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Icemule's Dark Winter

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It was 5117, late in winter

That a chill caused the townsfolk to splinter

  A particular hobbit did he appear

  And strangely he spoke, and dangerously queer

Hibbits, the name of this enigmatic hinter

 

He welcomed himself into White Haven

News that he brought was ill and graven

  Doom is in the snow, the snow, the snow!

  We thought, "This is Icemule, what does he know?"

He must be foolish or just snow craven

 

He, a true hobbit, folks had their doubts

Offered drink and tarts, which he disdainfully threw out

  Tarts, we passed him a round

  But he violently threw them onto the ground

It turned out he was as unhobbity as a lout

 

He was indescribably short with stubby arms and legs

Ignoring the tarts, the sweets and the keg

  His face half hidden, encrusted with unkempt beard

  This fellow, a halfling, we considered quite queer

He wore paupers garments, was he here simply to beg?

On and on he went

Abouts treacherous snow, in this, he was quite vehement

  Indeed snow had always been cold

  Seeking 'donations' from us, he was so bold

Calamity to us all, from this snow was to be sent

Strangely, as it turned out

Disaster was about

  A disk with an eye-shaped sigil

  Appeared in Town Center, under an ominous vigil

Hibbits then appeared to have some clout -- though we all had remained in some doubt

Mayor Nihala had turned up ill

Incapacitated -- sick, apparently from the chill?

  Hibbits then assumed command in her stead

  Though many nots trusted the thoughts in his head

Very soon, there would be blood to spill -- over and over, kill after kill

Around the town, orbs began to be found

Security in the penitentiary became unsound

  We sought answers abouts this hobbit's news

  Penitentiary, we went, to seek the clues

Discovering a man in an orb, cruelly bound

The Commander led us to the penitentiary

Incongruous in such a place was a man of his gentry

  Emboldened we were, entered we did

  Nothing abouts the place appeared at all placid

Roblar bashed and bashed a cell yet failed to gain entry

Pietra, oh Pietra, maiden considered fair

Blasted by the orb, falling flat upon her derriere

  Gasping from townsfolk quickly abounding

  In reverent awe at the crackling sounding

That ended her life in a moment -- with a flare

Magics not works

No mana networks

  Laughter radiated from the orb

  Our life, it surely wanted to absorb

And the shadow... that shadow continued to lurk

Azerik, the powerful mage

Exerted his will within this cage

  Focusing his strengths upon the orb

  He managed to discover news previously unheard

A man hangs upside down with a smile engaged

Doom, doom, doom, doom

In our town we hear the boom

  Of battles to come

  Of enemies known to some

As townsfolk settle into the gloom

A couple weeks had passed

With no answers but more questions to ask

  Invaded by all manner of beast we were

  We rallied together, cut them down, collected their fur

Was this the beginning of a dreadful task?

It came to me, fifth day of Eorgaen

A voice in my ear, mysterious but plain

  Demanded that I retrieve some book

  As I searched and searched, the ground did shook

The eye-shaped sigil caused blood in faces to drain

Shadows moved, apparitions jeered

Merging with the disk, a dome appeared

  I spoke to the voice now inside the dome

  For I was becoming drawn to a mystical Tome

Desire of knowledge, on my mind was seared

Seeking answers from historians and a plethora of books

I sought clues in every library nook

  The sentry at the manor of the mayor

  Was duly aware

That Hibbits might actually be the culpable crook

Guards knew of the lingering shadow

But unauthorized to share what they did know

  Nihala died, with a shadow by her side

  Enestrie returned her to life, given a riddle to unhide

I considered the clue and where next I should go

A page ripped from the tome was merely a thread

A scrap with a riddle which simply read:

  "Primeval power long ago forbidden. 

  With simplest words can be unhidden."

Answers we must find before we get dead

My mama, Soliere, did I recruit

To help me solve the riddle and collect the loot

  Our research began

  With the Council of Ten

This history indicated that love's at the root

In Town Center, Mama inspected the sigil

Mayhaps she finds an answer to this riddle?

  Emeralds and glyphs led to the Eye of the Drake

  A gateway to unknown worlds lay in its wake

Entwined are we in this history of Thurfel?

Primeval power long ago forbidden

With simplest words can be unhidden

  Yfa, Handmaiden of Amasalen stirred in men so much desire

  Yet her unrequited love for Thurfel left, in her, such a fire

She set out to make Thurfel into a corpse upon a midden

Love: the most primeval of power

Can be forbidden and, thus, turned sour

  With a simplest of words

  Can affections be stirred?

Will "I love you" save us in this hour?

With Soliere, in this matter, we were in agreement

We sought to comfort this postulated bereavement

  Of a soul trapped in that magical dome

  Whom love, we share, might just atone

"I love you" I spoke kindly, the chains to circumvent

The electrum orbs, they did improve

But the dome was so ponderous and remained unmoved

  The effects were short lived

  Those words had not undid

That power that long ago, was steadfastly disapproved

Another answer crept into my mind

Mayhaps the forbidden powers were not to be kind

  Could it be worse, a blood sacrifice?

  To remove this mysteriously evil device

And reveal the riddle to the blind?

ICICLE agreed that blood magics were long ago forsaken

Yet had no insight on which path should be taken

  But, instead of some praise

  They heaped on the malaise

For my efforts, I was collectively chastened

Had the townsfolk been somehow corrupted?

Arguments and fighting had thus erupted

  And what then ensued

  Had been terrible news

Icemule's fabric of life became disrupted

 

Bandits arrived and demanded the Tome

Apparently Hibbits had hid it within our home

  Threats were levied

  Peace became unsteady

War broke out before the mysterious dome

I worked my best to stay the bloodshed

Desiring to seek powerful knowledge instead

  In the blink of an eye

  There was a loud battle cry

As Rudar was slit in his throat from ear-to-ear, choking as he bled

Taking upon my oath to protect

Many a bandit this Cleaver did check

  Enraged into battle, bloodlust in my eyes

  I cut down and severed many of those guys

The Bandit Cleaver, I am, their ways, I reject

At length, the bandit leader was given her desire

Holding the tome, it burned like a fire

  She, shrieking in fear

  Let out one last hideous jeer

Then melted into a purple, oozing spire

Nihala weakened by the Tome's evil power

Shared premonitions of a coming dark hour

  Images from past or future to be

  The Tome was A History of Ancient Sorcery

Recorded by one Daukhera Darkflorr

Daukhera Darkflorr, who could this be?

Unknown until now from recorded history

  The Tome's power drew Nihala's life force

  And we began to fear the worst

Reading the Tome must be the key, let me have it, let me read!

No matter the cost

Of life to be lost

  Imploring the needing to read

  Townsfolk strongly disagreed

The corruption had spread, that line had been crossed

Townsfolk fought off the horrid invasions

Of all manner of foe with evil persuasions

  Infiltrated, I think, have we became

  Some of us are no longer acting the same

As we engaged the pervasive corruption

Dome in Town Center morphed into a tower

As the orbs about town unleashed their great power

  An arch had thus been formed

  In it, a woman who was chained and torn

Between life and the darkness of the hour

Pleading she tried

Townsfolk believed to be lies

  A pity I felt

  From the discord that was dealt

As she was tormented before our ignorant eyes

About this time a Sheruvian witch had arrived

To meddle, to destroy and to take some lives

  In a battle she uttered a cast

  Of some evil magic in a powerful blast

Twas a miracle that some had even survived

Upon his death, Jalodg's bobcat did sense

From whence evil this magic did dispense

  And, in the blink of an eye

  That witch did cry

When Pepper was roused to Jalodg's defense

Gutted alive, that witch had deservingly died

Though people, she had previously belied

  Sowing more discord

  Among members of the board

No need, now, for her to go and hide

The gods against us

Who can we trust?

  Townsfolk, the guards, the officials?

  No one around to blow the whistle

All that could be seen was indelible bloodlust

So, it was in this hour

That my heart began to sour

  I looked toward the arch

  My soul, seeking to parch

That tormented lady's scornful glower

Nothing to lose

Many "friends" did not I, they choose

  Dusting my armor

  Not making a clamor

I stepped through the portal's magical hues

My end, I supposed I'd swiftly find

Instead, it was a world awfully misaligned

  I was in an ethereal plane

  Where I felts no longer of my own pain

Others I could see as though partially blind

Townsfolk moved this way and that

I could see them all, but none see me save the cat

  I walked and walked, seeking the tormented lady

  Making sure my axe would be at the ready

In the event of some unholy combat

Much to my surprise

The lady I no longer could devise

  Was she just a dream

  In this ethereal stream

In my quest to unearth all the lies?

I spent what I thought a moment

In a world where time was not to be spent

  But soon I would find

  My heart had been entwined

With true friends from beyond the veiled vent

A great sadness, a moment of despair

My friend had died, his spirit did share

  Raorke, my friend where are you now?

  Bellicia, my Lady, can I help you some how?

I walked endlessly on the words of her prayer

I soon came upon a peaceful clearing

Whereupon my friends shared in some great tearing

  Raorke, the brave, honorable he was

  Now was lost to all of us

Bellicia, his widow her visage now clearly appearing

The ethereal plane began to fade

Out into the world and into the shade

  Of mighty trees upon a tranquil lake

  Candles were lit, words the wind did take

But nothing is stronger than love that was made

Attending to Bellicia were Rioja and Evician

Some of the friends that I had been missin'

  Long was I in that ethereal realm of despair

  Seeking to save and get lost, to become aware

I reunited with them at Raorke's passin'

Sadness caused me to enter the portal

To seek salvation for my soul immortal

  In that elapsed, eternal time

  I have humbly come to find

That life is all about that wonderful chortle

Which brings me back to the riddle's answer I sought

The greatest treasure which cannot be bought

  Primeval power long ago forbidden

  With simplest words can be unhidden

The answer I was duly taught

The Primeval Power, indeed, is Love

Forbidden by evils below and above

  Simplest words, not to be mistaken

  Are the thoughts and actions of the enamored awakened

My days, now I spend with the jovial shoves

Of my true friends and my one truelove. 

I related this tale at the Burnt Tart Table at Tartifacts in Icemule with the following people on the first Feastday of Pheonatos of the year 5118:

Soliere, Hlendril, Laralana, Vallahei, Dirvy, Zailon, Tylayli, Polveiss

Audience response:

Vallahei says, "Verra well told."

Speaking to you, Soliere says, "Ya always does yer mama proud son."

Soliere is admiring you.

Speaking to you, Hlendril says, "If only I can be as great as ye..."

Speaking softly to you, Dirvy says, "Your story was lovely, thank you for sharing it."

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