The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Gwenlyn.

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 paper booklet on the table in front of you.
You note the spine bears the word 'Gwenlyn' scribed in glowing black ink.

Author:  Gwenlyn
Date    Mon Dec 10 12:28:39 2001

Subject  As per your request...

Although it is difficult for me to understand what interest you may have in my
humble beginnings, I shall endeavor to relate them to you as you have
requested. Though I implore you, judge me not by my past, but rather by my
actions. My family is from the city of Dalitgoth, in Southern Ergoth, where
they reside still.

My father a fisherman, my mother a Braavisima, they used to say to me, "Our
Lyn, you have qualities of both of us, and of neither"

Each a half-elf, by rights making me a quarter, I presume, though it was
rarely discussed, and mention of my grandparents was never made. My father
spent his days upon the sea, plying his trade and reaping the bounties of the
Straits of Algoni in his small boat. My mother sold skills as a water dancer
to merchant ships. The Braavisima there say that a man is made of water, and
in the dance of swords, the skillful blade pierces your enemy and his water
runs from his wounds, leaving him to die. And so they call themselves "water
dancers," and it was thus that my mother earned her living, guarding merchant
ships from marauders and ensuring the fair exchange of goods. And hence, with
a father who earned his living sewing and reaping from the sea, and a mother
that earned her living sailing it, the patron of our home was Habbakuk. My
parents paid their tribute to the Fisher King because he ruled their trades,
they were far from devout, and felt that man makes his own way in the world,
and the will of the gods is not for us to know. I would not say they worshiped
him so much as that they respected him, and paid honor to his domain. (cont.)

Author:  Gwenlyn
Date    Mon Dec 10 12:38:33 2001

Subject  Background, cont.

Daltigoth was occupied by the Dragonarmies, and mostly populated by the ogres
that had overrun it. My parents paid their tithe and taxes, obeyed the ration
requirements, and generally tried to do their duty as citizens. I was a poor
hand at fishing, but quickly took to my mother's tutelage with the sword. A
Braavisima's network is as a family, and her ties were strong about the Isles,
and though we could not pay, many of my "dance instructors" worked for free,
or a meal of fish. And so it was I received my education in the sword and in
the world, training with Ergothian Braavos. As my 18th nameday approached,
there were few prospects for marriage there were neither ogres nor some of the
baser recruits from the Dragonarmies. I was therefore apprenticed to a local

An extraordinarily erudite man, he taught me some of the art, but it was the
books I most yearned for. Study with the sword had made my hand agile, and my
senses keen, and my mind was eager to catch up. So I spent most of my day
scribing, and I did not in the least mind the toiling, exacting work, so long
as I was allowed to read the selection I was to copy. And I drank deeply from
the cup of knowledge, and it was here that I became enthralled with the
concept of "Honor" and with the stories of the Knights of old. (cont.)

Author:  Gwenlyn
Date    Mon Dec 10 12:49:01 2001

Subject  Background, cont.

Little in life is worthwhile if it is not challenging, and I had always been
fascinated with pushing myself to accomplish what others thought I could not.
An I found myself fascinated with tales of men that were so steadfast in their
conviction that they were able to uphold the strictest codes of honor amidst
the roiling chaos that is battle--men that would sooner die than dishonor
themselves--or bring ruin to their ideals.  And So it was that I learned of
the Knights of Solamnia, and I had every intent of pledging my sword to them
for service. Young and headstrong, my ideals far surpassed my wisdom, and I
set out for the mainland, to seek entry into the "hallowed Knighthood"

I cannot say which of my experiences with them first served to dispel the
rather childish notions I had formed about them. I first signed on with a
rather large Solamnic host as a footsoldier.

ironic as it may be, the Knights are the pride of any host, but one never
hears of the footsoldiers, and it is they that fight the battles, and they
outnumber the Knights almost 500 to 1. It is the grunts that do the majority
of the work, and that is where I found myself. A host twenty-thousand strong,
and eighteen thousand were footsoldiers, tradesmen, or other attendants, and
another thousand mere squires.

And I quickly realized that 99% of that army had no Code, no Oath and no
Measure. Footsoldiers have little honor, the are not Knights, they are there
to fight, and to die. My first day in camp I was publicly flogged for raising
my sword against "my own" who happened to be a rather toothless commoner that
decided to reach his hand up my mail skirt. I did not kill him, only defended
my honor by rendering him helpless at the flat of my blade, yet the Knights
saw otherwise. Indeed, many a cold night lying on the hard earth, I found it
necessary to fend off attempts to invade my bedroll. And each time I was
reprimanded by an officer for raising my sword against my ally. (cont.)

Author:  Gwenlyn
Date    Mon Dec 10 13:01:11 2001

Subject  Background, cont.

I had never though that life would be easy, and the life of war in particular,
I expected to be hard. The damp, cold ground, lack of shelter, not being able
to bathe, the smell of twenty-thousand privys, the lice and smell of rot, the
thought of facing death daily, all that I could handle, I had prepared myself
mentally and physically for it. But I thought I would be ridding with Knights,
charging down the enemy on the field of battle, not defending my bedroll from
siege against conscripts, mercenaries, and commoners. I came to find honor,
and to learn discipline from those men that had mastered it. Yet what I became
was a nuisance, that woman that is always causing trouble, and the more I was
forced to defend my honor, the more public floggings and days in the stockade
I earned. And so I was dismissed from my post, even as a meager footsoldier. I
could suffer innumerable insults to my dignity, but what I could not suffer
was the pompous disregard for Honor that these Knights displayed. They think
honor is some page in a book, some dream of youth. They could not see that
Honor reaches beyond good and evil, it lives within, a symbiote to life
itself, growing or dying with it. To them it was an abstract ideal, to me it
was, and is, life itself. It cannot merely be some whisper on the wind, it is
as my lifesblood, it permeates every breath I exhale, it is the ultimate
challenge, to live a life of honor.

And thus it was that I found you, the one place that I may still learn of
honor and discipline. And I come before you, a water-dancer, scribe, and
skilled in some of the lesser healing arts. Knight of the sword or a Knight of
the mind, that is for you to decide, but a Knight of Honor I will be always.

Gwenlyn.... Fidelis-ad-letum.

Author:  Gwenlyn
Date    Wed Dec 12 23:22:13 2001

Subject  Luntari's quest..... A Vision

And thus it came, like summer's breeze upon the evening sky, felt more than
seen, tangible with every sense. It was dark, dark as the black of the roiling
ocean at midnight, yet bright, the reflection of the sun off that same ocean,
blinding and vague.

Breathless trepidation, the darkness of night Augury and anguish, steel
burnished bright The mercy of Paladine, Takhisis' wrath Onward marches time,
the die is cast There can be no honor in life without faith

It is the anger of lovers that brings love together It is the paucity of
iniquity that knows no measure Some stand in the shadow of a great name Yet
others through fidelity, kindle a greater flame There can be no faith in life
without honor

It is the savage thorn that produces the sublime rose Yet in mind not skin, it
is thus that beauty flows And who is it that will guard the Guardian Those
without probity will from the task refrain What has been wrongly gained is
wrongly lost

Of two evils, the lesser must always be chosen Yet in this confluence of gray,
none seem ambrosian Men gladly believe that which they wish for But it is just
such a lack of loyalty that begets war We are slaves to the law that we may be
able to be free

No greater challenge than honor amidst chaos No lesser virtue than to claim
faith without loss Better to face death than to dishonor the soul Worse to
break faith than disgrace the whole It is foolish to fear that which you
cannot avoid

Gwenlyn, be patient and steadfastfor one day, this pain will be useful to you.

Fidelis ad letum, that is your calling, and it shall permeate your every
breath, it is your lifesblood...

Author:  Gwenlyn
Date    Thu Dec 13 11:25:57 2001

Subject  Luntari's quest... The Glory of War

The glory of war...

I remember when I first saw the host, a vast throng of desperate life breaking
over the hillside. Armies look much the same everywhere, but my first sight of
this host was a surprise. Where I had expected to see thousands of valorous
Knights astride gilded chargers, instead I saw craftsmen, wives, cooks, and
footsoldiers. The occasional Knight was to be spotted, a flash of silver
amidst the squalid din. I thought perhaps, that the Knights were somewhere
else, given a separate camp, a place of their own. I realized, however, that
such was not the case, that it was upon the backs of these smallfolk, the
craftsmen, servants, and footsoldiers that a war was fought. No army marches
without shoes, a starving host will not march far, nor fight fiercely. And
though Knights may lead the charge, it is the thousands of footsoldiers that
follow that will win or lose the day.

And just as Knights may make the charge, skilled footsoldiers, be they
commoners or mercenaries, may break the charge.

   I vividly remember entering the camp, the smell of thousands of
latrines, the slaughter of sheep and cow, and the greasy smoke of cookfires
hung heavy in the air. I approached the table marked for "volunteers" where I
was summarily directed towards the maids' quarters. "No" I said, and I showed
them my sword.

"I wish to fight" Apparently I am very amusing, for I have seldom heard so few
words inspire such an uproar of laughter. An unscrupulous looking man in
piecemeal armor replied, "You will fight then"  I heard someone snicker about
claiming my sword after I died. The man in piecemeal armor pointed to the
roster, "Sign yer name, if you can't write, mark an 'X'" I signed my name. "No
family name?" he asks me, "Just Gwenlynare you some kind of bastard, or afraid
yer daddy will find out you ran away from home when you didn't get yer pony?"

"No" I tried to remain calm, "In my family, such names are earned, never

He handed me fifteen gold pieces, "If you live until next month, you'll get 20

   Owning steel is apparently a great boon, I was assigned to the
advanced skirmishers, the first to follow the cavalry after the charge...I was
the only one without armor. My fifteen gold bought me a used, ill-fitting
boiled leather jerkin, and a battered leather cap. I met the rest of the
advanced skirmishers, or as I later learned "those that come with a sword or
can afford their own" it seems I'm unique in more ways than one, I was the
only woman. I suddenly became glad for my cap, and that my jerkin was
ill-fitting and unflattering. I surveyed my company, not a single mercenary,
they are too clever, or too expensive to be assigned to the front line. Mostly
boys they were, a few lordlings, most of the others, middle-classed, sons of
merchants or artisians. Unblooded, all of them, green, unblooded boys.

They thought of war the way a child thinks of the yuletide feast, with
bright-eyed wonder, as if they were about to unwrap their gifts. Unblooded and
untrained, I tried to show a few of them some basic maneuvers with the sword,
some were hopeless, I settled for teaching the most basic lesson "The pointy
end goes into the enemy" A few prospered, learned to parry or riposte, too
few. I tried to prepare them for what I knew they would meet, "Fight with
Honor" I told them, "If you cannot have a Knight's horse and armor, then have
a Knight's heart and fight with a Knight's Courage" they all said they would,
if only it could be so. "Keep your faith in your god, whoever it may be, faith
will carry you amid the noise and the haste, always Faith" they said they were

   Half a fortnight later, the horn sounded, a shrill blast echoing
in the frigid morning air. I felt the quickening in my veins, the sickening in
the pit of my stomach.

The boys, my boys were keen, up quickly, swords polished, as if the gleam of
their steel alone would blind the enemy into submission. (continued)

Author:  Gwenlyn
Date    Thu Dec 13 11:40:15 2001

Subject  The Glory of War...continued

   Young, too young, too inexperienced. Excited, every last one of
them as a child on their nameday, too much excitement. Three more blasts, the
lines formed.

It made it all the worse to have them so close behind the Knights, the
giddiness was contagious, and no enemy seems so weak and cowardly as the one
you cannot see through the arses of the Knight's horses. Even as the long
blast sounded, begin the advance, we could see nothing through the Knights. I
knew what was coming, I steeled myself, and said a prayer...for the boys
"faith and honor, grant them this blessing in life or death, faith and honor" 
Nothing makes a sound as grating to the soul as the screaming of a horse, the
charge was launched, and broken in the span of a breath, and the horses
screamed. And so it began...

   It was then that the fear set in, I could smell the urine on the
portly boy next to me, I touched his arm. In a veteran, the fear is a call to
action, in the unblooded it is debilitating, a paralyzing sickness. I saw
them, in the blink of an eye, in a moment go from arrogance to terror,
diametrically opposed in the circle of life and death. However fortunately, or
unfortunately, the enemy was upon us. My steel was out, and the fight for life
or death began. In moments, through lapses in my dance, I tried to watch the
boys, to account for them. I saw many go awash with hatred or fury, "Good," I
thought to myself, "At least they have overcome the fear,"  I do not Mind the
hatred so much, it is a tool, for what man could take the life of another
without the use of so base an emotion? It is the warrior that takes the life
of another with a serene stoicism that I truly fear, for that is a man that
cares nothing for life.

At least in hatred we must motivate ourselves to do the unspeakable. And so,
from hatred or fear, they fought, fought and killed, fought and died.

   I don't remember taking the wound, I was moving through the
dance with my partner when a third party joined. I glanced to my swordarm, "he
had a good Teacher," I thought to myself, the pointy end was in me. I cut off
his hand. The Wound was deep, but between the bicep and the bone, I would not
lose the use of the arm, the blood flowed, but it felt cold. I switched to the
left arm, it needed practice. We danced more, the ache in my legs becoming
nearly unbearable. My boiled leather tunic looked more like a butchers block,
covered in blood, I couldn't tell if it was mine or not. I heard a horse
behind me, "had I become turned?" I asked myself, we had no cavalry left, then
I felt the crushing strike to my back, "a flail"

I astutely observed before I lost consciousness.

   I remember awakening face-down, the visceral, earthy taste of
soil and the coppery tang of blood in my mouth. There was no sound, save the
sonorous pounding within my own head, the battle was over. It took a concerted
effort to stand, but I did.

A boy next to me was clutching at his guts, "a slash across the abdomen is
worse than a thrust," I thought to myself. He was crying, I could smell the
blood and earth around me. "Who is your god?" I recall asking him.
"Kiri-Jolith" he whimpered to me. "I hear he is a wise man, you will have many
questions for him," I whispered to him. "Have faith, Kiri is with you, his
strength is yours" I could not find my sword, it had been taken, the
battlefield was littered with them, and I selected one. "Did you fight with
honor today" I asked him, "No" he said, "I am a coward" "Fortune is with you
then, for men are most remembered for their final actions, and you may still
die with honor" I told him.


Author:  Gwenlyn
Date    Thu Dec 13 11:50:39 2001

Subject  The Glory of War (final)

"Your wound is mortal, but it will bleed you for many hours, I can ease your

He nodded, there is never such a poverty of speech as when one looks at life
slipping away from youth, there are simply no words. "Close your eyes, and
know this, Kiri watches now, show him your faith, he will be proud to see you
have died with honor"

As I placed the tip of the sword against his ribcage, just above his heart, I
had a sudden Attack of memory, and though it lasted but a second, it seemed a
lifetime. My mother Only once, ever, made mention of her parents, my
grandparents. "My Lyn, I will tell you a story now, that you may carry it with
you, make it yours and it will bolster your faith, deepen your conviction to
honor if you understand" she said to me. She told the story, in the beautiful
voice only a mother can have, "My father was elven, my mother human, a love
condemned from the start, but Lyn, times were different then, and when my
mother brought me into this world, a bastard child, my father was given a
choice, take his own life for the sake of honor, or take the life of the
child, me" I vaguely remember disbelieving her, she continued, "He chose
death, and when they brought him the dagger, my mother did not weep, instead,
she gently placed the tip over his heart and kissed his forehead, he
hesitated, reflecting on love and life, and my mother, your grandmother, took
out her own dagger and plunged it into her own heart. As she kneeled over him,
dying, she smiled and said, 'See, it does not hurt'"..."it does not
hurt"..."nothing in life is painful unless you allow it to be" my mother told
me "remember"

    I looked at the boy, eighteen perhaps, looked at the tip of the
sword over His chest, "it does not hurt" I told him, and plunged the sword
downward. "Go swiftly," I whispered to him, "have faith, for honor and glory
await you elsewhere"

I withdrew the sword, and kissed his forehead. I had no sword, but this one
did not belong to me, none of these did, I would have to purchase another. I
layed the sword across his body, folding his arms over it, and then I
remembered something else my mother had told me, she had much experience with
war, "No peace is so unjust that it is worse than even the fairest war" And
such it always is with war. Yet I will keep my faith that honor may be found
somewhere in this chaos.



Author:  Gwenlyn
Date    Sun Dec 16 16:18:29 2001

Subject  The Song of Swords...

The Song of Swords      Finding my way back to the encampment did
not prove difficult, I followed the stench of death. It left a queasy, solemn
trail that any of a man's five senses could follow. The camp was ashambles and
the preponderance of hastily erected surgeons' posts made it seem more a
butcher's block. Judging from the number of wounded to dead, one might have
assumed we were victorious. But they had not yet begun the process of bringing
the dead in from the field, we hadn't even the manpower to give honor to the
fallen by building a pyre. The corpses would sit afield another day or two at
least before they would be able to spare the men to reclaim them. Perhaps our
foe would not wait, perhaps he has as little cause to honor the dead as we
seemed to. If he would come, it would not do to be unprepared, and I wanted
for a weapon.

    I found a smaller peddler away from the center of the bloody
cacaophony that was our encampment and looked over his wares. He had an honest
look to his sunken eyes, I could only assume he had children here, perhaps
some still lay afield, frozen forever in death, awaiting the fabled glory of
war. "You're wounded," he said to me.

"I want for a sword," I replied. I had three gold coins still, and little
else. I offered him my boiled leather jerkin, "40 gold," he replied though it
had not taken a scratch in battle. He showed me his swords, all exorbitantly
overpriced. He wanted too much for the swords, offered too little for the
armor, but I recalled something my father had told me once, "Lyn, 'tis better
to suffer an injustice than to do an injustice"

He was right, there was no way to know how much this merchant had lost
already. "Take the jerkin then," I offered him, removing it.

He handed me my coins and cocked an eyebrow, "You want for a sword but not for
armor?" he queried. "Faith will be armor enough"

I retorted, he snickered at me. "I've 43 coins, just so, have you a sword for
me?" I tried to sound serious. He rummaged about a small chest, and pulled
from it a dilapidated, rusted falchion, battered almost beyond recognition. I
turned to leave. But glancing back at the peddler and his pathetic sword, I
recalled something.

    I was a girl of six again, before me stood my "dance"
instructor Teofilo. It was my first lesson. "Pick up the sword boy," He always
called me "boy"... I don't think he would ever admit to teaching a girl the
the ways of the "dance" I gripped it clumsily. "Is it a sword or a club you
hold boy?" he chided. "A sword" I replied, trying to steady it. "And do you
think it a weapon, or an instrument?" I knew the answer, or so I thought, "A
weapon" I told him proudly. "You are a foolish" he scolded. I peered
shamefully at the floor, my face burning. He approached me, grabbing my chin
between his nimble fingers "Do not let your pride interfere with your lessons,
pride and honor make poor bedfellows, the most honorable man has no need of
pride, ever..." He brandished his sword with a dizzying flourish, "Teofilo
will teach you to sing the Song of Swords, boy, this is no mere weapon,"he
waved the sword in front of me, "It is an instrument, just so, and with it you
pen the words of your destiny" ...


Author:  Gwenlyn
Date    Sun Dec 16 16:35:35 2001

Subject  The Song of Swords, continued...

The Song of Swords, continued...

    I blinked at the peddler's sword as the memory washed over me,
"rubbish" barely described its condition. "I..." I began, but before I
finished, the memory was at me again. Teofilo stood before me, with his
beautiful saber in hand, the admiration in my eyes sickened him, and nearly
burst my heart. "One day, my sword will be beautiful too"

I confided in him. "Do you think it is the beauty of this sword that makes it
dangerous?" he asked me. "A sword is only steel, it has no will" he continued,
"A creature lacking will is only so good as the hand that guides it, boy... In
an inept hand, the sword can cause harm to its master, in the hand of an
artist, it can carve up dreams."

I nodded at him, tears welling in my eyes as he continued, "And up more, it is
the mind that guides the hand, a strong hand and a feeble mind guide a sword
poorly. The mind and hand must be as one, and the so instrument becomes an
extension. Mind, Hand, Sword."

    He eyed my tears with disgust, "still you are too proud, too
proud to suffer my teaching, and too proud to cry outright, Teofilo will help
you with that" He slammed the flat of his sword against my swordarm. I
screamed out in pain and the tears came freely, my sword clattered to the
ground uselessly.  "There boy, now you may thank Teofilo for giving you a
reason to cry that does not involve pride" He stepped back, scowling at me.
"Mind, Hand, Sword, and it is just so in life, some men are made to be swords,
steel guided by the strong hands of others, and yet others grip the sword and
are guided by those that act as the mind ... I wonder my little dancer, what
it is you will be?" I blinked at him through the tears, but I could not
answer. The pain in my shoulder was unbearable, I could feel the blood-knot
forming. He raised his sword to guard, "come boy, the time for listening is
done, now is the time for dancing"

I picked up the sword...

    "I will take it" I told the peddler as he stared at me

I handed him the coins, and took the sword from his proffered hands.

"thank you" I murmured to him as I turned away. I examined my purchase, a
falchion, brutally treated, battered and rusted. The blade was flat and wide,
with as many nicks as I had hairs, but it would be a faithful companion and
what more might I ask from the gods. Indeed, it might also make an excellent
shovel, I told myself as I walked back toward the battlefield to bury some of
my boys and chop wood for the pyres of others. No, today was not a day for
pride, none are, it was a day for honor. It would not be gained on the field
of battle, but in the hearts of those fathers and mothers, brothers and
sisters that left something behind on that field of battle. Good, evil,
hateful, or benevolent, they were dead just the same. Now was the time to give
honor where it was due, and even if they fought and died without faith, or
without honor, then I shall say a prayer as I work that they find both in the


Author:  Gwenlyn
Date    Tue Dec 18 00:10:46 2001

Subject  Looking today, for honor

   It disheartens me greatly that there are those out there that would
cling so to the guise of honor...Yet like some savage usurper, they pretend to
its merits. Each of us wishes to have truth on our side, yet few of us ever
wish to be on the side of truth.

   Never could honor be associated to a claim such as "revenge" for
where could the honor be in a thing like revenge? Some, consumed with the
passion for it, claim that revenge is sweeter than life itself, but ask
yourself,  whence comes revenge. It is a slippery slope one walks upon when
they are ruled by their emotions. There is precious little veracity in
emotions, they deceive and mislead us. Revenge is a lie, making us believe
that the result validates the deeds. A man who lies to himself, however, and
believes his own lies becomes unable to recognize the truth, in himself or in
others, and thus loses respect for them. It is said that reason and
deliberations are the true skills of a general, yet where lies revenge upon
this continuum? If a man truly wishes to conquer, he must first conquer
himself, conquer the power of his emotions and let reason rule his faculties.
And no man is free who is a slave to his emotions.

   Perhaps your friend was wronged, slain even. Yet this is a time of
war, and war is only sweet for those that have not experienced it. War is
brutal, and often necessary, no matter your personal philosophy, or religious
preference, to preserve peace. In war, people die, good people, evil people,
death does not discriminate.

Yet it is not death we fear, but the thought of death, for whom among us can
know What glory and honor awaits us in the afterlife. Your friend was wronged?
But this is only misfortune if you perceive it to be misfortune. When the gods
call a soldier home, who can but answer? It is a sweet and glorious thing to
die for one's cause.

You may think him wronged, but did he carry any more right to die than any
other who perished for their cause? Do some hold more of a claim to life than
others? The smallest griefs speak, but the greatest are ever silent.

   If it is honor you claim, than look to your conscience, for many
fear for their reputation, but few fear for their conscience... How can one
lay claim to honor when ruled by his emotions? I leave you with the advice
left to me, by a man all the wiser, "Treat even your enemies with courtesy,
and you'll see how valuable may prove. It costs  little but pays a rich
dividend, for those who honor are honored. Politeness and a sense of honor
have this advantage, we bestow them on others without losing a thing." 


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 sighs as he recants 'We saved 803 books from Ansalon from before the great Cataclysm through today.'