The Great Library of Palanthas

Astinus' Office

Dominating the center of this room is a massive birch desk. Legend claims this desk has supported the thousands of volumes of history Astinus has recorded. A large pot of ink, a container of sharpened quills, and a candelabra complete the desks decorations. Small windows line the room, allowing light to trickle in and gently illuminate the entire room. A comfortable couch rests against the west wall. Tapestries hang on the walls between the windows. Shelves line the walls, filled with tomes of the more recent records of heroes and villians upon the face of Krynn.

The librarian notices you aren't reading anything... Astinus hands a small book to an Aesthetic standing by you. You note the spine bears the word 'Marthesa' scribed in dark orange ink. As you glance down at the page you read..

From the pages of Marthesa's book..

Author: Marthesa Date: Sun Apr 20 19:49:00 2014 Subject The Wages of Shame -- 1

A dull pain in her back woke Marthesa de-Kalgon from a dreamless sleep, and she swore softly as she contorted herself, trying to find a more comfortable position. Shortly she realized that she was not in her camp, but lying on a hard wooden floor. She rubbed her eyes, which were so blurred with sleep that she couldn't see a thing. As she sat up groggily, she heard a high, piercing voice shout "The cow's awake!" At the sound of the word she growled and reached for her sword, and felt a twinge of panic when she found it missing. In a moment she found herself surrounded by small humanoids -- kender -- but instead of the usual wide-eyed curiosity, she saw anger on their little faces. The panic faded -- she was confident she could manage a roomful of kender -- and was replaced with confusion. She had no idea where she was.
"Well," said a white-haired kender female leaning on a cane, "you certainly took your time waking up! Of course, I'm surprised to see you still alive, the way you were acting last night! I've never seen such a disgraceful display! Tell me --" and now curiosity mingled with the annoyance on her face -- "how DO you feel? Headache? Dry mouth? Any...strange visions? Pink spiders, that kind of thing?"
"Yes, yes, and no. Where am I?" groaned Marthesa, rubbing her head. "And who in Krynn are you people?"
"Don't remember, do you?" said the old kender. "Well, look around at what you accomplished last night, and see if THAT oils the gears in that bovine head of yours!"
And now, she did. Plainly, she was in some sort of tavern, but it looked like it had been hit by a cyclone. Tables were overturned. Chairs were smashed into kindling. Pieces of broken glass littered the floor. She noticed that the tavern's large front window had been broken, and a rust-colored something was smeared across the wall nearby. Slowly, she assembled the images into a fragmented memory. Stopping for the night in the little village. Drinking in the Goatsucker -- a tavern staffed by a family of kender -- downing cheap spirits diluted with honey and fruit, the way the kender insisted on preparing them, and downing them too quickly. Her voice growing louder. Ordering her twelfth drink. Getting into an argument with a hulking ignoramus of a human...
"Oh, no," she said, low. "I did this."
"Well, you and the other one," a young kender male piped in. "The big old brown one. I thought for sure you were going to kill that poor kid! But you just ended up throwing him out the window. Gosh, it was exciting!" The kender's eyes gleamed. "Then you started singing songs. In cow-talk, I think. Sounded like sea chanties. You have quite a good voice, you know! I never knew cows could sing like that. Take it all around, I never had such an entertaining evening."
"The human boy," Marthesa said. "Is he...?"
"Is he what?" the kender looked puzzled. "Oh! Oh, I see. No, don't worry about Muttonhead Murf. He'll be fine. He's always coming in here and causing trouble." He lowered his voice. "Even accused Grandma of STEALING once. He got quite a beating that day too. From Grandma. No, Murf'll be fine. Of course, there's the matter of our inn. You didn't quite leave it the way you found it, as you can see."
"My behavior was dishonorable." Marthesa bowed her head. "I am obliged to assist you in any way I can to compensate for my misdeeds. I only ask that you do not speak of this to anyone."
"Oh, of course we won't, dear!" said the old kender. "After all, nobody's perfect!" The others murmured assent. She wasn't sure if she believed them. She prayed to Kiri that they would never encounter another member of her clan. The thought was unlikely, but the shame: inebriation...loss of control... attacking an unarmed and plainly inferior opponent. Two against one, no less.
Which reminded her... "Where is Hes?"
"Hes?" The old kender scratched her chin. "You mean Hester Pathfinder? What do you want with her?"

Author: Marthesa Date: Sun Apr 20 19:51:22 2014 Subject The Wages of Shame -- 2

"No. Not a kender. Hes," growled Marthesa. "My companion. The other minotaur."
"Oh, him! He ran off last night. I checked all over town, because he smashed a whole barrel of my best ale and I really would like to have a word with him. But he seems to have vanished."
"'Ran off?'" Marthesa's chest burned with rage. "The cowardly son of a hobgoblin's poxy whore!"
"So I guess you've no choice but to work off HIS part of the damages, too."
Marthesa ground her teeth. "I suppose not."
"Hooray!" squeaked a kender child. "The minotaur lady's going to live with us! This is going to be fun!"
"'Fun.'" Marthesa's shoulders sagged. "Yes."
"You really should watch yourself when you start to drink, though," said the old one. "You were like a bull in a -- oh -- pardon the expression...but you really did make a terrible mess!"
"After this," Marthesa said wearily, "I don't think I'll ever touch the stuff again."

Author: Marthesa Date: Fri May 16 08:31:15 2014 Subject Repaying a Debt, 1

Marthesa let out a hiss of disgust as she awoke, for the third morning in a row, to faint clicking and scratching sounds at her door. "Mirabeth," she growled. "Is that you?"
The sounds stopped. "Y-yes," answered a high, girlish voice after a pause.
"Are you picking my lock?"
"Yes. The door was locked and I couldn't get in," she said matter-of-factly. "Are you awake?"
"No," Marthesa said, "and I've told you two times now that I lock my door for a REASON. Haven't I, Mirabeth?"
"And what is that reason?"
"B-because you don't want to be disturbed," the kender recited.
"So DON'T DISTURB ME!" she roared in a voice that shook the rafters and usually sent people running for cover. She had found, though, after a week of living in the Goatsucker Inn, that kender were seemingly immune to this sort of intimidation.
"You don't have to YELL," the kender girl said peevishly. "I just thought maybe you were awake already, but I wasn't sure, and Grandma isn't home, so I thought maybe you woke up to go to the market, because Grandma usually takes you along to carry everything, and I listened at the door, and I couldn't hear anything, so I just wanted to see if you were inside or not, because it's almost time to open for breakfast, you know, and we need some help with the tables, and Grandma's not here and I don't know what to do --"
"Yes, yes, all right, I'm coming," she grumbled. "I'm coming..." She rolled off the two uncomfortable straw-stuffed mattresses that she'd pushed together for a makeshift bed -- apparently, people more than five feet tall did not frequent the Goatsucker Inn -- and began to dress, reminding herself that she wouldn't be subjected to this indignity forever. With the help of a frenetic gnomish bar patron who had a better head for numbers than the kender did, Elodie Springchicken, the white-haired old creature who owned the inn, had determined that it would take eight weeks of work for Marthesa to work off the damage she and her companion Hes had done during a night of drunken debauchery. It had been one week, but it had felt a lot longer.
Once she was dressed, she opened the door to see the tiny kender child called Mirabeth standing there, wearing an outsized apron and beaming up at her. All the kender who staffed the Goatsucker Inn were either very young or very old -- everyone in the middle had been claimed by Wanderlust, the mysterious compulsion that overtook young kender and flung them to every corner of Krynn. Although Marthesa was not overly fond of kender, she was pleasantly surprised by Elodie's shrewdness and wit, and had spent some enjoyable hours conversing with her by the fire -- kender improved with age, she supposed. She felt no such affinity with the kender children. They were constantly breaking into her room, making off with her things, and pestering her with inane and insulting questions about her people. Worse still, they were not even able to perceive her utter contempt for them. "Let's get on with it," she said brusquely.
"Hooray!" Mirabeth jumped up and down -- actually jumped up and down -- Marthesa could barely stomach such merriness -- and grabbed her by her enormous hand. "We're making pancakes! Come on! I need you to get the thing down from the thing!"
She rubbed her temple. "What thing?" "The -- the big thing. The big black thing we make the pancakes in."
"The skillet."
"Yeah, that! It's too heavy for me to lift and Grandma's not here. By the way, do you know how to make pancakes? Grandma usually makes them and we have a book that tells how but I don't know how to read yet."
Marthesa fingered the bison's horn that hung around her neck and apologized silently to Kiri for the dishonorable urge she felt to drop the heavy skillet onto the child's head. "Where is Elodie? She is the only one of the whole lot of you who knows what she's doing. I don't believe she'd like you to do the cooking yourself."

Author: Marthesa Date: Fri May 16 08:32:44 2014 Subject Repaying a Debt, 2

"Grandma? I don't know. But she said if she's not here you're in charge."
"What?!" They reached the bottom of the stairs and entered the tavern, which was crawling with kender children who were squabbling, pulling pots and pans out of cabinets, setting tables, and, in their own roundabout way, preparing for breakfast. She began to panic. "I'm here to work, not to lead a crowd of imbecilic children! Why, I -- I don't know the first thing about running a tavern!"
"You've seen grandma doing it, haven't you? The skillet's up there."
"No! I must protest! I --"
"Fire's already lit. We gotta make the pancakes. EVERYBODY in Hartford comes to the Goatsucker on pancake day. Ooh, Eldin Wandersnatch, you be careful! That flame's getting awfully close to the drapes!"
"Oh, lord!" She rushed to the stove and grabbed a towel, using it to smother an incipient flame. "I'll...I'll handle the cooking, all right? all go and set the tables. Fetch water for washing up. Just get away from the fire, for gods' sake, you idiots."

Author: Marthesa Date: Tue Jun 3 07:32:46 2014 Subject The Missing Matron

Four hours later, Marthesa slumped, exhausted, in a chair that was too small for her, as kender children clustered around her, congratulating her on her excellent cooking -- "Well, after you learned not to burn things, of course -- you got it right on about the twenty-third try, didn't you?" But Elodie Springchicken still hadn't returned.
Mirabeth stood at some distance from the crowd. Marthesa noticed her eyes shining. "I m-miss Grandma..."
"Oh, please don't cry," Marthesa said exasperatedly. "I have had a trying morning and I can't abide weeping!"
"B-but why isn't she back yet?" The child sniffled.
"I don't know!" snapped Marthesa. "Your kind go wandering off all the time, don't they?"
"Not OLD kenders," Mirabeth said shakily. "They never go very far. They're slow and they get tired. And Grandma, with her b-bad l-l-leg..."
"Oh, for the love of -- please stop crying. Look, let me have something to eat, and then I'll go out and look for your grandmother. She probably just got distracted and lost track of the time. Now, when was the last time you saw her?"
"Last night before I went to sleep! She tucked me in and told me a story like she ALWAYS does, except when she's lost her voice, which happens from time to time, but MOST of the time --"
"And has anyone seen her this morning? Has ANYONE --" Marthesa bellowed the word in an effort to be heard over the mass of chattering kender -- "seen Grandma Elodie this morning?" The kender murmured that they hadn't, and then one of them started telling a story about someone they HAD seen this morning, a cousin whom they hadn't seen for several weeks, and then another interjected with a story about an uncle, and then a very small child piped in saying that she had seen a duck. "SHUT UP!" Marthesa roared and pounded on a table with a great fist, startling them (if not scaring them) into momentary silence. "If no one has seen her," Marthesa said slowly, "and if she is not in the habit of wandering off for hours and hours at a time, we may conclude that she is missing." This remark produced some noisy consternation among the kender, and Elodie pounded on the table again. "I will go and look for her. I'm sure she is unhurt. I need you to remain calm and...not to touch the fire until I'm back."
"But what if we're cold?"
"Use blankets."
"But what if it's SO cold we need SO many blankets that there's not enough to go around and we freeze to death and --"
"It will not get that cold at this time of year."
"But how will we cook?"
"But Mariana knows how to light the fire..."
Marthesa shut her eyes and shook her head. "Oh, do as you wish! But mark my words, I will not be held responsible if you lot burn the place down!"
"Hey, that only happened once!"
"I'm delighted to hear it. Now, for the love of all that is good, will you PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE while I eat my breakfast?!"
The kender scattered sulkily, muttering about bad tempers, and Marthesa grabbed a cold plate of pancakes from the bar. Perhaps, she thought, the old lady had had a fall while gathering greens at the edge of the village. Maybe she'd tumbled down a ravine and was waiting for rescue with a broken ankle. Or maybe she'd just gotten distracted and wandered off -- no matter what the kender said about their elderly, she wouldn't put any absentminded wandering past them. But if Elodie WAS in danger, and if Marthesa DID find her and take her out of harm's way, perhaps Elodie would be willing to consider the debt repaid. A life, after all, was worth much more than a few barrels of ale and a smashed window. She finished the first plate of pancakes and found another, wishing that the kender served sausages at breakfast, and chewed them thoughtfully. Perhaps the next eight weeks would not have to be a stretch of miserable humiliation after all.

Author: Marthesa Date: Sat Jun 14 09:31:11 2014 Subject The Missing Matron, 2

"A kender?" The Neidar blacksmith snorted and shook his head. "You're going to have to give me a bit more to go on than that. Have you taken a look around lately? They're thick as fleas on a dog's arse around here."
"A very old kender. A female. Runs the Goatsucker Inn down the way. Walks with a cane."
"Oh, that one." He rubbed his beard. "I know who you're talking about now. But no, I can't say I've seen her lately."
"Thank you for your time," Marthesa bowed and walked on.
"Don't know why you're looking for a kender anyway," the dwarf called after her. "One doesn't see kender and, well, your kind together very often."
"It is a matter of business," Marthesa said over her shoulder. "I'll thank you for staying out of mine." The Neidar shrugged and returned his attention to his anvil.
She had asked every business owner and quite a few passers by about Elodie, and while some of them recognized Elodie's description, nobody had laid eyes on her in the past day or two. That wasn't so unusual, she supposed. Kender were slippery little creatures, and didn't allow themselves to be seen unless they wanted to. Elodie was so old, though -- a sprightly ninety-five -- and wasn't as stealthy as she used to be. One would think that ONE person, at least, would notice a shuffling old thing like her. Marthesa hadn't discounted the possibility that someone could have been lying, but as far as she could tell, the old kender had no particular enemies. The whole situation perplexed her, and she was tempted to give up -- but if the kender children back at the inn didn't have some sort of parental figure, they would continue to cling to her, and the thought of playing nursemaid to a crowd of idiots made her shudder. Besides, even though she normally wouldn't mourn the loss of a kender, she liked Elodie, and still harbored some guilt about the mess she'd made of the inn.
The day proceeded thus, and with no useful information to pursue, Marthesa decided that the only solution left was to go searching for Elodie in the plains skirting the village, where she sometimes went to gather greens, herbs, and flowers. Maybe she'd broken her hip or twisted her ankle. Marthesa checked that her sword was still at her side, said a quick prayer to Kiri for guidance, then proceeded down the cobblestone road that wound out of the village and towards the rolling prairie.

Author: Marthesa Date: Thu Jun 26 16:21:25 2014 Subject The Missing Matron, 3

The constant thrumming of insects and the heady herbal aroma of flowers and grasses excited Marthesa's senses as she waded across the plains, scanning for any sign of a kender. Occasionally she called Elodie's name. Frustratingly, the grass was about the height of a kender, so if Elodie was lost, she wouldn't be easy to find. Insects buzzed about Marthesa's ears and she twitched them in annoyance. She'd been searching the plains for hours. It was good exercise, but produced no kender. She was beginning to think that this was hopeless.
She was plowing almost mindlessly through a sea of dead grass when she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, realizing suddenly that all the noise of the prairie -- the insects, the birds, the cries of ground squirrels, everything -- had gone silent.
There was nothing to be heard -- not even a breeze in her ears. Everything was as still as a tomb. And for a place that had been teeming with life a moment ago, that was worrisome, to say the least. Marthesa took a few steps back, feeling strange. And a few more. The faint sounds of the plains began to come back. The further she retreated, the louder the sounds.
She worked her way around the silent spot in a slow spiral, trying to locate the source of the anomaly. As she closed in on the silence, she felt a growing tension deep in her belly, a sickly prickling of the short, fine hairs on her body, a cold clammy sweat on her brow. Her heart began to beat faster and her breath came quick and shallow. An overpowering wave of nausea passed over her without warning, and she could not resist the urge to turn around and flee from the spot.
"Fear spell," she said low to herself after she caught her breath. She was surprised to hear the quaver in her voice. Some dark magic was present in this place. Normally, she would stay clear of such a place, curiosity be damned. Mages...she hated mages.
But she had seen something just before she had fled. Something out of the corner of her eye. A worn basket, half-full of herbs and wild greens. Elodie's.
And getting her hands on that kender could just be her ticket to freedom from debt.
Marthesa took a deep breath, wrapped her hand around the bison's horn she wore at the end of a chain around her neck, and prayed to Kiri- Jolith for courage. "I'll get that damned kender for this," she muttered.

Author: Marthesa Date: Thu Jun 26 16:22:33 2014 Subject A Hole in the Ground

She took a step forward, then another, willing herself to breathe slowly and deeply, clenching her teeth to keep from screaming, wondering for a moment how the frail old kender had made it this far without retching or retreating, then remembering with an outburst of comforting profanity that kender were freakishly immune to fear magic. "Kiri- Jolith, preserve me. Kiri-Jolith, preserve me." With great effort, she made her way past the abandoned basket, and the fear gripped her heart still harder.
Through the haze of fear, she noticed a rotten plank lying in the grass. She kicked at it with her hoof. It skidded aside to reveal a wide, dark hole, like an oversized rabbit burrow. It looked cramped, but just large enough (she hoped) that she could fit inside.
Shuddering, she lit her lantern and lowered it into the hole. The bottom, she could see, was at least eight feet down -- a long drop for a kender, perhaps, but not for a minotaur. She felt a great twisting lurch in her guts as she sat on the edge of the hole, then dropped into the depths.

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He states simply 'You might start with that one.. or you could take a look at the latest story..'

The Latest Entry

Irulan by Irulan, posted on Thu Jan 5 00:40:10 2023.

Irulan, the noble wanderer. She was a child taken from her parents during a raid on their home. The young one was found (read more)....

The Storytellers of Ansalon, The DragonLance MUD

Astinus points to the massive wall of books behind him and bids you to make a selection.

Authors: All|A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z





Astinus says 'There are 66 authors starting with the letter M who have stories in the Palanthas library.'