This year's Memorial Gathering was held this evening. It was widely attended by a variety of exiles. Thank you to everyone who came, and special thanks to Dandelion and Largo for organizing it. It was nice to see you all.
Dandelion and Largo sent the following report to TMN:
This is the sixteenth year since Tyndall, the beloved sylvan warrior, passed away. As we did last year, we would like to mark this by coming together to remember him and the other folks we've lost over the years. We will be gathering in the Memorial Garden on Wednesday, 9/22 at mosey o'clock [8pm Mountain/7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern/2am GMT]. We will have whiskey and logs for fires. Feel free to bring cigars, more logs, and other beverages if you prefer.
If you knew or hunted with Tyndall, Baffina/Baffette, Tonoto, Eyeball, or K'pyn, you are strongly encouraged to attend and share your memories. If you are grieving someone from outside the lands, this is a space where you can hold that in community. If you would like to show love and friendship to exiles who have lost beloved people, know that your presence will do that.
We realize that a lot of people who might be interested in showing up won't necessarily hear about this through ThoomCare, Discord, or Facebook. Even if you can't attend, you can help the community effort by taking a moment to use the communication avenues available to you to reach out to folks who you think would be interested in coming but won't be reached by these posts. Thank you!
-Dandelion and Largo
Chaos Storm #1240 has swept the Lok'Groton island chain. Please post any changes you have observed and wish to share with others in the comments.
Delta Tao's "What's New" for v1240:
Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing. — Euripides (c. 480 BC – c. 406 BC)
- Everything in this update is a secret.
- We hope that everyone continues to remain safe and healthy!
Puddleby Listener has been added to the Favorites list.
TMN has received the following letter from Sawyer written in an exceedingly neat hand, without any trace of flourish or embellishment, addressed "To whom it may concern; ThoomCare"
To whom it may concern, and any interested mystics, mages, initiates, novices, etc...
As many of you know, I have made a point of studying the bloodpool: its nature, effects, and influences. My studies often lead me to spend many hours at the altar in the temple in contemplation, ritual, and even prayer (or a form of it). While such studies, up until now, have yielded only reflective silence, recently there has been a breakthrough, and I believe I have made steps closer to understanding the pool in a way perhaps more akin to how Dourin and the other Speakers seem to.
While at the altar the other day, I was able to feel--much more palpably--a vague, insatiable hunger. I had just finished returning a dozen or so Maha corpses to the pool, as Dourin informed all who would inquire that the pool hungered for Savannah Maha. And the pool had begun to hunger for Raste Winders, instead. While standing there... I could *feel* that hunger almost as if it were my own. When stretching out my mind and my focus, I inquired of the pool what to do with that hunger, after which I received an image...swirling and indistinct, snake-like forms joining and swirling and re-joining. (It was not until later discussion that I made the connection that the pool was very likely trying to *show* me the form of its craving, as it were.) It was around this time that Stinkfist arrived at the pool to ensure that I was not "going mad" and still retained my free will. After a brief exchange, we both left to collect the corpses of snakes.
Upon returning, and offering a meager handful of adders to the pool, I once again reached out my senses. Again, I could *feel* it there. A presence so vast. So much greater than a single isolated phenomenon. An ocean of blood, with a hunger as deep as mountains. It's almost as if I could see it. Stinkfist returned with his offering,
and began to prance around as he often does, waving a moon manual and spouting inane gibberish in an attempt to look impressive. and did his best to make a scene, in his usual fashion, while I came up with a much more interesting offering.
Taking my bloodblade in hand, I lifted my arm and let my own blood spill into the pool. My own blood as an offering, in an attempt to satiate the insatiable. I do not believe an exile has ever been offered to our local... tributary, as it were...but my offering was accepted, and I soon collapsed into the pool. Communicated to my mind was a feeling of momentary satisfaction. And, while risky, I am pleased that my service and efforts are an acceptable offering.
continued to march around like some sort of annoying, flamboyant bird for some time, waving his moon manual and seeming very pleased with himself, but eventually dragged me back to town, and the bard concert, and all but forced me to relate parts of this experience to those in attendance, there.
I think there are several interesting things to note in this exchange. The nature of the way the pool communicates is illuminating, as it seems to speak through impressions, urges, simple thoughts and images. It speaks mostly of a deep hunger, and attempts to make its cravings manifest to those who seek to commune with it through the same swirling, indistinct patterns that were placed in my mind. Of note, it could be that the snake-like forms shown to me might have only coincidentally seemed like representations of actual snakes... perhaps they are something else entirely. The only way to truly know will be to continue to commune with the pool as best I can, perhaps as it craves other creatures, it will show other forms to those who seek to understand and interpret.
The pool spoke other things to my mind, as well. Things that should necessitate future conversations... future thought... One pool for all. One and many. Many and one.
There is much to think on. Much to think on, indeed. Please share this letter in your paper, if you feel it prudent, and may your path be clear.
-Sawyer the Seeker
OOC: A cleaned up and slightly color-coded log of this little event is available to any interested party. Simply approach Sawyer about her journal, or fire me a message on Discord!
Chaos Storm #1236 has swept the Lok'Groton island chain. Please post any changes you have observed and wish to share with others in the comments.
Delta Tao's "What's New" for v1236:
You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. — Brian Tracy (b. 1944)
- Using a shieldstone while it is active will de-activate it.
- Added explicit /cancel and /on options to all activated bloodblade abilities (in addition to default toggle behavior).
- Bloodmages can now specify a percentage of their total health as their health limit using /set X%.
- Blood inferno now causes affected monsters to bleed when they die.
- Fixed the masking in the super advanced library.
- Inspired by the Olympics, our world gerbils have strapped on their go-fast shoes and picked up the pace: the unofficial speed bump (to 5 frames/second) that occurred in v1232 is now officially permanent.
Chaos Storm #1232 has swept the Lok'Groton island chain. Please post any changes you have observed and wish to share with others in the comments.
Delta Tao's "What's New" for v1232:
A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. — Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
- The indulstone’s /depart /return ability no longer consumes spirit, and its experience penalty has been reduced significantly.
- All housing is now considered “private”, like the Purple Tor Inn.
Bard concert TODAY, June 26, at 11AM PST, 2PM EST!
Hrem ven Hremven sent the following request to TMN:
Esteemed Thoom Paramedic,
I write to you today to formally request assistance from the inhabitants of Puddleby. My name is Hrem ven Hremven, but to ease our correspondence you may simply call me Hrem, and I have recently decided to take the opportunity to move into town, after spending many a zodiac exiled and alone in the woods bordering your safe haven. As one may anticipate a move such as this is never without problems, and mine comes in the form of a favored quill pen that has gone missing. Terrible. Awful. Terrible.
I admit, after spending several days without it now I can only assume we will never be reunited. Though there is still hope in the very back of my mind it grows smaller with every passing bell and with every seaward breeze. But I must at least try to stand strong, so I am requesting that any denizen who has recently stumbled upon a quill would allow me to take a closer look. It will take only but a moment to know, and I promise a reward to the finder (and of course, those not my favored tool will be promptly returned).
If you would allow such a request to circulate through your network it would be greatly appreciated! I look forward to working with everyone in Puddleby in the future, with or without my favorite quill.
-Hrem ven Hremven
P.S. If anyone is looking to schedule a vacation to Ash Island (no, not the one you're thinking of) please feel free to contact me by writing to Islands Unknown Holidays for further package details and discounts.
Chaos Storm #1227 has swept the Lok'Groton island chain. Please post any changes you have observed and wish to share with others in the comments.
Delta Tao's "What's New" for v1227:
I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year. — Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950)
- Time may seem to pass a tiny bit more swiftly now. Specifically, the server now runs at ~4.5 frames per second throughout the day, instead of only during the off-peak hours (or rather, what it erroneously thought the off-peak hours were).
Coriakin sent the following announcement to TMN:
The Bards’ Guild is excited to announce that we’re planning a fall festival of new songs! It’ll take place at the concert on September 25th. Why so far in the future? Well, because we don't want it to just be for bards, we want to invite everyone in Puddleby to participate!
Specifically, we want to invite any and all exiles to write a poem/lyrics on our chosen theme and submit it. Each participating bard will select one poem/lyrics to set to music, and the collaborative works will be performed at the September concert.
If you’re interested, the theme we’d like you to consider for your poem is the word “Fall.” Whatever that means to you! And not just the season... “Fall” ... “Falling” ... “Fallen” ... “The Fall” ... interpret it however you wish!
Each exile can submit only one poem. If you submit a second poem, it’ll replace your first one. Bards are welcome to submit poems too, but you can’t choose your own lyrics to set to music.
Poems in other languages are welcome! (This includes both IC and OOC languages). But if your poem isn’t in common (or english), please include a translation.
You’ll have 7 weeks to write your poems: the deadline will be July 16. Please email them to me at email@example.com. I’ll need to compile them together for the bards to look through, so please don’t be too late!
If a bard selects your poem we’re going to ask them to contact you, so please indicate how you’d prefer to be contacted (e.g. email, Puddleby Post Box #, etc.). If you’d prefer to be anonymous that’s fine, just let me know when you submit your poem.
Bards will get access to the compiled poems at the July concert. Each poem can only be chosen once and it’ll be first come first serve, so try not to dawdle! When you’ve made your choice contact the writer to confirm, and let me know as well so I can indicate that the poem’s taken. You’ll have 2 months to finish your score and get it ready to perform at the September concert.
I'm really excited about this! I hope lots of people submit lyrics (like you!), and lots of bards participate in writing music. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Aymi sent the following report to TMN:
dandelion gave me some kudzu and i planted the kudzu and then i broke the kudzu
she told me there is a fire so i went to look and there is a fire
Bard concert this Saturday, May 29, at 11AM PST, 2PM EST.
There may or not be an appearance by the Suspendered Sylvan Revue.
Aymi sent the following report to TMN:
there is an orga with two eyes in town. we are friends. haffron says he has a mushroom inside him
here is a picture for your news paper
Aymi sent the following announcement to TMN:
hello this is aymi. i had a ship before and i traded small metal for things. then traded the things for more small metal. to acquire small metal. the emperor wanted my small metal but i did not want to give him my small metal. the emperor took my ship and made me live here.
i was sad when the emperor took my ship because i liked my ship. i was so sad when he took my ship and made me live here that i went to go and live in the myrm hive. that was a long time ago and now i am part of the hive. i learned to smell myrm smells and make them with my body. now i am a myrm. i am also a thoom still. i didn’t used to go to town but i go to town sometimes now. i think town should be wet because when town is wet it's good for your skin
sometimes i dig big holes and sometimes i dig little holes. sometimes there is a big caterpillar and we eat the caterpillar and feed it to larvae. sometimes i cut the skins off of animals and trade the skins for small metal and then we eat the animals but not the skins because i traded the skins for small metal. small metal can be exchanged for goods and services. sometimes there are spiders and we kill the spiders. be kind to myrms. we fixed the mirror when it got hurt and we dug a hole that made the books fall down and then bears lived in the hole.
i learned you can make the man in town yell things by giving him money. there is a clan called red quill. a clan is like a hive for exiles but it is not like a hive too. i am in the red quill but i am also in the hive still. i learned there is a thing called a news paper. a news paper puts words on to paper and the words mean things. you can trade small metal for a news paper. then look at the news paper and know what the words mean. to learn information. a news paper is a good idea. i wrote a news paper story about me and this is the news paper story about me.
Sycamore sent the following report to TMN:
Ash Island, Day 5 of Winter, 625.
Sycamore here. We had quite an adventure on Ash Island the other day and the citizens of Puddleby received an interesting proposition. Opinions vary widely on what our next move should be. Everything happened so quickly that I’m sure I have missed some details, but I will do my best to recall as much as I can of our adventures.
As you may recall, a few weeks ago a certain Dorcas Direstorm appeared to the folks who were innocently taking a mosey through Ash Island. After flattening Jo and Mehan with seemingly no effort at all, she announced that her master would be arriving in the near future and that we may wish to speak with them.
On the appointed day, we gathered on Ash Island and prepared to fight through the usual ferals and minor Darshak that one often runs into on the way to Ash City. Once through the PF, though, we could tell that this was going to be no routine hunt. We were greeted by Darshak assassins, Slavers, Brawlers, and Darshak Necromancers. There was lightning everywhere, which was particularly troublesome. We heard someone yell, “Get ‘em, Captains!” and then we were attacked by Darshak Captains and even more lightning bolts. Suddenly, we all started to fall to Kestrels. I thought for a while that the pirates had moved on from training ferals to training birds of prey. After many attacks and retreats, we made our way through the Ash Barrens to the wall around Ash City. Amdiroth made several threatening statements but we were unclear if they were directed at us or at someone else.
We threw a vine over the wall and infiltrated Ash City. On our way through the city, K’vynn noticed something new. Nestled among the normal plaster houses in Ash City was a newly-constructed stone tower with a purple pennant flying from it. In front of the tower was a burst of magical flame and a figure in a hooded cloak. This was the same Dorcas Direstorm who had appeared at the previous mosey. After a few people tried to approach and fell down, deteriorating, the cloaked figure began to speak.
She announced that we had been summoned here to speak to her master. She said that the management on Ash Island was out of hand, and that her master wanted to ask for our help in gathering information. She explained, however, that only two exiles at a time would be allowed inside the tower. After much discussion, Gorvin and I were appointed to represent the exiles. With some trepidation, we entered the tower.
As Gorvin and I walked through the ante-chamber, I looked around. There was a large white couch with three red-robed figures sitting stiffly on it. I saw a desk with two birdcages on it. There was a table in the middle of the office, surrounded by chairs. Nylar was slouching nearby, idly playing with an apple. I wondered if he was the one we had been sent here to speak with, but he seemed to be playing the role of enforcer. After a few moments, a well-dressed pirate came out from some double doors.
She introduced herself as Kestrel and started off by saying that she was not here to fight or threaten our town. She said that she had come from the Isles of Gathner, where the Darshak Theocracy is headquartered, to assess the management of the Ash Island outpost. She is most disappointed in the job that Amdiroth has been doing. She told us that her society is one of order and refinement, and that the “petty captains and second-rate priests” did not represent the Theocracy at all. She referred to all of the Darshak raids on Puddleby as “purposeless conflict.”
Kestrel went on to explain that she intended to take over from Amdiroth, and that she would like our help in collecting information about both the Darshak and the rebel faction. Gorvin asked how we could trust her, considering that she had recently been attacking us as we made our way to Ash City. Our past interactions with Darshak have not shown them to be very honorable. She replied that it was clear to her that the most powerful society in Lok’groton were us exiles and that it would be foolish to betray us. I suggested that she might make a gesture of goodwill to the exiles.
At this point, the sounds of battle from outside grew ever louder and we could hear our comrades hitting the floor. Kestrel sighed and said that she would take care of it. She swept out the door, followed by Dorcas and Gorvin. I took advantage of their absence and rifled through the office. I did not find anything incriminating although there were some desk drawers that I could not get into. The paper in the middle of the table seemed to be a list of bird names. There was a book about navigation and another about Lok’Groton culture. The wardrobe was full of silk robes. Before I could snoop any more, Kestrel was back in the room, grievously wounded. Apparently her sudden appearance in the middle of the fray prompted an attack and Stinkfist almost brought the meeting to a quick end. Dorcas came back in and healed her with a wave of her hands. We decided to go out and announce her exit so that no more misunderstandings would happen.
When Kestrel came back outside, the exiles mostly behaved themselves. She explained her position and offered an alliance with the Darshak Theocracy. She conjured images of advanced weapons, shipwrights, luxury goods, and access to new lands. In return, she asked for information: any knowledge that we can get about the Darshak and the rebels. She wants to know everything about their operations, their loyalties, leadership, and activities. She said that if we find any documents, to bring them back to the stone tower and turn them in to Dorcas. She also indicated that Dorcas may have extra jobs for people who prove their worth by bringing documents. Kestrel said that she would return in a few zodiacs to see what we have learned.
The exiles were still distrustful of her intentions and I reminded her about a gesture of goodwill. She thought for a moment and then offered us a gold-plated bathtub. Dorcas pulled a bathtub out from beneath her robes and presented it to Mehan in apology for killing her so rudely the other day. Mehan accepted the bathtub eagerly and said that all was forgiven.
We gathered in town center to discuss what we had just witnessed, and Mehan ran off to install her new plumbing. Some people wanted to gather information for Kestrel, while others wanted to go to Amdiroth and Tyris Drakesblood to set them against this Kestrel. Others suggested feeding them all conflicting information and setting them to fighting amongst themselves. Everyone, however, agreed that the bathtub was magnificent and that we need more like it.
Aymi sent the following report to TMN:
town should be wet
i put water on the ground
Could Puddleby be facing a root beer shortage?
Aymi sent the following root-beer fueled message to TMN:
hello this is aymi
i smelled sugar water underground. i went to get the sugar water and then i brought it to the hive. my friends drank it
Sycamore sent the following report to TMN:
It was a crisp autumn day as we gathered our forces in TC. We took stock of our firepower, discussing where to go. Since a few of us hadn’t been there yet, we decided to head towards the Vale. As we left OP, Pookoiko spotted a Lost Bear. “Auspicious,” we thought. We progressed east, where Shadrock and Silky found three more Lost Bears. Suddenly, it started to snow heavily.
As we made our way through the blinding snowflakes, we were alarmed to see an army of Lost Bears barrelling toward us! After killing the first one, we realized that they were actually Glacier Bears and their Cubs. Leyenda glanced at the sky and discovered that we were in the middle of a blizzard.
Onashi was able to get some cub lasties without leaving the Bison Plains! These were followed by waves of Frost Foxweirs, Alpine Timber Ferals, and more bears. Desmond, Bartzilla, Ponyo, and I healed furiously as the fighters slew these snowy beasts. Suddenly, two mistrals flew in from the east! After they killed Ponyo and Shayndel, we learned that they were called Stormlyric Kestrels. They were extraordinarily hard to hit. When the first one was killed, it was “hunting for lowland prey.” Curiouser and curiouser!
Borzon, our Arilonian Mage, came out of the library to help us investigate. After studying the unnatural aura for a few moments, he determined that the wind, the blizzard, and the snowy creatures were all blowing down from the tall peaks around us. He led us to the Foghaven Monastery for further investigations.
Almost as soon as we alighted at the monastery, Borzon sensed something off to the northwest. It was quite a sight, seeing him standing up there on the top of Foghaven peak, eyes cast to the sky, seemingly in a trance. We fought off the monsters while he communed with the spirits. After what seemed like ages, he came back to his senses. Eyes shining, he said that he had received a vision.
Borzon reports that he saw a figure with arms outstretched standing atop a mountain, with the blizzard billowing about them. As he reached out his senses, he felt her presence touch his mind. The Windspinner warned against meddling with things beyond our comprehension. She said that she was the leader of a third monastery and that she did not approve of Madrona and Pavari’s investigations, being likely to lead to catastrophe. She warned against helping them and said that her own order does not welcome adventurers. Her last words asked for privacy; “Do not cast your gaze upon me unbidden.”
-Sycamore, The Eastern Mountains, 65th day of Autumn, 624—
Chaos Storm #1223 has swept the Lok'Groton island chain. Please post any changes you have observed and wish to share with others in the comments.
Delta Tao's "What's New" for v1223:
And now you’ll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true
but they’ll be real
— Mary Oliver (1935–2019)
- All changes to this update are secret. (But real.)
Dandelion and Kani sent the following report to TMN:
Luna an’ I met in town fer a bit ’twixt Whirly’s Pirate SCIENCE tour an da Bard concert, an’ lookit alla Red Quill folx we found!
Afrit an’ Coriakin an’ Healery an’ Kani an’ Megami an’ Phineas an’ Tayra an’ Wangah Rah, an’ some sock puppets. Baba an’ Sleipy were jus’ ‘bout dere, ‘cuz Healery invoked ‘em. Here’s a sketch.
We all went to da Hall of Clans so Luna an’ I could git inducted into Red Quill. Dat was da plan, only ‘cept we didn’t expect alla folx what came outta da liberry fer it.
Aymi got swept along wit da crowd an’ was verrah excited about da ceremony. She asked about clans an’ ever’body tried t’answer da best we could an’ den she joined Red Quill, too.
We hadda celebration at da Bard concert after. Connie was First Falled.
* * *
—Dandelion and Kani
Connie Crete sent the following report to TMN:
Writin this down while is fresh in my head. Thanks ta Luna fer gitn alla pitchers.
Was on our regular mosey, chose Ash this time ta bash sum darshak causn they is allays in need o a good bashin. As we were workin ta tha mausoleum, blamo - Jo daid as a doornail. Enter mysterious darshak:
No, I dunno who "tha master" be.
Dunno what time o tha day Rosentide be.
Yeah, helpin darshak be so not on my list.
Tried ta determine ifn this "master" were a good darshak or a bad darshak.
We fought our way ta Amdiroth. A couple o near disasters in tha disco temple basement. Lucky Mehan kept her head and rescued everybudy. Amdiroth were more innerested in sum studies than tha warnin we gived him. I aint kept up with who be on which side o tha Hatfields and McCoys o darshak land. Jo says he thought tha Drakesblood kin were more rebel based. Oh ya, Dande was able ta git Jo undaid once Mehan and Luna was also helpin out. (We'll totally fergit that Mehan got blammo'd too.) FYI: 3 zodiacs aint what I'd call "imminent."
But - it may mean tha darshak is gonna do sumthin down right anni-social in 3 zodiacs time.
Alchemist and Healer Mjollnir was seen today sporting a new scaly appearance after imbibing an unknown concoction.
When asked how this occurred, Mjollnir was heard to say
“I was up in that old alchemy lab on the cloud where I picked up a book. It was a fairly dry account of halfling speeches in a language I'd never heard of. As I flipped through it, a packet fell out from between the pages that contained a strange smelling powder. Naturally I did what every sensible alchemist would do, I threw it along with a bunch of ingredients I had with me together in a flask and drank the result.
I immediately felt a hot rash break out and to my horror, my skin became all dry and scaly.
And that’s not the worst thing, something in that potion caused me to grow a tail!
I’ve suffered from lyfelidaeism in the past but that transformation was nothing compared to this, that tail was sleek and nimble, this one drags on the ground behind me and is constantly causing me to trip.”
Mjollnir requests that any anybody with experience in reversing transformations please contact him to help him solve his scaly strait.
TMN received this submission from Sawyer the Seeker, written in a neat, even hand—on clean well-maintained parchment. The account is recently laid out for review and consideration in the main Puddleby library.
"The order is finally open to newcomers.
The bloodpool's hunger seems to grow by the day, but our numbers are ever dwindling.
Nacerus was right to share the power of the pool with outsiders."
The duty of instructing unspecialized fighters and bloodmage novices is not one to be taken lightly, as it is important that as the hunger of the bloodpool continues to grow our numbers do not dwindle.
It is from this lens of instructing novices and initiates of our Order (and gathering the opinions of some fully-realized mages), that I have sought greater knowledge and understanding of the nature of blood magic, and of the bloodpool. While there are still many un-answered questions (and some of the masters and Speakers are fairly tight-lipped), I believe that more meaningful connections can be made based on what we do know. Many of these connections may not be new, but I hope that by consolidating and compiling the information, myself, it will be easier for those interested mages, or future mages, to ask the right questions, answer the call, and find the path.
It is my hope that the following questions, connections, and theories can help every mage to better understand the nature of that which we serve. It is important to return to the order what we take from it.
-Sawyer the Seeker
The Savannah Temple
"Those who would remain safe must pass no further. Likewise shall those who would remain safe learn nothing of true power."
The first experience many young fighters will have in walking the path is a trek through the marshes to a temple located deep under the Savannah. This is where hopeful novices have been introduced to Nacerus and taken the first steps to forging their own blade. Though many novices have actually received blades before this time, the forging of one’s own bloodblade is still an important rite, and a noteworthy marker along the path. The construction and location of this temple are both interesting to note, and also lend credence to the theories of some more… flippant…members of the bloodmage community. First, the building entrance lies deep within the Savannah maha cave, which some have viewed as a connection to Detros the Ruknee (protector of places containing ancient wisdom). The façade of the temple bears a depiction of a warrior in battle, perhaps very similar to Ina D’Xus the warrior (which extant writings would suggest is associated with life and, more notably, blood).
Of note is the fact that the upper level of the temple appears largely abandoned and left in disrepair. It does not appear that this upper level has been used for some time, but by descending into what appears to be a dry well in the center of the structure, one may navigate a series of old tunnels and find themselves in Nacerus’ chamber, the entrance to what this mage would consider a separate and distinct structure. While the temple above is constructed of marbled stone and ornate columns, the temple below is constructed almost entirely of dark basalt stone, lit by torches, and is better maintained and free of refuse. The veil is thin, here, and while undine will accost any travelers seeking to traverse the well or the tunnels, below in the entrance chamber they serve as guardians of the gates, and are harmless to fully realized bloodmages. Perhaps a question for another time is, how are these undine made to serve the order as guardians?
It is the opinion of this mage that these two structures may indeed, have served two distinct purposes. What once was a temple, perhaps to Ina D’Xus, was either abandoned, or…changed (I hesitate to use the word corrupted, but a discussion on that will come later.) And the old façade is now home to the temple of the current Order. The lower temple does somewhat resemble other structures spread throughout the islands, but lacks many of their distinctive ornamentation and markings that may link them to the ancients. It is this mage’s opinion that the similarities may only be in the building materials, though any such similarities should still not be overlooked, and are worthy of further examination.
The Altar and the Bloodpool
"Where does the bloodpool come from? Nobody knows. It called to us and we came."
Where the bloodpool comes from is perhaps the subject of the greatest variety of theories when it comes to even the most experienced mages. Perhaps we care most about this topic because the bloodpool is the very source of our magic.
Some more…outspoken members of the bloodmage community have proposed the theory that the bloodpool is actually Ina D’Xus, converted or changed in some way. While Ina’s connection to blood has been documented, there doesn’t seem to be much else that this mage is aware of to support the theory that Ina, himself, is somehow the bloodpool.
Instead, I believe the subject requires a closer examination of two things that Puddlebean exiles are very familiar with: Altars, and Moonstones.
There is a great deal of documentation to support the connection of moonstones to the Altar in the Crystal Temple in Town Center. In the past, when the altar was taken and broken, the magic of the moonstones began to fail, and waned steadily until the altar was eventually repaired. It can be surmised from this that, at least in part, moonstones draw their power from the altar. It must also be noted that, according to the Loremasters, moonstones do not exist or do not function on the mainland.
When exiles touch the altar, a portion of their spirit is left behind or “remembered”. While the origins of this magic are perhaps not well-understood, its effect has been experienced by most every adventuring resident of the Lok’Groton. When an exile is injured to the point of incapacitation, or even to death, their spirit will disconnect from their physical body. All religious conjecture aside, it is evident to Puddlebean exiles that instead of emerging in some sort of afterlife after wandering through Purgatory, exiles instead emerge at the altar in a weakened, traumatized state. The plane that exiles call “Purgatory” appears very much like the ethereal plane and is yet another place where the veil is thin. Lesser undine can often be found wandering purgatory in small numbers.
This is where my theory for the origin, or at least some of the nature of the bloodpool begins.
Moonstones and Bloodblades
It is common knowledge among many that a moonstone is required in the forging of a bloodblade. During the forging, the magic of the moonstone is somehow…inverted, and infused into the blade. Instead of being used to restore vitality, the magic of the blade instead saps it. Without training this drain will eventually prove fatal. Just as the moonstones have shown to draw their power, or at the very least be connected, to the altar in the Crystal Temple, so too are the bloodblades connected to the bloodpool—presumably drawing their power from that source.
The relationship between moonstones and bloodblades allows for further thinking along the same lines when studying the two altars, one in the center of town, and the other in the temple of the Order. It is the opinion of this mage that the altar housed in the Order, while similar in design and effectiveness, has either been constructed in such a way or… changed… in such a way as to result in it being “inverted”. Much like the magic of moonstones is inverted to create bloodblades.
This begs perhaps the most relevant (to this mage) unanswered question: Is the bloodpool the cause of the inversion of the altar in the temple of the Order, or the result of it? We are told by the disciples that blades draw their power from the bloodpool, but does that also extend to the altar? If the altar in the temple were to fail, would blood magic also fail with it?
The blood altar in the Savannah also retains other similarities to the more recognized altar in the Crystal Temple. Mages who touch the altar leave behind an imprint of their spirit and are “remembered”. When a bloodmage bound to the blood altar departs, they will emerge within the temple where they are bound, the same as other known altars. However, there seem to be other properties related to the bloodpool and the blood altar. Fully realized mages can use their bloodblades as a focus to …traverse… the bloodpool, as it were. Traveling very quickly from the pool in the cemetery in Puddleby, to the altar and pool in the temple of the Order (they do not need to be bound to the altar for this to be possible.) Instead of passing through purgatory they pass through… a distinct, yet very similar space. This space appears much like purgatory or the ethereal plane, save for the presence of a single, small, still pool. Whereas undine can often be found in purgatory and the ethereal plane, in this “blood purgatory” the only denizen seems to be a single Astral Guardian, and the mages traversing the plane.
It would, perhaps be of interest for a Mystic to examine and explore some of these paths and phenomenon, but we are unsure as to whether such practitioners can be fully trusted, and as of yet, none are allowed entrance into the temple.
The Nature of Life and Death
“If you fear to walk the paths between life and unlife, leave this place."
Understanding more of the nature of life and death is one of the most important aspects of training for novice and initiate bloodmages. Once mages have learned enough to perform elementary blood magic by use of a bloodblade, they are encouraged to learn more of the bloodpool, and of the nature of life and death. These tasks are largely accomplished by feeding the bloodpool and studying the undine. This mage has many unanswered questions about the connection of blood magic to the undine, and to places where the veil is thin, but at the very least they seem to embody one of the most important tenets or facets of blood magic: the boundary line between life, and death. If blood mages are somehow intended to serve as the keepers or stewards of this boundary, or at the very least experts in walking along it, I suppose it only makes sense that that knowledge comes from studying those other creatures who do the same.
The question still remains, however… what is the connection between the Order, and the undine? How are the guardians of the temple made to serve?
By extension, it is of particular interest to this mage how Speakers such as Dourin bloodrunner are able to communicate, or at the very least, sense the hungers and temperament of the bloodpool. Just as it is also of interest what magic Nacerus uses to forge bloodblades for incoming novices and initiates.
It has been posited that perhaps the bloodpool, itself, is some form of greater undine, or extraplanar entity which may manifest itself in places where the veil is thin—where much death has occurred, or some other act or action that more thickly draws the line between life and death.
Let this be an introduction and invitation to all interested mages, initiates, and novices. I recognize that my theories are perhaps more just the basis for more questions to be asked, but in this process, I also seek the wisdom of those mages who have come before, and the perspective of those younger mages who I will continue to instruct.
Let us always remember, though we have found the path, our journey is not over. There is still much to learn and discover. Use your skills well, and remember to return to the order what you take from it.
- Sawyer the Seeker
Chaos Storm #1219 has swept the Lok'Groton island chain. Please post any changes you have observed and wish to share with others in the comments.
Delta Tao's "What's New" for v1219:
You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children — Madeleine L'Engle (1918–2007)
- All changes to this update are secret. Or maybe not that secret. Or maybe not that serious.
Whirl wind sent the following report to TMN:
It’s hard to describe briefly what occurred today and lead up to it, but I will try my best. A few days ago, someone from the time of the Ancients reached out to speak with several exiles.
Whether she herself was an Ancient is unclear but she spoke of Tart'targ as her mother who was older still. She called herself Pelaegia and spoke of the ocean and the weirding waters in an ancient Citadel atop a mountain peak in the Eastern Mountains. Under these waters lay ruins, cracks in reality, gateways acting as glimpses to a shadowy plane.
Unfortunately, the time between speaking and meeting was short, but a group of exiles consisting of NNK, Stinkfist, Mehan, Salandra, Haffron, Phroon, Gorvin, Naferu, Pirate, Poplar, Garr, Arbitur, Aspasia, Kvynn, Gustave, and I battled our way into Shadowspring Citadel to meet her.
She said she cared for the Citadel and worked to repair the cracks and damage done to it but requested the help of lantern bearers and their companions to banish a threat to the machines.
She said that a sun spirit from another plane was and had been feeding off the sun energy from the machines and that it had been slowly leeching sun energy from the world around it.
She asked if we had not felt the disturbance? The way the world feels slightly unbalanced, uneasy, as if tilted and uneven. A barrier between us and the sun, a weakness, a frailty.
While we know this state of being to be a reality, it apparently was not always so. Moreover, Pelaegia stated that lantern bearers, children of the Sun, should be no weaker than a child of the Moon, nor a child of the Earth. She told us of a time when that was so. A time before our remembering.
Surprised at the revelation that Mystics had never known more strength, she told us how we may find and banish this leeching spirit. Described as a vast golden, horrible, hungry wyrm, it is drawn to the greatest concentrations of the sun's energy so it may consume whatever it can. It must be banished back to its realm by destroying the physical body it manifests in our world.
Once it is no longer able to consume the sun's energy can the lantern bearers re-right the imbalance it left behind. In the ways of the Ancients, in the language of magic the lantern bearers must stand on the plaza of the sun and redirect the Sun's energies back into the machines by invocation.
Upon completion of this task she said we will feel the sun as we should and its power return to us. She requested that we seek her out when we have defeated the wyrm and she will teach us how to make amulets of breath, which will allow us to breathe water once we have the power to work such magic.
Discussion lead to action and today a group consisting of NNK, Salandra, Stinkfist, Mehan, Naferu, Arbitur, Gorvin, Xepel, Phroon and I ascended to a mountain peak housing a large Sun Machine more locally known as Sunspire.
Not sure we would find what we were looking for, we charged the machine fully to perhaps lure the creature to reveal itself and feed.
With great flashes of light, sun wyrms appeared between one blink and the next.
Swarmed, we fought them back. Suddenly a larger wyrm appeared and attacked as the bodies of the lesser wyrms dissolved into nothingness.
The fight was vicious but ultimately we prevailed. As it perished and returned to whatever plane it was from, we felt all the sun energy it had been directing toward itself gather around Salandra and I instead.
After consulting with Phroon, who with the help of Poplar, Fanan and others has studied the Ancient language extensively, we managed to translate the invocation.
Standing on the giant medallion engraved into the floor of Sunspire and lit by the sun, Salandra and I incanted "Sun join to Sun" in the words of the Ancients.
Light poured from our hands and bodies; the wind howled, and the machines groaned. A moment of electric energy raced across my skin and for a moment it felt as though sound had stopped, until a subtle shift in my mind snapped into place. A barrier I had not known existed, but once removed was unmistakably present, crumbled; Sound and light and *power* screamed back to life inside me.
The world itself shifted, askew no longer, but level as it had once been, as it should have been, settled comfortably back into being.
Every moment since I have felt a slow but steady flow of strength return to me emanating from the Sun's machines. Powerful as it is, I too feel chaos clouding its strength. What will occur once the growing chaos storm passes, I do not know.
But every day brings us closer to the Sun and I look forward to every moment.