Role Playing Games

Campaign Journal
Dramatis Personae

The Orbaal Campaign
What Happened in the North

The Tale of Lady Shylocke

I, Lady Evelyn Shylocke, only daughter and fourth child of the marriage of the Lord Maletus Shylocke and his Lady Ambrosia Shylocke, was born in TR 702 in Castle Shylocke in the Thard River Valley. My father was a new patrician and one of the 96 important houses in the Thardic Republic. I had an ordinary life, raised believing that merchants were immoral and dishonorable in their dealings.

When I was 12 my parents were killed by a plague that struck the area. I was crushed. My father, a worshipper of Larani, was a moral senator, and he had many friends, and he held my greatest respect. Unfortunately, my three older brothers, Agrikans to the core, thought ill of my father's peaceful and honorable ways. I was perpetually disgusted with their beliefs, and for my inheritance, I received the contemptuous glares of my brothers as they ignored my father's will and divided my share of the estate among themselves and managed to completely close me out of all dealings involving the keep. I grew more and more upset about my mistreatment until they decided to send my to an Agrikan temple to prepare me for some arranged marriage. May any justice that exists in the world douse their accursed flames in tonnes of thardic river bottom mud.

I was "introduced" to a private scholar in Coranan, who actually seemed to take great delight by the petty, but very brutal personal violations he inflicted on me. Any more details I shall not disclose. Hired scholars taught me the learned arts. It was at this time I was introduced to, and learned the harp from a master harper named Finlayston.

Finlayston is a famous Shiran harper who told me many bizarre and wondrous stories. He also told me about someone named Therea of Norwin. I'm really not sure why he told me about her, but she seemed to be a pupil of his once.

The Agrikans tried to mold me into some sort of spiritless whore, something that I would not endure, so I planned and eventually made my escape from the monastery. I asked around town at my father's acquaintances, and was taken in and hidden by a senator named Laoch in his manor house. He was very hesitant and was very quiet about my ordeal with the Agrikans, though he gave me equipment and silver, and a cart ride to Shiran.

In Shiran, I was introduced to Menedamus, a bookbinder who lived on the third floor of a tiny ramshackle shop. It was Menedamus who awakened my curiosity for literature and fueled my desire to know all about everything. It was at this time I discovered my desire to know all the secrets that must lead to the one great reason to it all.

Menedamus was an older man with a weird, almost insane passion for knowledge, and he treated me with compassion for the first time in almost a decade. It was he who introduced to me, quite by accident, the feeling of being in love. We loved each other as the stars love the moon; mysterious, and unknown and unbounded, but with a mysterious attraction. It was he who showed me the true art of lovemaking, unlike the Agrikan sprawling on cold stone floors.

After the first two years of our love, my twenty- first year, Menedamus changed. For some reason, he had a falling out with his normal comrades, and began to indulge in more mysterious and dark pursuits. His health deteriorated and he began to receive strange visitors in late hours. They had sunken eyes and a generally unhealthy atmosphere, and he and they would leave the book shop more and more often, to be gone for long stretches. Eventually Menedamus became totally absorbed in his "Little Mystery" and isolated himself from me and even locked me out of the book shop. Before the end, Menedamus had begun to smell of a sickly-sweet rotting flower smell that he would not discuss. His words became only for his own ears, and became more puzzling and cryptic. Alas, his final words he spoke out as I last saw him were "Aye, Bahrmolloch, Araka-kalai, why did you go there?" And that was the end.

I left Shiran because I could not bear to be so close and so far from my love. Finally I decided to travel to Araka-kalai myself, if only to find out what my love was doing that was so important that he cast me out. I met my present companions on the road to Araka-kalai, after a skirmish with three bandits. After reaching the town of Meldryn, I discovered that Bahrmolloch had been dead for nearly twenty years. I was forced out of town before any leads could be followed.

I now travel to find true companionship, the reasons for Menedamus' behavior, and to continue my search for knowledge.

House Shylocke device: A deer skull with big branching sixteen-pointed antlers superimposed over a grey quarter moon.

One night I was sitting in the temple, writing like a madman, scribbling down descriptions of the men who came and went in the pit, children of all races it seemed, speakers of a dozen different languages.

And for no apparent reason, I was possessed of a strange idea about life, a strange concern that amounted to a pleasant obsession. I remember that it came to me that night because it seemed somehow related to what happened after. But it wasn't related. I had had that idea before. That it came to me in those last enslaved hours as an Agrikan was no more than a coincidence.

The idea was simply that there was somebody who knew everything, somebody who had seen everything. I did not mean by this that a Supreme Being existed, but rather somewhere there was on Kethira a continual intelligence, a continual awareness. And I thought of it in practical terms that excited me and soothed me simultaneously. There was an awareness somewhere of all things I would see in my travels, an awareness of what it had been like in Misyn before the Earthmasters came, an awareness of what it had been like during the arrival of the Sindarin during the Lost Years. Somebody knew what the light had been like when the Khuzdul cast Lothrim the Fowlspawner into his black pit beneath the mountain, and someone or something knew what the peasants said to each other in their little farmhouse outside Shostem when Arlun's horde sacked the castle.

My idea of who or what it was was vague. But I was comforted by the notion that nothing spiritual - and knowing was spiritual - was lost to us. That there was this continual knowing...

And as I wrote a little more, and thought about it, I realized it wasn't so much a belief of mine as it was a prejudice. I just felt there was a continual awareness.

And the compilation I was writing was an imitation of it. I tried to unite all things I had seen in my history, linking my readings of lands and people with all my written observations and tomes of others- to make one complete, continuous of the world in my lifetime. It was a pale thing, a limited thing, compared to the true awareness. Yet I felt good as I continued writing...

The secret of true swordsmanship lies in the acceptance of death.

You face death every time you touch the sword. Remember this, and in time, Death will become an old and dear friend. You will smile when you meet him.

Nothing is so futile as a life wasted in flight from death. Mortal man dies when his time comes, today, or ninety years from today.

Perhaps the young never truly believe they can die.

You are not here to learn pride, but to study swordsmanship.

Do not seek any man's approval- not even mine. Let your sword move as a flowering of your inner self, free of all desire of outward things.

Do you act out of a desire that those around you should speak well of you? Then you too are a merchant, and that which you barter for the coin you seek is your freedom of thought.

Pain does not hurt. Only fear hurts. Pain only hurts when you fear it.

A dying fire burns the hottest.

Each sword stroke should be a meditation.

Bad technique is performing the same maneuver twice in a row.

All men are marching to their deaths, from the day they are born.

The true warrior, the self- judged man, must be detached from the temptation of gain or loss.

Ill deeds are done by those desiring to win or fearing to loose. Give all, even your life, in detachment.

You cannot fight time with a sword.

Will you sell your honor for the light in a lady's eyes?

We fear death,yet we know not why. For all we know, death may be the king of all pleasures.

Take no pride in the praise of others. For thus you become enslaved to the opinions of others, and will do evil, if men will praise you for it.

There is always a way to peace. So long as there is truth between honorable men. So long as you keep faith even with your foes, men will deal with you unafraid. But, a man known to be an oathbreaker leaves his foes no choice but war and may make no peace with the world.

The self- judged man cares not for those of power, or the esteem of men.

Let the man who is no danger to you be on his way. No man's life is worth more than another's. If Death is not already present at a gathering, it is folly to invite him. Death is a capricious guest; his appetite may be larger than his host expects.

Men blind themselves to the evil they do by looking beyond a deed to a goal.

A virtuous deed is its own reward. But a wicked deed cheapens life for all men.

Everything has the potential to be dangerous.

During my visits to Khare and Selenia during the winter of 724-725 I learn much from his vast libraries. I copy down his map of Shiran, Coranan, the northern territories and the area about Welmoch's wall. I also study and copy information out of Khare's book of travel on Araka-Kalai, Ilvirian dogma, a map of Iracu and Serion camp.