The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Jex.

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 pulp magazine on the table in front of you.
You note the spine bears the word 'Jex' scribed in faded purple ink.

Author:    Jex            
Date:      Wed Jan 24 11:06:39 2007
Subject     Blackthorn Chronicles, I

Staring at the ground as he plodded along the trail Jex grumbled to
himself that he should have bought that magic hat from that dealer in
palanthas.  The man had said it could keep you dry even in the worst storm
but the sky had been blue, the sun bright and warm and Jex' beltpouch was
light so he had declined.  Now, only a few hours later, the wind was howling
and driving the rain horizontal and into his eyes.  Lightning lit the sky,
thunder boomed in his ears and he thought briefly about going back to
Palanthas and buying that silly little hat after all.  

As he crested a small hill he heard something a little ways ahead and as he
wiped away the rain and shielded his eyes so he could see he saw something
completely unexpected.  The trail broke out of the bushes and onto a road
about 15 feet ahead and on the road was the most garishly coloured wagon in
all of Krynn.  Jex knew it instantly and a broad smile broke out across his
face.  With a hoot and a yell he ran forward.  "Cousin Brim !  Hey !  Am I
ever glad to see you again !  " As he reached the road he saw that Brim was
not in the driver's seat of the wagon however but instead stood on the road
in front of it beside his mule.  He had his hoopak in hand and was whirling
the sling about, ready to whip a claypot into the face of one of the Goblins
which had surrounded his wagon.  Jex didn't hesitate but ran up behind one
of the vile creatures and struck it in the back of the head with his mace he
went by.  It crumpled in a heap and in a moment Jex stood back to back with
his famous cousin.  

"Jex !  Good to see you again.  What brings you here ?  As usual, your
timing is pretty good.  How's your family doing ?  I haven't been to Hylo in
years.  Can I give you a lift somewhere maybe ?  This weather isn't fit for
dog or Kender.  "

With that he let fly his weapon and the small missile smacked a Goblin
square between the eyes before he could dodge it.  The creature howled in
pain as it's nose broke and sprayed blood and it dropped back, trying to
staunch the crimson flow with it's rain soaked cloak.  

"Good shot cousin !  Mom and dad are good last I saw them.  I've been away
from Hylo for a while now, wandering around and checking things out.  You
know, seeing the world.  Stories are all fine and good but nothing beats
first hand information.  And yes, I sure could use a ride, I'm getting
soaked to the bone walking through the forest.  So, how's your side of the
clan doing ?  Your sister still single ?  " Jex replied as he swung his mace
at the knee of another Goblin and heard the satisfying crack of breaking
bones.  It fell to the ground and rolled around in agony.  The other Goblins
became more wary now and feinted repeatedly with their short swords, probing
for a weakness in the defences of their two small enemies.  

"Nah, she finaly got married, had a few kids.  Sorry to disappoint you there
Jex.  You should have gone for her when you had the chance.  She had a thing
for you for a long time you know.  "

Jex looked sharply at Brim.  "What ?!  No, I didn't know.  Dammit !  Why do
I always find these things out after the fact ?  That makes me grumpy.  " he
said and in a fit of anger he dove forward at a Goblin, brought his flanged
mace down onto it's skull and as it collapsed in a silent heap he swung his
weapon around in a vicious arc and sheared the jaw off another.  Brim looked
at his cousin in shock at the agression but kepts his wits about him and
slammed his hoopak up into the groin of another Goblin while it was
distracted by the whirling battlemace.  

The last few Goblins saw that they were on the losing side of this
engagement and decided that discretion was the better part of banditry. 
They turned their backs and fled as fast as their hobnailed boots would
allow and in a moment the two Kender stood alone in the rain, Jex panting in
anger and Brim watching his fuming cousin carefully.  

Author:    Jex            
Date:      Wed Jan 24 11:47:15 2007
Subject     Blackthorn Chronicles, I (cont'd)

"Jex, uhm, I don't mean to preach but you should probably do something
about that temper.  You always did have a short fuse but it does seem to
have become even shorter since we last met.  "

With visible effort Jex reined in his anger.  "I know, it's always been a
problem, but it serves me well in battle and keeps me warm on the long cold
road.  ", he said.  Kicking the jaw of the Goblin into the ditch he turned
toward Brim.  "C'mon let's get into the wagon.  I'm so wet I think I'm going
to dissolve.  I have a cool map I think you'll like.  " Brim's eyes
brightened up at the mention of a new map and he led Jex to the back of the
wagon where he dropped the small ladder.  They clambered inside and as Jex
entered he found himself in the most astonishing place.  Even though he had
been in the wagon many times it never ceased to amaze him.  On the outside
it looked like any other small wagon, except for the plethora of colours,
some of which had yet to be named by most sentient species.  On the inside
however it was anything but ordinary.  A vast chamber opened before him at
least a hundred feet long, fifty feet wide and with a fifty foot ceiling. 
Hung with silks and tapestries, the floor strewn with wonderfully coloured
and patterned carpets, it was a space fit for a Sultan.  Sunlight filtered
in through windows fitted with stained glass, casting a kaleidescope of
colour everywhere, and cats prowled or lounged about enjoying the warmth
which emenated from a large open central hearth.  Sleeping comfortably near
a table, on a pile of deep and plush cushions, lay Brim's faithful old
campanion Massy the mule.  

"Ah, there's Massy !  " Jex exclaimed and at the mention of his name the
creature looked up at him and nodded a greeting before returning to his well
earned slumber.  "I didn't see him out front and was sorta worried for a
moment.  You've retired him I guess ?  "

Brim nodded.  "Yes, Old Massy was just getting too old for pulling around
the wagon any more.  I couldn't just let him go though, you know ?  I got
Found to do the job, and he does it very well, and now Massy stays here.  I
have a small pasture out back where it's always sunny and bright and the
grass is tall and tasty.  He can wander there if he wants but generaly he
likes to stay in here and rest his old bones.  ".  Brim sat beside Massy and
scratched him between the ears.  The ancient mule responded with a contented
sigh and stretched his legs a bit, then fell into a deep slumber.  

Jex sat down and rumaged through his backpack and in a moment pulled out an
old worm scroll tube.  He handed it over to Brim and said, "I made a copy,
that's the original.  Keep it for your library.  "

Brim nodded, opened the tube and pulled out the parchment.  Unfurling it he
whistled in appreciation.  "Holy !  This is Pre-Cataclysm.  Where'd you find
it cousin Jex ?  It must be worth a small fortune.  "

"It was in an old horde I found when after my company got ambushed at an
ancient keep.  I was having lunch when I saw a hidden door.  I opened it,
but the trap almost killed me.  " He ran a finger along the scar which ran
down his cheeck.  "Almost...  But not quite.  When I woke up a week later
they told me about it, but we had moved on and I never did get to see it in
situ.  I saw part of it in the accountant's offices.  It was huge.  The
whole thing together must have dazzling.  The gave me this mace and let me
pick a few other baubles for a reward and when I saw that map I thought
immediately of you.  The horde was ancient so I knew the scroll must be too.
Do you recognise the place at all ?  "

Brim shook his head.  "Not really, although something seems vaguely
familliar about it.  It's a city map, but of what city I can't say.  If it's
Pre-Cataclysm then I'd wager the city is either gone or ruined.  I doubt it
looks like this anymore.  If we could find it though I bet this map would
still be a good guide.  We should try to dig up some information on it.  Are
you busy at the moment ?  " he asked.  

Author:    Jex            
Date:      Wed Jan 24 12:44:43 2007
Subject     Blackthorn Chronicles, I (cont'd)

Jex shook his head this time.  "Not currently.  I'm on leave for a bit,
just wondering around and exploring.  I'm up for a bit of adventure if you
want a comapnion with some anger management issues.  ".  Jex grinned

Brim smiled and said, "It's settled then.  Rest for a bit, dry off and
change you clothes.  Hang the old ones out back in the pasture, they'll dry
nicely in the sun and smell nice and clean later.  When we're ready we'll go
to Palanthas.  I have an appointment at the library with Master Astinus so
I'll pump him for info about this map at the same time.  I'm lucky he likes
me.  I don't know why but he doesn't normaly allow Kender in his library. 

Jex did as his cousin told him and he loitered a bit in the pasture.  The
sun was warm as Brim had promised and the slight breeze carried the scents
of spring, rosemary and lavender and other aromatics, so that when he
returned to the main chamber he felt completely reinvigorated.  

They gossiped a while about the old country, about friends and family long
unheard from, and polished off a bottle of '32 Ergothian red wine (a vintage
that now existed solely in Brim's magicly warded wine celler) while they
reminisced.  Eventually Brim got up and went outside briefly.  When he
returned he had Found in towe.  The young mule looked relieved to be inside
and out of the rain.  Brim led him through the chamber and into the pasture
out back and in a moment returned.  "I couldn't stand to leave him alone out
there all night.  He never complains, I think he even likes the rain, but I
know he likes the pasture more.  Can't say as I blame him either !  " he
said with a chuckle.  Jex nodded in agreement.  Brim sat down and told his
younger cousin to sleep.  Palanthas wasn't far and they would rest the night
here.  In the morn the sky would be clear and they would hit the Lord's City
and it's huge Library early.  With luck they could be off in search of the
city depicted on the ancient map before noon.  Jex yawned and nodded and was
asleep before his head hit the pillow.  

The morning arrived and as Brim had promised the storm had broken and with
Found hooked up they made good progress to Palanthas.  In an hour they were
at the gate and a short ride later the Library.  As they drove through the
city people stared at Brim's wagon in awe.  Many of the colours on it had
never been seen in that city.  Children ran beside and behind it, laughing
gleefully at the gaudily painted craft, and Brim waved to them and laughed
back mirthfully.  

When they arrived at the Library they approached the front doors and Brim
bowed deeply to the guards.  "Hail, fellow academics, " he said.  "I am Brim
Happytrailzzz and I have an appointment with your Master, Astinus the Sage. 

They sighed slightly and nodded.  "Aye Master Cartographer, the Master is
expecting you but your friend must await your return here.  You know the
Library's rules.  "

Brim muttered under his breath about silly rules but replied, "Yes, I know
the rule about Kender.  I'm going to speak to Astinus about that too, that's
discrimination it is !  " he said somewhat grumpily.  Now it was Jex' turn
to eye his cousin.  

"Careful cousin, " he whispered.  "You might want to talk to someone about
that temper of yours.  " he said with a chuckle.  Brim shot him a glance,
then his mood lightened.  

"Point taken cousin, well said.  Alright then.  I'll be back soon.  Keep
Massy and the cats company and we'll be off before you say 'Shamboozle badda
bing bang gothren backra doomla jomba ringtel!  ' ".  

The guards looked at each, confused a bit, but let the eccentric little
Kender pass.  Brim vanished into the massive building and Jex clambered into
the wagon.  He nodded off and when he awoke Brim was sitting at the small
table nearby eating some Elven waybread and wine.  Jex joined him and after
they had devoured the delicious loaf Brim filled him in on his meeting with
the distinguished Sage of Palanthas.  

Author:    Jex            
Date:      Wed Jan 24 13:30:52 2007
Subject     Blackthorn Chronicles, I (cont'd)

From what Astinus had said the map was of a city which used to exist east
of where the High cleris Tower now stood.  Before the Cataclysm the area had
been lush plains which were famous for the horses bred there, but now it was
all mountainous and rocky, the blasted remains of a world long gone and all
but forgotten by mortals.  The Sage didn't think the chances were good that
anything remained but had hinted that it was possible, though unlikely.  

They decided to check it out and see if anything remained and leaving the
vicintiy of the Library made their way out the southeast gate of Palanthas
and along the Knight's High Road to the Tower.  The time wore on
uneventfully and after passing Yarus the road began to climb up into the
mountains.  A day out from the little hamlet they spied the Tower of the
High Clerist in the distance and marvelled at the sight.  It was tall and
inspiring as it reached in solitude towards the sky, as if daring to touch
the heavens themselve.  It was a mighty hold and it was inconceivable that
anyone, even an evil as powerful as Lord Soth, would seriously considering
attacking it.  But besieged it had been and even though that dark knight had
thrown all of his darkest power at it, still it stood proud, tall and
defiant to guard the southern approach to the City of Paladine.  

A few hours later, just before nightfall, they arrived at the north gate and
after a brief chat with the Solamnic Guards were allowed into the compound. 
They slept the night in the wagon of many colours and in the morn, with
Found safely stabled inside the wagon (much to the incredulity of the
stableboy) in the pasture, the two adventurers made their way east from the
tower and into the mountains on foot.  

The going went well at first for, this close to the heavily guarded Tower,
there were trails aplenty to choose from.  As the day wore on though the
trails became more scarce and the terrain more unforgiving.  Still, they
made good progress and by nightfall had climbed high into the rocky crags
and chose to camp at a spot which overlooked the Tower far in the distance. 

The next morn dawned bright and warm but some clouds on the horizon hinted
at some darker time to come and Jex cursed himself briefly once again for
not buying that silly hat in Palanthas.  Not having meant he would need it. 
He should have known The next morn dawned bright and warm but some clouds on
the horizon hinted at some darker time to come and Jex cursed himself
briefly once again for not buying that silly hat in Palanthas.  Not having
it meant he would need it.  He should have known better.  

They went as fast as they could but were slowed by the increasingly
difficult terrain.  About noon they were walking along a ridge when Brim
stopped and peered into the shadowed area down the hillside to their right. 
Jex stopped and followed his cousin's gaze.  "Do you see that Jex ?  It
looks like a crevice down there with some sort of very narrow trail leading
into it.  " he said.  

"Aye Brim, I can just make it out.  Good catch.  Even to a Kender's eyes
that's pretty hard to see.  I wonder how many other people have seen it ? 
Or even if anyone has even been here to see it at all ?  " Jex mused.  

"I don't know about you but I'd rather not get caught out in that storm
that's coming up behind us.  I think we should check it out.  If nothing
else it should at least provide us some shelter from the wind and rain.  ". 
Jex nodded and together they scaled down into the ravine.  

Once at the bottom the crevice was still almost invisible and it was only
with their keen Kender sight that they managed to safely traverse the rubble
strewn floor and gain the small path.  

Once upon it they found it was no simple animal trail.  It appeared to be
the remains of an old paved pathway, leading from where to where they
couldn't tell.  Carefuly they made their way along it and, as it entered the
crevice and the rock rose shear on either side, they felt the first
raindrops begin to fall.  

Author:    Jex            
Date:      Wed Jan 24 14:18:28 2007
Subject     Blackthorn Chronicles, I (cont'd)

Quickly the rock closed above them and they found themselves in something
almost cavelike and Brim stopped briefly to light an ornate lantern.  He
merely spoke a word and it lit, casting a warm yellow light in a wide radius
about them.  It illuminated the rock and trail ahead of them as they went
and in a few minutes they realised they were descending into the earth. 
Time seemed to slow and all they knew seemed to be their own footfalls, the
drip of water, and the words of their conversations which became shorter as
time marched on.  

Stopping only once to eat a quick meal they kept moving and as they began to
wonder if this cavern went on forever the path leveled out and the fractured
stone beneath their feet began to show less damage until they finaly cam to
one that was still whole.  Crouching down they looked at it and found that
it was indeed a paving stone of some sort with a decorative pattern embedded
in it's surface.  They stood again and continued and soon the stone walls
which had been fairly close on either side gave way and they found themselve
standing on a small ledge overlooking a very strange sight indeed.  

If there had been a roof it would have been a cavern but there wasn't one
and rain poured down onto the shattered and ruined building which lay spread
out before them about fifteen feet below.  They stayed where they were, both
to keep out of the rain and to survey the scene as best they could, and
decided to make camp here for the night and explore a bit in the morning.  

They dropped their packs and Brim pulled a small box out of his.  Opening it
up and pushing a knob on one side a small blue flame sprung to life on it's
surface.  Jex was surprised but the elder Kender just smiled at the
comforting sight of fire.  He pulled a small pan from his pack, placed it on
the fire, and proceeded to make a surprisingly elaborate and satisfying
dinner from the well stock backpack.  Washing it down with another bottle of
that fine Ergothian vintage (Brim apparently had a very large reserve) they
rested comfortably by the yellow light of their lantern and chatted amiably
about their discovery.  Astinus would be surprised to find that anything at
remained.  It might not be much apparently, but at least part of the place
survived somewhat, albeit in a ruined state.  

They awoke the next morning to find that the sun was peering in through the
hole in the rock far above and it's warm glow bathed the vine shrouded ruins
with an inviting light.  Small birds flitted amongst some trees which grew
here and after they had descended to street level Brim collected some nuts
from them for they were of a specices the very widely traveled Kender had
never seen before.  

Jex looked about in wonder at the ruins which seemed to deffinately be old
enough to date from before the Cataclysm.  The fractured walls were
completely covered in clinging luxuriantly green ivy and the place was
beautiful as it stood revealed in all it's ruined glory.  They rounded a
corner and found an open space in front of them, what had once apparently
been a square of some sort.  A small round park like area was at it's center
and some very ancient trees, of the type seemingly native to this place,
grew there and spread their branches far and wide.  

Brim hooted in surprise and quickly pulled out the map Jex had given him. 
"There it is !  See, on the map ?  There's we are !  A small park it looks
like, in the middle of a square !  ".  He squinted and peered about.  "Yes. 
Five streets leading off from here to the rest of the city, although it
looks like they don't lead anywhere anymore.  But definately, we found the
place !  It's a shame the map gives no name, it would be nice to know
exactly where we are.  " he said.  

"Delrathyn.  That is the name of this place.  Or it was at one point, so
very long ago.  " said a voice which seemed to come from everywhere.  

Jex and Brim froze, eyes wide in surprise.  "Did you say that ?  " Brim
asked.  Jex shook hi head.  "No, I had rather hoped you had.  " replied Jex.

Author:    Jex            
Date:      Wed Jan 24 15:05:31 2007
Subject     Blackthorn Chronicles, I (cont'd)

"Uhm, hello ?  " Brim said alloud.  "We're friendly explorers, just, uhm,
exploring.  We found a map of, uhm, Delrathyn and we just wanted to see it. 
We mean no harm.  " 

A sound from the huge trees ahead drew their gaze and they stared as a Human
man stepped from behind the wide trunk.  White hair hung down past his knees
and a great beard, almost as long, descended from his ancient face.  Old
though he obviously was crisp, clear grey eyes considered them carefully for
a moment before a deep voice, gravelly from disuse, greeted them.  "I know
you mean no ill.  I have watched and listened to thy banter for some time. 
I had all but forgotten the sound of speach.  It has been many a century
since I have seen or heard another sentient being.  This place was once a
center for art and science, but now it is merely the ruin you see and holds
naught but ghosts of a time which is no more.  Welcome, friendly explorers,
to Delrathyn.  I am Ornith the Sage, last of my people and the sole survivor
and inhabitant of this once vibrant city.  Join me if you will in this small
park where we may break our fast and you can tell me of the world I can no
longer see.  "

He turned and led the way into the park and they followed him, intrigued by
the man and this place.  They arrived monetarily at a small gazebo made of
stone, elaborately carved with graceful columns supporting a delicate arched
stone roof.  Sunlight filtered through the branches to gently bathe the
structure in warm suffuse light and they sat opposite him at the small table
in the center.  He uttered an alien word and a simple repast appeared before
them, cheeses and breads, fruits and vegetable neither Kender had seen or
tasted before.  In response Brim brought forth yet another bottle from his
omnipresent bag.  

The old man nodded.  "You are courteous I see, and have good taste as well. 
Long has it been since ought but simple water passed my lips.  " he said as
Brim poured some into each of the three cups which had appeared on the

Jex smiled and replied, "And you are acourteous and have good taste as well
it seems Master Ornith for you had the decency not to attack us or something
equally distateful.  ".  At this the man let out a small chuckle and nodded.

"To be honest, when I first heard your voices I was enraged at the intrusion
but then I realised I am doing nothing which can be intruded on.  After
centuries of solitude I instead welcome the diversion you represent.  Thank
you for stumbling upon me and Delrathyn.  "

They ate and spoke long, until after the sun had passed it's zenith and the
sky overhead twinkled with a few stars.  The man was a Sage alright for he
gobbled up all the news they could provide, from the history of Ansalon
since the Cataclysm to the nature of the surrent civilisation.  He was happy
to hear that the world had largely rebuilt itself, although he was most
surprised to hear of the return of the gods.  When they finaly came to
describe how they had come to search for this place at the mention of
Astinus the ancient man's eyes widened in surprise.  

"Astinus ?  Alive ?  Still, after all this time ?  It cannot be, but then I
guess I am still alive as well.  Tell me, what does this Astinus look like ?
".  They described him and Ornith nodded.  "It is him.  I was once his
pupil.  Promise me something my friends ?  Promise me that if ever you
return and meet him again, that you will tell him I yet live and long for
the company of another man of knowledge.  " They both nodded and promised
they would do so but Brim asked, "Why not just go there Master Ornith ?  I'm
sure Astinus would love to see you.  "

With a sigh Ornith shook his head.  "Alas, I cannot leave this place.  I
tried once, after the Cataclysm, but something prevented me.  I don't know
why, but I cannot leave my home.  I have researched this problem, but to no
avail.  "

They spoke a while longer of things great and small and before they knew it
the sun was again beginning to cast it's glow through the hole in the roof
of the cavern.  

Author:    Jex            
Date:      Wed Jan 24 17:23:09 2007
Subject     Blackthorn Chronicles, I (Finis)

The time soon came for the two to bid farewell to their host and as they
walked back the way they had come they chatted about their discovery.  No
roaming monsters to defeat, no treasure hordes full of shiny baubles but a
wondrous discovery none the less.  The return trip seemed faster than the
descent and sooner than they had expected they were back upon the rocky
ridge, making their way back to the High Clerist's Tower.  They barely made
the eastern gate before nightfall and spent the night in Brim's wagon of
many colours with his entourage of cats and the two mules.  In the morn they
struck out again along the Knight's High Road back north to Palanthas and
soon enough they were in the Lord City and Brim once again went to see
Astinus while Jex once again stayed with the menagerie, much to his

Brim was gone quite some time but when he returned he was smiling broadly
and bouncing along with a joyful step.  After he had sat down and had a
quick meal Brim relayed to Jex what had transpired.  Upon hearing of their
discovery of the ruined city and it's sole surviving occupant Astinus had
grilled Brim in depth about the man.  Satisfied that the Kender had indeed
stumbled upon something important the Master Sage had summoned his assistant
and immediately departed the Library via magical means.  

He had paused long enough to confirm that yes, the man had been a former
pupil of the Librarian and that he had thought him long dead.  Now that
Astinus knew he lived he was going to visit him in his ruined prison.  He
had told Brim that he owed him a debt for this information, a debt which he
hoped to somehow repay someday but in the meantime Brim and Jex were to be
allowed full access to the Library on the condition that they not 'borrow'
any tomes.  If they wished the scribes would make copies of any documents
that they desired.  

Jex brightened at the prospect.  What wonders there must be hidden away in
the depths of such an ancient edifice.  Brim saw the look in his eyes and
nodded.  He stood and together the two leapt from the wagon and ran up to
the front gate.  The guards saw them coming and allowed them to pass
unhindered, turning to watch them disappear into the Library.  

"Hmm, " said one to the other.  "Methinks the Master is going to regret his
decision on this matter.  "

The other one snorted.  "Probably but, in the meantime let's face it, what
harm can two Kender possibly do ?  I mean, there only two of them after all.

The first guard thought about it briefly then nodded.  "Your right of
course.  Only two Kender, No way they can get into very much trouble I
guess.  " 

The Storytellers of Ansalon, The DragonLance MUD

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