hunched over, one eye wide, the other squinted, his fingers waving near his head to resemble Ricardo’s shaggy and disheveled hair.  “Lord British’s Vault is a place of legend among us thieves!  It contains expensive things, things what have the added value of belonging to Lord British himself!  Among its treasures be items such as The Crystal of Duplicity; the very one which Lord British took from Minax when she infiltrated Trammel…”

Avery turned from Dawn and looked directly at her, “Uh-oh, Sherry, what have you been up to?”  His sudden acknowledgement snapped her out of the daydream and spooked her.  Was she so easy to spot?  She resisted the urge to scurry farther under the sofa.

“I found the vault… and the crystal.”  said Sherry, holding her ground.

“Surely you are joking.” Avery turned back to Dawn with a quizzical look.  “That was just a mad story from a poor wretch of a man.”

“Mad or no, the crystal exists, and it is here.  We’re just trying to decide if we should let the cat out of the bag.” said Dawn.  “And, of course… how to get the bag open.”

Sherry frowned.  She had asked Dawn to stop using that expression.  It was inconsiderate.

“But there is more,” said Dawn with a look of glee.  “Tell him, Dex.”

“Oh, um, ok.” said Dexter, eyeing both Dawn and Avery.  “Well, my research suggests that the crystal Sherry describes matches one owned by Nystul… The Nystul… the one that split Trammel from Felucca and created a spell over Trammel to protect it…”

“I know who Nystul is, Dexter.” said Avery, nodding.

“The short version, please, Dex.” said Dawn impatiently.

Dexter grimaced but continued, “Well, if my theory is correct, this crystal actually…”

“He thinks he can use it to break the curse and restore Magincia!” blurted Dawn.  “We have been trying to rebuild there for so long I can hardly believe it!  Avery, I want you to lead the team to get this done.”

Dexter’s mouth hung open in mid sentence and Avery’s eyes opened wide.  “Oh” sputtered Avery.  Then he composed himself and cast his eyes to the floor.  “My dear queen, while I am deeply honored by this offer, I cannot accept.  I had actually come to tell you I am leaving….  I think I need time to know I am free before I can take on the yoke of service again.”

---

A short time later, Sherry and the Queen watched Avery leave the palace and walk out the gate.  Sherry felt a tear come to her eye.  She had briefly considered going with him.  She knew she would miss him and she always felt better when he was around.  She could tell that Dawn felt that way too.

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5. In the Shadow of Virtue – Lost and Found part 3                 

In the Shadow of Virtue – Lost and Found Part 3

A storm had started to brew within Felucca that he Guards knew nothing of.

Private Crag was proud of himself. He had made the big time. No more pickpocket nonsense
for me. No more back alley dice games to make ends meet. I’ve finally got a legitimate job.
Crag watched from his post at the door of the dimly lit room. There were only two people in this
room besides him and they were way above his pay scale. Yep, this is the big time.

In the centre of the room a glowing orb cast a faint blue light on a man in uniform and a woman
dressed in an unusual outfit that was both revealing and intimidating. The man was a high
ranking officer in the faction, Lieutenant Toadstone; the woman was no other than the dark
mistress herself, Minax.

Lieutenant Toadstone broke the silence, “See my mistress? It is as I told you. That which was
lost has been found.” He smiled a cloying smile.

“Indeed.”

In the glowing crystal ball, Minax watched Queen Dawn, Dexter, Avery and Sherry the mouse
as they discussed the discovery of Lord British’s vault a few weeks ago.

“Toadstone, you have done well….” Minax picked up the ball from its stand and gripped it
tightly. “Soon I will have my lost crystal again, and with Lord British gone there will be no one
to stop me from ruling all of Trammel!” She let out a haughty laugh as she stared up at the tiny
images.

From his post at the doorway, Crag was impressed by the appropriateness of her laugh after
making such a statement. This was exactly the kind of stuff he signed up for.“Now that we know where it is, how will we get it, my queen?” said Lieutenant Toadstone
bowing.

A blast of lightning threw Toadstone against the wall. “That is the wrong question, Toadstone!”
Minax screeched. She immediately resumed her usual alluring posture and turned away coyly
to put the crystal ball back on the stand. “Now, try again.”

There was no answer. Then there was a thud.

Minax turned back toward Toadstone sharply. He was lying face down on the floor in the
shadow by one of the doors. Minax rolled her eyes, “Really, Toadstone, there is no reason to
keep grovelling. The correct question is, “YOU will get it for me.”

Toadstone didn’t move.

Crag watched Minax cross the room and as she bent over Toadstone he thought to himself,
being ignored has its privileges. Then the seriousness of the situation struck him and his
attention snapped back to the moment. Minax was examining something. It looked like the
peg of the coat rack had broken off the wall and was sticking out of the Lieutenant’s back.
Minax pulled her hand back quickly and curled her lip in disgust. The disgust quickly turned
to annoyance. She stood up and looked around to see if anyone had noticed what happened.

The lone witness was Crag.

As she stood over Toadstone’s body looking at Private Crag though her thick mascara, Minax
smiled at Crag the way a swamp dragon smiles at a bogling. “What is your name, guard?”

“Crag, mistress.” Private Crag knew what being the lone witness to an embarrassing situation
could mean and was trying to decide if he could run fast enough to escape Toadstone’s fate.

“Lieutenant Toadstone just left for Magincia to spy on the Council of Mages; he won’t be back
for several days…. Do we have an understanding?”

“Yes mistress. Would you like me to dispose of the body?”

Minax smiled a big red smile, her large teeth glistening. “You are doing well in your new position
as Lieutenant... but no.” With a casual gesture, Minax opened a rune gate and with another
blast of lightning she sent the late Lieutenant Toadstone flying through it.

Crag gulped. “Would you like me to find out how to get your crystal back?”

“An excellent idea, Lieutenant Crag. How do you plan on doing that?” Minax was now standing
right in front of him and her strange perfume was muddling his mind.

Crag’s years in the back streets of Britain made him good on his feet. Hopefully, they made him
good enough to survive his new promotion. “Umm… I was planning to go to the port of Cove…
and err… buy some information.”

Minax stared him in the eyes for a moment as if she were searching for something. Then
she straightened her back, winked at Crag, and turned away to leave. “Do you need money,
Lieutenant?”

Crag was relieved that his first meeting with Minax was going so well and that it was ending,
but it was not over yet, her spell casting hand was still glowing. He quickly checked to see that
the wall behind him was flat and smooth. “No mistress, I was planning to steal something for
bribes.”

Minax stopped, turned to Crag with a big, dangerous smile. “Good answer, Lieutenant. I knew
I picked the right man for the job.” She winked again, “Now, if you really want to impress me,
steal the chest Sir Geoffrey was using a few weeks ago to bribe those mercenaries in Britain.
That will show these do-gooders.”

“Yes ma’am.” Crag watched breathlessly as Minax passed the doorway, turned, and
disappeared down the hall. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly to make sure she
wouldn’t hear. Well, he thought, it looks like being lieutenant is going to be a whole lot like
being a kid in Buc’s Den. That’s fine; field work suits me better anyway. These stone floors in
Minax’s secret fortress are killing my back.

The Guards had heard a rumour that Commander Avery had retired and so they visited the castle to check it out. In the throne room they discovered “Avery’s Battle Word Shield lying near the throne and decided the rumour must have been accurate. Soon after they meet Avery in the Cats Lair public house within Britain and a short conversation lead to some interesting information that they were soon checking out.

Name – Captain Avery. I’m... retired from late Lord Francisco’s private guard.

Stories – I don’t really want to talk about my time serving Lord Francisco, maybe some other time.

Sherry – Sherry visited me several times in prison, I have nothing but good things to say about her.

Prison – I spent 8 months in prison for a crime I didn’t commit. Met some interesting folk there.

Folk – I met Ricardo there. He was a good friend to me. Stark raving mad, but a story teller

Ricardo – He was once a master thief. Now he just a crazy old mad who tell stories about lost treasure

Treasure – Oh, Ricardo was a thief for many years and has all kinds of treasure hidden about I’m sure.

Hidden – I recall a story where he had some treasure hidden in some warehouse on the Britain wharf.

Warehouse – Ho, Ho! Thinking of doing some hunting? Well good luck to you, he’s totally made you know!

The Guards decided to visit Ricardo in Yew prison to see if they could glean any more information from him.

Oh, you must not forget to visit Lt Dan and Lt Crag!

The warehouse is my favourite place

*laughs maniacally* Ricardo... the keeper of dark secrets!

Oh, my sacred lamp. It is the light of my spirit!

I love to fishin. I used to hang around the docks of Britain, angler by day, angle by night.

Protecting the secret. Oh, so much responsibility! Must dig, must mine!

With this new information the Guards started their search of the wharfs and warehouses in Britain. They soon found what they sort in a warehouse on the River Road, in the form of a book which stated on its cover “Ricardo’s Diary. Don’t Be Reading It.” Opening the diary they read it carefully.

Pre-Ramble to Reasurch

By Ricardo

This be the beginning of me great research.

I’ Ricardo, master thief, am going to discover the truth of the legend of Lord British’s Vault.

I will be hiding me research where only I, Ricardo, can find it by using me ancient magic lamp.

My lamp ‘tis better than any map, for a map can be decoded. No one alive but me, Ricardo, knows the secret of how this lamp works.

I have hidden me research near me favourite locations in Sosaria, but even me closest friends could not find it without the secrete of me lamp.

Thus, if’n I would tell a body that part of me research be near the Terathan keep, it would not help them a wit lest they have me lamp to discover exactly where ‘tis.

I never keep me books and me lamp in the same place for security purposes.

I have also discovered a way to enchant me research books so that they can only be read using me lamp.

Finally, as an added security, me books can only be lifted by me.

Ya larn a few things over the years about security when ye are a master thief.

After reading Ricardo’s diary they searched the warehouse for more clues and discovered a Weathered Old Chest along the back wall. They were pleased to discover Ricardo’s Ancient Lamp within and took it out to aid with their further investigations. Holding Ricardo’s Ancient lamp they went to search the area surrounding Terathan Keep and eventually discovered a book entitled “Ricardo’s Great Research, Vol. 1” in the centre of some ruins just south west from Terathan Keep. Unable to remove the book they had to read it there.

Me research Volume 1

By Ricardo

This be me research regarding the combination ta open Lord British’s fabled Vault.

Me research has been sailing against the wind so far, but I believe the vault be requiring words o’power.

I record the first word here, it be “An”.

Immediatly and each time they discovered one of Ricardo’s book a thought came to them.

Ricardo’s book seems important. I bet this information is worth something to someone.

With this thought they decided to visited Lt Dan in Britain Castle and tell him everything they had discovered.

You did the right thing to bring this to my attention. Please take a bag from my chest as a reward.

They did as told and took a bag containing a  random item as a reward.

The next day the Guards visited Ricardo again in Yew Prison and listened once more to his ramblings, but today he said something new.

A common thief sleeps with one eye open, Ricardo sleeps with one eye to the Moonglow telescope.

They travelled to Moonglow telescope and found only Silus there who had nothing to say. So spreading out they searched till a second book was discovered on the coast slightly further south. The cover of the book read “Ricardo’s Great Research, Vol. 2” Opening it they read it carefully.

Me Research, Volume 2

By Ricardo

"This be me second secret hiding place o' me research into the words o' power what will open Lord British's Vault.

I be thinking this vault be somewhere in his royal castle. I can only imagine the treasures that await me thar. it makes me giddy to think on it and I must put those thoughts aside.

Me precious second word o' power be 'sanct'."

With this information noted they returned with it to Lt Dan and duly received a reward.

On the third day Ricardo added yet more information.

Me bar in Vesper requires a secret knock and serves terrible ale. Don't knock till you try it.

It took them slightly longer to find Ricardo’s book Ricardo’s Great Research, Vol. 3, which was on a sand bar on the island near the secret thieves bar in Vesper (59o 4'N 109o 53'E).

Me Research, Volume 3

By Ricardo

I have discovered that one o’ the great treasures of Lord British’s Vault be the crystal Minax used to be in Felucca and Trammel at the same time.

This be of great interest to me. I can think o’ many an improper use fer it. I can use it to be in two places in Trammel at the same time.

I look forward to finding out.

I also now know that the third word o’ power for the key to the vault id “grav.”

Once again they read the book and informed Lt Dan of its contents for yet another reward.

Ricardo’s rambling on day 4 lead them towards Wind.

I smell a break in the wind! I miss trying to break into Wind... I miss the maze, I need a break.

The book Ricardo’s Great Research, Vol. 4  was soon discovered within the maze just south of Wind (61o 32'N 3o 9'E). Once again they informed Lt Dan.

Me Research, Volume 4

By Ricardo

I marvel at these magic locations that are somehow connected to this lamp, they be perfect hiding place. I, Ricardo, did not make them, I have just discovered them.

They be the perfect hiding places because no one can find them but me and me wonderful lamp

The fourth word o’ power be “vas.”

Scribbling the information the guards immediately went to inform Lt Dan and were duly rewarded.


Ricardo’s clue on the 5th day to Ricardo’s Great Research, Vol. 5 got the Guards visiting Buccaneers Den.

I feel dirty here... such a waste. The bath house in Buc’s Den, now thar be a place to be dirty!

Yet again another of Ricardo’s books was discovered at the northern most point on Island (29o21'S, 99o0'E) and they updated Lt Dan on it.

Me Research, Volume 5

By Ricardo

I believe that the location o’ the vault is somewhere in the royal throne room. It be kind of obvious, putting it there, but I imagine it be the highest security place in the palace. I look forward to finding out.

I have discovered the fifth word o’ power be “Ylem.”

They made their now routing visit to Lt Dan and as always were rewarded.

Visiting Ricardo on the 6th day they heard yet more ramblings and it aided them in finding Ricardo’s Great Research, Vol.6.

I married my fifth wife near Yew. T’was the only place me other wives would ne’er look for me.

The book Ricardo’s Great Research, Vol. 6 was discovered just north of the Shrine of Justice in Valentine's Park (94o8'N, 0o25'W).

Me Research, Volume 6

By Ricardo

I did some poking around at the palace last night with these words o’ power.

It seems I am still missing something. I believe that one or more objects are required. I believe I must be holding something when I speak the word’s o’ power. I do not yet know what but I will find out.

The sixth word o’ power ‘tis a word I ne’er seen before, the word be “nes.”

After informing Lt Dan they returned to the Guards Rest.

Ricardo’s ramblings on day 7 had them travelling to Tokuno.

Went to Tokuno on me honeymoon and saw the Shrine of Valor. Since then I just go thar to hide.

The eventually found Ricardo’s Great Research, Vol. 7  book in the centre of the dark ruins due east of the Shrine of Isamau (95o43'N, 17o34'W).

Me Research, Volume 7

By Ricardo

I have discovered the Crystal o’ Duplicity. I ‘ad’ to pay good stolen money for this information so I be recording it here.

It seems that Minax herself stole the crystal from Magincia, back before it was destroyed. I didn’t know she had it in her.

It seems it was hid somewhere in Magincia by someone. I must learn more of this story.

The seventh and final word o’ power is “uus.”

After their visit to Lt Dan they agreed to visit Ricardo the next day.

Visiting Ricardo on day 8 lead to hearing yet more insane ramblings.

I thought about fixing up this big old keep in Ilshena, but I figured I figured me x-wife would just take it.

The Guards travelled to Ilshenar through the Honour moongate. Travelling in a south-westerly direction they came across the Ratmans fort. Within the fort they finally found Ricardo’s Great Research, Vol. 8 book within the boundary of the walls in the eastern corner outside of the fort building.

Me Research, Volume 8
by Ricardo

I, Ricardo, discoverer of secrets, finder of lost things, master thief extraordinaire, have discovered a most rare and disturbing tale about the crystal.

It seems that it won't be letting me be in two places at once in Trammel, which is disappointing.

However, it is a bridge between any two shards.

Here be where it gets interesting... it can duplicate anything from any shard to another shard with the right words o'power.

It seems that the great Nystul, royal mage to Lord British, used it to copy the land in the shard that we now call Felucca onto the shard that we now call Trammel.

I find meself considerin' what might have been in that shard before Trammel.


I could not discover this secret, and it is but trivia to one who only seeks to steal it, but I can't help but wonder if Nystul knew what he destroyed to build his haven.

Again they passed this information onto Lt Dan and prepared to return the following day to visit Ricardo.

Ricardo’s ramblings on the 9th day had them searching within Felucca.

I have me own island off the coast of Bucs Den in Felucca. No house there, just an island.

They finally discovered Ricardo’s Great Research, Vol. 9 book on an island due east of Buccaneer’s Den Felucca (48o 25'S,  115o 22'E).

Me Research, Volume 9
by Ricardo

Me new research suggests that Lord British may have taken the item needed to open the vault with him to protect it.

However, at the split of Trammel and Felucca, it seems there were many objects that were accidentally duplicated. This increases me odds a great deal.

I expect that any such artifacts will be here in Felucca. I must continue to be discrete in me inquiries lest the other thieves learn of me plan.

The more I think on it, the more I am awed by the crystal. I am starting to question me own pursuit of it. 'Tis unprofessional to entertain such a conscience, I know, but such power is staggering.

They quickly informed Lt Dan and collected yet another reward as always.

The 10th and what turned out to be the last day of Ricardo’s ramblings had the Guards searching Felucca once more.

The provisioner in Ocllo has such good security, I keep my money with him instead of at the bank.

Just outside Ocllo to the West they discovered Ricardo’s Great Research, Vol. 10 (81o 23'S, 158o 33'E).

Me Research, Volume 10
by Ricardo

I have determined that the object I need is one of the three: Lord British's crown, his scepter, or his cape.

However, I have decided not to pursue me research further. Some things be best left lost.

I have recently learned of a valuable item in the possession of the ophidians. This be an item that will allow me to retire to the k

nd of life I would like to be accustomed to. I might even be able to buy into the nobility!

For now, and perhaps forever, me research will remain safely hidden under these magical nodes.

Little did the Guards know that some others were also searching for Ricardo’s books and passing the information onto Lt Crag on the docks in Cove, Felucca. On Lt Crag’s right was Lt. Crag’s New War Chest and to his left was Lt. Crag’s Old War Chest. The traitors always got the same response for each piece of information they handed over.

You did the right thing to bring this to my attention. Please take a bag from one of  my chest as a reward.

Most of the rewards were mundane items, although the old chest did have a few Frostguard Talisman, Ranger’s Cloak Of Augmentation or a Warden’s Armour Of Augmentation. But in the New War Chest a few Jade Snake Head talismans or a Shadow Cloak Of Rejuvenation was discovered. Although with every reward that Lt Cragh handed out the recipient would also loose Karma.

The Guards thought long and hard on the password they had discovered An Sanct Grav Vas Ylem Nes Uus and perhaps one of its possible meanings Negate Protection Energy Great Matter Must Rise

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