"Volume 1, Issue 8" ...
Intreztin Faktz ahn Tipz fo kno
**all deeze faktz mite notz alweyz beh troo
**allz deeze tipz iz gud wunz
Fakt-- Ifz yoo leev rarez ahn ezpensiff gifz inz da bazket outsidez da soupz kichen inz da po' sekshin, wit C ahn M onz iz, iz mite not beh der da nezt dey
Tip-- Leev rarez ahn ezpensiff gifz inz da bazket outsidez da soupz kichen inz da po' sekshin, wit C ahn M onz iz
Fakt-- Ifz yoo leev donutz ahn cookiez ahn piez undorz dem booshez nearz da townz centorz, yoo feelz gud cuz yoo beh heppinz yoor communitee
Tip--Pleeze leev donutz ahn cookiez ahn piez undorz dem booshez nearz da townz centorz
Fakt-- Juz cuz yoo feelz tugz onz yoor poket dontz meen yoo gittinz robb, yoo mite beh standinz tuh cloze tuh uh boosh
Tip-- Mek shur yoo kep coinz inz bof poketz, dat wey wen yoo reely git robb yoo wunt loze dat much
Fakt-- Da godz dontz lak uglee baztidz
Tip-- ifz bigz rokz almoz crushz yoo evry tahm yoo juz sitinz inz yoor livinz room
Tip-- ifz litninz shootz throo mirrorz atz yoorz faze ebry tahmz yoo luk inz iz
Tip-- ifz yoor godz kep seyinz tuh yoo "ifz yoo luv meh yoo walkz off diz cliff" ahn yoo sey, "buht ahmz alredee 'loyalz' ahn dey sey "walkz ennuh wey" -- yeh, mebbuh yoor godz trahnz letchoo knuh sumtin
Fakt-- ifz yoo eetinz dinnorz ahn yoo feelz heavie breevinz onz bak yoor neck, dat mite beh meh
Tip-- juz poot yoor forkz downz ahn walkz wey frum da platez ahn dunt luk bak ifz yoo dunt wunt ennuh problemz
Ahn doze iz da faktz!
Condie da Mull
by Lii Dvo
Author's note: I decided that the Top 5's were no longer stimulating me creatively. Due to this fact I'll no longer be writing them. I didn't see myself saying this, but there's only so many ways you can make fun of Ambrose before moving on. I wanted to try something a little different. Enjoy.
What if I told you I was amazed by my own face? No mirror is safe. No reflective surface stays still for long before my own image stares back hard. Standards of beauty are lost in the implications of my own face. My face, these eyes...my eyes lock me in place each time. Would you believe, dear readers, that I hardly recognize myself? In my mind, I am a pair of floating eyes. In all our minds, are we ever more than that? In effect, if you sucked out the eyes of a killer, and somehow stuck them in someone else's head, would they then have a killer's disposition? Would they have a killer's nightmares, a killer's fantasies? The answer is yes...and no.
What a great way to start off this issue's edition of the Top 5s! As the saying goes, "Every town has a village idiot." Hmmm..maybe that's not a saying. Oh well, anyway, Spur has about a million village idiots, but these five are the ones that are the most idiotic of all. Then it is no surprise that the infamous Ambrose Arimathea snags the number one spot. What can I say about Ambrose that hasn't been said before? He recieved the most votes by far in this category. Good thing he's so dumb he probably can't even read. And even if he can, what's he gonna do about it? Next we have Castin, who shames the Knights of Elindale by being not only a moron, but an inept fighter. Following him is yet another member of KOE, Clive the Drag-al. Clive is one of those people who you just point at and laugh. But have a little sympathy, readers! For some reason he married Lauranna whatsherface, which in my opinion would have gained him the #1 spot if only he didn't have such stiff competition. Moving on we have Methoss the Drag-al. Avid SFP readers may remember Methoss from our last issue, where earned the top spot in the Top 5s category titled Ugliest Spurian. Cheer up Methoss, 4th place isn't so bad! Look on the bright side, at least you're not Clive! And finally, what would a category like this be without a representative of the hated worms? Vermithrax is the final member of the list, who narrowly edged out another drake Gellidus for the number five spot.
We filter the world through our own lenses. We see what we WANT to see. Many know this, but few understand. And let me ask you, Spurians, do you SEE yourselves? We are all only a pair of disembodied eyes. We watch and make judgements on the words and actions of others, and attribute it to their personality. A man steals, and he transcends the act of stealing to become: lazy, a criminal, volatile. He has the essence of a thief, or why else would he steal? So you tell yourself.
But what about you, dear readers? Have you ever done wrong? Your eyes hang in the air, just like anyone elses. You cannot see yourself act. You ascribe no face to your own actions. There is no mirror following you around, exhibiting to you your behavior. No...when you operate, you were merely responding to your situation.
Person who most needs a swift kick in the face
Another excellent category, if I do say so myself. At the bottom of the heap we have Vincentiv the San elf. And let me tell you, there is nobody who deserves a swift kick in the face more than this elf. What is his problem, and why does he keep abducting perfectly fine young human females and trying to make them eat their own livers? Moving one slot upwards we have Rafe the Leuian. I don't really know Rafe, but from what little I've seen I can definitely say I would like to kick him in the face. At the middle spot we've got Cieran. Why exactly does he need to be kicked in the face? He's one of those likable, well-adjusted people. That's enough for me. Coming right along is Raptorian. I'm fairly confident that a well delivered spinkick to the kisser would stop his babbling about pink elephants. Kind of hard to ramble like that without any teeth! At the top of the list we have a familiar face. Who wouldn't like to kick Ambrose in the face? He needs to be taken down about six notches, which is something that a properly placed bootheel would hopefully accomplish.
Many of you are probably wondering why there are no Top fives for this issue. I received very few votes for the current categories. After some thought, I attributed this to the recent inactivity of the SFP. After all, why waste time trying to contribute to a newspaper that missed its last two publication dates? Besides, its not the first time people haven’t voted. When this happened before, I would just write whatever I wanted. But this time when I sat down to write them, I realized something.
This topic is harder than it looks. Writing about girls should be easy, right? Wrong. Females are clever, intuitive, and notorious for finding hidden signs in everything. The right female can make the day brighter; the wrong female can make every breath painful. A woman's influence on a man can be the difference between an unkempt mongrel and a well-manicured showdog. Anyway, lets get to the damn topic already. Rounding out the bottom of the list is Torrana the Psycian. She's not all looks though, readers. This girl is on her way to becoming a merchant AND she can give you ESP. Next on the list we have Russa. It was hard not to like this particular bard. Of course, when you look like her it doesn't matter what instrument she played. No flute jokes please. Moving right along, we have the San Nibiru, who just happens to be the editor of this publication! Sexiness isn't all looks, readers. There's nothing sexier than the act of handing over a paycheck, eh ladies? Second place goes to Aliyah, mainly because she was one of the few people that bothered to send in votes. And with the most votes in this category is none other than Jade.
Some of us cannot know why we are facing a given direction. We may think we know ourselves, but how much can we ultimately know? As we walk our own path blindly, sometimes we have a moment of clarity as we total up the ground we’ve covered so far. Looking back, there is plenty of proof of our existence. Why shouldn’t there be? It couldn’t have gone any other way, as far as we’re concerned. The one difference between then and now is simple: the knowledge of your past. Situations will never be laid out and played out, on paper. But, if we truly believe we are nothing more than the decisions we make from moment to moment, then we could change who we were at any given time. By changing our actions based on the knowledge of the future, we could change the present. After enough lives, would we have ourselves a world crafted in our own image?
Heard on the Street—Interesting Remarks, Old and New, From Spur’s Finest Citizens
by Xaphania Djemma
Rylek asks Aliyah, "Why aren't you dead? I paid good money."
Aliyah says to Rylek, "Gee...I don't know why. "
Aliyah exclaims to Rylek, "Wait...that means you wanted to hurt me!"
Aliyah exclaims to Rylek, "How could you!"
Aliyah exclaims to Rylek, "After all these years!"
Aliyah exclaims to Orin, "I thought he loved me!"
Aliyah says to Rylek, "There there, I know you are just hiding your true feelings about me."
-Rylek the San and Aliyah the Secian
Rylek says to Normy, "Have a fruit cup."
Normy says to Rylek, "This makes it all worth while."
-Rylek the San and Normy the Flerian
Grimn asks Guaire, "iz troo yooz nekid on mountin seyinz yooz iz Sa?"
-Grimn the Go-blin-al and Gary the Frontacian
Normy exclaims to Midway, "You're hideous!"
Normy exclaims to Midway, "But we can help!"
-Normy the Flerian and Midway the Thugian?
Digby exclaims, "I hate being on fire!"
-Digby the Flerian
Owynn exclaims, "s'lak mah dreemz!"
Owynn exclaims, "ahz got boobehz!"
Owynn says, "ah meenz, nitemarez"
Owynn exclaims, "nitemarz!"
-Grimn the Goblin-al disguised as a female Owynn
Xavier says to Smite, "That turd is probably an aromatic candle."
-Xavier the Human to Smite the San
Bil yells, "We awent dwunkth!"
Bil yells, "Pawty!"
-Bil the Hooman
Vycous says to Augatil, "Now I have to touch you."
-Vycous the Frontacian and Augatil the Leuian
Leroy says, "ah lahk ta poop, an wap mah booty wif bukz an skrolz"
Condie says to Leroy, "ahmz tellinz Grimn yoo wipez"
-Leroy and Condie the Go-blin-als
That sneaky guy in the shadows says, "You know I have a long history of cozying up to Inquisitors.”
That sneaky guy in the shadows exclaims, "They're just so cuddly and cuuuuute!"
-That sneaky guy in the shadows
Alright you fashion starved Spurians. It’s time once again for the latest in couture. With the weather getting warmer, this time of the year calls for our excess layers to be shed for lighter, more cheerful apparel. Now, this transition is often difficult for many. I know how hard it is to leave the comfort of your mink boots behind. Hopefully, with the following advice, I can make your transition smoother.
Warm Weather Fabrics
Nothing says winter like wool. So buh-bye sweaters! Hello silk! Sensuous silk is the Spring/Summer classic standby. The barely there, sleek material caresses your body like a warm breeze and is ideal for all sorts of dressier attire. Another perfect warm weather fabric, and my personal favorite, is the delicate and delicious gossamer. Light and airy, wearing gossamer is like wrapping yourself in a cloud. And on the hottest of days, opt for something in linen, a material that is known to keep you cool. So swap that stiff wool tunic for a linen one!
Warm Weather Fabric No-No’s
I don’t want to catch any of my readers in wool outside of the winter months. Also, stay away from leather. On hot days, leather can become a bigger nightmare than waking up next to Grimn.
Must-have Warm Weather Garments
Although the sun may be brighter, there is always a chance for a slightly cooler day. But how to keep yourself toasty without sacrificing fashion by resorting to using your heavy winter cloak? The answer, dear readers, is the wrap. Wraps and shawls are this season’s best accessories for women. They come in every style and color and will compliment any outfit. As for men, opt for a light, well-tailored jacket. For you especially dashing and daring gentlemen, try a seersucker (a crinkled and often striped linen) jacket.
For Women: Halter tops are a must. Elegant and tasteful, these tops serve a double purpose by being fashionable and cooling at the same time.
For Men: Try some baggy linen drawstring pants pirate style. They’re comfortable, casual, and “freeing”.
Warm Weather Color
I have one thing to say: Color, color, color! Enough with the black! Yes, black flatters everyone. But if you’re going to wear something black, at least wear something bright to even it out. Wearing a black dress? Wear red shoes. Wearing black pants? Wear a fuchsia shirt with it. Well, maybe not fuchsia. But not black! My color picks for this season are emerald green, lilac, yellow, and (just to protest against black even more) white! White is the warm weather color. Use it, wear it, love it. And men, I have a little secret to tell you. There are more colors in this world besides black, brown, and grey. Use them!
Warm Weather Jewelry and Accessories
Ladies, if you’re going to take my advice—and I highly recommend you do—and wear white, compliment it with color! Try turquoise jewelry to add a splash of life into crisp white wear. Semi-precious stones seem to be all the rage among the Ladies on Noble Way. And may I remind you, dear readers, to never go overboard with jewelry. A couple of rings is fine…not six. You don’t need to drape yourself with jewelry. That’s right, Secians, I’m talking about you. Instead of a necklace, try a nice scarf. I am a big fan of silver on men. Try a simple silver ring or necklace to add a touch of class. If you’re going to wear gold, don’t go overboard or risk ending up looking like one of the chronic gamblers in Odds and Ends.
And now, for my favorite category. Shoes! Warm weather shoes? Must I even tell you? Sandals are what to wear for men and women.
Race Specific Tips
Anthians: Don’t wear skirts, dresses, or kilts. You might think we can’t see. We can.
Arachnians: Dead animals are never in fashion.
Drag-als: I hear bibs are all the rage.
Dragons: Stop giving your Secians ‘sparklies’. Too much of anything ruins a good outfit and you’re not helping them.
Fir Elves: I hear they’re having a sale on rustic clothing at the bottom of the Darkith. I’d check that out.
Usil Elves: They’re selling nice reading glasses there too.
San Elves: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Easy on the black leather! That doesn’t mean you should go out and get different colored leather either because that’s worse.
Flerians: Try to resist the urge to wear everything you find.
Frontacians: Find a color that complements or matches your gem. And never, ever wear white. Unless off course you’re trying to blend in with a snow storm.
Leuians: Pants, it’s all I ask.
Go-blin-als: Again…pants, it’s all I ask.
Psycians: Try purple.
Secians: You’re still blinding me.
Hoomans: Keep trying.
Oog-ra: A burlap sack wouldn’t help you so I’m not even going to touch this one.
Penthanians: Wear colors that contrast your natural color. It makes you more interesting to the eye.
Monitanian: Mud is not an accessory.
Thugian: Wearing bone accessories was a fashion fad in the past and a big mistake. Don’t cause me more trauma.
Author's Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles on the religions of Aradath. My intention is to shed some light on the religions, get a little below the surface stereotypes and focus on the beliefs that define it and its effects on the lives of its followers (and sometimes others). I consider this article the first in my series to fail utterly to do that. -S.T.
Taath: God of the Void
by Scruple Tamarind
Just say His name: Taath. A shadow and a silence fall.
Common wisdom makes Taath the god of pain, fear, and ignorance. Common opinion makes Taathians a band of bullies and torturers who have conveniently found a god to support their hobbies. If any religion could use a little exposition, this is it.
I interviewed several Taathians over a period of more than a year. I expected to find three types: the power brokers, the sick and twisted, and those weak-willed pawns held in thrall by the first two types. The Taathians refused to fit my expectations or even fit a discernable pattern.
They are a diverse group. I spoke to clergy and lay followers of many races and backgrounds: Oogs and Monitanians, Arachnians and San elves, Humans and Psycians. I was after that kernel of commonality to open the door a crack and give a fresh perspective to the outsider. I never found it. I found a kaleidoscopic, fragmented group, and more questions than answers.
The Arachnians may be the truest and most pure Taathians. Matriarch Raangel described Taath as Father. Consider how extraordinary this title is for a matriarchal society. "Because the Betrayer turned his back upon his greatest race of rune casters," she said, "cast us away... the Father saw our future and gathered us to Him." (Betrayer is the Arachnian name for Sa, god of magick; when asked about the rare Saian Arachnians the matriarch answered, "Yes, I feasted on them." .) Nearly all Arachnians are Taathian, another sign of how strong is this bond. There is undeniably something pure about the covenant between the Arachnians and Taath. I saw none of the politics and self-indulgence that marked other interviews. "He wishes the weak culled, the strong tested...which is the way of the Arachnian," she told me.
While many I interviewed seemed more interested in politics of Emjedah or an appreciation of a god that doesn't bother them ("Taath quiet" one Oog confided), or one that doesn't get in the way of "experiments", others did try to explain the nature of devotion to Taath. Here are some of their words:
A Taathian cleric who has since left the temple told me, "It is probably different for us all.. but He gives us strength, He gives us focus, He gives us acceptance of that which we have in common with Him."
Foom, Sanene leader of the Emjedah temple of Taath has written, "Pain is the wellspring of spirituality, and the path along which the progress of Life proceeds. Clearly, if living things may be said to have been designed, they were designed in large part as conduits and reservoirs of pain... what may be the ultimate purpose of our suffering, we may perhaps never be able to know, any more than a lump of ore can say why it contains the traces of precious metal."
Vlik said, "Pain... it's a means of control, for one..hatred.. to spread fear... I believe that Taath wants us to spread fear more than anything."
I asked why not torture fellow Taathians and leave the rest of us alone? Isn't it an inefficient use of time and energy dealing with reprisals from relatives of victims? On cleric replied "It isn't just about pain, but about fear and hatred. A willing victim would not likely raise large amounts of fear or hatred for Him to feed on" and that there was a public aspect to "keeping the rest of the population at a heightened level of fear." This is an unique feature of the Taathian temple: they rely on outsiders, not as possible converts so much as unwilling tools for their rites, in fact, the more unwilling the better. You could say this makes the Taathian temple in a way the most extroverted of any of the temples of Aradath, and the most political since it imposes itself upon the community so vividly. (The question of why this is tolerated by the community is not within the scope of this article.)
Pain, therefore, has its uses. Several Taathians pointed them out for me: avoiding serious injury, focusing concentration, an offering to Taath, and as a tool for control or generating fear. It is undeniable that pain and fear give Taathians a lever over others. And yet, the Taathians made it clear to me that there is something they crave in pain that is more elemental than it's mere usefulness as a tool, and this I must admit I cannot comprehend.
Another pillar of their faith is ignorance. As difficult as pain is to understand, ignorance is even harder to comprehend as a strength or a virtue. Why would any god encourage what is essentially a weakness? Gwoss the Monitanian told me, "Everyone is ignorant. We is brave enough to admit it, to see it as strength. We is not blind." Try as I may, I do not understand.
I am left (in my ignorance) to make up theories at random to explain Taathians, to put them in a comfortable little box that I can pretend to understand so I can sleep at night, my door doubly latched. Therefore, let me say that Taath seems to me to be a God of Negation, a God of Void, Lack, Denial. The concept of ignorance certainly qualifies in this regard. It is well to remember that the Arachnians suffered a catastrophic negation with the Unmagick, and which god profited most from it, gaining a powerful race of devoted followers. Their sacrificial rites revolve around an outsider, a victim brought in to fill the role and to serve as a reflecting surface or focal point.
Jade the san Elf said, "I saw these manifestations of my Lord in those who were not Taathian... Odarians who covet bloodshed more than honor and order. Rinannians who cower with closed mouths instead of standing up for peace. Sa'ians who desire the acquisition of power more than mastering magick." Again, the gaze turns outward, in this case finding faith in the negation of the religions of others. I tried to ask the Inquisitor of Taath, Vincentiv at the time, about this but he declined an interview. At least I think he did. He never said anything at all.
Nieffe's Cheat Sheet to SpurPart 1:
The Care and (Non-)Feeding of the Muatana-al
Translated by Xaphania Djemaa
Translator's note: Reprinted from the Spurian Chronicle, 200 years ago. I had to translate alot of the archaic language used in Spur during that period. I have tried to remain faithful to the original content and only change what was needed for it to be understood by modern day Spurian readers. I realize Muatana-al are rare these days in Spur as compared to back then, but there may be useful knowledge in here, and if nothing else, a good laugh.
The three most important things to remember about the Muatana-al are:
1) The MA aren't going to go away. The chances of them disappearing or being signifigantly altered are slim to none.
2) There is only one fool-proof way of preventing MA attack and that is to hide on Rinanni's peacebond.
3) You can effectively protect yourself from the MA.
With these three points in mind, let's take a look at the real MA situation in the Spur.
KNOW YOUR MUATANA-AL
First, let me stress that not all MA are evil or chaotic, and that only a few are a threat to other adventurers. Several are as stable and trustworthy as anybody in the city. Others are chaotic, but will not exercise their chaotic nature on fellow adventurers.
1) KNOW WHO'S WHO. I'm not going to privide a list here of 'good' and 'bad' MA-such a list can be neither accurate nor complete, and is likely to breed complacency. Adventuerers wil be able to tell you whom to beware and whome to trust, and the judgement of veteran adventurers is about as accurate as anything you'll find.(One helpful hint: don't trust anybody with 'evil' in his or her name.)
2) BE CAUTIOUS. Be Suspicious. Assume all MA are a possible threat and be careful around them until you can decide that they're trustworthy. It's a pity one has to behave that way, but the prevalence of rogue Muats mandates it. Also, Muats are masters of deception, so beware of Muats pretending to be friendly to get you alone in a dark alley and the like.
3) DON'T TRAVEL ALONE at night-or in the daytime, if an 'evil' MA is in Spur.
There is a real safety in numbers - the larger the group, the greater the safety. If you must travel alone with dangerous MA in the Spur, travel hidden if you can, using stealth or chameleon web.
4) DON'T ANTOGONIZE. Treat the MA with as much decency and respect as you can muster, even - especially - the 'evil' ones. Don't give them a reason to target you. Most MA are singularly unimpressed by bravado, especially coming from younger adventurers.
5) MAKE YOUR FEELINGS KNOWN. If you don't want MA hunting you, AND you don't want to hunt MA, let one of the MA (Nikoli is a good choice) know that you want a truce. My experience is that those MA who know about the truce will abide by it. However, you have to hold up your end of the bargain: no hunting, no aggression, no antagonizing. If you're not willing to hold your sword - and sometimes even your tongue in the name of peace, don't ask for the truce.
6) IMPROVE YOUR WILLPOWER. This option is last on the list for a couple of reasons. It's expensive - A willpower herb costs 100,000 silver per dose. And, unless you boost your willpower into godhood range, there are going to be Muatana-al with willpower signifigantly better than yours. Sure, strong willpower makes you more resistant to spells and mesmerization. And more willpower never hurt anybody. But depending on willpower alone to keep you safe from MA is a risky propisition indeed.
WHEN THE WORST HAPPENS
As I said before, nothing short of hiding on peacebond can gurantee that you will never be attacked by an MA. So if the worst happens - if, due to a lapse in judgement on your part, a reckless MA, or just plain bad luck, you find yourself mesmerized -- what can you do?
Frankly, not much. Mesmerization places you in a position of almost total powerlessness. (I haven't experienced it myself, of course, but I have this on good authority.) But there are a few things you can try.
1) PANIC. You are going to do it anyway -- getting mesmerized is a panic-inducing experience. So get it over with. You're going to need all your wits about you if you're going to talk yourself out of this one.
2) START TALKING. First, you've got to decide what you want. Do you want revenge? Or do you want to try to get yourself out of the next minute or so with as little damage as possible? If it's revenge you want, I doubt you need me to suggest what to say. If, on the other hand, you're not after revenge, say so -- "I'm not going to go after you, so please leave me alone." Bargain -- take my loot but leave my belongings; don't take my custom stuff; take what you want, but don't hurt me. If you have an agreement with other MA, let your attacker know. Yeah, you're groveling. Yeah, it might not work. Need I remind you that you're desparate?
3) RETURN TO TOWN SQUARE as soon as is feasible, especially if you've been robbed. Often you can get your goods back when you're in Town Square, where the MA is more vulnerable to adventurer pressure. More importantly, you're probably going to need the support of other adventurers -- mesmerization is traumatic for everyone. These rules assume that you've been attacked without warning. If you do having warning the rules are a bit different. For one thing, you can figure out what's going on and how to react to it.
Most likely, the MA will be after revenge for an insult or aggression, real or imagined. Frequently this is something you've done to protect another adventurer from attack -- some MA aren't sympathetic to this motive. You can try to talk to the MA and explain your side of the story. If there's a misunderstanding, you can work to clear it up. You can try for a truce. If you can't talk your way out of trouble, and you don't want to play out the scenario, simply be very careful when your nemesis is in Spur.
There is, however a small chance - for new adventurers, I might add, a very small chance - of becoming the 'chosen target' of an 'evil' MA for reasons over which you have no control. In other words, you might find yourself targeted not because you've said or done anything to provoke the MA, but because the MA has decided you are a worthy or suitable target. This can be quite exciting, interesting, and challenging. It can also be extremely disturbing, and trash whatever equanimity and balance you might have. This sort of 'hunt' can become intense in a way that few situations can.
As I've said before, none of these suggestions are foolproof. On the other hand, I have five roommates from whom I culled these strategies. None of them have ever attacked another adventurer(okay, Madrigale killed an MA once, but blame that on hysteria and mob mentality - and she was cured of that impulse for good). All of them try to be as even-minded, nonjudgemental, and pacifistic as possible. And since May, when the first of us came to Spur, our house has been harmed by the MA only twice - one robbery, one drain - which seems to be an enviable record in the crime-ridden Spur. So maybe you don't need to resort to violence to keep yourself safe from the Muatana-al.
Mayhem, Bloodsport, and Mass Death - A typical Spurian day?
An open letter to Governor Merlin and Baroness Lilly
It has come to my attention that Spur is, for lack of a better term, lawless. The Square seems to hold more ladiatorial attraction than the gladiator arena itself. Worse still, it seems almost indiscriminate who gets involved. As Paladin General of the newly revived Odarian Order of the Eagle, this is a cause of great distress to me. Regardless of that you think you may have done for the city, vigilante justice reigns supreme. Some of my own templemates have fallen to this kind of base behavior, and it sickens me. Your "guards" are ineffective, frequently dragging off the attackee rather than the attacker. Your justices are never seen, and as such they are ridiculed by the populace as being nothing more than mirages of lawfulness.
The Odarian Temple is concerned about this, and we respectfully demand that something be done about the situation. We Odarians cannot be expected to shoulder the burden of enforcing law ourselves, we have our hands full just making sure our own people aren't going renegade. It took months to capture Devan after his warrant was issued, and he had been in Spur almost the whole time. If you as leaders want to preserve your legitimacy, you must take a stand. Otherwise, you might find that the next brawl in the
Square turns into a riot that wrecks half the city. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but please take this under consideration. A lawful city is a strong city, and Spur must be strong to withstand the hardships ahead of it.
The lawlessness eats away at Spur's foundations, and the city will eventually collapse in on itself if nothing is done. Spur has no shortage of enemies, and they will find it an easy target if the people of Spur are ighting each other at the same time the enemies are fighting Spur. Would you have a brawl going on in the square while armies of demons besiege the city? Yes, part of the problem lies in the thugs of the square themselves, but they would not fight if there were harsher punishments for doing so.
Why must a simple, common duel between two foes escalate into a bloodbath? I've seen it happen, and it's disgusting. One person takes a swing, but oh no, they swung at your friend! Oh no, you swung at that other man's friend! Eventually, the square is covered in gore and there isn't a law enforcement officer to be found. You have made a big deal about your new, highly trained guards, but they are pparently not doing their jobs.
A few possible suggestions:
1) Recruit more Justices, and have one patrolling the square frequently.
2) Impose harsh punishments on those who initiate combat in the square. If there is a duel to be fought, it can be done elsewhere.
3) Hold open sessions of court, where citizens can bring grievances to besettled without the use of vigilante justice.
We can have a stronger city if we're willing to work for it. However, it is impossible unless those in charge of the city take an active role in encouraging the enforcement of the laws. This is what is needed. I leave it to you to decide what to do, and thus show your integrity.
Thoughts of a Weary Traveler
An Editorial by Soyam Silayn
During some of my travels I have studied. They were always cut short for various reasons, too short in my opinion. But my thirst for knowledge did get quenched on occasion. The main thing I studied was the gods. Sometimes I would study geography and cultural things, but mostly gods and peoples attitudes towards their churches. And I have developed an interesting theory based on facts and conjectures I have found.
Many of us have heard the phrase 'War of Souls.' It is usually said by a cynical atheist as to why the gods mark their followers. Now while I personally believe that a person's spiritual belief creates some sort of resonance with their god that is visible to the naked eye, which is neither here nor there. The 'War of Souls' does exist, and it's a rather relevant situation.
Some people believe that the gods want Souls for their own power, but this is untrue. Unknown and Taath have shown to have just as much power as any other god, yet they are arguably the least worshipped of the seven. Conversely, if the amount of worshippers were the true gauge of power than Sa would have declared himself the supreme overlord of the pan-dimensional sphere by now. He has, in fact, not
done this. That alone tells me that the amount of worshippers do not gauge the power of the deity.
Than what are they for? The gods do indeed want worshippers, and reward those who show true devotion. Or at least sacrifice. For what purposes would they want these souls then? Well, the purpose has many names. Each language has at least one name for this purpose, if not several. I will simply call it 'Ending'.
In Taganoth, there are many demons yearning to escape. The ignorant ones amongst us believe Taath controls these, but it is a fact that they hate Taath possibly most of all. Perhaps Taath was one of them, and somehow broke the threshold into godhood. I do not know, nor does it matter to this discussion.
There are vague prophecies of the wall between the realities will fall. All will be merged into one plane, and then shall battle truly take place. The battle will be between the gods themselves, the gods against the demons, the still living against the extraplanar invaders.
With the wall down, the gauntlet shall be thrown. The still living will not matter, with the exception of a rare few beings of tremendous power. Or those even fewer beings that hold objects of tremendous power and history. But the demons will be important, as will the gods themselves. And so they will need an army, especially for when they fight amongst each other.
The army will be the dead souls that reside with them. They will fight against the demons and other souls. Even Rinanni must abandon her peaceful nature and fight. And I do feel sorry for her armies too, for as one great Rinannian once said during the war between religions a few centuries back: "Our trouble is that we make good poems and bad siege weapons."
The truly scary thing about all this is that there is no prophecy that even hints to an outcome. The rare couple I've found all ends with the vague references to the wall falling. As if the future, to those gifted with an insight most of us cannot comprehend, is muddled. That it's just one big unreadable mess after that.
So this 'War of Souls' is indeed serious, but not for the short-term as many have long believed. The question all this raises in my mind is not about the end. But about what happens to all the souls who are not marked for a particular god?
An Outsider's View
And so I travel to Spur. What will I find when I get there, I wonder?
I have made many preliminary inquiries on this very question. And the answers I have gotten are very disheartening. From what I have heard, Spur seems to take what is wrong with every city, and twist it to horrible new extremes. For example:
There is violence in every city. It seems to be the curse of human, and most other, civilizations. However Spur takes it to a new level. Murders and muggings happen hourly, and on some days even every minute. Many would blame the Taathians for this, or the usual Setite scapegoat, but it is in
fact every beings fault. Yes, even you Secians for you heal the nearly animalistic beasts known as 'Dracos' and 'Drakes' so they can continue their prepubescent rampages.
There is despair in every city. The average person, and quite a few above-average people, who believe that they cannot change things so they just go along with it. But Spur is home to some rather powerful people, and nearly all believe that. And what's worse, is this view is common amongst its Lords and Ladies. The beings who actually have that power act
as if they do not. Whether it is through honest isillusionment, or perhaps just cowardly greed, I do not know.
And there is greed everywhere. But in Spur, it drives nearly every transaction. From the Secians and their incessant need for 'sparklies', to the Taathians and their disturbing, and heretical to their religion, need for death. I have heard tell that people now can buy a Lordship outright.
There is no longer even any pretense and illusion over the act, it's just an outright buying. Only in civilizations of heightened decadency does this go on, and it always points to the fall just a few short decades away.
Of course, all this could easily be changed. An effective police force by impartial troops would curb the violence somewhat. Things improving would help the despair, and quite simply rooting out corruption would help the greed problem. But it won't happen.
The police force has been tried before. But oftentimes, it gets mired down into politics. And the Odarians in power in Spur are more biased than their counterparts elsewhere. They cannot be trusted to actually police, any more than one could trust a Taathian. Or a Rinannian soldier. It just doesn't
work, which is highly unfortunate. But whenever an effective force does come up, the Odarians usually whine about it for their own members are put in jail for murderous crimes.
Many have tried to say that religion is the problem, and what I've said above sure points to that direction. But while no city that I have been to, outside of Rathan, has had the freedom of Religion that Spur has, I doubt that that is the problem. The problem, quite honestly, is adventurers.
Adventurers are a mercenary carefree people, who only care where the next thing to bash is. Even the supposedly gentle ones, Secians and Rinannians, act this way. Adventurers are rarely about the group effort, but instead the singular effort. They are a shortsighted folk, and indeed have to be for their profession is a dangerous line of work. And yet they have the
power in Spur. From their ranks comes the heads of religion. From their ranks come the newly purchased Lords and Ladies. From their ranks comes the abuses heaped upon the Spurian citizenry.
I do not look forward to coming to Spur due to all I have heard. But its siren's call continues to call me, and I do not have the will to resist. I will see you all soon.
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