The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Mazik.

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 'Mazik' scribed in burnt maroon ink.

Author:    Mazik          
Date:      Sun Jan 11 07:52:55 2009
Subject     The return to Palanthas

After spending most of his life in service to the shadowy organization of
thieves, cutthroats and smugglers that controlled Palanthas harbor, Mazik had
tired of the endless power struggles and killings in the criminal underworld.
Without a word to his associates, he commissioned a ship under another name
and left Palanthas with a merchant crew, intent on leaving his old life behind.

All went well for several years as he and his crew did legitimate business,
trading in the port cities along the coasts of the New Sea... until one night
he was approached in a portside tavern by a well-dressed nobleman.  The
noble told Mazik had come recommended for his reliable reputation, and offered
Mazik an unlikely sum of steel to ferry a shipment of cargo to Palanthas.

Mazik was at first inclined to refuse the offer, but his crew was considerably more
enthusiastic and after a few more drinks, he relented.  The cargo was loaded
onto the ship the following day - several strange black iron boxes inscribed
with a writing none of them had ever come across in their travels.  The noble
sent several stoic armed men to guard the cargo hold, and they stationed
themselves below decks with their own provisions, having spoken not a single
word to any of the crew.

The crew was considerably less enthused about the journey than the night
before, even having been paid half the steel in advance.  Several of them made
signs of prayer to the gods as they set off for Palanthas.  Grim-faced, Mazik
barked his orders and ignored the whispered talk of ill omens amongst
his crew.

It was five weeks before they reached Zeboim's Deep, and in that time the
feeling of unease had deepened to a palpable sense of dread among
the crew.  A dense fog had surrounded the ship not long after it had left
its berth in the New Sea and had never dispersed.

It finally happened during the night when the red and white moons were
nowhere in sight.  A dark ship swiftly materialized out of the fog and before
alarms could be sounded, arrows had silenced the sentries.  Mazik was
napping in a makeshift hammock by the ship's wheel when he awoke to
a strange noise.  Through bleary eyes he watched, astonished, as his helmsman
gurgled blood and clutched at the arrow that had pierced through his
throat and out the other side.

Belowdecks, the strange men that the noble had sent to guard the cargo had
already made short work of the crew, and most of them laid with their throats
cut where they slept.  The guards made their way above to the deck and joined
with the black-cloaked figures that were now quickly boarding the ship.

Mazik drew his sabre from the sheath by his side and advanced on the
attackers, feeling less than confident as he hadn't drawn his sword for battle
in years.  He parried a swing from the first man to reach him and plunged the
sabre deep into the man's ribcage, holding him in front as a shield as
the others advanced.  A curt command in a language he did not understand was
issued from a robed figure by the gangplank, and the men immediately backed off.
Sensing danger, Mazik shoved the dead man off of his sabre and turned
to evade what was coming, but it was too late.  A few strange, lilting words
hung on the air as a cone of red flame engulfed Mazik.

He could only remember fragments of came after, as he drifted in and out of
consciousness.  Above all else was pain, as the fires burned themselves out on
his body.  The sound of boots on the deck.  A net lined with barbed hooks
thrown over him and tightened.  Him screaming, or was it even him?  The
knowledge that he had been set up, but by who?  Who would want him dead
so badly as to plan a ruse this elaborate?  The net was hoisted up so that he
was face to face with a pale face with dark eyes.  A grin.  He was tied to
a mastpost as the ship was looted.  The strange black iron boxes were
carried past him.  The ship was torched.  And then the men were gone.

Author:    Mazik          
Date:      Sun Jan 11 07:53:47 2009
Subject     The return to Palanthas

Mazik had never believed much in any of the gods, but as the fires burned 
around him and the ship slowly sank, he prayed fervently to be saved.  And 
then, thinking better of it, he prayed for a quick death.  He continued to 
pray, incoherently, as he struggled against the unbearable sting of his 
wounds, his lower body sinking into the cold salt water. The barbed net cut 
into him even deeper.  As his head went under, he screamed, and the salt 
water rushed in to stifle him.

*       *       *

There was only darkness, and the shallow water.  He waded in it, up to his 
knees - a quiet, brackish pool.  He felt the sand at the bottom and curled 
his toes around it, sifting it with his feet.  

A thunderous boom sounded above him, and he felt it reverberate against the 
water.  He squinted up and saw a pinpoint of white light.  In an instant, the 
light expanded and was everywhere, overwhelming in its intensity.  The water 
roared up and began to spin around him, and the sand beneath his feet dissolved 
and disappeared.  He was sinking.

He splashed about and tried to keep his head above water, but it was no use.  
The water around him was now an ocean, and it spun itself into a whirlpool, 
sucking him in.

He had the feeling as he went under that this had happened once already, but 
he could not remember how or when.  As he choked against the salt water he 
heard a female voice whispering.  He struggled to discern the words, but could 
not.  The voice was full of malice.  Or was it kindness?  

It was asking him a question.  

He said yes.

*       *       *

When he came to, it was daylight, and they were hauling him in.  The captain 
of the merchant vessel was baffled as to how he had managed to survive, 
unconscious and afloat, clinging tightly to a spar of driftwood.  The captain 
informed Mazik that the vessel was bound for Nordmaar, but would be stopping in 
Palanthas for provisions.

Belowdecks in the guest cabin he stared at his own body.  There were no wounds, 
no burns and no new scars, save one.  On his abdomen, below his navel - were a 
series of thin scars that shaped an almost intricate pattern.  Three hexagons 
with lines extending outwards to a faint oval outline, almost like a turtle shell.

After he had dressed in the clothes that the crew had donated, he sat thoughtfully 
in the cabin with a single candle lit on the table before him.  Without knowing 
exactly what compelled him to do so, he stretched out his hand and held it over 
the candle flame.

He felt no pain, and astonished, he drew back his hand to find that it was intact.

*       *       *

In Palanthas, Mazik was as dismayed as he was relieved that the old organization 
had long been in a state of disarray.  All the old hands were gone, dead or run 
out of town.  The group was leaderless, desperate and at war with various groups 
of local thugs and mercenaries.  

He had to find out who had set him up, and why.  But first, he needed money.  
With a pair of pliers, he extracted the three teeth of pure silver that he had 
put in years ago, and pawned them for enough gold to buy a rusty sabre and some 
supplies.  With that, he set off to offer his services to what was left of his 
former organization.

(Petition to Rogue.)

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 824 books from Ansalon from before the great Cataclysm through today.'