The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Farin.

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 a metal bound tome on the table in front of you.
You note the spine bears the word 'Farin' scribed in light yellow ink.


Author:    Farin          
Date:      Mon Feb  6 22:31:39 2017
Subject     An Unquiet Mind (1/2)

The leather punching bag was firm underneath Farin's fists. He pummeled it, taking deep breaths, focusing the senseless, furious energy coursing through his body on the bag.
("I never should have gotten stuck with you, you know.")
Peace, peace above all else. The bag was not alive.
("Ungrateful bastard.")
He must always maintain his control. His rational mind must always dictate what his body did. He had the power of knowledge on his side. Why should he let the ignorance of others touch him? Why should it bother him so?
("You moved my hammer again, didn't you? Stupid little mutt!"
"I never touched it!"
"Don't lie to me, boy!)
There were always sanctuaries to run to. Dad wouldn't be caught dead in the library -- or if he was, he'd soon be ejected for his profane, drunken braying. And here in the temple, of course, Dad couldn't touch him. He was suddenly aware that his jaw was clenched and his teeth were grinding. He tried to relax his face as he laid into the bag.
(His father's fist colliding with his ear as he tried to spin out of the way. Blinding pain melting seamlessly into impotent rage. The feeling of helplesness as his enormous form blocked the doorway. He was so small...)
He screamed, flew at the bag with a flurry of fists, almost wishing he'd hurt himself doing it. Pain that he could control, at least, was a curious kind of relief. Never again. He could defend himself now. Father wouldn't hurt him again. The neighborhood thugs would think twice about teasing the skinny little half-blood with the thick glasses until he exploded into a helpless, tearful fury. NEVER AGAIN. At last, he collapsed against the wall of the temple, his face dewy with sweat.
That was when he noticed the grey-robed figure in his peripheral vision, and jumped. One of the monks had been watching him for...who knew how long. A tall Ergothian. "Farin," she said.

Author: Farin Date: Mon Feb 6 22:33:23 2017 Subject An Unquiet Mind (2/2)

"Oh...oh -- hello -- er..." He felt somehow ashamed, as if caught naked. He tried to recover his composure. "How -- how did you know my name?"
"You have been with us long enough. You are, by far, our youngest postulant. We know you. I am Iriel."
"Postulant...but...I'm -- I'm ready to take the vows, Mother."
She smiled. "You know that you are welcome to stay with us as long as you wish. But I respectfully beg to differ."
"But why?" He was conscious of a whining note to his voice, and he tried to suppress it. "Reverend Mother, I have been here for four months. I spend my mornings in meditation and training, my afternoons in study, and my evenings in prayer. Master Thedric says I'm a quick study..." That sounded too arrogant, and he stopped himself. "I mean, I am learning a great deal from Master Thedric."
"That much is so. But you still raise your fists in anger. One of our order must only act in self defense, or in the defense of others. He must act logically, to neutralize a threat, not to indulge his baser emotions."
"But--but it's just a bag! I'm not hurting anybody! I'm just--I..." He caught his voice shaking, and steadied it. "I get so ANGRY, Reverend Mother! I need to let it out somehow! And there's nothing so satisfying..."
"Each time you strike out in anger, you train your mind to solve problems with violent action. You must retrain your mind. Find other outlets."
"But I'm not hurting anyone."
"No. Not yet." She stared at him for a few seconds, an unanswered question in her eyes, then bowed and exited the training hall, leaving Farin alone with the pounding of his pulse in his ears.

Author: Farin Date: Sun Feb 12 22:11:49 2017 Subject Farewell (1/2)

"You're packing your backpack."
Farin looked up. It was Iriel. Uncanny, the knack she had for creeping up behind him unheard. More like a footpad than a priestess. "Yes, Reverend Mother."
"You are still welcome to stay here. What happened last night...it doesn't change that."
Farin's cheeks colored, and he looked at the floor.
--
There had been six of them, six men, all Palanthas enforcers, and all badly wounded in a brawl with Draconian spies who were trying to enter the city. They'd fought the abominations off, but they were in bad shape. One had horrible burns down his left side, another had an arm so badly mauled by reptilian teeth that they might not be able to save it. The Temple of Gilean was the one closest to the east gate where they'd been attacked. Farin and the rest of the postulants and novices were rousted out of their beds and called to help carry the men inside where the clerics could see to them safely.
"Just relax," Farin said to the man shuddering on the cobblestone street. "We're going to take you somewhere where they can help you."
The man's eyes were wild with terror. His left cheek was cut to ribbons by Draconian claws. Blood seeped from a gash that had been torn in his breastplate. "Don't touch me," he said.
"It's all right." Farin's voice was soft and measured, the one he used to use when his father came home drunk and angry and he needed to talk him down. "Please try to relax. We are going to lift you onto this board --"
"Get away from me!" he screamed. "You're one of them! Get away from me!"
"He's delirious," said the novice who was helping Farin. "Dragonfear."
"Please," Farin said, and reached out to touch the man's arm. "I'm here to help --"
The man's fist flew up and struck Farin below the eye.
In an instant, before the pain had even registered, Farin struck back. It took him a moment to realize why the man's body had spun to the side, why his fist hurt, and why the novice was staring at him in wide-eyed horror.
"I'm -- I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't mean to do that -- oh, gods -- I'm sorry!"
The injured man lifted his head and placed his hand on his face. The spot where he'd been struck was already turning the color of wine. Farin never forgot the look of terror in his eyes.
--

Author: Farin Date: Sun Feb 12 22:13:18 2017 Subject Farewell (2/2)


"I -- I need to go away, Reverend Mother."
She placed her hand on his shoulder. "I know there's great pain in your past, Farin. You have done well, considering. It's all right to make a mistake. The important thing is that you admit it, and that you grow from it. You mustn't leave us, not when you've come this far."
"I'm not leaving you. Not -- not permamently."
"Where will you go?"
"I've had...an invitation, of sorts. To study with the teachers at the Holy Order of the Stars."
Iriel nodded. She waited for him to go on.
"I -- I hope that there I may learn to control my emotions, and...that I may better see the path that Gilean has laid out for me. I...I don't say I've learned all that I can from Master Thedric and the others, but -- well..." He wrung his hands together. "Perhaps a change of environment will help me to leave my past...um...in my past."
"I hope that this is a genuine quest for knowledge, and not an escape attempt."
Farin thought about that, chewed his lower lip. "Can't it be both, Reverend Mother?"
"You would do well to think about which desire is driving your actions." She grasped his hand. "But an invitation to study with the Holy Order is not to be refused. You will be missed, young Farin."
"I don't know about that," he muttered.
"Then I suppose you'll have to find out." She bowed and left his dormitory.
--
Before he left, he visited the young man in the infirmary. He was recuperating. He glowered at Farin from his bed. "Well, look who it is," he said. "The punching priest."
"I...I'm not a priest. I'm just a postulant."
"With luck, that's all you'll ever be."
His guts twisted. "I want to apologize."
"Do it, then."
"I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I acted without thinking. I lost control."
"I don't."
"I beg your pardon?"
"I don't forgive you. Go away."
"I --" He felt anger clench at his chest, like a great fist. He wanted to remind the injured man that he'd struck Farin first. But perhaps he didn't even remember that. He only remembered the pain Farin caused him, when he was already suffering. He took a deep breath, then let it out slowly. "I'm going, then. Goodbye."
The man didn't respond or look at him.
Farin walked out the doors of the temple, his pack heavy on his shoulders.

Author: Farin Date: Sun Mar 12 16:05:58 2017 Subject The Lord Giveth...

The Lively was a caravel that carried passengers regularly to and from the island of Schallsea, and that rocked and pitched and shuddered with every roll of the New Sea. Farin spent the first three days of his journey not eating, barely drinking, and hanging miserably over the railing of the Lively's foredeck, emptying his stomach of its contents until he thought he might turn himself inside out. Still, he thought as he lay shivering in his bunk, it was from the neighborhood thugs. After those three days, he acclimated, and began to be able to observe something besides the choppy blue sea beneath the Lively. He got to know the ship around him and its inhabitants.
There was no one on board that he knew, and no one, as far as he could tell, who was traveling to the same destination as he was. It was easy for him to slip into a room unnoticed, to watch and listen and find out about the other passengers. There were peddlers, refugees, a couple of apprentice mages from the countryside surrounding Palanthas, and soldiers on leave. Two of the soldiers, recognizing him as a holy man, began inviting him to sit with them evenings in the mess, believing his presence to be good luck, and they became friendly. After a few meals together, one of the men -- tentatively and in a roundabout fashion, eyeing the holy symbol around his neck -- invited him to one of their nightly card games.
"Why, of course, I'd love to," Farin said. "That is to say, if you'll teach me. Everyone plays by different rules, you know...it all gets a little bit confusing."
"Well, sure, we'll teach you," said the other soldier with a warm smile. Farin thought he detected something passing between the two men -- a glance, a little quirk of the lips -- but he wasn't sure.
In reality, he was being a little disingenuous, and he said a quick prayer to Gilean, assuring him that any winnings he might come by would only be spent on good. Gambling halls and back alley crap games were all too familiar to Farin. Some weeks, his skill with the dice and cards had meant the difference between a full belly and an empty one. And he was nearly broke. He'd saved for weeks and sold everything he had of value to buy passage on the ship. Meals on board were provided, meager though they were, but he'd need to eat once he got to Schallsea. And tithe, of course.
He couldn't help but feel a little out of place as he entered the smoky mess hall. There were the two soldiers, a slim Ergothian with a mercenary look about him, a one-eyed dwarven woman who was smoking a pipe, and the biggest man Farin had ever seen -- a half-ogre with an ugly scar over his eye and a mean expression on his face. They all gave him a friendly greeting, though, and invited him to sit down. "We were waitin' for you, babyface," the dwarf said. "Let's get started!"
The game was called King's Quarters; he knew it well, but feigned confusion, asking the soldier to repeat the rules a few times. He lost the first two hands, wagering only a few coppers. Then he quietly began increasing the amount he put in the pot.
The first time he laid down a winning hand -- the Lord, Lady, Knave, and Fool of Swords -- the dwarf woman's jaw dropped and her pipe clattered on the table. She picked it up and scooped up the smoldering tobacco remnants, swearing to herself. The soldiers laughed and patted him on the back, congratulating him on his beginner's luck.
By the second and third time he won, they didn't laugh anymore.
They played into the night, and when he finally excused himself to go to bed, his money purse much heavier than it had been, one of the soldiers laughed, shook his head, and said, "Well, I have to hand it to you, Brother Farin...you're a quick learner!"
"Thank you for a most pleasurable and profitable evening," he said with a polite smile. He was gone before he could notice the murderous expression that passed over the big man's face.

Author: Farin Date: Sun Mar 12 16:13:32 2017 Subject The Lord Giveth...

The Lively was a caravel that carried passengers regularly to and from the island of Schallsea, and that rocked and pitched and shuddered with every roll of the New Sea. Farin spent the first three days of his journey not eating, barely drinking, and hanging miserably over the railing of the Lively's foredeck, emptying his stomach of its contents until he thought he might turn himself inside out. Still, he thought as he lay shivering in his bunk, it was better than Palanthas, avoiding his father and ducking into alleyways to hide from the neighborhood thugs. After those three days, he acclimated, and began acquainting himself with the ship around him and its inhabitants.
There was no one on board that he knew, and no one, as far as he could tell, who was traveling to the same destination as he was. It was easy for him to slip into a room unnoticed, to watch and listen and find out about the other passengers. There were peddlers, refugees, a couple of apprentice mages from the countryside surrounding Palanthas, and soldiers on leave. Two of the soldiers, recognizing him as a holy man, began inviting him to sit with them evenings in the mess, believing his presence to be good luck, and they became friendly. Eventually, one of the men -- tentatively and in a roundabout fashion, eyeing the holy symbol around his neck -- invited him to one of their nightly card games.
"Why, of course, I'd love to," Farin said. "That is to say, if you'll teach me the rules."
"Well, sure, we'll teach you," said the other soldier with a warm smile. Farin thought he detected something passing between the two men -- a glance, a little quirk of the lips -- but he wasn't sure.
In reality, he was being a little disingenuous, and he said a quick prayer to Gilean, assuring him that any winnings he might come by would only be spent on good. Gambling halls and back alley crap games were all too familiar to Farin. Some weeks, his skill with the dice and cards had meant the difference between a full belly and an empty one. And he was nearly broke. He'd saved for weeks and sold everything he had of value to buy passage on the ship. Meals on board were provided, meager though they were, but he'd need to eat once he got to Schallsea. And tithe, of course.
He couldn't help but feel a little out of place as he entered the smoky mess hall. There were the two soldiers, a slim Ergothian with a mercenary look about him, a one-eyed dwarven woman who was smoking a pipe, and the biggest man Farin had ever seen -- a half-ogre with an ugly scar over his eye and a mean expression on his face. They all gave him a friendly greeting, though, and invited him to sit down. "We were waitin' on you, babyface," the dwarf said. "Let's get started!"
The game was called King's Quarters; he knew it well, but feigned confusion, asking the soldier to repeat the rules a few times. He lost the first two hands, wagering only a few coppers. Then he quietly began increasing the amount he put in the pot. The first time he laid down a winning hand -- the Lord, Lady, Knave, and Fool of Swords -- the dwarf woman's jaw dropped and her pipe clattered onto the table. She picked it up and scooped up the smoldering tobacco remnants, swearing to herself. The soldiers laughed and patted him on the back, congratulating him on his beginner's luck. By the third time he won, they weren't laughing anymore.
They played into the night, and when he finally excused himself to go to bed, his money purse much heavier than it had been, one of the soldiers laughed, shook his head, and said, "Well, I have to hand it to you, Brother Farin...you're a quick learner!"
"Thank you for a most pleasurable and profitable evening," he said, and left with a polite smile. He was gone before he could notice the murderous expression that passed across the big man's face as he shredded the playing cards in his hand.

Author: Farin Date: Sun Mar 12 17:20:02 2017 Subject ...And the Lord Taketh Away

It was the middle of the night, and Farin awoke with a headache and the urge to relieve himself, having consumed several pints of bitter ship's ale with the card players. He didn't bother to put his glasses on; by now, he could find his way to the deck of the ship with his eyes closed, and Solinari was full tonight. He answered the call of nature, shivering in the frigid sea air, and turned around to go back to bed.
And he heard a voice in the darkness: "You tricked us, you scheming little bastard." He recognized it. It belonged to Brog, the giant of a man who had played cards with him that evening. And lost. Badly.
"Excuse me?" he said, feeling a familiar rush of sensation through his veins as his body tensed and urged him to flee.
"You hustled us. Wasn't a fair game. I want my money back."
He willed himself to remain calm as he backed slowly toward the door to the cabins. "I played by the rules. I won fairly."
"You aren't who you say you are."
"I have not misrepresented myself. I am Farin Sparfeld, an apprentice from Palanthas, on my way to join the Holy Order of the
"
You're a cheating elf's bastard and I'm taking back my gold." With that a huge shape lunged out of the darkness towards him, and two massive fists grabbed the front of his robe. Farin acted quickly and automatically, his hands flying up to claw at the man's face with a quick flurry of motion. That surprised Brog and made him stumble backwards, but he came at Farin again with a furious roar, this time closing his hands around Farin's neck. Farin pinched the flesh at the crook of the man's elbow with one hand and, with the other, drove two fingers into the center of the man's clavicle. With an angry, surprised cry, he toppled like a great tree, and Farin used the opportunity to strike his ear with an open palm and grab an enormous knife from the sheath hanging around his waist before he skittered backwards, his pulse racing.
"I don't want to fight with you,," he said.
Brog had gotten back to his feet with alarming speed. "Gimme my knife," he said, stepping towards Farin.
"I'll give it back to you if you promise that you will not fight with me."
Brog laughed. "I'm gonna use it to gut you and cut your pointy ears off."
"That wasn't a very smart thing for you to say. You could have at least lied." And Farin tossed the knife over the deck and into the sea.
Brog was twice Farin's size, but he was enraged and careless, and Farin could tell that until now he'd relied on his frightening appearance and size more than his technique. Farin stood his ground and waited for Brog to get close, then ducked under his armpit. The massive man's momentum caused him to stumble forward and Farin drove an elbow into the side of his head. Brog swore and spun around and swung at Farin again. He tried to jump out of the way, but felt an explosion of pain as one of the massive fists landed a blow on his jaw and he staggered and fell. He prayed that it wasn't broken. He tasted blood in his mouth and realized he had badly bitten his cheek. Brog was raising his fists and preparing to bring them down on Farin; he dove between Brog's legs. While Brog stumbled, Farin tried to scramble to his feet, but he wasn't fast enough, and Brog delivered a savage kick to his head. Stars twinkled before his eyes, and as he prayed to Gilean that he wouldn't black out, he realized with horror that Brog was picking him up. And then he was falling. And then he was plunging into the sea.
He fought the urge to panic and waited for his body to bob back up to the surface. When he did, and when his vision cleared, he saw with dismay the dim shape of the Lively, disappearing quickly into the night.
All he could think, as he treaded water and looked up at Solinari, was that he should have left that knife exactly where he found it.

Author: Farin Date: Thu Mar 16 17:57:50 2017 Subject The Sea's Embrace

Farin took stock of the situation. The water was cold. He could feel his extremities starting to go numb already. His money purse was back on the ship, in his traveling pack -- along with all his books, he realized with a pang of anguish. His spectacles were back on the ship, too. Brog was surely going through his things right now, and he'd take the lot for himself. He now had three possessions: 1) The leatherbound journal that he kept in the back pocket of his leggings (and that was now completely permeated with seawater), 2) the small utility knife tucked in an inner pocket of his robe, and 3) the silver holy symbol around his neck. "In all probability, I am going to die," he said out loud. He was surprised to find that he felt relaxed. The cold water must have knocked the urge to fight right out of me, he thought.
When he was seven years old, he had been fishing on the docks in Palanthas when a trio of older boys approached him and shoved him into the sea. "Hey, Farin, I heard elves can't swim," the leader had said. "What about half-elves? Let's find out!" They'd all found this very funny, until they realized that Farin, in fact, couldn't swim, and to their credit, they'd fetched help immediately. What was it the priestess of Habbakuk had said when she fished him out of the water and brought him to his senses? "Relax, and the sea will hold you." It was true. It was remarkably easy to float in the sea, as long as one didn't allow oneself to panic. He said a quick prayer to Habbakuk thanking Him for the free swimming instruction the priestess had given after the incident -- and for the calmness of the sea that night.
But it was cold. So cold.
"Surely these are my last moments," he said. "How would Gilean have me spend them?"
{OObserve, said a voice in his head. {OLearn. Survive.
"Survive," Farin laughed. "The odds of that are slim." He turned his face upward. It was beautiful, the night sky, and it was as he had never seen it before, the constellations spread out before him, bright and unobstructed by Palanthas' buildings and lights. He could make out individual craters on Solinari's surface, and distant galaxies he had read about but never been able to see.
The silent stillness of the sea was interrupted by a sudden swell in the water. Farin gasped as a massive body broke the surface some distance away from him and, with a sound like the blowing of a horse, sprayed water into the air. Moments later, a tail the size of one of the Lively's sails emerged, then slipped back under the sea, disturbing the water remarkably little for a creature its size. "Gods be praised," he whispered, his heart swelling with reverence for the animal. Then, a little closer, a head broke the surface, a massive eye, focused unmistakably upon him, and disappeared under the water. It was curious about him, this animal that dwarfed him, with a brain that held secrets he couldn't fathom. Farin imagined that the whale regarded him the same way he regarded the toads and snails he loved to study as a child. The whale circled him once, slowly and carefully -- he could detect small ripples of movement in the water as it swam around him -- and surfaced again.
"You have an understanding of the sea that I will ever approach," he said with a sigh. "You and the sea elves." He felt his limbs going numb, and the energy slipping away from his body. He felt the urge to go to sleep, and fought it. "My only hope is rescue. If I could only speak to you...and..." His eyelids were growing heavy. He blinked once, twice, and closed them.

Author: Farin Date: Fri Mar 24 17:40:45 2017 Subject Unknown Shores

He opened his eyes. He thought for a moment that he was back in his father's house in Palanthas -- but why was the sun streaming in so brightly, and why was the ceiling blue? Then it all came flashing back to him -- the fight, the sea, the whale...certain death. Why was he alive? Or perhaps he was in the celestial plane?
No -- the celestial plane could never be this cold, wet, and uncomfortable, and if his soul had left his body, he was fairly certain that his body wouldn't be aching like he'd just been trampled by horses. He sat up, groaning in pain. Somewhere in the fight, the brute who tossed him overboard must have cracked one of his ribs. His head and jaw throbbed miserably. The inside of his mouth where he'd bitten his cheek was still tender.
He looked around. He was on some firm, damp sand on a beach, Gilean only knew where. And there was a seated figure next to him. He blinked and rubbed his eyes with his fingertips. He'd never seen one before, but he was sure it was a sea elf.
"Did..." His voice came out hoarse, and he realized his throat hurt, too. He coughed. "Did you...save me?" "Abbuku keep you." Without another word, the elf stood and dove into the sea.
How the elf found him -- a needle in a haystack -- he'd never know. Perhaps the sea elves could communicate somehow with the whales. He would have to research the question. The important thing was that he was alive. But where was he? There were no signs of settlements in his immediate vicinity. Had he been marooned on an uninhabited island?
He'd read books about this before. The first thing to do, he remembered, was to find a source of water. As soon as he thought about fresh water, he realized how dry his mouth felt. With great effort, he got to his feet (at least he still had his boots, he thought) and headed towards the lush green woodlands that lay further inland.

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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