The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Doan.

A little gully dwarf runs by and says 'Wordwrap Off 65 80.'
The gully continues 'Eyes hurt? Turn Color OFF!! (regular story dates)

Astinus says 'Enter the main library here to view only the author list.'
Astinus gently places an elegant book bound in elf-skin on the table in front of you.
You note the spine bears the word 'Doan' scribed in rich brown ink.


Author:    Doan           
Date:      Tue Aug 26 15:25:39 2008
Subject     Doan

Long before the rise of the Dragonarmies, before the rediscovery of the True
Gods, I was born to a petty noble of Palanthas and her night of indiscretion
with a Qualinesti trader.  While she was sober, my mother was respected for
her gradual growth and expansion of her family's assets, especially for
accomplishing this as a woman.  Unfortunately, liquor robbed her of most of her
cunning, and it proved to be her eventual undoing.

She largely left me to her growing estate as she traveled the continent,
ruthelessly funneling wealth through our family.  I would see her once a year
if weather and profits were good, and months longer if they were not.  In her
absense, the caretakers of the household gave the the upbringing that any noveau
riche children should suffer, and I grew into it readily.

As I matured, my mother's visits became more and more sporadic.  She traveled
to Ergoth and further into Solamnia in search of more steel and more contacts.
Eventually, she just disappeared.  Without a patriarch with enough presence to
protect our assets, other rising nobles pecked away at the estate and our
businesses until nothing remained.

In my teenage years, I left home, and never spending time with other children,
people forgot about me and my name.

Shortly after leaving, the harshness of reality hit me and I sought employment
lest I starve or die to a knife or exposure.  Being able to read and write, I
soon found a roof and food as a scrivener.  My employer, a middle class
merchant, had ambitions beyond his station, and coupled with his keen business
sense, discovered my abilities in arithmetic and my memory.  After that, I
became one of his bookkeepers, and eventually worked on his main ledger.

Shortly after my promotion, an old man named Elistan brought a precious
artifact to Palanthas and proclaimed it as proof of the existence of the True
Gods.  Curious about such things, I visited this artifact, and saw it after a
very long wait.  It was said that anybody pure of heart who touched the disks
would be blessed, and so many people were paying homage to it.  I was one of
them, but as my turn to touch them came, my hand was severely burned.

One of the new priests under Elistan's tutelage tended to my wounds, and as he
ascertained that I was not a malicious person, he explained the cosmology he
learnt from the disks and under Elistan while he cured me.  From him I learnt
about the pantheon and their goals in creating an order of priests to
promulgate this faith.  I tithed in thanks and left.

Several months later, as I audited my ledgers, I discovered that my employer
had began dealing with smugglers bringing contraband into Palanthas.  Numbers I
had seen and processed for weeks looked innocuous, but that night, I noticed
that we had revenue that was misappropriated and looked suspicious.  Reading
late into the night into old logs, I discovered the genesis of his misdeeds,
and digging out that ledger from his vault, I discovered something strange.

Where the incriminating accountbook should be was instead an old pamphlet of
several dozen pages.  I read through it incredulously, as it explained another
cosmology to me.  There were more gods than the disks delineated, this pamphlet
claimed, and these gods had a different purpose.

Finishing the pamphlet, I felt light-headed, and set it down.  I returned all
the old logs to the vault, but when I looked, the pamphlet was gone.  I left
that night, and sought asylum with the priests of Paladine.  They graciously
granted it to me, and tolerated my studies as I researched these other gods.

Eventually, I left them too, as my own faith became strong enough for me to
practice clerical magic with them.  Not worshipping one of their six gods
branded me as a suffered outsider, and I struck out to seek others of my own
order.

Author:    Doan           
Date:      Mon Sep 21 23:03:52 2015
Subject     A Letter to my Host

Dearest Most Gracious Benefactor, Your accomodations have been nothing short of abys-- Doan crumples the sheet of paper, and copies the salutation onto a clean sheet. Your accomodations have been nothing short of ... rejuvenating. Dipping his quill into a nearby inkpot, the half-elf suppresses memories of slights, disturbances by servants, a vexing candle shortage, and a complete lack of organizational discipline in the noblewoman's matters of estate. When I first inquired about your late husband's impressive collection of antiquated tomes regarding mid-contemporary Istarian fashion, I had low expectations of the correspondence bearing fruit. Indeed, I had judged your hospitality unfairly and prematurely. Setting the quill onto the silver saucer underneath the inkpot, Doan takes a brief moment to remove his spectacles and massage the bridge of his nose, hoping ever so futilely that it would exorcise his atrocious experience over the past two months. If anything, the act causes the sense of disgust growing in the pit of his stomach to redouble. Taking a deep breath, he replaces his glasses and prepares the quill for another bout of drivel. As a matter of fact, the collection of information now under your care could very well rival that of any private collection that I have ever been graced with the privilege of visiting. In stark contrast to the thoughts he forces his uncooperative hand to write, he thinks back to the unequivocal waste of time the past two months have been. Even after reading every single book that the Dame uth Tollen now owns twice, Doan has barely four pages of terse notes to show. I have been greatly honored and blessed by your willingness, openness, and magnanimity. Gilean will be pleased by you and your husband's contribution to pre-cataclysm knowledge. After signing his name with all of the requisite flourish, Doan stoppers the ink, cleans his quill, and packs them both with the rest of his supplies. Leaving the note for the estate servants to find and deliver, he shoulders his meager traveling belongings and heads north, toward Palanthas.

Author: Doan Date: Fri Sep 25 21:03:02 2015 Subject Return to Palanthas

The return journey from the plains of Solamnia was blessedly uneventful, if a bit too long for Doan's liking. Eventually, the bustle of Palanthas greeted the half-elf. While traveling straight to the southwestern section of the city, he stopped at several intersections to appreciate the ways that the city was always growing and changing. None of the faces that greeted him looked familiar, and none of the names mentioned in casual gossip drew any sort of recollection from him. He appreciated the dynamicity of life as opposed to the flatness of the research he dedicated his life to. Eventually, Doan reached his destination: an unassuming storefront for a small chartered courier business. Strolling through the entrance, he immediately turned into a side hallway and unlocked one of the several unmarked doors dotted along the short hallway. The faint smell of dust and paper greeted him as he opened the door and stepped across the threshold. Closing and locking the door behind him, he removed his traveler's cloak and boots and busied himself with the chores of opening all of his curtains and windows. The fresher city air immediately started causing loose papers spread across his immediate vicinity to quietly rustle. Stepping back to survey his surrounds, he quickly took account of all of the fixtures in the small room, which served as a sitting area for entertaining the admittedly rare guests that he welcomed into his house. Nothing was out of place, and nothing was amiss except for the dust and cobwebs. He quickly checked his study, kitchenette, and bedroom and noted that nothing out of the ordinary. Returning after a brief excursion to the courier's main office to retrieve a box of mail left for him, he set the box upon a small table in his study and started to sort through the year's worth of mail he had received. Setting aside all letters he needed to respond to or follow up on, he put the rest back into the box and left it near his small fireplace in the sitting room, which he started with several of the letters and left to heat up his small flat. The next day began with Doan bribing the first maid who came by the courier's to drop off a parcel to clean his flat later in the morning. After some errands to pick up supplies, visit the bath houses, and check on his personal investments, he returned to a brighter, fresher, cleaner study. After a long day's busywork, he sat on his freshly-oiled chair in his study, took a deep breath to enjoy the smell of paper, wax, oil, and salt air, and opened the first of his collections of notes from his journey. He was home.

Author: Doan Date: Sun Sep 27 21:35:51 2015 Subject Craftsmanship

Five sheaves of paper lined up in two rows dominate the left half of Doan's mahogany desk. A sixth sits closer to the middle, in front of the half-elf. He thumbs through its four pages, scanning over the fine shorthand script while silently moving his lips. His mental calculations complete, Doan stands briefly to retrieve a ream of blank paper, string, glue, a slat of wood, and a long sheet of leather. He uncorks his inkpot, glances inside to check the level of the fluid inside, and rummages around the top drawer in his desk to retrieve one of his most prized possessions. After several second of searching, he draws forth a steel fountain pen. Running his finger over the dwarven runes etched into the side, he sighs, adjusts his glasses, and refills the ink cartridge inside the pen. With an unerring, mechanical precision, Doan translates and transcribes his tiny shorthand into full prose. Each page only takes several minutes of rapid, exacting scratches from his pen, with the sound only punctuated by brief breaks to refill ink, and one to replace the pen's nib. Four hours of proofreading later, Doan sets down the pen and dabs his forehead with a linen handkerchief. Taking a short break to refresh his kettle and teacup, he cleans his glasses with the same kerchief and diligently reads each page of his new book. Satisfied with the transcription, he ties the forty pages together, binds the side with glue and the wood shim, and weighs it down to let the glue dry. Satisfied with his day's work, he drains and cleans his pen, stoppers his inkwell, and rubs his temples. Several moments of idle stretching later, Doan's eyes settle upon the largest bookshelf in his modest study. Stepping toward it, he brushes his hand over the spines of several books bound in the same red leather as the sheets laying flat upon his desk. He smiles faintly, the titles upon the spines repeating his history as an author and custodian of history. Moving on from his books, he looks at a ceremonial dagger, apparently shaped out of an exotic seashell. The case next to it contains a nearly folded silk pennant, and a second only contains a lone platinum ring upon a stand. Narrowing his eyes upon feeling the flood of memories and feelings that each object evokes, Doan quickly leaves the room and his flat, deciding that mulled wine would be a better drink to end the evening with. The next morning sees a much slower-moving Doan dropping eighteen identical sheets of red leather to a small leathercrafting shop near his office along with instructions for the correct designs and names to tool into each proto-cover. The afternoon, and each day for the next two weeks blurs into the next as he meticulously transcribes each set of notes and diagrams he took on his travels into six sets of triplicated books. He spends the last day affixing his new covers onto each set of finished and bound pages, and inserts his first draft of each into the bottom of his bookshelf. Six new entries into the catalog of his life.

Author: Doan Date: Sun Sep 27 22:57:31 2015 Subject Delivery

Thank you once again for the services you provide for those who aspire to greater knowledge. May your walls stand for ages to come. Your humble contributor, Doan of Palanthas Doan signs his name and sets the quill and letter down upon his desk. Beside him rests a crate filled with twelve books, two sets of six. The third set sits in the bottom of his study's bookshelf. He places the letter atop the contents of the crate, sets and clamps the lid down, and grabs the handle of the dolly that the crate perches upon. He leaves his flat, books in tow, and hauls his delivery toward the eastern section of Palanthas. His destination is one of the few places dear to his heart: the great library. Standing in the shadow of the building's walls, he pauses for a moment to catch his breath and regain his composure. He smooths out his robes and adjusts the rest of his regalia, then takes the handle to the dolly in hand and enters a side entrance. Inside the smaller office, a duo of robed clerks busily record new donations and books loaned out to persons important enough to request them. After waiting for several moments at the counter separating the outside from the clerks, Doan clears his throat in an attempt to get one of their attentions. I have written ahead and am here at the appointed day to complete the delivery of my last year's research and aggregation of books. Doan reaches inside the crate and hands the letter sitting there to the closer clerk, who turns to face Doan and glances over the letter. Yes, yes Doan. We will verify this manifest with your delivery and take your donation. The first clerk sets the letter on the counter between him and Doan while the second clerk walks around the side of the counter and starts setting books next to the letter while reading off their titles. A Comparison Between Northern and Southern Ergothian Childrearing Techniques, Rainfall Trends in Southlund and Coastlund, 120-250 AC, A Summary of Istarian Fashion in Late Antiquity, 200-25 PC, Caergothian Culinary Traditions, The Silvanesti Diaspora, Abanasinian Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales The first clerk nods as the second one stacks the second set of books on top of the first ones. Satisfied with the manifest, he looks up to face Doan and thanks him for the delivery, condescension thinly veiled behind his words. Nodding and bowing, Doan returns stoically to his room, leaving the dolly and crate in the supply area of the courier office in front of his door. Once inside, he sighs and removes his ceremonial robes, replacing them with more comfortable loungewear. Opening his wardrobe, he brushes his hand against robes of an even deeper red, with the sleeves and hems embroided with silver thread. Snatching his hand back as if burned, he regains his composure and sets his folded regalia at the bottom of the wardrobe and returns to his sitting room, eager to start on his wine.

Author: Doan Date: Mon Sep 28 21:12:58 2015 Subject Running From the Past

Day seven. Day seven of waking up on his sofa with the sunlight, even through his curtains, causing his head to try its hardest to force his eyeballs out of their sockets. Covering his eyes with his palms and keeping his bile down, Doan ever so slowly rights himself into a sitting position, the motion renewing his stomach's urge to jump up his throat. He inadvertently sends an empty wine bottle clattering to the floor at his feet. The sound causes him to wince painfully. After ten seconds of eternity, Doan slowly reasserts control over his nausea and pounding headache. A loud trio of knocks at his door casts everything to the wind, however, and he quickly gropes for a serving dish to vomit into. The villain on the other side of his front door renews his rapping, and as soon as he can get enough air into his lungs, Doan drones out the most poisonous Go away that he can muster. The only response from his assailant is a third set of knocks. Gods damn you, just give me a minute. Doan looks down his sweat and wine stained shirt, puts on his robe, and stands up slowly. Taking a deep breath after making it to his feet, he steps the half dozen steps to his door, the fixture coming into focus as he gets close enough for even his blurry vision to work again. Throwing open the door with all of the hungover indignation he can muster, Doan glares at the man, person, fiend, standing on the other side. The person, whom Doan hates more than any living being, simply hands a clipboard and pen to him. Sign for your delivery and I'll leave you be. Doan spitefully scratches his signature across the lettering of the page, hands the clipboard back to the courier, and receives in exchange a burlap bundle. The courier turns on his heel and quickly leaves Doan alone in his doorway. He steps back into his room and shuts and locks his door behind him. He sets the parcel onto his table, which causes a new wave of nausea as he bends down. Successfully fighting it back, he unstoppers and sips from a bottle of mineral water and idly searches for his glasses, which he finds quickly enough. His vision restored and his nausea abating, Doan idly counts the empty wine bottles scattered around his room. One object stands out even amongst the mess: a thin forest green shawl. Sitting down with the shawl in his hands, he thinks back to the night before, trying to recall how it came to be in his room. It belonged to a woman. An elven woman. He had sought her out. She said she was Kagonesti. He tried to speak to her in Kagonesti. He didn't remember the language anymore. It didn't matter, because she wasn't Kagonesti. Her face paint was enough to fool him, at least past his second bottle of wine, but him not remembering Kagonesti was enough to ruin the mood. He could have overlooked the rest. He paid her what she was due and must have promptly passed out. She must have left her shawl out of shock, or pity. Tossing the shawl aside, he sets the burlap package in his lap and begins to untie it. Inside is a bundle of red cloth, a set of robes not unlike the ones he tries to ignore in his wardrobe, but they're simpler, rougher, less respectable. Like him now, and not like him back then. So this is how it's going to happen...

Author: Doan Date: Tue Sep 29 22:31:32 2015 Subject Indecision

Doan stands in his cramped bedroom, two similar looking red-hued robes laid flat on his small bed. The robe on his left is nothing short of magnificent, the fabric soft, smooth, and physically comforting to the touch. Thanks to obvious magics woven into the cloth and the threading tracing the sleeves, cuffs, and all hems, the robe feels as supple and crisp as the day it was woven and enchanted, many years ago. In comparison, the robe on his right barely merits attention. The cloth is coarse, and it never sits comfortably whenever he puts it on. The fabric boasts no silver embroidery, no magic, nothing, except what it appears to be. Turning his head, Doan stares outside the doorway to his bedroom and through another one into his study, one of his bookshelves visible in relief against the wall behind it. Looking at the shell dagger and folded pennant housed in glass containers on one of the shelves, he sighs and removes his glasses, both to clean them and to rub the bridge of his nose. He has repeated the same scene for several afternoons now, and it always ends with him hanging both robes in his wardrobe, neither pleasant to touch but for profoundly different reasons. Some evenings, he sits idly in front of his fireplace, either the dagger or the pennant held between his fidgety fingers. Other nights, he walks alone through the outskirts of Palanthas, gazing at the constellations and moons as they pass. Despite his mounting dread, Doan has not received another visit from the enigmatic deliveryman who gave him the rougher robe. Feeling blessed because of his apprehension toward what the man could represent, he nevertheless feels increasing anxiety due to his indecisiveness and lack of closure. Waking up one morning from a slumber he didn't remember entering, Doan stretches his arms and reaches down to grasp the body-warm haft and neck of a metal object in his lap. Looking down at it, he recognizes his old military pick, but remains clueless about when he went into his study to retrieve it. Standing up, he holds the weapon out, its weighting feeling alien in his hands. He shakes his head, barely remembering the times he used to use it in anger. He had hung up the weapon long before his old robes, and the robes long before his spells, and the spells long before now. Thinking back, he tries to recall the last time he had attempted any magic. Certainly, his lack of prayer and duty to his god over the years has robbed him of any spells he once was able to command. What was once an active, stubborn rejection of his faith had turned into dull habit, and with it went his magic, his order, his Kagonesti, his connections to others, and everything he once was. Was what he was now worth his pride?

Author: Doan Date: Wed Sep 30 23:40:35 2015 Subject A Resolution of Sorts

Stretching as far as he is able, Doan mounts his military pick on the two hooks that hold it above his bookshelf. Rolling back flat onto his feet, he adjusts the glass containers protecting his dagger, his pennant, and his ring. Once, they had belonged to Larukon, Cathas, and Virago. Now, he kept them as mementos of a life long past. The pick, too, was symbolic of his tutelage under the priest Gilthas. It felt like it was centuries ago, even if it was hardly a decade. His favorite pen laid disassembled on his desk. He had left it from the night before, stopping mid-cleaning to retrieve food. He attentively finishes his chore, reassembling it and remembering time spent with his old Dwarven friend Felix. Every single object he had kept from those days serves to remind him of his angry, arrogant, sardonic youth, but also of his peers and friends. Finishing with his busywork in his study, he steps into his cramped bedroom and sits on his bed, unfolding his old robes that were neatly resting on it. For the first time in many years, he looks upon the vestments without an ache in his heart and dread in the pit of his stomach. I'm not that man anymore... He hangs the robes up with a sense of closure that he finally realizes has been avoiding him for years. Walking into his sitting room, he finishes packing the last of his traveling gear and puts on his boots. He opens his front door, slightly surprised and thankful that his mysterious visitor isn't there waiting for him, and steps outside. Letting his eyes adjust to the bright daylight outside the courier office, he gazes down the bustling streets of Palanthas. He soaks up the life emanating from the city and all of its inhabitants and begins to walk outside the gates. Maybe I'll even be able to rekindle my relationship with the gods. Doan idly thinks to himself. But not just yet.

Author: Doan Date: Mon Oct 5 23:43:30 2015 Subject Another Day in Paradise

Setting down his quill, Doan leans back in his chair and weakly stretches. After a gratifying series of joints pop, he removes, cleans, and replaces his glasses. He grabs his teacup from the saucer sitting on the desk next to his quill, but shortly thereafter stands to replace the now cool liquid inside. The bands of sunlight filtered through narrow shutters scramble as he walks across the still loft and to a small table near the room's only entrance. He gulps down the cold tea in one awful drink and refills his cup with loose leaves from a small bowl on the table. He then pours barely warm enough water from an antique teapot, sets the teapot back on the table, and returns to the desk covered in his current fixation. Instead of resuming where he left off on his short tea-break, Doan checks over his collected notes. His project over the past several weeks, a genealogical record of a podunk town outside Palanthas, was offbeat enough even from his admittedly eclectic authoring history to draw his attention. Even though his professionalism usually stills his tongue while interacting with clients or objects of his study, he can't help but remark to himself about the frequency of family trees here not branching as much as they ought to. Humans. He leans back in the well-bolstered leather chair he has occupied for several dozen hours since discovering it and takes a deep, relaxing breath. He lets it out with a contented sigh. The loft was becoming just warm enough to be comfortable, and the quiet only adds to his relaxed state. Ever since breaking out of his rut in Palanthas, he has felt nothing but at peace. Deciding to move on from his long-over past as a cleric and a priest in the holy order has freed him to pursue any opportunities that strike his fancy. Except that he was doing exactly the same thing as before. Except, this time, though, he was doing it because he wanted to, and he was not dedicating any of his work to the god that he no longer actively worshipped. A clattering of porcelain rouses Doan out of his thinking before he could follow the train of thought to either more rationalizations or a sadder realization. He sits up and turns around to look at the doorway. You're wasting your aptitude, and you know it. The voice belonged not to the young girl, the granddaughter of the old couple who owned this house, the one who would normally check up on him. It belonged instead to a voice he last heard in Palanthas. I'm not going to bother you about this any more. If you want to accomplish something more, then you know where to go. If not, then I thank you for your years of service and hope that you keep your passion. The "courier" sets the teapot down and walk through the doorway. The last Doan sees of him is the top of his head as he steps down the narrow staircase outside the door. Doan slouches down in his chair, suddenly no longer in the mood to continue working for the afternoon.

Author: Doan Date: Sat Oct 10 00:43:27 2015 Subject Doubling Down

Two weeks had passed since Doan's last visit from his occasional tormentor. Even though he rarely considers himself one to think positively on things, he counts that among his blessings. On the other hand, his efforts at cataloguing the genealogy of the current township serving as his temporary home were only becoming more and more tedious. The richer and more established families were the ones who took enough pride in their bloodlines to have committed the past to writing long before his arrival. His efforts for the landed gentry there began and ended with visiting each home, politely asking to copy that information for posterity, and then working through their records as he even more politely ignored endless variations of how their specific family descended from Istarian nobility, or were the secret heirs to the throne of Ergoth, or any other such nonsense. The next wave of families, those belonging to the craftsmen and traders, introduced new difficulties. While a blacksmith clan would feasibly have centuries of tools etched, engraved, or embossed with the proud name of the smith, carpenters or leatherworkers would not necessarily have the same easily-accessible corpus of names and dates for him to record. At the bottom, the farmers were the toughest of all to authoritatively date. At best, a family could show him an heirloom mantlepiece, plaque, or some other sturdy gift, given at a wedding or dedicated to a firstborn son. More often, though, a family could produce an ancient and yellowed shawl, with perhaps the family's oldest surviving member attempting in vain to name all of the persons involved in the object's creation or gifting. Relying upon increasingly tenuous luck, Doan collects every name, every imagined slight, scorn, rumored infidelity and suspected inaccuracy in family trees, and collates it all. Each related family provides him with dates and involved parties, and the web of interconnectedness and past life blooms in his notes. Each new piece of information invalidates an older one, though, and he spends more and more time error and fact checking his assembled notes as he tries to find a natural stopping point. It's at these times where he feels the most alive, with his hands and eyes digging through tables of names, dates, deeds, and his own tiny, tidy notes. He forces the truth out of the information he's assembled, and soon begins to commit records to paper. On the day of his departure, he leaves two copies of his latest work with the stewards of the town: A Genealogical History of Southlund, 150-350 AC. He leaves the town with both a new appreciation for the nuances of life and his ability to separate himself from the pettiest parts of it.

Author: Doan Date: Thu Oct 15 20:03:43 2015 Subject A Chance Meeting Pt. 1

Two days into his travels after several weeks staying in the town of Hamilton, Doan has begun to loathe walking. The sentiment resurfaces each time he journeys across Ansalon; it's just a matter of time before it strikes him. It's the tedium, the heat or the mosquitoes or the poorly maintained roads that darken his mood and etch a scowl upon his face. This time is no different. While blessedly light on travelers, the road between Hamilton and Port O'Call seems like it'll never end. Doan sighs, reminding himself that the walk from Palanthas to Solanthus to Hamilton was considerably longer, but it does little to raise his spirits. The scent of death brings him back to attention, and he stops to look around. Before him, the wreckage of a cart blocks part of the road. The front axle of the cart lays scattered around it, and in front of the cart, there rests the corpse of a horse. The wagon is stripped completely bare. Doan looks in a full circle around the scene, checking for any survivors or anybody waiting in ambush. He finds no living persons, only a corpse off the road and two dozen feet away from the wagon. Against his better judgment, Doan finds himself following the same line out, further into the brush off the road. He stumbles across another unremarkable corpse about fifty feet away from the first, and stops completly still when a wet cough breaks the stillness surrounding him. Doan creeps forward, toward the source of the coughing. Barely a dozen feet away, he sees a third body and a younger human man sitting against a rock outcropping, struggling to breathe and soaked in blood. Doan enters the area and kneels down to the man, who gropes unsuccessfully for a blood-slick shortsword. Doan kicks the sword away and kneels in front of the man, holding his chin up so he can look at his face. You're in a bad way. He states matter-of-factly, as if the situation was not obvious. You're probably going to die unless you let me patch you up. The man nods weakly and slouches against the rocks even further. Doan sets down his pack and rolls up his sleeves. He stares at the man's eyes, forcing him to focus on the half-elf. Tell me your name and birthday. Without waiting for a response, he begins investigating the man's bloody leathers for the wounds staining them. Wallace, the 10th of Chislmont, 331. The man quietly recites the info. Why? Doan doesn't immediately respond as he cuts the man's clothing to clear the area around each wound. The man has several lacerations, with one on his upper thigh the most concerning. Since Doan wasn't talking, the man continues the conversation. We are caravan guards... We were ambushed and I think the others are dead... Did you find them? Doan brusquely shushes the man. I need to apply a tourniquet to your leg. I believe that your femoral artery is cut and you'll finish bleeding out if I don't do anything about it. Tell me your birthday. The man weakly repeats his birthday and doesn't struggle when Doan cuts the left leg of his pants off for better access to the wound, which begins bleeding even faster as the pressure applied by his thin armor drops off. Doan quickly cuts strips out of the thin leather and ties them in a cord tighly around his leg. The blood loss immediately begins to slow. Grunting, the man's breath catches in his throat and he coughs spittle on the side of Doan's face. Doan sits back and wipes his face with his upper arm, then takes his glasses off to wipe them clean as well. He gingerly sets them back on his nose, trying to not smear blood on his face and looks at the man, who stares back at him.

Author: Doan Date: Thu Oct 15 20:06:03 2015 Subject A Chance Meeting Pt. 2

I remember you! You were the man who killed those thugs that night outside our campsite! Looking more confused than anything else, Doan begins to deny and quiet the man, but he continues more excitedly than before. It must have been ten years ago, at our homestead off the highroad. It was so dark that night and we were camping and you mustn't have known because you set up your campsite maybe a hundred yards away from us but you didn't set a fire... The man trails off and coughs again. Doan offers him some water, some morbid curiosity forcing him to listen to the man's story. Men must have been trailing you, because not an hour later, they charged your camp, but it was dark and they didn't expect you to be awake. You roasted the first man alive and put your mace through the next one's face before they even knew what was happening. The others began to run away, but your magic took their strength from them and you executed them one by one... The last thing you did was take off and clean your glasses just like that before walking away. That's how I recognized you! The man coughs again and groans. Doan blinks rapidly, remembering the night and how each part had played out as the man described it. Every word was true. The man tries to sit up more and continue his story. We took those men's weapons and decided that we could use them to be adventurers and get out of farming, and when we got older, we became mercenaries and ended up here, but, Gods, they're all dead now... Wallace forces himself up further, almost sitting straight up, but his hands slip in the bloody grass around him. He wheezes and cries out, and the tourniquet unravels, accompanied by a new gush of blood. Doan snaps out of his reverie and forces the man back down and grabs the scraps of leather that once held his leg under compression. They were too thin; he hadn't done a good enough job. Beginning to panic, he forces his hand on the wound to keep pressure on it. As uses the extra time to race through options, he feels an old and familiar tingling in his fingertips. The shock of the sensation forces him back, and Wallace whimpers, the blood flow weakening. I won't accept it! Stop tempting me with your Faustian bargains! He thinks to himself. He leans forward again, desperately putting pressure on Wallace's wound. After several moments, however, he realizes that the man is gone, and stands up on shaky legs. An hour later, Doan is kneeling at the nearest creek, furiously rubbing the blood off his forearms and trying vainly to clean it out from under his fingertips. Leaning against a nearby tree, the courier silently and impassively watches him. I thought you were going to leave me alone. Doan snaps at him, not even deigning to look up. It wasn't me, you know. The others must have heard that you're on the market, and it'll probably only get worse. The rest might try to appeal to your pride, or your empathy, or just torture or pressgang you into their service. At least I understand free will... The courier trails off and smirks at his little joke. Doan doesn't respond to him, and after several long moments of scrubbing at his hands, he stands and looks at the courier, but only the tree remains.

Author: Doan Date: Sun Nov 8 13:40:11 2015 Subject Back in Palanthas

After having quite enough excitement in his chance encounter with the caravan raid and failed attempt to keep the boy Wallace alive, Doan counted each calm day as a blessing along his trip to Port O'Call. No further developments broke the tedium of walking through chilly days, and before too long, he found himself in the small but healthy port city. For better or worse, however, the same uneventfulness plagued his stay in the city. The only newsworthy rumors he learnt pertained mostly to a plague working its way through Sanction and into greater Taman Busuk, which was causing the extremely skittish and superstitious sailors to balk at any smuggling runs to or from the city. In addition, they muttered about some change in public policy coming from the dragonarmies ruling the region. Doan chalked it up to a power struggle or coup, and made note to learn more about it in a few weeks. After a short week of finding nothing keeping him in the city, he decided to charter a trip to Palanthas via Caergoth. While not often one for sailing, he was never opposed to the mode of transportation, and after so much time spent walking, he decided that the change of pace was called for. After about a week spent at sea with two days spent restocking and shuffling cargo in Caergoth, Doan was once again in the Lordcity. Being a creature of habit, he spent the first two days once again collecting the last season's mail, bribing a maid to clean his apartment, and buying more supplies for his upcoming authoring tasks. As his errands took him to the opposite side of the city, he decided to stop by one of the pubs for a drink and a break. He took his seat at the bar and listened to the muted sounds of the port that wormed their way through the partially open windows on the ground floor. He let his breathing calm down and began to relax, his thoughts comfortably out to pasture as he waited for his drink. Before too long, however, a voice snapped him back to attention. "Those books, why do you have so many?" Doan blinked and adjusted his glasses, the nervous habit buying him time to herd his thoughts back to the present. He looked at the woman who wasn't sitting there a moment ago. She was further down the bar when he came in, and he initially completely dismissed her, but now she was in front of him and asking him about his books. He responded to her with a deflecting answer, trivializing the books while he reassessed the woman. She continued unabated, her accent thick but not one he can place. "Are you a mage?" He shook his head and mentioned a half-truth about being a historian. He glanced at the book she had open and was reading while eating whatever bar slop the tavern offered, placing it as either a spellbook or a wizard's tome. The woman latched onto the historian bit and starts asking about the Library. Doan continued to answer, using the time to briefly comment on the odds of encountering someone else who knew how to read, was interested in knowledge, and happened to be in a bar in the docks area of Palanthas. Before too long, she introduced herself as Fjara, a Nordmaarian mageling en-route to Wayreth and the Conclave. They continued to talk about various concepts, such as the role of knowledge and the privilege of power. He became more and more animated as the afternoon turned into evening, partially because of his mead, but mostly because of being able to cerebrally engage with another living being for the first time in years. Unfortunately, in his excitement, he didn't pace himself enough with his drinks and let himself slip too far into them. He awoke the next morning in his flat, not having remembered leaving the bar or how he got himself across town and home, but thankful for the experience and his return to Palanthas.

Author: Doan Date: Mon Nov 9 22:01:34 2015 Subject Reflections

The perfunctory scratching of Doan's pen establishes the cadence of his morning's task, the transcription and triplication of his notes on Hamilton's genealogy into a form suitable for submission to the Library. Having long since relinquished his magic and losing his god's blessings, Doan could still take pride in the flowing grace of his penmanship, which he developed decades ago as an accountant, long before becoming a cleric, and long before his apostasy. Roughly every two hundred letters, he sips from the steaming cup of tea grasped in his left hand, the beverage serving the double duty of waking him up and chasing away the lingering night's chill. The rote exercise, drilled into muscle memory long before he had even filled up the first shelf behind him in his study, allows his mind to wander. He finds himself returning, often as of late, to the conversation he had with Fjara. "It seems almost a waste to study for no greater goal..." She had stated during their discussion. He had thought nothing of it at the time, distracted as he was with drink and the sheer joy of having the discussion to begin with. "Purity in knowledge alone is also perhaps a good goal." She had later admitted, but he found himself returning to the though days after the conversation. The scenario itself is simple, perhaps even beautiful in its brevity: is it a waste to not commit knowledge toward another goal? In other words, is knowledge itself a vehicle toward other, greater ends? Does this make the value of the pursuit of knowledge dependent upon the pursuer's ultimate goals? Falling back into old habits, he considers the angle from the priesthood of Gilean, and the answer is an unequivocal "no." For them, the discovery, recovery, and preservation of knowledge is paramount. Indeed, his base state to this day deviates very little from what would be expected of him as a priest, and the realization makes him chuckle. However, he reminds himself that he has not been a priest in quite some time, and as such, he needs to decide on a value system other than "because Gilean ordains it." He pauses his writing to refill the ink cartridge in his prized pen and then checks the nib to make sure that it will last for the rest of the book. Satisfied with its state, he double checks his place in his notes and resumes writing. Shortly afterward, he continues his thoughts. The intellectually void answer, he decides, is that he simply enjoys learning. Why deny himself that pleasure, especially since it compares favorably to any number of similarly satisfying vices? He smiles to himself, the thought exercise enjoyable in its apparent unassailability. Several pages' worth of writing and thinking later, Doan decides that he cannot ascribe a value to knowledge without an external arbiter. Perhaps Fjara is right. Perhaps he should put his knowledge to a goal other than his own satisfaction.

The Storytellers of Ansalon, The DragonLance MUD

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


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