The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Penumbra.

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 small book on the table in front of you.
You note the spine bears the word 'Penumbra' scribed in dark maroon ink.


Author:         Penumbra
Date    Fri Nov 25 12:52:24 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry I

Well, they actually did it.  I still can't believe it.  My entire life I 
was marginalized, left behind, kicked, ridiculed and reviled because I was 
born slightly different and didn't resemble the ideal Elf.   
 
Wasn't my fault I was born with one yellow eye and the other black.  If 
anyone should have been punished it should have been that cow who whelped me 
or the bastard who violated her.  But no, they're 'nobles' so it can't be 
there fault.   
 
They made me pay, from the day I was born, and now to add insult to injury 
they've cast me out of Qualinost.  Those self righteous, arrogant bastards ! 
I'll be avenged on them and their naive little brats.  All of them will pay. 
 
 
I'm getting ahead of myself a bit.  I wanted to write this journal to 
explain myself, to let anyone who finds this know that I was not born an 
evil person but rather was made into one by those who professed to 'love' 
me.   
 
If 'love' means allowing your only child to be beaten, tormented and 
ridiculed daily by other children and even adults for the better part of a 
century then I'll take a pass on that 'love'.  I'd rather have hate.   
 
The only person who ever showed me any kindness or compassion was old Master 
Elyas.  He found me one day curled up in a ball, sobbing and bleeding 
profusely after one of my daily beatings, this one at my father's hands.   
 
He took me in, healed and fed me.  I was still very young then, maybe 22 I 
think, and had never known any kindness.  Until then I had thought that 
beating children was normal and everyone did it.   
 
It was old Elyas who opened my eyes to what was happening.  He had heard of 
the 'odd' child and his eyes but until then we had never met.  He took in a 
total stranger, one reviled by his people, and treated me like the son he 
never had.   
 
A few days later I was running from a small horde of kids intent on beating 
me when I turned a corner and ran into Elyas.  He smiled at curiously, 
unaware of the mob behind me.  Then they rounded the corner and ran into us. 
 
 
Instantly Elyas knew what was happening and for the first and only time I 
saw anger in his aged, grey eyes.  Quickly he grabbed me and pushed me 
behind him.   
 
The oldest of the mob, a boy of about 60, stepped forward and tried to run 
around the old monk to get at me but Elyas just stuck out his foot a bit 
and, as the elf tripped over it he lifted his foot and sent the kid flying 
15' through the air.   
 
He landed in a heap but was on his feet again instantly.  His father was 
Captain of the Speaker's Bodyguard and had been teaching his son how to 
fight.  He was almost as good as his father already and he knew it.   
 
'Step aside old one, all we want is that thing behind you.  Today is it's 
last day.  I won't allow it to breathe the same air as decent folk.  ' he 
said and moved forward.   
 
'I'll speak to your father about this arrogance of yours.  I know your 
father is a good man, for I trained him.  Now get thee hence young Barryl or 
I will give you a lesson you will remember all your days.  ' Elyas 
responded.   
 
I looked up at the old monk in profound awe.  I was already eternally 
gratefully to him for the small act of kindness only a few days earlier.  
Now he was defending me, and against the son of a powerful noble.  I was 
stunned.   
 
Barryl of course didn't listen.  He sneered at the monk and made another 
move at me.  Faster than the eye could follow Master Elyas swatted at him as 
I might at a fly.  Barryl went flying and crashed into a tree.   
 
Slowly he got to his feet and wiped away some blood from his lip.  His eyes 
narrowed to slits as he looked at Elyas.  He knew then he could not defeat 
the old monk.  For now I was beyond his reach.  He hissed in rage at us.   
 
'Someday I will wipe you from the face of Krynn, freak.  And you old one, 
someday your time will come too.  That I swear.  ' he hissed and, spitting 
at us, turned and fled with his mob.   
 

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Sat Nov 26 14:04:39 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry I (cont'd)

Elyas didn't move for a minute, then looked down at me.  'Why do they 
hate you so young one ?  Because your eyes are odd ?  It seems to me 
Qualinost isn't safe for you anymore.  Their rage grows daily.  I must speak 
with your father.  Come.  ' 
 
On the way to my house Elyas stopped at the house of Barryl and, good to his 
word, spoke to the young man's father about the day's events.  The Captain 
was furious at his son.  He promised the monk he'd take care of it.   
 
Satisfied with this we continued and shortly arrived at my home.  We entered 
and when my father saw Elyas, Master of the Monestary of Light, he bowed 
deeply in respect.  Elyas returned the gesture with a nod.   
 
The two men stepped into another room and spoke for a while.  When they 
returned neither said a word.  Elyas gently put his hands on me, turned me 
around, and led me out the door.  After walking for a bit he stopped.   
 
Kneeling beside me he looked me in the eyes and spoke.  'Penumbra, I know 
you have had a hard life, harder than any child should have to bear.  That 
is over now.  Your father has agreed and you will live with me, at the 
Monestary, from now on.  ' 
 
My jaw dropped in amazement.  'There are rules you must follow.  Some say 
they are harsh but after the life you have had I think you will find them 
quite reasonable.  And you must work for your room and board but you will 
enjoy it.  ' 
 
'Your father agreed, but do you ?  I will train you to defend yourself 
against the likes of Barryl, I will feed and clothe you and keep you safe.  
Will you accept my offer young Penumbra ?  ' 
 
He was asking me if I would agree ?  All my life I had been ordered and 
forced to do things, had been beaten, starved and harrassed.  Now he was 
asking me what I wanted.  Again, shock left me speachless.   
 
For a second Elyas mistook my lack of response.  He stood and, sighing, 
nodded at me.  'Very well my friend, you may still return home.  I will be 
here for you should you someday wish it.  ' he said and turned to leave.   
 
As he began to walk away I found myself unable to call after him, my voice 
caught in a throat constricted with shock and anxiety.  With legs of wood 
and feet of lead I lurched forward and threw my arms around him.   
 
Startled he stopped and looked down at me with my face buried in his robe.  
He rested his hand on my head and said in a gentle voice, 'Excellent 
Penumbra.  Come then, let's go home.  ' 
 
It seemed like a dream, that walk.  I looked and saw everything I always 
had, but it looked different now.  It was as though I were somehow on the 
outside looking into another world at once familliar and yet alien.   
 
Fairly soon we arrived at the monestary and Elyas immediately saw to it that 
I had my own room made ready and then took me to the mess for a long overdue 
meal.   
 
To my last day I will remember that meal.  For the first time I dined 
instead of simply stuffing my stomach to avoid starvation.  Until that 
point, at 22 years of age, I had never eaten in the company of others.   
 
My parents had fed me the scraps from their sumptuous meals and had made me 
eat alone, in my room.  This meal I shared in the company of others and it 
was so strange I almost forgot to eat.   
 
Master Elyas introduced me to the monks and students and to a one they 
greeted me warmly.  They looked me in the eyes and didn't flinch.  They 
smiled and spoke my name with graceful tongues.  The entire night was like a 
dream.   
 
After a while the hall gradually cleared, the monks and older students going 
about their duties and the younger students clearing the dishes.  I sat 
alone for a minute and lowered my head into my hands.   
 
Feeling a hand on my shoulder I flinched away at first, then lifted my head 
to look into Elyas' eyes.  He brushed gently at my cheek and when he drew 
away his hand I saw his fingers were wet.   
 
'Why do you cry Penumbra ?  Are you unhappy here ?  It is not too late to 
return you to your parents if you so desire.  ' he said with a look of muted 
sorrow on his face.   

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Sat Nov 26 19:20:41 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry I (cont'd)

At the idea of returning to the nightmare I had known until only a few 
hours ago I shuddered.  'No Master, I want to stay here, with you and the 
others.  More than anything.  I don't know why I'm crying, but I'm not 
unhappy at all.  Is this joy ?   
 
He looked at me with curiosity in his eyes.  After a moment he nodded as he 
realised my life before had been far more hellish than he had imagined.  
'You have been wronged young one.  Tomorrow we begin to repair that.  ' 
 
'For now we shall walk you and I and speak together for a while.  We must 
get to know one another.  ' I rose and followed as he left the hall.   
 
We walked a long time through the forest surrounding the Monestary and spoke 
of many things.  Mostly he asked questions and I answered.  Stuff to do with 
my life so far.  I thought it a boring subject but he didn't.   
 
Long after dark we returned and he showed me to my room.  It was larger than 
my last one and had a window.  Moonlight shimmered into room through an open 
window revealing a bed, dresser and washbasin.  Spartan to some but to me, a 
palace.   
 
I laid awake in bed that night, unable to sleep and tingling with 
excitement.  I wanted the sun to rise now !  I wanted the next day to start, 
my new life to commence.  A life of friendship I had not thought possible 
only the night before.   
 
It was not to be the last time my life would change considerably in less 
than 24 hours.   
 
Eventually I fell asleep and woke early the next morn.  Elyas had instructed 
me to go the courtyard where the monks would instruct and oversee the 
student's morning excercise katas, designed to stimmulate body, mind and 
soul to work in harmony.   
 
As I went I came across other going about there affairs.  Some recognised me 
from the previous evening and greeted me.  Others just nodded warmly as they 
passed.  I came to the front doors and stood upon the top step.   
 
Five stairs down, into the courtyard and a serious lifestyle change.  I 
found myself suddenly weakened as I gazed in apprehension upon the 
courtyard.  About 30 people were there including Master Elyas.   
 
Noticing me he gestured for me to join them as they warmed up for their 
morning practices.  I looked down.  Five stairs.  I felt vertigo set in and 
I think I wobbled a bit as I stood there.   
 
I fought it and, regaining control, put my foot forward.  The next thing I 
knew I was standing beside the old monk.  I looked back a the door.  Perched 
on the roofpeek, staring at me I swear, was a huge ebon black raven.  It 
blinked and I blinked back, startled.  It flapped it's wings and took off, 
watching me even as it flew away.  It cried out once, then vanished into the 
forest.   
 
The rest of that day was a blur.  Eventually it ended, but the euphoria 
carried over.  Days became weeks, which turned into months and then years.  
Time seemed to stand still and for a long time all was very well.   
 
It was a blissful time and I still remember it fondly.  I always will.  As 
all good things must however, it came to an end.  In my fourty-third year, 
while walking with a friend through the forest one afternoon, I stumbled 
upon my past.   
 
As we sat on the bank of a small stream, resting our feet in the cool water, 
we heard a noise and tunred.  A troop of elven rangers stepped into the 
clearing and approached, each member bringing out their canteen as they 
prepared to refill them.  The first person I noticed was the former Captain 
of the Speaker's bodyguard turned ranger and a step behind him his son, my 
nemesis, Barryl.   
 
As if sensing my gaze he looked up and our eyes met.  His eyebrows arched in 
surprise and a mooment later furrowed in rage as he recognised me.  So 
swiftly he surprised everyone he dove forward at me, past his father.   
 
In one fluid motion he drew his dagger and slashed at my face as he flew 
through the air.  He landed gracefully and spun about, ready to attack 
again.  I howled in pain as my blood sprayed into the air and the pain 
reached my brain.   
 

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Sat Nov 26 20:25:50 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry I (cont'd)

Just as he was about to uncoil and spring hif father slid between us and 
backhanded his son so hard he slammed face first into the ground.  I 
screamed in agony and my friend wailed in panic as he looked upon my injury. 
 
 
 
Barryl's father spun about and rushed forward, kneeling beside me.  He 
grabbed my hands and pulled them away from my face for a second.  Quickly he 
set them back and barked orders to his men.   
 
They moved quickly.  Two stayed beside the semi caonscious Barryl and his 
father ran at my side while his men ran slightly ahead to clear any 
obstacles for us.  It was less than half a mile but it took forever.   
 
I stumbled through the gate, already weak from blood loss.  By the time we 
reached the front doors I could barely stand.  A few steps later we ran into 
Master Elyas and as he turned to look upon us I passed out and fell forward 
into him.   
 
I think I dreamed then, and they were not pleasant dreams.  The next thing I 
recall is waking up in my bed in the Monestary feeling incredibly tired and 
hungry.  I felt something on my mouth and when I touched it I found it was 
fabric.  Bandages.   
 
Then the memory hit me.  I remembered the slash, the feeling of flesh 
tearing.  Seeing my blood spray outward.  The run, Master Elyas' eyes 
widening in shock and horror as he saw me when I stumbled and fell into his 
arms covering him with my blood.   
 
I tried to feel my face through the bandages but they padded my features too 
well.  I longed to rip them off but was smart enough to know better.  I 
resisted the urge and lowered my hands while taking a deep breath.   
 
A moment later the door opened and Elyas entered.  Noting I was awake he 
moved quickly to my side, praising the gods I lived.  He told me I had lost 
so much blood they had feared I would not survive.   
 
We spoke briefly but I drifted off again and slept for the most part of 
three more days.  Eventually I would discover I had been unconscious for a 
week before that first awakening.   
 
Two weeks after the attack the Master removed the bandages.  He warned me 
first there would be some scaring as I had lost so much blood his skills 
were barely able to knit the flesh at all and save my life.   
 
After he took them off I felt my face.  I felt a scar, still fairly fresh 
and scabbed over.  It had been a horizontal slash, across my mouth.  It had 
ripped the flesh of my cheeks and the scars extended on each side almost to 
my jaw.   
 
Instantly I could picture myself.  I must look like I have a monstrously 
hideous and huge smile, I thought.  I winced and shut my eyes at the thought 
of how hideous I now was.   
 
Softly I groaned and rolled over in my bed.  Master Elyas put his hand on my 
shoulder and comforted me.  No word escaped his lips but he stayed at my 
side, speaking volumes.   
 
More than an hour went by and neither of us moved, except for me sobbing in 
sorrow.  I was too young to be deformed.  I wasn't even 50 yet.  Would life 
ever leave me alone ?  Just let me be ?!?!   
 
Eventually though I rolled over and looked at Elyas.  He smiled softly.  I 
sat up and embraced him, thanking him for all he had done for me.  Without 
him I am sure I would have met up with far worse than this a long time ago.  
 
 
 
Again the days passed, one into the next until years turned into decades.  
Rarely did I leave the Monestary in that time.  I began to study and train 
harder than anyone else.  I knew Barryl and I would meet again.   
 
Eventually the day came when I realised that Elyas was old, so very old, 
even for an elf.  I don't know what it was, but something made me aware that 
his time was almost at an end.  He had slowed down, his once graceful stride 
a shuffle.   
 
He couldn't practice anymore.  He still excersised but his health had begun 
to diminish rapidly and soon his spirit would pass beyond.  We spent more 
time together and spoke frequently.   
 
I was now 96 years old.  I had been at the Monestary of Light now for 75 
years and had learned pretty much everything to be taught.  I had yet to 
absolutely master it all I felt but given time I knew it would happen.   
 

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Sat Nov 26 21:13:50 2005
Subject  Shadowcaster Journal, Entry I (finis)

Towards of that year, as the leaves turned gold and red and the forest 
was ablaze with a brilliant autumnal flame, we strolled slowly along the 
small creek and entered the clearing where Berryl had attacked me.   
 
We sat upon the bank in silence, enjoying the peace.  Even with my memory of 
what had happened here it was still my favourite place to go.  It was 
serene, tranquil and enchanted somehow.   
 
After a few minutes I heard a hiss, then a tingling in the back of my mind.  
Then my vision blurred and I felt very strange suddenly, as if my limbs were 
attached to string which someone else held and was tugging on.   
 
A voice entered my mind.  'Stand my friend, stand and show me you can hear 
me.  ' it said.  My limbs twitched involuntarily.  I tried not to but I 
stood anyway.  'Yes my friend, I hear you.  What do you wish ?  ' I answered 
in my mind.   
 
I had no idea what I was doing.  It was like someone had taken me over, was 
making me do things I din't want to do.  'Do you see that feeble old man 
beside you ?  ' it asked.   
 
I looked down at Master Elyas who sat at my side, a look of peace on his 
face I had not seen in many years.  If I had had control of my body I would 
have wept at the beauty of his countenance then.  'Yes.  ' I replied.   
 
'Kill him.  ' said the voice.  'Of course' I answered and with utter horror 
watched and felt myself, with all the vigour of youth, spin around and kick 
my saviour in the face so hard he flew through the air.   
 
He sprayed teeth and blood as he went and landed in some bushes.  'Excellent 
my friend.  Now, finish him like this.  ' My body did as the voice commanded 
and my soul screamed and wept as I tortured Master Elyas to death with my 
bare hands.   
 
For an hour I ripped him apart, litteraly, starting with his tongue.  He 
looked upon me with eyes full of confusion and horror.  I tried to fight the 
control but to no avail.  Slowly I gouged at his flesh as his blowed flowed 
over and around me.   
 
Finaly I raised my hand above his chest and, with all my strength and all 
his teachings I hammered my fist into and through his chest plate.  In one 
brutal move I grabbed his heart and ripped it free of it's home.   
 
I held it in front of him and ass the light faded from his eyes the last he 
saw was me, with my 7" grin, biting a chunk from his still beating heart and 
swallowing it while blood spewed from the aorta.   
 
Then, as the voice told me to do, I threw back my head a cackled in gleeful 
madness as the essence of the first and best friend I would ever know ran 
down my cheeks.  I roared with mirth for only a moment or two.   
 
A moment later a painful but welcome smash to the back of my head sent me 
sprawling forward to land face first in the dirt.  As I lost consciousness 
the voice said, 'Barryl says "Hello you little freak.  This is only the 
beginning".  ' 
 
That was two weeks ago.  It was Barryl who smashed me in the head.  While 
leading his ranger patrol they had "stumbled" upon the carnage.  He had 
rushed forward, clubbed me, then taken me prisoner and back to Qualinost.   
 
The High council deliberated for a time but in the end forced upon me the 
Ceremony of Banishment.  I protested, it hadn't been me.  I mean, it was but 
it wasn't.  Someone had taken over my body.   
 
They sat stone faced and indifferent.  Master Elyas had trained many of them 
at some point.  He had been loved and respected by all, including me.  They 
would not listen to anything a lone deformed little freak would have to say. 
 
 
 
As they performed the ritual and cast me out of the Elven Lands forever I 
saw Barryl in the shadows, watching and gloating.  He had hired a mage, I 
knew it.  I noted a councilor see him, then look to me and gulping before 
saying his bit.   
 
The bastards were in on it !  They knew what had happened and still they 
were doing this ?  All I had ever done was to be born, and for that my life 
was doomed to sorrow and pain ?  Something inside me snapped, changed.   
 

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Sat Nov 26 21:54:08 2005
Subject  Shadowcaster Journal, Entry I (finis, really it is)

I prayed then to gods darker than the deepest corners of my soul for the 
power to someday have my revenge and somehow I felt some sort of response.  
I looked at Barryl and smiled my hideously long grin.  He started and I saw 
fear in his eyes.   
 
They took me then and gave me over to a Elven ranger unit.  These heartless 
bastards almost dragged me without food or water for three days through the 
forests, into the foothills and eventualy the mountains south of Qualinost.  
 
 
 
When I could stand no more they threw me down onto the stony ground which 
had long ago shredded my shoeless feet.  The bitter, cracked grey rock bit 
into the flesh of my face and chest as I fell into it and they laughed.  So 
did I.  They shut up.   
 
They set about their task.  They tied my hands and bloody shredded feet to 
stake which were permanently imbedded into the ground for just this purpose. 
It had been many centuries since they had been used but they were still 
sound.   
 
When they were done they simply stood, stared a moment, then left quietly.  
I chuckled to myself, wondered vaguely if I were going insane, shrugged my 
shoulders and chuckled again.   
 
Far as I was concerned I was dead already.  The idea was for me to die but 
if by some miracle I survived I would to be exiled from all elven lands for 
the rest of my days.   
 
The afternoon wore on and the sun finaly slipped behind the mountain wall.  
I was quite mad from heat by now and the temperature dropped as the failing 
autumn sun set making my delerium worse.   
 
Somehow I slept that night.  And it was a good sleep.  In the middle of 
that, I slept like a lamb.  When I woke in the morn I sat up and found 
myself upon the rocks but somehow free of the bindings and stakes.   
 
I looked around quickly but neither heard nor saw anything.  Then I noticed, 
sitting right next to me, was a backpack.  And then I noticed I was 
completely clothed in forest hunter leathers garb.   
 
I grabbed the pack and ran for the treeline, and I've been running ever 
since.  It was tough to get through but I managed to skirt the patrols, for 
the most part.  I had to kill one.  Five good soldiers, but they were in my 
way.   
 
I've come north now, and have arrived in Palanthas.  What I will do, how I 
will survive I don't know.  Only wits and luck got me this far.  Now I need 
more, something a bit more economicly rewarding than freeloading.   
 
I think I'll keep my eyes open.  Look for opportunities.  Down the road I 
will have my revenge, but I'm patient.  I might be partly insane, or fully, 
who knows ?  But I am wholly determined to cut a swath of bloody vengence 
across the mighty Elven la I think I'll keep my eyes open.  Look for 
opportunities.  Down the road I will have my revenge, but I'm patient.  I 
might be partly insane, or fully, who knows ?  But I am wholly determined to 
cut a swath of bloody vengence across the Elven lands.   
 
For now I'll settle for picking them off one by one, but some day I'll bring 
them wholesale death undreamed of, pain and torment like they have not seen 
in their darkest nightmares.   
 
Nothing lasts forever.  Some day, at my hands, the Elven lands will fall.   
 
OOC'ly : Sorry this sorta dragged on.  Thanks for tuning in.  :)  

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Mon Nov 28 00:06:47 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry II

The merchant walked across his bedroom floor to the window and, reaching 
out grabbed the edges of the drapes and prepared to draw them closed before 
he went to bed.   
 
He paused for a moment and looked down on the street.  It was almost 11pm 
and there was still a fair bit of traffic out but thankfully no sign of 
those ruffians who had been harrasing his business of late.   
 
Protection !  Bah !  Stupid punk thieves, that's what they were.  He'd been 
in business here for 35 years, always delt a fair deal and earned his 
position in the Merchant's Guild through hard, long hours.   
 
His new bodyguards sure taught them a lesson the last time they came in, to 
pick up the 'deposit' for their services.  Beat them all soundly they did.  
Money well spent.   
 
He sighed contentedly.  Looking up from the street he gazed at the stars 
overhead.  A beautiful night, indeed he thought and chuckled to himself.  
The a glint caught his eye.   
 
Squinting his eyes he peered at the rooftop of the building across the 
street.  Something moved in the shadow there and a figure clad head to foot 
in black silently slipped into the light.   
 
It was looking directly at him and held something in it's black gloved 
hands.  Nodding to the merchant once it raised it arms and in one swift, 
fluid move brought the crossbow to bear and fired.   
 
For a split second the merchant's eyes widened in surprise then winced in 
agaony as they quarrely slammed into his skull right between them.  His 
hands clenched the drapes and, as he flew backward into the room, ripped 
them from their mounts.   
 
Landing with a thump the white sheer drapes floated gently onto his still 
form and in seconds the mass of fabric around his head was crimson and the 
stain expanded rapidly.   
 
His wife from her bed screamed in terror.  Within seconds the bedroom door 
burst in and three burly guards rushed in.  The wife pointed at the bloody 
bundle of drapes and the guards pulled them back.   
 
The merchant lay on his back with a quarrel sticking out of his head, it's 
black and yellow flights flecked with blood.  They rushed to the window to 
see the assassin but to no avail.  The rooftop opposite was empty of all, 
save the shadows.   
 
An hour later a figure wearing a heavy cowled robe walked intoo the Rusty 
Rudder and sat down at a booth by himself.  The serving wench came by and he 
nodded.  She went to the bar, got his regular from the special stash under 
the counter.   
 
She put the bottle and a goblet on his table and he slipped her a few steel 
pieces.  She thanked him and as she left a short skinny man appraoched and 
sat down at the table.   
 
'It's done.  We saw the cityguards arrive.  It was wonderful.  Chaos !  ' he 
said with a lowered voice.   
 
'Aye, it's done.  Now, for you to do your job.  ' Penumbra replied quietly.  
 
 
 
The man nodded.  'Of course.  Here, ' he said and slipped something under 
the table to the assassin.  The elf took the small pouch and hefted it 
before putting it into a pocket in his robe.  He nodded.   
 
Penumbra finished the meade in his goblet and picked up the bottle.  
Standing up he prepared to leave but the man reached out and grabbed hiss 
arm lightly.   
 
'Wait, Shadowmaster.  If we have need of your services again, how can we 
contact you ?  We are a growing business and we might conceivably run into 
some...  Opposition to our goals.  ' 
 
'I'll be around.  I watch, I listen.  When I see possible employment 
opportunities I move.  That's how we met, remember ?  ' 
 
The man nodded and let go.  'Thank you again.  That fat old merchant was a 
major thorn in our side in this neighbourhood.  Now the others will behave a 
bit better I should think.  ' 
 
Penumbra continued and left through the front door, wine in hand.  The man 
returned to the bar and had another drink with a friend.  They laughed and 
spoke for a few minutes, then he made his way to the door, still laughing.  
 
 
 

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Mon Nov 28 00:35:04 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry II (finis)

He was still laughing when a black and yellow fletched quarrel slammed 
into his temple, tore through his brain and exited the other side of his 
skull to imbed itself in the wall beside him, grey matter dripping from it's 
flights.   
 
He dropped to his knees with a vacant expression and not a whisper, then 
pitched forward to lay face first in the gutter.  A wino who had been 
sitting leaning up against the building scrambled over and began rifling the 
corpse.   
 
Down the street a shadow slipped around a corner, unseen.  Penumbra folded 
up his composite crossbow and slipped it into it's holster at his thigh.  
Two in one, he thought.  Not bad.   
 
He made his way from the area before more guards showed up, although in this 
area that would likely take a while.  Within the hour he slipped into the 
house of the merchan he had slain earlier that night.   
 
Silently he made his way to where his employer had specified and there she 
was, in a sheer gown that his none of her very womanly figure.  Although he 
appreciated the sight, he was here for moeny and no more.   
 
'You have the payment ?  ' he assked, his voice a dangerous whisper.   
 
'Of course I do.  It's right there on the counter, in the rosewood box.  
Before you take it and run, is there anything else you think you might like, 
say as a bonus ?   She asked, smiling coyly.   
 
'No.  ' he said simply and picked up the box.  It felt light.  He flipped 
open the lid.  It was empty.  He spun about as he heard the door open and 
found himself facing three bodyguards.   
 
She laughed.  'Get him boys.  Thanks for killing my husband and that stupid 
little punk, although at least he was good in bed.  You don't think I'm 
going to give you anything of what I just inherrited tonight, do you ?  ' 
she asked mockingly.   
 
As they approached Penumbra sprang forward and smashed the heel of his hand 
into the neerest one's nose, driving bone up and into his brain.  Blood 
guysered forth and he screamed as he fell back and died.   
 
In a heartbeat the other two were dead or dieing on the ground, broken and 
shattered.  The woman looked on in horror.  Lifting her eyes from the dead 
men she saw the elf looking at her.   
 
'Please, ' she begged, the haughty arrogance gone now from her voice.  
'Please, I'll give you anything.  Anything at all.  I'm sorry, but I had to 
try that, you understand right ?  It's just that kind of business.  ' 
 
The assassin's hand flicked and her head snapped back.  Slowly she fell and 
landed on her back, a heavy throwing dagged protruding from her forhead.  
Penumbra knnelt beside her and pulled it from her skull.   
 
Wiping it clean on her dress he replaced it to the sheath along his forearm 
and stood, surveying the room.  He saw a chest in the corner with a couple 
of blankets casually thrown on top.  He walked over and opened it.   
 
Sure enough he found multiple bags of steel pieces, more than the agreed 
upon price for his services.  He took what he was due and left the rest.  He 
was an assassin, a trained professional, not some sloppy little common 
thief.   
 
He took pride in his work and did it to the best of his abilities and 
refused to be brought down to the level of his employers.  He had more 
integrity than that.   
 
He left the house then and made his way back to his flat, wine bottle still 
in hand.  Sitting down on an old chair he picked up a book and, sipping his 
meade, read for a while before going to bed and sleeping very, very well.   

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Mon Nov 28 16:06:02 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry III

It was a long night but turns out to be more than worth it.  Mark seemed 
to suspect someone was waiting for him so he hung out at his mistresses 
place for longer than he usually did.  In the end though he stuck his head 
out to leave.   
 
His wife wanted me to snuff the mistress too, but I had informed her that 
there is a line I will not cross.  No women, no children.  Anyone or 
anything else is fair game.  The only time I break that rule is in self 
defence or for revenge.   
 
I was walking home after being paid and was passing near the south gate of 
Palanthas.  It was late and the gates were being readied to be closed for 
the night.   
 
Last minute stragglers were entering and I looked at them briefly without 
realy paying attention.  Then something caught my eye.  The way one of them 
walked, it seemed a bit odd.   
 
I slowed down and, as something inside me urged caution, I stepped into an 
alley opening and into the deepest shadows.  From there I watched the figure 
for a minute as they made their way down the street and into the city.   
 
They moved with an unusual grade, an economy of movement I hadn't seen in 
years, not since I had been banished five years ago.  For a moment memories 
of the monestary came back but I pushed them away and continued watching.   
 
They were wearing a long travelling cloak with a cowl pulled over their 
head, so nothing disceernable was visible.  I had a funny feeling though so, 
as they moved further down the road I slipped from shadow to shadow, 
trailing carefuly.   
 
The longer we went the more uneasy I felt.  Eventualy they went into a small 
inn near central Palanthas.  Looking around I saw a street urchin who looked 
bored.  Stepping over to him quickly I gave him a steel piece.   
 
'Go into that inn, watch the person who just walked in with the big cloak.  
Come back, tell me what they look like, if they're getting a room or just 
dinner, and anything else useful and I'll give you more.  ' I said.   
 
'You're gonna pay me that much to spy on some schmuck ?  Sure thing !  Wait 
here, I'll be right back.  Hope you got lots of steel mister !  ' With that 
he scooted across the street and into the inn.   
 
Who the heck did I just hire ?  I thought he was some innocent 10 year old.  
Turned out he was the innkeeper's son.  In ten minutes he was back.   
 
'Ok mister, show me the money.  You're gonna love this.  ' he said and stood 
there with his arms crossed.  The little bugger thought he had me by the 
balls.  And he was right.   
 
I knew this might be important.  I sighed and held out a bag of steel, 
jingling it in front of him.  He grabbed at it but I pulled it away.  He 
looked at me and sighed.   
 
'Ok.  He's an elf, from somewhere way south, Qualinsot or something like 
that.  He's rented a room for a week, to start, with board.  Didn't state 
his business, a quiet one it seemed.  He got directions to the Temple of 
Kiri from dad.  ' 
 
'His name.  Did you get his name ?  ', I asked.  He nodded.  'Eldorian, 
that's the name he gave anyway.  Sounds elfin.  ' he replied.   
 
It was indeed.  I gave him the sack of steel pieces.  He hooted and scuttled 
across the street and into the inn again.  I faded into the shadows and made 
my way home, deepp in thought the whole way.   
 
Eldorian had been a monk at the Monestary.  He was a bit younger than me but 
very skilled, ahead of his peers for certain but not to my level at that 
time.  It had been five years though and he had always been an excellent 
student.   
 
Over the next few days I watched and, with the help of a bit more steel to 
the innkeeper's greedy but discrete and sharp little son I managed to learn 
Eldorian was looking for someone.   
 
He was looking for me.   
 
I discovered quickly that he liked strolling through one of the nearby parks 
in the late evening, taking in the smell of flowers and sounds of gurgling 
little fountains and falls here and there.  Quite a tranquil setting really. 
 
 
 
I selected an adequate vantage point in the park, slightly ahead of him.  As 
he stopped at a small pond to enjoy the sound of crickets and the moon 
reflecting off the water I broke the silence.   
 

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Mon Nov 28 17:20:24 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry III (cont'd)

'Greeting Eldorian, ' I said softly, barely a whisper but to his ears in 
that silence as good as a shout.  'It's been a long time.  Why do you seek 
me out ?  ' I asked.   
 
He froze for a moment, then slowly turned around to face me.  Squinting 
slightly, his keen elven eyes picked me out in the shadows.  He bowed 
deepply and I returned the gesture.   
 
'It has indeed been a few years Penumbra.  I wish we had met under better 
circumstances, in happier days.  ' he said.   
 
'I've been sent to bring you back, Penumbra.  A powerful mage and his 
henchmen have taken over the Monestary.  It happened very quickly, at night, 
while most of us slept.  They slew the Master and most of the monks in a few 
minutes.  ' 
 
'They imprisoned the rest of us in the celler.  After a few days with no 
food or water they began dragging us out, one by one.  I can still recall 
the screams clearly.  ' 
 
'Eventualy it was my turn.  They dragged me into the wine room and tied me 
to a table in there.  It was already covered with gore and blood.  Limbs and 
bodies lay everywhere.  ' 
 
'I admit, I broke.  As soon as they approached I swore I would do anything 
they asked.  The mage stopped and smiled.  He put some sort of bug on my 
chest.  It burrowed into me, Penumbra.  It's still inside me.  ' 
 
'He said it's wrapped around my heart and at a thought from him, no matter 
where I am, it will wake up and eat me alive, starting with my heart.  
Unless I bring you back.  ' 
 
'Why ?  Why does this mage want me so badly that he's willing to kill off an 
entire monestary ?  And where are the Rangers to protect it ?  ' I asked.   
 
'I saw some signs of Rangers when I left.  In the woods around the 
Monestary, but they don't appear to be doing anything more than watching.  ' 
replied Eldorian.  'Come with me Penumbra, please.  We can't let them all 
die.  ' 
 
I shook my head.  'No.  Not yet.  The time is not right.  I will return, 
don't worry about that.  And when I return what you are experiencing now, 
all the Elven lands will feel.  This mage is a fool.  I care no longer about 
you or any other Elf.  ' 
 
Eldorian's eyes widened.  'You can't mean that Penumbra !  We were brothers, 
you and I.  And what of Eleria ?  And Shorlon ?  Can you just let all your 
old friends be cruely slain ?  ' 
 
Without hesitating, I replied, 'Yes.  Now return empty handed and pray the 
mage keeps you as a pet.  ' 
 
'I am dead if I return empty handed.  I was told to bring you back, dead or 
alive.  You might not come willingly, but you will come.  ' 
 
I nodded.  'Let it be so.  You challenge me, and I accept.  Tomorrow eveing, 
here, you and I alone, according to our traditions.  Be prepared.  I am not 
the same person you once sparred with Eldorian.  ' 
 
He bowed respectfuly.  'Neither am I Penumbra, neither am I.  ' he said.  
Turning he returned to the inn and I went my way, returning home where I sat 
awake for a while thinking.   
 
The sun set and at the same time, in the same place we met.  We each wore 
our formal fighting silks, only worn for important fights.  This was about 
honour and being willing to die for something important.  Me for revenge and 
him, for friends.   
 
We approached each other and stopped about five feet apart.  Bowing, we went 
into our stances.  I recognised his and I knew it well.  A good style, but I 
knew it's weakness.   
 
He on the other hand didn't know mine.  It was my own, something I hade been 
working on for a few years now.  A style to incorporate some nasty tricks 
I'd learned on the road.   
 
He lunged at me, striking out with lightning speed with a kick aimed at my 
stomach.  I dropped into the splits and punched his testicles twice, hard.  
He whimpered, held himself, and fell over.   
 

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Mon Nov 28 17:39:27 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry III (finis)

I smiled grimly, and my scarred face made it seem a macabre, grotesque 
grin of death.  'Yes, ' I replied.  I lept into the air and brought my foot 
down on the side of his head.  I heard the bone crush, like an overripe 
coconut bursting asunder.   
 
I ground my heel in and twisted to the side.  His skull caved in and I drove 
his brains into the ground beneath my heel.  Kneeling, I removed his Sash of 
Rank.  It would have a place of honour in my trophy case.   
 
Then I stood and without looking back I left his mangled corpse in the park 
for the dogs.  I went home and thought for a while about this mage.  Who was 
he ?  Was the same one who Barryl had hired five years ago to control me ?  
 
 
 
If he is, then is Barryl behind this too ?  At least I was made evil because 
of my upbringing.  Although I rellish it now I was not always so.  Barryl 
however had a life of privelege.  Why did he turn rotten ?   
 
Thoughts like this kept me awake for a while, and I believe I made some 
headway in the riddle, but nothing to be certain of.  In the end I shrugged. 
 
 
 
An interesting riddle but irrelevant.  Some day, when I had the strength and 
resources, I would lead a host unlike any to march against the Elves before. 
Subjugation and conquest won't be the object.  Extermination would be.   
 
Simple, wonton, wholesale death and destruction.  That will be when my "No 
women, no children" rule goes out the window.  Every Elf will die.  By any 
means neccessary.   
 
I know there are too many Elves over all of Krynn to really kill them all 
but I can have fun trying and I can make such a dent in their population 
that they never, ever, ever forget the one they tormented and cast out 
unjustly.   
 
I crawled into bed and relaxed.  Allowing all thoughts to drift from my 
conscious mind I slipped into slumber.  Another sunset, one day closer to 
Judgement Day.   

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Thu Dec  8 21:44:48 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry IV

Well, here we are.  The Eve of Destruction.  The hounds of war are we and 
in the morn our masters will let slip our leashes and like a mass of howling 
animals we will assail those behind their stout walls of stone.   
 
Well, at least, They will.  My men and I will hang back a bit until the 
initial slaughter is done.  I'm not going to feed my men into that when 
there are vile, stupid and evil little creatures on hand to soften the 
defences first.   
 
I thik I can see where the first breach will happen.  My Commander showed me 
the layout of the city and our positions and where he needs me to be and 
when.  It looks solid.  He's a good tactitian and a good person to serve.   
 
It will be a long, bloody affair but in the end I think it's pretty certain 
we will prevail here.  Glad we didn't get hired to defend here tomorrow.  
That would not have been good.   
 
This mercenary thing looks like it will prove to be lucrative.  A few small 
caravan guard jobs, peanuts really, then this one.  Aside from straight pay 
there will be other...  Renumeration.   
 
Money is good.  I'm good at killing things.  Getting paid money to kills 
things is therefore a very good thing indeed.  Tomorrow I will earn my pay, 
and I will send every soul to whatever Dark Power saved my sorry ass that 
night on the mountainside.   
 
The defenders aren't carrying torches as they walk the ramparts, but I see 
them.  From what I've been told of the general defences and from what I can 
see on the walls it looks like we have a huge numbers advantage.   
 
Sounds good, but those walls are tall and strong.  We'll soak a third of our 
force into them I think, maybe a bit less.  Haven't heard for certain but 
the rumour is the Queen sent some dragons too.   
 
They'll make a bloody mess of those battlements come morning if it's true.  
We might suffer far fewer ground troop losses then.  That's good and bad.  
Good, because it leaves more troops to control the city.  Bad because the 
loot is split more ways.   
 
We'll have a breach before noon, at the latest.  Even without dragons it 
will be fairly quick.  The sappers are good, the army in general is well 
trained or seasoned.  My unit is small but we are each extremely proficient 
at what we do.   
 
An ill-tempered and surly mage, a paranoid thief, a drug addled but 
magnificent warrior and myself, the somewhat unstable elven monk who dreams 
of some day slaying every last one of his kinfolk, to the last pathetic 
whining babe.   
 
Not your stereotypical highly trained special operations unit but in this 
life anything average should probably be crushed under heel quickly before 
it multiplies.   
 
We'll be in position with plenty of time to wander about the field killing a 
few here and there.  I'm sure we can pick off a few officers or other high 
ranking enemy before our primary target should be on the scene.   
 
That will be a tough job, I have to admit.  Not too hard though.  Not for 
us.  I've never missed a mark, never.  And it will never happen.  The chaos 
of war shall be our ally and amarching we will go, into the maws of death.  
 
 
 
And out again through the other end, cleaving as we go.  In the morn we put 
on our face of death and go forth, and the bards will sing for many a year 
of the Fall of Kalaman and how Death itself flew in fear from the Dark Host. 

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Thu Dec 22 17:06:37 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry V

Absolutely amazing.  A short time ago it seemed the victory of the host 
of the Dark Lady was assured but as with all things nothing is guaranteed it 
seems, even when the odds are overwhelming.   
 
I'm still not sure how it came to pass and I probably never will find out 
how it happened.  Maybe there is no logical explanation aside from pure 
destiny.  Possibly the Solamnic Knights won out because it was fated.  Or 
maybe they just simply kicked our ass by digging in, standing firm and 
surrending nothing.  All I care about is that my unit achieved their goal.  
Victory isn't my concern.  The only thing which matters is that we 
successfuly completed our task.   
 
Or should I say tasks.  We were hired by the emissaries of the Dark Queen to 
do what we did, and now a good and noble Knight and his retinue are no more. 
Unfortunate.  By all accounts he was a noble and valiant man, but he had the 
misfortune of being our target.  And I, we, never miss our mark.  I don't 
care how well armoured someone is, how strong or noble they may be.  Money 
is money and in the end no one is invulnerable.  For all his vaunted prowess 
and skill, in spite of the bodyguard around him, my poison did it's job.  My 
unit cleared the path and with a slight puff of breath that tiny needle 
sailed through the air and delivered enough toxin to drop a dragon.   
 
I have no idea where his doomed soul wandered after he slumped to the ground 
but as the needle left my blowgun I dedicated the kill to whichever dark 
deity I owed my misbegotten life and I swear I felt a tingle in the back of 
my mind, a tingle of something very evil having been made very happy.  I 
think that noble Knight is now roasting in some forlorn, forgotten abyss.  
That dark power now has a new plaything and I couldn't care less.  I live, 
he doesn't, and I got paid.  Nothing else matters.   
 
That being said, I have to give credit where credit is due.  Those Knights 
outfought us, plain and simple.  Every attack was repulsed.  Wave upon wave 
of vile little evil creatures were thrown against those stout walls and each 
time, somehow, they were turned back.  When it seemed a breach was imminent 
the attack foundered as the defenders rose to the occasion and proved 
themselves equal, nay superior to, their ancestors.  It was truly a 
magnificent sight to behold.  I saw a knight with an arm off fighting on, 
swinging a massive two handed sword with one hand.  That man alone must have 
slain more than a hundred goblins before he was finally felled.  Another, 
his entrails flowing from his opened belly, kept his feet beneath him and he 
fought on before a catapult stone by chance relieved him of the burdon of 
his head.  They simply refused to die when their time was up.  Absolute 
dedication and iron willpower, enough to stave off death itself for a time, 
walked the ramparts and befuddled our assault.  There was nothing wrong with 
our plans or the execution of them.  They simply guessed what we would do 
(well, mostly anyway) and managed to find a way through to victory.  Our 
fleet which was supposed to take the harbour and deliver the troops to take 
the city from that end was somehow defeated and the Solamnics managed to 
prevent us from finding out until the battle was engaged.  With only a few 
exceptions (such as my unit) not one objective was met with 100% success.   
 
As annoying as it was to lose that battle we won a larger one, one far more 
important to the Company than mere money.  It's hard for a soldier of 
fortune to admit this but sometimes, SOMETIMES, there are more important 
things than money.  I said we met our objectives, plural.  And we did.  One 
was to complete our assignment at Kalaman.  The other was to ensure that all 
opposition was pinned down there long enough for the Company to attain a 
goal it has held since the Cataclysm.   
 
To go home.   
 
While we warred ar Kalaman the rest of the Company, every damned merc we 
could scrape together, marched on Tarsis.  Everyone had forgotten from 
whence we came.  Everyone but us that is.   

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Thu Dec 22 17:49:21 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry V

Centuries ago we had marched from that city as the Phoenix Legion to 
bring the city of Istar to it's knees.  They had insulted the line and 
nation of Kharolis too much, slain our Queen and humilated us in front of 
the world by founding the Principality of Kharolis.  They stole our name, 
our history, our Queen and our soul and we were sent to make them pay or die 
in the attempt.  All we wanted was freedom and respect.  Well, we got 
freedom anyway.   
 
Halfway there, on the plains at the northeastern edge of our Nation, we were 
camped when the Cataclysm hit and the world changed.  Istar vanished, and so 
did Kharolis.  One was swallowed by the ocean, the other by sand.  Kharolis 
became the Plains of Dust.  The bastard country, the Principality of 
Kharlois, through some cruel karmic irony, survived while our home perished. 
And we were set adrift.   
 
It didn't take long for the Lord Marshal Perrin to realise that his army, 
composed of the finest soldiers our nation had to offer, was going to starve 
to death unless something drastic happened.  So he made it happen.  He 
reorganised the army and began to hire it out.  It was large though and no 
one could afford so many soldiers, so he broke it up into a multitude of 
small units and sent them out across Ansalon to war for various employers.  
Years passed and he managed to keep it together, barely.  Finaly, shortly 
before he died, Perrin found us a new home near a small town called Solace.  
He rebuilt and abandoned keep and renamed the Phoneix Legion.  So it was the 
Silver Sword Company was born.  Silver for money, Sword for war, Company for 
business.  We were now soldiers of fortune, mercenaries for hire to the 
highest bidder although Perrin insisted on certain rules.  He'd hire us out 
but in return he only selected employers who he felt would honour their 
contracts and not betray his men.  Men of the Company would only fight on 
one side, not both.  He would not sacrifice morale for any money.  Money was 
simply a means to an end, namely survival.  His army mattered more than 
anything else and he would not allow anyone or anything to compromise it's 
integrity.  So it remains today.   
 
Eventually Perrin died and over the centuries we endured somehow, always 
warring for causes held dear by others, never for our own.  The world went 
black and after a while the light began to shine again.  Still we fought on 
with no thought for our own single desire.  To go home.  Attrition over 
centuries of warfare took it's toll and with our forces spread thin we were 
never able to muster the strength to challenge those who had come to occupy 
once mighty Tarsis.  We watched, and waited.  Finaly an opportunity arose 
and our Lord Marshal grabbed at it as a disembowled man grasps at his 
entrails.  We sent a small part of our forces to Kalaman and gathered all 
the rest together in our keep.  When the time was ripe we marched, double 
time, for Tarsis.  We covered more than 100 miles a day in an epic march to 
achieve the element of surprise and it worked.  One day the people of Tarsis 
awoke to find their ancient city surrounded and besieged by unknown 
soldiers.  They sent officials to parlay and when they discovered we were 
the last vestage of Kharolis, that we were the Phoenix Legion come home at 
last, they threw off the yoke of their overlords and opened the gates to to 
welcome home their brothers once lost to the mists of time.  Not only did we 
retake Tarsis, we did it without drawing a sword or blood.  After almost 400 
years of capaigning we were finaly home.   
 
Now we stand atop the battlements of Tarsis and survey the once lush plains 
of Kharolis, but she is gone forever and so is the Legion.  In their place 
stands Tarsis, ancient beyond compare, and the Company to protect her 
forever more.  Never more shall we be homeless vagabonds of war and blood.  
Aye, we are mercenaries and always will be.  War is our trade, our craft and 
our love.  Tarsis is a merchant city, and we are merchants of death.   

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Thu Dec 22 18:11:43 2005
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry V

Together Tarsis and her Company will suckle the teets of fate and when 
the bitch can give no more we will slit her belly open and feast on her 
innards.  We will grow strong again, we will prosper and while Kharolis may 
be dust her children are yet flesh and stride across Ansalon fearlessly.  We 
have weathered the centuries and survived, both city and Company.  We are 
now inseperable.  We are destined to survive, as were the Knights of 
Solamnia in Kalaman.  We shall not be denied.   
 
Let the call go forth to all who value money, comaraderie and loyalty.  Come 
to Tarsis, join us as we begin to rebuild anew this ancient city of trade, 
once the capital of a mighty nation.  It shall be thus again.   
 
It is destiny.  OOC'ly : As you might be ably to tell, things are changing 
withng this clan.  The clanbook was never written, no history storyline had 
been developed, etc.  This is changing.  Slowly, but it is changing.  The 
name is being changed to the Silver Sword Company, the storyline is basicly 
done, clanbook is being roughed out and should be done by the time I get 
back or shortly after and the clanhall is slowly being redone.  Tarsis is 
LOOONNNGGGG overdue for a facelift and that is going to happen (although 
redoing all those descrips, etc will take a while).  While Mercenary is a 
cool name it only describes what we do, not who we are.  This clan, like any 
other, deserves depth and character and that is what this is all about.  
Some will say "But that's not what it says in the DL books".  Deal with it.  
This isn't a carbone copy of DL.  It can't be and still have a life of it's 
own.  This mud is inspired by and indebted to DL, not bound by it.  As more 
DL books are written DL will evolve as well.  And so will Ansalon.  But we 
have something WoTC can only dream of having.  We have a shitload of 
creative, imaginative and passionate people who only want to make this 
storyline better tomorrow than it was today.  All it takes is time and a bit 
of thought.  If WoTC had a brain they'd be hiring our players to write their 
stories for them and to develope Krynn beyond today's simple format.  This 
is the best place to develope a story.  Imms throw out an idea, we take it 
and run with it.  In no time you have enough stuff for a novel.   
 
Anyway, I digress.  This is about the clan.  We're here, we're home and we 
aint goin away ever again :)  

Author:         Penumbra
Date    Fri Feb 17 00:31:16 2006
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry VI

A storm raged around Palanthas and deluged the Lord City with a torrent
of rain as lightning ripped apart the sky and thunder hammered the air
with enough force to rattle the very stones of the stout walls.

The gate guards stood in their alcoves looking miserable, occasionaly
sticking their heads out far enough to peek at the roiling clouds above
in the hope of catching a glimpse of clear sky and moon but to no avail.
The darkness was complete and impenetrable and human eyes were of no use
in such abyssal blackness.

The eyes of the two weary travelers who approached the gates on this
hellish night were not as feeble as those of the gate guards and they
perceived the shivering humans long before they arrived.  To allay alarm
the smaller of the two hailed the guards before they were within sight
and the Solamnic soldiers peered into the gloom and rain, squinting in
an effort to see who called.

Emerging from the darkness into the pathetic light of the guard's
lanterns the two figures strode forward, undaunted by the rain.  Indeed
they walked as if they didn't even notice the downpour, their strides
long and purposeful and untired by the long miles they had travelled.

The guards called to them to halt and state their business in the
Palanthas.

The two stood still in the rain, their heavy leather cowls deflecting
the rain from their heads and concealing their faces in shadow.  They
answered that they were simply looking for lodging for the night and
that they had mercantile affairs to attend to in the days ahead.  One of
the guards thought to enquire further but as he opened his mouth to
speak the shorter of the two glanced at him.  Their eyes met and the
guard felt a shiver run through him, from the nape of his neck down to
his toes.  The traveler's eyes, one black the other yellow, seemed to
peer into his soul and somehow threaten it.  No word was spoken, no
threat made, but the soldier knew that these were not peasant travelers
or paltry merchants to be trifled with.  A fate worse than death awaited
any who crossed them.  He gulped as the other guard looked at him for a
moment.  Unaware of the unspoken communication he simply nodded and
motioned for the two to enter and be about their business.

They nodded, thanked the guards and continued on into the city.  As they
passed the guards retreated back into their alcoves, each thinking their
own thoughts.  One thought of a warm bed and a fire, the other of how he
would hold his wife and son when he got home and never let them go
again.  He knew that on this night death had found him but he had been
fortunate that it had not been looking for him.  He shivered again, not
from the cold but from a realisation and understanding of just how
mortal and frail he was beneath his armour.

The travelers made their way through deserted streets, the rain pooling
into small lakes as the city's sewers were temporarily overpowered by
the enormous volume of water.  Making their way to the north end of town
they eventualy came to the Rusty Rudder.  A small seedy tavern,
frequented by lowborn drunken sailors and thieves, it was a place where
anyone who wished could get lost if the coin in their purse and the
sword in their scabbard was steel.  Pushing open the door they stepped
into the poorly lit smoke filled common room, although relative to the
darkness outside it seemed almost painfully bright.

They walked over to the bar and the grizzled old man behind it looked up
at them as they approached.  He nodded once to each of them and reached
under the bar.  Holding forth his hand he gave a skeleton key to the
smaller of the two and said, 'Your regular rooms are ready, as you
requested.  '.  'Did the package arrive ?  ' asked Penumbra as he took
the key.  The barkeep nodded.  'Aye Shadowmaster, it awaits you in your
bedchamber.  '

'Excellent.  Thank you.  We will return shortly for food an drink, once
we change into something a bit more dry.  '.  The bartender nodded.
'Your meal will be ready, and I found some more of the Istarian '23 you
like.  ' he said.



Author:         Penumbra
Date    Fri Feb 17 01:20:12 2006
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry VI

The assassin raised an eyebrow.  'Are you sure you aren't a mage master
barkeep ?  You seem to be able to find that which I cannot.  Someday you
must tell me where you manage to find these things.  ' he said and
smiled a rare warm smile.  The barkeep snorted.  'If mage I were I'd
transport myself out of this hole and get my ass someplace warm and dry.
Why you come and stay in this dank pisshole when you have the funds to
stay anywhere you like I'll never know, but your always welcome here
Shadowmaster.  ' he said.

'And that's exactly why I return here my friend.  ' Penumbra said.  With
that the two made their way up the well worn stairs and into their rooms
where they doffed their soaked clothing and changed into the clothing
which had been laid out.  Very few could expect such treatment at this
inn, one of the worst in the city, but Penumbra had known the barkeep
many years and kept these two rooms on permanent reatiner for a hefty
fee.  When the place needed repairs and money was tight the barkeeper
always found a heavy bag of steel waiting for him.  He knew who left it
but didn't say anything, instead keeping the knowledge of Penumbra's
generosity to himself.  He had long ago stopped charging the Elf for the
rooms, but still the assassin paid in full in advance.  He kept these
rooms apart from the others for the Elf with the brutal grin and his
comrade Grolsch.  They alone had earned the old barkeep's respect.

After he changed Penumbra went to a small table in his room and opened
the chest which rested there.  He nodded to himself.  The fee for his
last kill was there, in full, as the contract stipulated.  Not
surprising though.  It was very rare these days for anyone to screw with
him.  It had happened a few times, early in his career, but after he had
made examples of those fools that had stopped.

He and Grolsch descended downstairs and after eating their fill they
kicked up their heels and finaly relaxed, soaking up the fire's heat and
enjoying the extremely rare Istarian brew.  Grolsch had been working for
Penumbra for many years and while he was a stereotypical Ogre in many
ways his time with theDark Elf had changed him.  He had learned much
from Penumbra, from how to kill efficiently with his bare hands to being
able to appreciate a truly fine wine.  He sighed in satisfaction as the
potent liquor began to course through his veins.  Even with an Ogre's
constitution this was powerful stuff.  He didn't know how a little Elf
like Penumbra could hold it, but he did.

After a while the barkeep approached and leaned close to Penumbra.  He
spoke a few silent words to the Dark Elf who nodded.  The barkeep left
them and Grolsch looked over at Penumbra with an inquisitive look.

'Another job, but we'll deal with that tomorrow.  We've earned a rest
this night.  Relax my friend, this night is ours.  ' he said.  As if on
cue a massive lightning strike hit near the docks and the thunder boomed
so loud the stout oak door of the tavern shuddered visibly.  Grolsch
snorted with mirth.  'Every night is ours Shadowmaster.  ' he said and
grinned wickedly. Penumbra chuckled softly and smiled, the ragged scar
which writhed across his face making his smile a hideous, macabre parody
of mirth.

They drank in silence for the rest of the evening.  No words were
spoken, none needed to be.  They were of a similar mind and could almost
read each other's thoughts.  They simply enjoyed this time, warm and
comfortably numb while the gods unloaded their fury from the heavens
outside.

Eventually they made their way back upstairs to their rooms and as
Penumbra drifted off he considered what the barkeep had told him.  He
had mentioned a name, a name he had not heard of in many years, yet a
name he thought of almost every day.  Ever since he had been cast out he
had been looking for an excuse to return to Qualinost and have his
revenge on the Elf who had framed him.  Now it looked like he would have
his chance, and get paid handsomely for it too.


Author:         Penumbra
Date    Fri Feb 17 09:29:58 2006
Subject  Shadowmaster Journal, Entry VI(cont'd)

The day had dawned bright and beautiful in complete contrast to the
hellstorm of the night before.  The sun was bright and warm, the wind
just strong enough to ruffle one's clothing a bit and the tantalising
smell of saltwater was carried on the breeze.  Seagulls floated lazily
in the sky, searching for free food and crying out to each other as they
spiraled gracefully overhead.

Penumbra had been up early to meet the person the barkeep had told him
about and as he returned to the Rusty Rudder he was humming to himself
as he walked, lost in thought.  In his mind's eye he plotted the course
he and Grolsch would need to travel, decided on the supplies they would
need and considered timelines.  War was brewing and soon the Company
would need his services again.  After the job they would have to return
directly to Tarsis so he had arranged for the payment to be sent there.
He had worked for this person before so he wasn't worried about them
trying to screw him over for the steel.  The job would be done, the
payment would be sent.

Stepping into the Rudder he saw the barkeep behind the bar serving
drinks to the hardcore early morning drunkards and approached him.
Signalling for the man to lean closer the assassin spoke a few words
into his ear.  The man raised a bushy grey eyebrow and looked at
Penumbra with a bit of surprise. Penumbra just nodded and turned to join
Grolsch at a table where the massive Ogre was finishing his morning
meal.

'Did you leave any for me ?  ' the Dark Elf asked as he sat down.
Grolsch pushed a plate with a few scraps of bread and cheese toward him,
then reached out and snagged the cheese from the plate.  Penumbra gave
him an evil stare and the Ogre laughed.  'Just kidding, ' he said.
'Yours is coming in a minute.  '.  As promised a minute later the
serving wench brought another plater of steaming stew to the table.  The
Rudder might be a dive thought Penumbra but the cook here is incredible,
possibly one of the best in Palanthas.  Why he worked in a shithole like
this was a mystery. Probably the same reason the accomplished assassin
came here he thought.  He shrugged and dug in, the savoury aroma causing
him to salivate as he dug in.

Grolsch drank a mighty Ogre sized mug of beer and watched his friend eat
in silence.  Not only could the Elf consume vast quantities of alcohol
he could eat enormous amounts of food.  Must be some Ogre in him he
thought.

When he was done Penumbra sighed contentedly and looked to Grolsch.
'Well, it looks like we're off soon my big friend.  Back to Abanasinia,
back to Qualinost.  ' A look of surprise crossed the Ogre's face and
Penumbra nodded.  'That's right, Qualinost.  Looks like I'm going to get
my revenge, or some of it, and get paid handsomely for it too.  '.

Grolsch smiled and hoisted his mug.  'A toast then to fate and Shinare,
without whom we'd be poor soldiers in some pissant little town guarding
some pissant little overlord.  A toast to money and the greedy little
bastards who throw it at us to do what we love to do most !  '. Penumbra
smiled and toasted fate and divine blessing with his friend.

After quaffing their drinks Penumbra told Grolsch that their
preparations were almost complete.  He had booked passage on a vessel
departing in the morn for Abanasinia and had visited a weaponsmith who
would provide a few special tools they would need.  They could be picked
up later in the day and aside from that there was only one more thing
Penumbra needed but he would have to wait for someone to contact him.
For the most part their day was free.  At this the Ogre cheered and
stood.  He nodded to Penumbra and, hefting his money belt and jingling
the vast store of steel slightly, smiled and walked from the Rudder.

Penumbra remained seated for a while, then returned to his room where he
could think in peace and quiet.  An hour passed and then he heard a soft
knock on the door.

He rose and opened the door.  An inky blackness swirled outside and a
soft melodic voice intoned, 'You required this ?  '.


Author:         Penumbra
Date    Fri Feb 17 10:10:28 2006
Subject  Shadowmmaster Journal, Entry VI (cont'd)

Penumbra nodded and accepted a small vial.  In return he produced a bag
of steel coin and gave it to the cloaked figure.

'We were surprised to hear of your need, it is not your way to use such
things, but we enjoy hearing of your feats.  To us you are an artist,
with death your medium.  This should add nicely to your palette board.
As requested, it is potent.  '

'Thank you, ' said the hired killer.  'If I have need of your services
again I will contact you.  '.

The shadow swathed figure nodded and bowed slightly.  'Of course.  I
will leave you to begin your masterpiece.  ' it said and then faded into
thin air before Penumbra's eyes.  A moment later it was gone leaving
nothing but a faint sickly sweet smell of decay and death in it's wake.
Closing the door he returned to his bed and laid down, losing himself in
thoughts and plans.

Eventually he arose and stepped out of the tavern and into the night.
Grolsch was still out somewhere, likely drinking and wenching at a
brothel in town which had a few Ogresses.  Penumbra went to the
weaponsmith and picked up his items and wandered aimlessly for a while,
stopping occasionaly to get some mundane supplies for the journey ahead.
Eventually he made his way back to the docks and the Rudder.

Grolsch had returned and sat at a table drinking from a huge mug, a
satisfied look on his huge face.  He smiled as he saw Penumbra and
nodded. The Elf sat at the table and nodded too the barkeep who sent a
wench over with a flagon of mead.

'It is done, ' Penumbra said.  'Everything is readied.  We leave on the
morning tide and should make landfall in a week or so.  After that, a
week overland to our target, then another two to Tarsis.  A month from
now we'll be back with the Company to assume our command.  I hear the
rumblings of war and our comrades call.  '.

'Good, ' said the Ogre.  'As much as I like wandering around killing
someone here and there I can't wait to get back into a mass melee again,
hewing heads and limbs left and right.  Ahh, chaos, death and blood....
' he sighed at the thought.

Penumbra smile inwardly.  You can teach an Ogre to appreciate fine wine
he thought but in the end all you have is a bloodthirsty violent
creature who happens to like fine wine.  He pondered this for a moment,
realising the description fit him too.

They spent the rest of the evening in the common room, chatting away
about old times and solidifying their plans for the next month.
Eventually turning into their rooms for the night Penumbra lay awake for
some time before eventually fading into sleep.  One word, one name kept
going through his mind.  He was excited about this job.  It was time,
and long overdue.

'Barryl, ' he thought.  'Soon, Barryl, soon you will pay.  And a few
others also.  But you, you will die, as your pet mage made me slay
Master Elyas so too shall you die.  '

He drifted off to sleep and somewhere in Qualinost a Captain of the
Guard stirred in his sleep and awoke, sweat covering his brow. Something
nagged at his subconscious mind and made his heart race.  It was like
someone called to him from far, someone evil with intent most foul. 
Barryl knew instinctively death had called him in the night and that it
was coming for him.  Eyes wide he sat in bed beside his sleeping wife
and child and slept not again that night.

Author:    Penumbra       
Date:      Sat Jan  1 15:09:23 2011
Subject     Revenge and Proffit, I

Flecks of blood sprayed forth with his final soundless scream, evidence
of ruptured vocal chords pushed beyond their limits after hours of precise
torture. His arched body shuddered and slumped to the ground, it's tattered
and bloody mass twitching momentarily as his soul fled, bound and chained to
some nether region to endure an eternity of the tender mercies of Chemosh.

His countenance devoid of emotion, Penumbra wiped clean his stiletto on
Endryl's cloak and slipped it back into it's sheath. Messy though the
procedure had been it had been necessary for two reasons. One, Penumbra had
been paid to kill the Elf and two, Endryl had information as to the
whereabouts of Berryl. For that information Penumbra would have taken the
job for free but someone offrered something more usefull than mere steel.

Standing and spinning about in one fluid move the assassin took a few silent
steps and disappeared into the shadows, leaving the ruined corpse for the
watch to find. Once found they would see the Elven rune engraved into
Endryl's forhead and relay that to the Qualinesti. When news reached the
council they would know that it had finaly begun.

The Elf they had cast out and condemned to death had returned to claim a
bloody vengeance on every last one of them. Not just the lieing little
weasal who had framed Penumbra and forced him to slay his mentor, but on the
whole bloody lot of them for leaving him chained to the side of a mountain
for the buzzards to pick away at.

Only Chemosh had cared, only His dark embrace had saved Penumbra, and now
the Elven assassin lived to serve his Lord and send souls to please His Dark
Delights. It was not a life he would have chosen given the chance but
Penumbra had been scarred and moulded by forces beyond his control into a
monster with only one purpose, only one burning desire - revenge. Vengeance
on all those who wronged him, all those who cast him out, all who framed
him. His wrath vast and bottomless, Penumbra had promised on that dark,
bleak mountain top to send the soul of every Elf on Krynn to any Dark Power
which would save him and allow even a small chance to be avenged. And his
final breathless dieing plea had been answered by Chemosh - sweet, merciful
Chemosh. 

Moving quickly and quietly he made his way across Palanthas to the abode of
the mage who had hired him. 

Author:    Penumbra       
Date:      Sat Jan  1 16:10:50 2011
Subject     Revenge and Proffit, II

Chuckling to himself as he closed the heavy door behind him Matrim
removed his cloak and casualy dropped it onto the floor for a servant to
pick up later. Stepping into the front sitting room he opened up a cabinet
and poured himself a drink from the crystal flask inside. Sighing heavily,
and still chuckling softly at his friend's parting jest of a moment ago, the
old mage turned and moved to sit in his favourite chair but came up short
suddenly, almost spilling his drink so startled was he by the hooded figure
sitting there already.

For an instant he considered calling forth a spell to smite the intruder but
something about the figure caused him to hesitate. It was then Penumbra
pulled back the cowl of his weathered cloak and Matrim sighed again, this
time in relief.


"You should be more careful Shadowmaster, I almost sent you to your Lord."
he said with a sly smile.

"I would, if I felt even remotely threatened by you. The deed is done, I am
here for your payment." the Elf replied with disdain, somehow managing to
look down his nose at the mage even from a seated position.

The mage's good homour evaporated instantly and rage began to well up in
him. He began to recal a potent spell, one to annihilate this imputed, black
hearted assassin but something in Penumbra's eyes made him reconsider. With
one black eye and one yellow eye his gaze was unnevering generally, but for
a brief moment the mage saw something far more potent than a weaponmaster
and pitiless slayer for proffit. This one was marked, the mage could sense
it, and he knew that to cross that would be foolish. Instead he nodded and
reached into the cabinet again. Instead he nodded and reached into the
cabinet again, bringing forth a small vial filled with a dark, viscous
liquid.

"I don't know why on Krynn you would want this potion Shadowmaster, but you
have your reasons obviously. I won't enquire as to what they are but take
it, " and with that passed it over.

The mad Elf nodded his thanks. "If you have need of my services in the
future, you know how to contact me. Remember, I give a discount on Elven
targets.". Penumbra slipped the vial into a beltpouch and soundlessly
slipped out the front door and into the night, leaving Matrim to wonder
about the strange Elf for a moment before shrugging his shoulders and
quaffing his drink. He was glad to be rid of both his competitor and that
accursed potion. 

A few hours later Penumbra finaly returned to his lodgings in the city and
in the darkness sat while considering his next move. In the morn he would
leave for the next piece in the puzzle. Berryl. Finally, he knew where to
find him and to make it sweeter still he was at the High Clerist Tower, not
far at all, with an Elven emissary. Berryl was in command of the Guard
accompanying him and Penumbra knew the Tower Grounds very well, including
how to access certain hidden passages and chambers. His thoughts turned to
the logistics of the trip and to contriving a means to escape with his
prisoner and while that would not be so easy getting rid of Berryl would be.
Penumbra already had a buyer.

He smiled evily at that. Normally he was paid to kill, but this time he
would be paid to keep someone alive. How wonderfully ironic the mad Elf
thought.

"Ah, " sighed Penumbra in satisfaction. "Paid not to slay, but then there
are worse fates than death and Berryl you are about to learn that first
hand.". 

Many leagues distant a figure stirred in his sleap and moaned softly.
Suddenly sweat poured from his brow and he convulsed in pain. Sitting
upright quickly as he awoke with a startled cry Berryl looked about wild
eyed for thepresence he had felt. Casting about his tent quickly he realised
he was alone but also that for a moment he had not been. It was a warm night
and yet he could see his breath and Berryl knew that something was coming
for him, but not for death. He sensed, felt in the core of his being, that a
fate worse than death hunted him now. 

Author:    Penumbra       
Date:      Sat Jan  1 17:02:02 2011
Subject     Revenge and Proffit, III

With a flick of his wrist Penumbra finished carving his rune into the
forhead of the Elven Ambasador to Solamnia then wiped the blade clean on the
Elf's once white robes of office. This had been a friend of his father and
Penumbra took some extra satisfaction knowing the pain and consternation
this would cause back in Qualinost. Turning about he gazed with even more
pleasure on the form of Berryl where he lay, awake and terrified but unable
to move.

The assassin smiled evily and hissed, "Now we come to the crux of it old
friend. Now you find how I repay you for the past.". Perking up his ears he
heard footsteps rushing down the corridor towards their chamber. Swearing
silently for allowing the old Elf a chance to shout an alarm Penumbra
grabbed his paralysed quarry by the collar and dragged him through an
opening in the wall and into a darkened passage. With a light touch he
triggerd the door to close, leaving narry an indication in the chamber
behind that a secret route existed there. From the other side he could hear
the Tower Guard entering the small outbuilding where the Elves had been
housed for the night. As they took in the macabre scene and uttered
exclamations of surprise and revulsion Penumbra calmy pulled a writhing,
wiggling worm from a pouch. Grabbing a firm hold of Berryl he ate the worm
and in a flash both were transported to Penumbra's lair. It was a costly
move but it was the most expeditious way to exit the fortress with his prey
intact.

The assassin worked quickly now because very soon all the hornets would be
out and about, buzzing angrily that someone had slain an Elven Ambassador on
the grounds of the High Clerist Tower and even in Palanthas the
reverberations would be felt. In moments he had Berryl rolled up in an old,
moth eaten and ratty carpet and loaded onto a rickety old wagon with an
assortment of old junk and garbage. Throwing an equaly warn and rotten cloak
about his shoulder he began to pul the handcart through the darkened city
streets.

As he neared the final corner before the gates came into view Penumbra
assumed a pronouced limp, picked up some excrement freshly thrown from a
chamber pot above and smeared in onto his cloak. Rounding the corner he made
a direct line for the Gate and the Guards standing there directing the ebb
and flow of traffic before the Gates closed for the night.

Shuffling up to them with his squeaking wagon of debris he made a pathetic
sight and as he neared them the Guards opened their eyes in surpsise and
gagged as his disguise assaulted their nostrils. "Halt there old man, " said
one as he gasped for unbefouled breath. "By Kiri's left ball man ! Which
latrine did you sleep in ? Ugg ! You're leaving Palanthas ? Good ! Good !
Get out ! And don't come back without experiencing soap for once in your
life !" he exclaimed.

The other Guard nodded his agreement and they hurriedly ushered him through
the Gate. Even the other people present there were shocked by the foul smell
but Penumbra was pleased. Getting past these Solamnic Guards without their
checking for contraban wasn't easy. 

Once out of sight Penumbra straightened his posture again and quickened his
pace as he made his way down the road with his creaking wagon. After an hour
he came to a laneway heading off to the south through a screen of trees and
turning down it made his way down the meandering path to the small stone
house at the end. One quick knock on the door and in a moment it opened and
warm candlelight streamed into the night.

A gnarled old figure stood within and squinted as he struggled to peer into
the deep shadows of the night. After a moment he could make out the figure
of Penumbra and motioned him to quickly come inside. The assassin did so,
dragging the rolled up carpet in with him. Old Bethos closed the door and
turned as Penumbra gave the carpet a flick, causing it to unroll and display
it's contents. 

Author:    Penumbra       
Date:      Sat Jan  1 17:46:07 2011
Subject     Revenge and Proffit, Finis

Berryl lay there, wide eyed and terror stricken. He had no idea yet what
was in store be he knew it wouldn't be good. Bethos quickly knelt beside him
and grasped his jaw with a surprisingly firm grip. Peering carefully at the
terror stricken Elf, he moved his head from one side to the other, then
proceeded to quickly give Berryl a once over check. After a moment he nodded
and stood.

"As you promised, one Elf in excellent physical health without a scratch.
Well done Shadowmaster." he said.

Penumbra bowed slightly in appreciation of the compliment then knelt at
Berryl's side one final time.

"Here you are old friend, finally where you should be. Let me explain, "
Penumbra whispered. "After I knocked you out and finished off the
Ambassador, I forced a potion down your gullet. This concoction is almost
incredibly valuable, but unfortunately has very undesirable consequences. As
you have noticed, you can neither move nor speak although you can hear and
feel everything perfectly normaly. Your limbs are no longer yours to control
- they only react now to external stimulus. Your lifespan however has been
increased a hundred fold and you now regenerate all wounds with truly
remarkable speed. You see what I mean by almost valuable. Considering you
are an Elf, you should live a very long time indeed. Unfortunately."

Berryl's look became confused for a moment and Penumbra, seeing this, nodded
and smile darkly.

"Let me explain one final detail. I have sold you, for a nice sum I must
say, to kindly old gent here. You are to be his newest, most highly prized
...", Penumbra paused, searching for the word. "Subject I guess would be
accurate. You see, "Let me explain one final detail. I have sold you, for a
nice sum I must say, to kindly old gent here. You are to be his newest, most
highly prized ...", Penumbra paused, searching for the word. "Subject I
guess would be accurate. You see, Old Bethos here is a vivisectionist. You
are now his subject and in his tender hands I am certain you will help
advance medical science immensely. It will no doubt take many decades of
experimentation but with your increased lifespan and regenerative capability
you will be around for the duration."

Berryl thought for a moment then, as understanding dawned on him of his
fate, his eyes grew wider and he tried to shake his head and scream but to
no avail. Try as he might he couldn't even open his mouth. Penumbra saw the
blank terror in Berryl's eyes and smiled a disturbingly happy smile. He
nodded goodbye to his childhood foe and turned to face the old scientist.

"Many thanks Shadowmaster. As per our contract, here is you payment." said
Bethos and handed the tall Elf a velvet bag. Hefting it slightly in his
hand, Penumbra nodded to the old man and without a word departed into the
night, leaving a very eager doctor with his newst test subject to begin
their life's work. By the time Penumbra tiredly crawled into bed a few hours
later he was completely spent but feeling better than he had in years. He
had finally begun to make some progress on his life's ambition of revenge
and managed to earn a nice bit of steel along the way. The money was nice,
but for this warm fuzzy feeling of satisfaction he'd work for free if he had
to.

Finally, Berryl taken care of. Now he would begin to look for ways to defeat
the rest of them, one by one. Until he had sent every damned Elf on Krynn to
Chemosh, to roast for eternity in the Abyss. They deserved no less. Penumbra
knew he was insane, to want to destroy an entire race, his own race no less,
but he didn't care. He was so far beyond sanity, had been most of his life
he guessed, that it was no longer relevent. All that he cared about now was
revenge. 

Penumbra chuckled softly to himself as he drifted off to sleep. And proffit,
he thought. After all, even an insane and vengeance driven Elf needs to eat.

Author:    Penumbra       
Date:      Sun Jan  9 13:31:31 2011
Subject     Inspired Revenge, I

As he exited the quaint little country farmhouse with the wonderful
thatched roof Penumbra paused and spared a moment to look back at his
handiwork.

Blood, entrails, limbs and organs littered the place from top to bottom
leaving no room or surface untouched. It had been a messy affair but
satisfying in the way a tradesman feels pleasure at having done fine work
with his bare hands. Penumbra's art was a bit more macabre, certainly, but
he took no less satisfaction than any other artisan might. The way they had
run amok, frightened and screaming as they bled from arterial wounds had
been music to his ears. Their high pitched wailings had hit certain musical
notes and the assassin wondered briefly if it would be possible to piece
together and conduct a symphony from the screams of tortured victims. The
thought made him smile a wicked grin and chuckle slightly aware all the
while that he was thoroughly and completely mad with revenge and that he was
damned but he cared not and spat with contempt on his ancient elven
lineage.

He thought for a moment of setting the place ablaze but it was more effort
than it was worth he figured. Besides, the worms have to eat too. Shrugging
his broad shoulders he turned and quickly departed, heading for the woods a
short distance off. As he went he contemplated his progress. While he had
managed to slay quite a few of his kin over the past few years as he did the
math he began to realise there was simply no way he would live long enough
to kill every last elf. There were simply too many enemies and not enough
time to proceed at his current pace. With the thought of not gaining his
full revenge came a black darkness upon his mind and awareness of his
surroundings slowly faded until it seemed he walked in a black mist which
obfuscated reality through a gauzy, ashen black veil.

An eternity passed as Penumbra's mind roiled endlessly in it's madness until
he became aware that he was not alone. Slowly a dim point of light became
evident ahead, a sickly yellow light that he found comforting and warm. He
continued to walk steadily forward and eventually the light grew larger and
coalesced into the shape of a grotesquely bloated satyr. It gazed upon him
with eyes darker than the deepest Abyssal reaches and Penumbra felt
something spike into his brain and deep into his soul.

"Ahh, Penumbra, my adorable servant, I see you wander in turmoil and
damnation." a voice said, and that voice was filled with all the warmth and
love that Penumbra knew he had missed as a child. It drew him in and snared
his heart, like a spider would a fly in it's web. Irresistable, undeniable
and as unavoidable. Penumbra knew this, knew he was being seduced in a way
but didn't care. Any remotely rational living creature would have cringed
and fled in horror from the apparition but Penumbra ran forward and embraced
it, to be in turn embraced. The obscenely obese Satyr picked him up and held
him n a warm embrace as it spoke in his head, "While I cannot, and would not
even if I could, undo your damned state mayhap I can provide some guidance
to your troubled mind ?" Chemosh purred like a concerned and caring parent.

Penumbra didn't need to say anything, for the divinty was well aware of
every thought coursing through his mortal brain. "I see, " said the Lord of
Death. "Well, yes, mathematicly speaking it is impossible for you to kill
every last Elf in only one lifetime, even one Elven lifetime. No need to be
so glum about it though Penny. I know, you swore to me when you were chained
to that mountaintop that you would erradicate every last Elf and I do intend
to hold you to that my beautiful little servant but there is yet time, your
death is not imminent so be patient for now. Let this war within you abate,
let your subconscious mull it over a while. The seeds are already there,
they must simply mature to fruition.".


Author:    Penumbra       
Date:      Sun Jan  9 13:58:37 2011
Subject     Inspired Revenge, Finis

Ever so gently the being set him down and caressed his cheek in a final
maternal gesture. Slowly it receeded and faded from view, leaving Penumbra
alone again in his grey, insane mist. Eventually that too receded and he
became aware again of reality and gazed about.

His eyes opened in shock as he realised he was only two blocks from his flat
in Palanthas. Last thing he remembered was entering the woods, but that had
been 40 miles from the city. Somehow he had travelled that distance, entered
the city past the Guards at the gate and made his way home - all without
being aware of anything. He shook his head and laughed slightly to himself
but shrugged his shoulders and kept going. His Master had given him much to
think about, or to not think about maybe. He wasn't certain what to think at
this point so when he finally opened the door and stepped inside the only
thing on his mind was a good night's sleep.

The next morninghe awoke feeling completely refreshed and as he stretched he
remembered Chemosh's words. 'war within' rang in his mind loudly, and then
he had it.

Quickly the seed mushroomed and grew into a broad realisation. 

While it was impossible for him to physicly kill every Elf himself, he might
be able to CAUSE the death of enough Elves to swing the balance in his
favour. War. That was it. He needed to incite a war. Somehow. Not just any
war, not a skirmish or two. No. This needed to be a monster mother of a war,
one agressively conducted and perpetuated over an extended period to ensure
the highest number of casualties.

For a moment the breadth of the scale required for such a thing struck him
numb, but slowly he wrapped his tormented brain around the problem and began
to disect it and take it apart in order to study it's critical elements.

Disection, he thought. Speaking of that ... Berryl. That made him smile.
That potion would enable Berryl to live, theoreticly anyway, for 1/2 a
million years, maybe more. The vivisectionist Penumbra had sold him to could
disect him for maybe another 50 years before he died, but would no doubt
pass Berryl on to his students thereby ensuring (hopefully) that Berryl
would enjoy many centuries of daily dissection. Even if Berryl eventually
passed beyond their hands his entire existance would be trapped in that
shell of a body. Eternal but unmoving, unspeaking. Frozen until his mad
nemesis returned to finaly put him out of his misery. When only they were
left, the last two Elves, Penumbra would end it. And then he would have to
end his own life. ALL Elves must die, the line must end completely. Even
his.

Standing up he approached the window and opened the shutter wide. Sunlight
streamed in and blew away the darkness of his melancholy and madness, at
least for a while. He sniffed the fresh morning air scented with sea salt
from the docks and listened to the of the gulls as they screached and
circled the ships looking for dinner.

Turning from the light he retreated back into the shadows and ate a quick,
cold breakfast. While my food may be cold, he thought, at least my revenge
shall be hot. Hot like only a vast and wonderful war of extermination can
make it. He chuckled madly to himself and choked down the last morsal.
Washing it down with a mind bending draught of Absynthe he staggered to his
feet and began a new day, one devoted to crafting the ultimate revenge. 

Author:    Penumbra       
Date:      Sun Jan  9 14:39:19 2011
Subject     Inspired Revenge, Finis

The giant Satyr slowly withdrew it's embrace and gently caressed his
cheek. The obscene shape receeded until only a slightly disgusting yellow
light remained and then it too vanished, leaving the assassin alone in his
misty madness. Eventually that too paled and Penumbra returned to reality to
gaze about in surprise and shock. The last he remembered was entering the
woods but now he found himself in Palanthas and only two blocks from his
flat. He had absolutely no recollection of having travelled over forty miles
through the wilderness and entering the city, presumably past the city gate
Guards. His bewilderment lasted only a moment before he recovered his wits
and continued until he had reached home. Upon enteriing he didn't even
bother to strip first - he just threw himself onto his bed and instantly was
asleep.

If he dreamed at all he never knew but when he awoke the next morn he felt
better and more refreshed than he had for many a year. It seemed to him that
he felt a clarity of thought somehow and when he opened the shuttered window
to gaze upon the new day the sunlight hit him an he knew. The seed sprouted
and flowered in his mind's eye and in buit a moment he saw it all laid out
before him. How to kill enough of his kin to tilt the balance in his
favour.

War. Not just any war, not a skirmish or two, but a monster mother of a war
of extermiination waged with enough agression to last long enough to inflict
sufficient casualties.

The magnitude of the task, the sheer scale struck him numb for a moment but
a reassuring purr in the back of his mind reassured him. Recovering himself
he smiled into the sunlit morn and began disecting the concept into it's
constituant parts, wondering how he would trigger each phase.

Then another thought struck him. In the end, were he to be successful, there
would be two Elves remaining. Namely, himself and most likely Berryl. While
his most hated enemy was safely in the hands of a vivisectionist who would
pass this near immortal test subject on to his students there must come a
time, maybe centuries or millenia hence, that they must meet again and
Penumbra would have to finish the job. Leaving only one. He. Himself.

What then ? he thought. I swore to kill all Elves. A vague academic
curiosity took hold and he giggled at the absurdity, shrugged his shoulders
and continued on his way, plotting his mad and inspired plan of revenge. 

Author:    Penumbra       
Date:      Mon Dec  7 23:46:27 2015
Subject     A Shadow Returns

Standing at the top of the gangplank Penumbra paused for a moment to survey the docks below. It was a busy day in the Lord City's port and hundreds of men heaved, hoisted and moved tonnes of merchandise on and off scores of vessels moored at the piers. Gulls circled and cried aboved, a few dogs could be heard above the din, some kids running screaming merrily through the throng (some no doubt picking pockets deftly as they ran), sailors and dockhands yelled orders and feedback to each other ... the sound was deffening after the silence of the sea but the assassin loved it all the same. Lots of people means lots of employment opportunities. The thought of being back to doing what he loved gave him a warm, fuzzy feeling inside and he smiled slightly then. Ah, if anyplace was home it was Palanthas. The sound of footsteps approaching from behind cought his attention and without turning the elf called out behind him "Home at last, eh Istarian?" "Aye Penumbra, it is my home, and while you are in my home you will refrain from killing it's it's inhabitants won't you?" said Tiberius as the elf turned bow slightly. The mercenary returned that with a nod and continued. "Don't get me wrong Penumbra, personally I have no issue with you. I've fought with and against you on the field and I leave those fights there but in this place the rules are different between you and I." For an instant Penumbra's anger flared and Tiberius saw it in his odd coloured eyes, one yellow the other black as the Abyss. Just as quickly he regained his self control, smirked a bit and nodded. "Of course Lord Eskariot, it is as much my home as well. I don't pollute my own yard. I do however reserve the right to keep vermin from living under my front porch. As do you in you lighthouse. On a side note, I'd love to see the Beacon sometime, they say it's ancient." The mercenary captain laughed aloud and nodded. "Fair enough my friend, fair enough. And if you like, come by any time. You know Endarius, he'll let you by. Until we meet again then fare thee well, keep your blade and wits sharp." The tall human stepped past the diminutive elf and strode boldly down the walkway and onto the docks. In a moment he had vanished into the throng and would soon be high on the hill overlooking the city. Penumbra moved smooth and quick to the docks and he too made his way home but for him that would be not a high hll but a dank, soiled rathole. As he neared it he noticed a moment where oddly there was only himself and one other on the street. He noticed the other man was also an elf and almost without thinking Penumbra shuffled over quickly and quietly behind him and with one hand over the elf's mouth he used the other to slip a stilletto into the base of his skull and deep into his brain. Penumbra shoved forward and pushed him into a wall to keep control of the body as it fell and convulsed and he slowly knelt with it as it fell. He deftly pulled the blade free and stood in one movement, did another quick shuffle and slide into a shadowed alley and continued on his way. "Sorry about that Tiber'" Penumbra thought to himself. "But my Lord Chemosh hungers and my word to him supercedes any rules between us. It was naught but an elf, he deserved it. Don't worry, with any luck soon there won't be any more elves and you won't have to worry about me killing them anymore" A minute later the Rusty Rudder came into view and without asking where he had been for years the barkeep simply nodded to the assassin and informed him his regular rooms were of course available and stocked awaiting his return. Going upstairs he thought he would lay down for just a moment but almost as soon as his head hit the pillow he was out. The last week at sea had been rough and no one had slept much, passengers or crew. Finally being in a bed that didn't heave up and down was like being in paradise and the last thought Penumbra had as he drifted off was "Home ... at last."

The Storytellers of Ansalon, The DragonLance MUD

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