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									       Gamers Gate
A novel by J. Scott Garibay
      Copyright 2010
 scott.garibay@gmail.com
Chapter 01


Footfall
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 (Redirected from First Contact)

Formally known as the Cairnhist First Contact event, Footfall is the term used to indicate the moment that
Stephen Cairnhis,Max Esso, Cynthia Mullen andDerek Burgast stepped foot on Thrycion after coming
through the portal in Mount Gibbes (also know as the “Gamers Gate”) on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.While
Christopher Korbach set foot on Thrycion 42 years prior to this date, Footfall is recognized as the event that
set into motion the exchange of culture, commerce and communication that would accelarate between
Thrycion and Earth, creating the current “magitech” age.


         Stephen steps through the portal carefully, leaving Earth and entering Thrycion. Max, Derek and
Cynthia follow as he leads them the short distance to the exit of the cave and out onto a mountain ledge
overlooking a medieval city. They stand in quiet awe of the sight before them.
Max and Cynthia remove their expensive, full camping backpacks. Derek glances back at the mouth of the
cave entrance to watch the white-blue glow of the closing portal shimmer and fade. He flicks his cigarette at
the sight. His vintage 60's black leather cafe racer jacket and three days of stubble are distinctly different
from the jeans, sneakers and windbreakers worn by his college student friends.
Small dragons ridden by lance-carrying knights are visible circling above the city below. The city sprawls for
over a mile toward a crystal blue ocean where hundreds of ships approach and depart.
"I can't believe this! Those are Flike riders!" Stephen sits down and covers his mouth in disbelief. He closes
his eyes and recites the text from memory. "The Flike is the magical companion of his or her rider. Armor
class 7 hide, 26 hit points. The Flike can carry two riders and 40 pounds of equipment."
Cynthia places her hand on his shoulder reassuringly. "Their hides are impervious to arrows but they will not
approach closer than 50 feet to an open flame."
Max crouches next to Stephen, "It's incredible. I didn't believe you. I couldn't believe."
Cynthia shakes her head. "It was all real, everything. The Blade & Bolt Roleplaying Game, the B&B Novels
- they were all an encyclopedia of Thrycion, this world. Our weekly roleplaying game was all based on this?
"
"Don't sit there geeking. We need to be moving. They will probably close the city gates at nightfall. We still
have at least a thousand feet to climb down and two or three miles to travel to get there," Derek pulls his pack
on tighter, takes a short swig from his water bottle.
The group adjusts their packs, getting ready to move, all except Stephen. He pulls an inhaler out of his pack
and sucks in a dose. It is obvious that being overweight has made this journey difficult for him. The three
stand quietly around him until without a word Derek scoops up Stephen's pack and starts down the mountain
again. Stephen scrambles up and follows.
The slope of the mountain is steep, but manageable, no ropes are necessary. Each member of the group backs
down the mountain with feet and hands clutching at small tree trunks, rocks, or crevices. Tall pines grow in
patches of lush green grass broken every thirty feet or so by huge, jutting areas of rock where the mountain
cuts through. There are more trees and a softer slope as the group descends.
Cynthia takes Stephen's bag for Derek. They start out again after a brief respite with Max leading.
Max's back is toward the foot of the mountain as he descends. The group freezes as they look down the
mountain slope past Max.
Max squints, "What?"
Sixty feet beyond Max is the hulking form of a Korg. A dozen feet in length and dark green, its scaly wet
hide blends perfectly with the forest around it. It works its mandible lazily, exposing a maw of gleaming
white fangs. The creature has the size and movement of a bear but its long thin tongue and the fast erratic
twitching of its massive head are like that of a snake. The creature's six legs each end in a massive grouping
of long talons to grasp the mountain with the dexterity of a clawed hand.
Stephen, Cynthia and Derek see the creature but Max has his back to it.
Max shifts and pebbles and twigs twist under his foot. A shrill roar echoes behind Max. He turns to see what
the group is staring at. The Korg arches its back.
Stephen bolts, running horizontally across the mountain. Cynthia stands frozen. Max lets out a startled yelp
and begins scrambling up the mountain.
Derek takes off his backpack and shoves his hand down beneath the flap top. The Korg charges up the
mountain slope, all six legs lifting it up the mountain toward Max. Max screams, tumbles and begins rolling
down the mountain slope, at an angle toward the Korg. As Max rolls downward the report of a firearm
echoes across the mountain. Derek now holds a black automatic pistol. A patch of bright red appears on the
Korg. The Korg stops, stands upright and roars at Derek.
Derek fires six more shots in quick succession. Small explosions of red spray out from the Korg's hide. The
Korg is enraged. It surges forward closing the gap between it and Derek.
Carefully and smoothly, Derek walks down the slope toward the charging Korg firing as he goes. The bark of
a tree directly behind the Korg explodes outward, but more patches of red coat the Korg. The Korg stops,
howls in pain and slowly stands again to its full height. Derek stops also, levels his arm and empties the last
round of his weapon into the Korg's head. The Korg falls backwards and rolls down the mountain until it
thuds against a tree.
Cynthia regains her composure and calls for Stephen to return. Max picks himself up and approaches Derek.
Cynthia stumbles awkwardly down the slope to catch up to Derek, "Derek! Where did you get that?"
Derek ignores Cynthia and continues down the mountain. Derek thumbs the release, lets the magazine drop
to the ground and smacks a second clip into his firearm.
Max responds to Cynthia but his eyes never leave Derek, "Tools of his trade. He's a drug dealer, remember,
Cynthia?"
Derek turns and glares at Max. "Not right now, Max. Not right now."
Max glares back and Cynthia steps between the two.
Stephen approaches and dusts his pants legs off clumsily. "Glock 21, automatic, nine millimeter. Fourteen in
the clip, one in the chamber if my t10 Modern RPG memory serves. Good thing you brought it."
Derek nods and continues down toward the Korg, "I brought three."
Max throws his pack down. "Three! You shouldn't have brought any guns. This world doesn't have that kind
of technology."
Derek scowls, "This ain't Star Trek, college boy. We're not bound by a Prime Directive and unless you have a
longsword hidden up your nether region we are going to need every gun I brought."
"Yeah, well excuse me if my college studies taught me that violence begets violence. I guess learning didn't
give me as much opportunity to shoot people as drug dealing gave you, Derek."
The group circles the Korg keeping a safe distance. The Korg is crumpled around a tree trunk, its head lolled
to the ground. Derek starts around the tree to get a better look at the creature.
The group join him in examining the Korg. Its hide is peppered with ten gunshot wounds. The Korg twitches
and gives a long sad groan. It is obvious the creature is suffering. Derek runs his fingers through his hair and
exhales. Max turns away. Cynthia shakes her head and puts her hand out to Derek. Derek hands the Glock to
her. Without hesitation Cynthia approaches and lowers the weapon to the heaving beast's head. Stephen
jumps at the sound.
Cynthia hands the weapon back, "Eighty-four hit points? I don't think so."

EARTH - APPROACHING MILWAUKEE - TWO MONTHS BEFORE FOOTFALL

        Max shifts his tuner import into fourth and passes a tractor-trailer at 80 mph. Stephen nibbles at his
snacks nervously in the cramped backseat. Cynthia looks road weary from hours of travel, " No, no, no, NO!
You don't just charge thirty trogs without waiting for the group to decide together how to attack."
"I was just playing my character, " Max says at her, without taking his eyes off the road. "Brolch is a Golon
warrior. 2,000 pounds of ruby-laced granite. He was built for battle and I am not going to have him sit around
waiting for everyone to come up with a perfect little plan. "
Cynthia turns toward the backseat, "Stephen, tell him he is being disruptive to the game. We got thoroughly
stomped by those trogs. We beat them, yes. But our characters took so much damage my cleric couldn't even
heal everyone to full. My character lost her Cloak of Camouflage. That's a major magic item to lose in a fight
with trogs."
Stephen takes his focus off of the skyscrapers streaming toward them, "Oh, no. I'm not getting in the middle
of this. I'm a gamemaster. It is my job to challenge your player characters in every adventure. Fortunately, it
is your job as players to handle your own party politics."
Max brakes and frowns at the backup his decaled street-racer is quickly approaching, " Well, not all the
players are here, are they?"
Cynthia stretches against the custom Recaro seat, "Man, what is your beef with Derek? You gotta let it go
already."
"He's not one of us, Cynthia. Come' on, Stephen, my roomie is still asking if he can run a character in our
campaign. Lose that reprobate and bring my roommate in."
Cynthia shakes her head, "One of us? What exactly are we? What is Derek not one of?"
"Gamers, Cynthia. We are gamers, fan-boys, sci-fi geeks. You know what we are. We are the guys who get
every new roleplaying game that comes out. We are the guys that have boxes of comics perfectly bagged and
back-boarded in our closets. We are the guys who sleep on sidewalks to get the first tickets for epic
sci-fi/fantasy films. Now how does Derek fit into our group? Gun maintenance and money-laundering really
don't count as hobbies."
Deep reverb shutters through the after-market exhaust system as Stephen opens his mouth to speak but is cut
off by Cynthia. " Just say it. Just say what you think Derek is, if he's not one of us."
Max does not hesitate. "He's a drug dealer."
The downshifting groan quiets as Stephen and Cynthia exchange glances.
Max shifts into neutral and coasts, "Come on. He's 20 years old, has no job, drives a $40,000 car. Do any of
you have his phone number? Any of you ever been to his place? He plays B&B with us but we interact with
him in no other way, ever. And I hear things man. Do the math. "
Stephen begins to stuff candy bags into the backpack next to him. " Yes, you're right. Derek is a drug dealer.
I know that. But I didn't know that when I invited Derek into our campaign six months ago and now well...
Well, now Derek is a friend. You are right. Derek is not one of us but he is a friend. Max, you play B&B
because you like the hack and slash. Cynthia, you play because you like the roleplaying aspects of the game,
becoming that character in speech and thought. I think Max plays so that for 4 hours a week he can be a hero
that helps people. What's wrong with that?"
Max's frustration is evident as he lets the force of his street-racer unwind, "What's wrong with that? A lot,
Stephen. A lot. Roleplaying a hero once a week doesn't wash away being a predator the rest of the week,
Stephen. I thought your "Christian Values" would have taught you that if nothing else."
"Christ ate with the prostitutes and drunkards as well as his followers. Am I better than Christ? Seriously,
Max, I understand your objection to Derek playing and if you can honestly say that you feel yourself or
Cynthia are personally in danger from Derek than I will ask him to leave the group. Can you honestly say
that?"
"No. I know you respect all the members of our roleplaying group enough to not expose us to outright
danger. You proved that with the way you handled the whole Philly LARP situation last spring. It's why we
are table-top only now. OK. Stephen, I trust you on Derek's continued inclusion in our group but I tell you,
like the tag line from DeadWalker's Wild West RPG 'A reckonin' is comin'."
Chapter 02


Thrycion
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the planet. For other uses, see Thrycion (disambiguation).

Designations
Adjective Thrycionian
Satellites ~ 11 observed (2 with secure orbits)
Physical characteristics
Circumference 51,025.06 km (equatorial)
Surface area 620,072,000 km²
111,852,000 km² land (18.1 %)
Escape velocity 16.987 km/s
Sidereal rotation
34h 43m 7.100s
Surface temp.
Minimum −78 ° | Maximum - 52.7 °C

Atmosphere
Surface pressure 100.2 kPa (MSL)
Composition 75.05% Nitrogen (N2)
21.96% Oxygen (O2)
0.92% Argon
0.048% Carbon dioxide
About 1% water vapor (varies with climate)

Thrycion is the first planet discovered to contain sentient life (beyond Earth). Christopher Korbach was the
first human to travel there. He reached Thrycion by traveling through a portal in a Mount Gibbes in North
Carolina, rather than through space travel. Thrycion’s distance from Earth is unknown. Attempts to find
Thrycion astronomically from Earth have failed to date. Attempts to find Earth astronomicallyfrom Thrycion
have also failed.

There is significant debate in the scientific community over whether Thrycion is located in the same universe
as Earth. Three years of astronomical study from both Thrycion and Earth have not been able to link any
constellations or galaxies in the skies of either planet.This situation has lead to a rise in the number of
scientists who purport that Thrycion is in another universe. A shrinking majority of scientists reject this
proposition, stating that the atmospheric, geological and chemical similarities between Thrycion and Earth
makes the possibility of these two planets not residing in the same universe statistically impossible.


        Ceaseless rain falls on Thrycion's lush soil. Four figures approach a small fishing village. The muddy
and thin road they follow runs through a collection of small, sturdy wooden houses. A dozen large fishing
boats are secured at a sturdy wharf nearby.
"Everyone is in and dry," Azor the Golon rumbles. He gently places his massive hand on Bryong's shoulder.
Bryong smiles at her friend. Azor is a hulking form, eight feet high and five feet wide. His body is slate black
granite laced with veins of sapphire that glint in the light of Thrycion’s two moons, Wyn Forx and Litna. The
wet sod sinks half a foot beneath his one-ton frame.
"We'll be inside and dry as well soon enough," Bryong kicks her horse and rides ahead to Kinewyn and
Coveark. Kinewyn and Coveark are talking in low tones and fall silent as Bryong approaches.
The long, delicate lines of his face and willowy form show Kinewyn to be an Elf. His silver hair shows he is
old even for his race. In fact hours in hard rain have done little to lessen Kinewyn’s natural elegance.
Coveark is a sharp contrast to the old Elf. His short cropped hair is dark. His bright blue eyes scan the fishing
village. His wiry frame is wrapped in earth-tone leather armor. His deep green cloak is bone dry despite the
rain.
Kinewyn holds out a fat leather pouch to Bryong.
"Thank you, Kinewyn," Bryong ties the pouch to her belt as she rides.
Kinewyn steps his horse around a puddle, "No thanks are necessary. You earned every gold piece. I am sure
your village will appreciate your generosity. Judging from the decreased number of boats on the wharf it
looks like they could use this gift."
Bryong nods and glances at Coveark. Kinewyn’s voice cuts through her mental fog and she draws her eyes
down away from Coveark quickly. "We can only stay the night. No more. You know your parents will ask
for a month."
Bryong nods.
The adventurers pass the second house of the village and a door swings open. Three children charge into the
street, "Azor! Azor! Azor!" they call out.
The three children jump up to cling to Azor. Azor scoops them up as one and embraces them gingerly before
lifting them to sit on his shoulders.
The noise brings other villagers to their windows and in moments Bryong, Coveark, Kinewyn and Azor are
surrounded by over a hundred villagers.
Thelia, Bryong's mother, emerges from the crowd, "Sweet, sweet child..."
Thelia has the same fiery beauty as her daughter. She hugs Bryong close. Bryong's father, Frarn, stands
smiling behind Thelia. Frarn pats Bryong's shoulder and says nothing. It is obvious he is hiding sorrowful joy
at seeing his daughter.
Coveark glances at the rooftops suspiciously and quickly backs into the crowd that surrounds his band mates.
The excited crowd leads Bryong, Kinewyn and Azor into the village's fish house. None seem to notice
Coveark's sudden absence. A roaring fire in the fish house’s center spreads warmth to occupying villagers.
They usher the three adventurers to seats and bring food. Azor plays with the children, allowing them to
swing from his arms and scurry up him like mountain climbers.
Bryong is surrounded by her mother, father and three sisters. A handsome young fisherman meets her eye
from across the room. The look that passes between them is full of history and fire. They both look away
quickly. Bryong picks unproductively at the food brought to her. She sets the plate aside." Thank you all. It is
good to be home. We will have to leave you in the morning but while I am here I wish to give all of you a
gift." Bryong holds the leather purse high, "Five hundred gold pieces for new boats, new homes or whatever
you choose to use it for. I am not a part of your daily tasks but I remember the labor. I wish to do my part to
help the village."
Boat Master Fation, a thin man wearing the clothes of a scholar rather than those of a fisherman, steps
forward and receives the heavy pouch. His smile disappears as he takes the gold into his hand, " Thank you,
Bryong. We all thank you. In the two seasons you have been with Kinewyn’s Band you have given over two
thousand gold pieces to our humble village. But today we must return your gift -" Fation places the pouch
back in Bryong's hands, cupping them around the gold. "And ask for another."
Bryong's confusion shows on her face as she looks around the fish house. The villagers are now hesitant to
meet her gaze.
Kinewyn remains seated but his easy posture shifts almost unnoticeably to a ready position. Azor carefully
lifts the children off his shoulders and steps forward.
Fation's eyes scan the crowd for a few seconds, searching for something, "In place of gold we ask you for a
service. Not even one double black moon ago our humble village was visited by none other than Prince
Ayson Trajon. He traveled fifteen leagues with no other purpose than to speak to Frarn and Thelia, parents to
the land's best freecaster." Fation steps closer to Bryong, extending his smooth-skinned hand." King Trajon
formally asked our village to persuade you to present yourselves at his court before the next double black
moon. We ask you, Bryong, as a daughter of our community to honor your mother and father's request. We
ask you, Kinewyn, to honor the peace between the Kingdoms of Man and the Bind of Elves. Present yourself
to King Trajon."
Fation steps back again, waiting for Bryong's reply.
Bryong opens her mouth to speak, discomfort plain on her face. Kinewyn stands and raises a hand. In a
smooth, quick gesture he snatches the gold from Bryong's hands and casts the pouch into the fire, "We have
overstayed our welcome. Thank you each and every one of you for your hospitality. We must take our leave
of you now."
Azor heads for the looming double doors of the fish house before Kinewyn has finished speaking. Bryong
does not hesitate to follow.
Figures appear at the open doors of the fish house. As the figures come out of the hard rain and into the fish
house the open fire casts red, dancing illumination on their armor.
Azor's hand goes to Klage, the mammoth sword hanging across his back. He draws the five-foot sword from
the scabbard. The sword's matte-black face drinks the light that falls on it until the string of runes etched onto
its surface begin to glow. The blue-radiance of the sword runes glint from the sapphire veins that run up
Azor's forearms and close to his short neck.
Bryong's father runs in front of the stone giant and raises his hands, "I am sorry, Bryong. We could not warn
you. The Prince, Bryong, the Prince charged us to persuade you to come to the King. These men... I had no
part. Forgive me, daughter."
Azor stops short of trampling Frarn. Bryong moves her mouth but finds no words.
Kinewyn laughs and turns to look at the villagers, ending his scan on Fation, "Fifty of the King's knights?"
Armored knights now fill the fish house, surrounding the old elf and his band mates."
"Fifty troops to bring in Kinewyn’s band! Why not try to empty the sea with your hat, Fation? Azor alone
could slay these men in a dressing's time."
Dozens of swords leap from their scabbards and King Trajon's knights swing back their white and blue
cloaks for battle. Azor moves Frarn away effortlessly and grunts in anticipation.
Kinewyn shouts, "No!" The old elf raises a hand to Azor. "We will go with you."
Kinewyn gestures for Azor to sheath his great blade, which the Golon fighter does immediately.
"We will go with you not at the 'request' of this village or the King. We will go so the King may learn what it
means to threaten Kinewyn’s Band."
Kinewyn walks into the rain and begins preparing his horse to ride with the King's knights.
Azor and Bryong follow Kinewyn with the villagers moving tentatively behind them. The villagers, save
Fation, hang their heads in shame at the betrayal of their communal daughter.
One of the knights signals for the horses to be brought in and approaches Kinewyn, "I am Baron Grell. I have
been tasked by King Trajon to return you and each of your accomplices to Taltherin. We will not leave this
village until we have found the ranger who serves you, Elf."
Kinewyn grins and mounts his horse, "Then you should start learning to fish and build a house here, Baron
Grell."

EARTH – GAMECON IN MILWAUKEE

        Stephen puts down the anime DVD. "Committed?"
Marcia brushes long strands of blue hair from her eyes." I know, I know. I couldn't believe it either."
Marcia pulls Stephen closer to her to get him out of the way of booth traffic. The Convention Center is
packed and gamers pour past the two on all sides. It is evident from the dress, speech and movement of the
convention goers that they are from every state in the US and a few are from various countries around the
world. A large banner behind Stephen and Marcia reads "GameCon".
"It seems Korbach just snapped over the whole buyout thing. His daughter had him committed. He is in a
loony bin down in Atlanta ."
Stephen backs up a step, jostling a plastic container filled with twelve-sided dice. It is obvious he is not
comfortable being this close to her, "Where'd you hear this, Marcia?"
"David White, that new editor for the Shadowblade RPG."
Stephen frowns, "I can guess why White told you this."
Stephen's eyes dart down Marcia's form. Marcia is pretty and she stands out in the male-majority throng of
gamers passing them. Anger shows on Stephen's face.
"Stephen, it is not a big secret, it is all over the RPG net sites. You haven't heard about it because you had
your nose buried in your books for mid-terms, I bet."
Stephen nods. "So you're saying that Christopher Korbach, the creator of the Blade & Bolt RPG, was
committed to a mental institute because he said the RPG game he created was not a game, but his own guide
to a real world that he visited back in the late 60's?"
"Yes... It happened. I know you've read all three thousand pages Korbach wrote for Blade & Bolt and
the guy is a hero of yours, but that's exactly what happened."
Stephen puts his fingers to his temple and Marcia places a hand on his shoulder. He looks up and smiles
suddenly, "So the buyout of Korbach's Company by Game Wizards is canceled?"
"No. Korbach's daughter Christa is handling all the details of the buyout. How could she have that much
control of Korbach's company?"
Stephen looks frustrated. Trying to keep a personal space is making it difficult for him to hear her. "Since
Christa was eighteen she's owned and controlled half the company. It's those stupid collectable card games..."
Marcia moves back closer to Stephen to get out of the way of a gamer trying to look at the new releases in
the booth behind her.
Stephen grimaces and looks around at the convention floor. His eyes go to the Game Wizard's gigantic foam
castle spanning four aisles and dozens of booths. Every booth displays the same neon banner, "Vortex
Collectible Card Game!"
"I heard Korbach actually passed up the opportunity to buy and develop Vortex Cards for only $20,000 when
Game Wizards was first trying to get it off the ground."
"That's true. It was in the early 90's. Game Wizard's launched an entirely new form of gaming with Vortex
collectible cards. Korbach objected to the collectable aspect of collectible card games saying that players
would be required to buy hundreds of packs in order to be competitive. He was absolutely right but he
completely miss-judged gamers willingness to buy collectibles. Korbach passed up buying Vortex Collectible
cards for fifteen thousand actually and now ten years later Game Wizards is doing a quarter billion annually
and has crushed the fan base that Korbach's B&B relies on."
Stephen looks again at the foam castle and Vortex banner and hangs his head, "You know I met Korbach
when I came to my first GameCon in '94. My dad left my mom when I was eight and it meant something to
me when I would shake Korbach's hand each year and even though 365 days had passed he still remembered
my name. You know I think that was my new year's day every year. I resolved to myself to be a great writer
and great creator and a great man like Korbach."
Marcia smiles softly at Stephen, "Stephen, are you all right?"
Stephen forces a crooked smile.
Marcia pulls her pink backpack from the floor to her shoulder. " Listen, Stephen, I am sorry. I didn't want to
be the bearer of bad news. I really got to get going though. I'm gamemastering one of the new Sixth Age
campaign modules for RPG Alliance at one. I'm staying with the Purdue group over at the Remington. Why
don't you come over tonight? Jason is running a midnight Ravendark session."
"Thanks, I appreciate the invite but I'm going to be busy." Stephen snaps his cell phone from his belt and
starts to head away. He stops and moves back to her. "Marcia, do you think it could be true, that Thrycion,
the world Korbach based B&B in, could be a real place?"
Marcia grins and steps closer. "Of course not, Stephen. Korbach's creation, tens of thousands of pages of
imagination and gaming passion was being placed on the auction block like just another item on eBay. He
poured his heart and soul into that game and so did many of the other writers and quite a few players I
know." She pauses and holds Stephen's view. "It's understandable to snap under that kind of pressure. But
you're a good enough GM to know that at some point you have to be able separate the real world from the
game world. Bad things happen when you can't do that."
Stephen nods and unclips his mobile from his belt. "Thanks, Marcia. I have to go now, too." Stephen rushes
out of the merchant's hall and into the surrounding hallway of the convention center. He text messages the
email address that bounces to Derek's mobile. "Derek, meet me in Atlanta tomorrow night. I can't explain
why. I need you to trust me. I'll forward the location soon."
Chapter 03


Resurrection
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article concerns itself with the resurrection of human beings. For details of the resurrection of all
mankind at the end of the world, see the Last Judgment. For the resurrection of deities, see Dying and Rising
gods.
For other uses, see Resurrection (disambiguation).

The resurrection of dead humans was a central doctrine of Judaism, Christianity and Abrahamic religions,
including Zoroastrianism, prior to Footfall. Since Footfall, leaders of all of these religions have been pressed
by internal and external sources to explain new or modified stances on the purpose, meaning and accepted
beliefs of resurrection due to the fact that resurrection on Earth (or Thrycion) is now a viable option for all
of their followers. Michael Caryen, a Denver firefighter who died fighting a chemical fire at a textile factory,
was the first person to be resurrected on Earth. Bryong, the Thrycion freecaster who came to Earth with
Stephen Cairnhist and Max Esso, resurrected Caryen at the request of Winifred Proach. This event was
widely reported, studied and debated. However, since the first resurrection on Earth a new industry with the
sole purpose of providing resurrection services to anyone on Earth who can afford the magical procedure
has sprung up, prompting a new set of laws, ethics and etiquette and to be built be politicians, church leaders
and the public.


        Buelgwarn Edge Castle basks in brilliant sunlight. The King's home and fortress stretches high to the
silk blue sky. A white flag emblazoned with the royal sigil, a blue Flike against a field of white, waves
majestically off each of the castle's parapets. The sight sickens Azor. All the Golon can see is endless tons of
brother flesh, hacked and cracked from father mounts - all to build one man a macabre home. As a Golon,
Azor sees castles as one of man's most grisly creations. It reminds him of the many ways man consumes.
A titan of living stone, Azor has no need to eat or drink. He does not sleep or wear clothes. He has no use for
gold. Klage, a blade forged by a decade of Dwarven labor, is his only possession. As the castle looms closer,
Azor marvels at how complex the lives of humans are. They spend half of their lives struggling for food and
shelter and the other half pursuing things they do not need. Azor had traveled with Kinewyn for four years
now.
Despite the powerful revulsion Buelgwarn Edge Castle causes Azor the sight beyond the castle delights him.
The King's fortress sits on a circle of stone large enough to hold ten villages. Beyond that circle is naught but
the open air. Cliffs a thousand feet high surround the castle making it accessible by only one thin road of
stone. Golons are only born on the peaks of Thrycion's greatest mountains but the sheer volume of rock in the
canyon behind Buelgwarn Edge Castle remind Azor of his father mount in the Kraster Range. The stone
figure moves close to Bryong as the band and their escort of fifty King's knights enters into the killing
ground. The narrow stone road before the castle gates is purposely thin, no side barriers to prevent a fatal fall
down the jagged cliffs. Azor watches dozens of archers position themselves along the castle's crenellations.
They can slay a hundred men in seconds if need be. Their arrows will be no more than kisses on Azor's
granite skin. Nonetheless Azor is wary of the danger the archers poses for Bryong and Kinewyn.
“Kinewyn’s band - expected urgently by King Trajon." Baron Grell barks out the sentence like an order. The
clanking of mammoth gears is the only response from the gatekeeper. Azor steadies himself as he enters the
gaping maw, the castle's iron gates. His revulsion is turning to anger. Kinewyn warned Azor the night before
to remember the effect the castle had on him the last time. Kinewyn urged his warrior to control his anger so
the King could explain why he had decided to forcibly bring the band to Buelgwarn Edge. The Golon tries to
suppress his rising fury but everywhere he looks his eyes are assaulted with the carved flesh of his brothers.
The castle yard rings with the metallic chirps of a young man's blade. Four years ago, Prince Ayson had been
a boy turning into a man. Azor remembers a gangly, clumsy youth. The young man before him now has shed
that skin.
Prince Ayson hammers his trainer back with ferocious energy and yet each strike is well placed, calculated.
Azor can see the Prince is skilled, dangerous. Azor has spent years of his time in the world separated from
the father mount in dedication to the blade. Klage is counted as a brother. Their countless hours together have
bred a familiarity between stone and steel. In mid swing the Prince catches sight of the band and their
numerous escorts. Sweat drips from his brow. The trainer withdraws and Ayson places his sword on the rack,
“Kinewyn, thank you for coming.” With casual ease the prince sends his long sword slicing through the air to
bury itself in a haft of the weapons rack. "Baron Grell, I commend you on bringing our guests here in safety.
I dismiss... Wait, where is Coveark?"
Baron Grell steps his horse sideways. "The ranger disappeared in the fishing village, my Lord Prince. He has
followed the group for our entire journey. My men tried to apprehend him but were unable."
Azor chuckles remembering the arrow that plucked a chicken leg from Baron Grell's hand before he bit into
it. Coveark had sent a warning arrow at the Baron every day of the journey, a whistling reminder that
Coveark watched over his companions from the shadows and trees. The King's knights throw angry glances
at Azor's rumbling laughter, but none move to quiet the behemoth. Azor feels Bryong's hand on is arm and
quiets. The Prince tenses. "Well, he shall be found before he comes within a thousand strides of this castle.
Turn your men around and search the Edge road, top and bottom. Then turn the outer city upside down, not a
man is to rest until the ranger is found."
"Coveark will not be found on Edge road or in the city. He is here, within the castle walls already." The
speaker jumps the last six feet down from a ladder that had brought him from the crenellations. Azor watches
Bryong's eyes widen. Bryong has never seen Coveark's father, Dromen. The silver haired man is older,
perhaps slower, but a mirror image in every other way to his son. "My son could leave a shadows trail when
he left this castle three years ago. However his time with you has changed him, Kinewyn, I am sure it has not
diminished his skills."
Kinewyn meets Dromen's eyes. Four years of time pass between the two in a flash before the elf speaks.
"Coveark's time with me has honed his skill. I thank you for what you taught him. It has saved my life more
than once." Dromen moves closer to Kinewyn. For a moment Azor thinks that Dromen will strike the old
thief and he begins to move. Kinewyn waits motionless for Dromen's next action.
"I know you are not responsible for my son's decisions, Elf. But you have allowed him, encouraged him to
use his youth to steal, to risk his life for no more than mere gold. For that I hold you responsible. For that I'd
declare you a thief of time."
Azor can tell Dromen's words cut the elf deep. Dromen serves the King as the head of the King's ranger
contingent, six hundred men who patrol, protect and preserve the countless acres of forest in the Kingdom of
Taltherin. Dromen had studied in the Elven lands, learned the secrets of the Green Walkers, and created a
few woodland secrets of his own in the two decades he had served the King. All Dromen knew he taught his
son, Coveark. Coveark had learned his father's lessens well. Azor had seen the young ranger use the skills of
his father to guide the band safely through the forests of Thrycion while respecting the land as even the elves
did.
"Enough." The Prince pulls on his shirt. His gaze lingers a moment on Bryong. "The King awaits your
presence."
Quickly the Prince leads Kinewyn, Bryong, Azor and Dromen through the castle. The halls are made of the
same stark white marble as the exterior. On the castle's inside each block is etched with the flowing designs
of the Kingdom's greatest masons. The halls are wide and high with the same mammoth scale Azor had seen
on the outside of Buelgwarn Edge Castle. Thick double doors are swung open by two of the King's knights.
Azor can tell by the men's posture and bearing that these knights are of a higher caliber than those sent to
bring Kinewyn’s band back. The inner sanctum of the King is all that one would expect. A sprawling hall
with but one seat - a glorious and striking throne. Twenty guards line the room on each side. The Prince
makes his way to the throne and without hesitation interrupts one of the King's mages. "Father, I present
those you have been waiting for, Kinewyn’s band."
A thin pale man dressed in the fine silks covered in runes moves out of the Prince's way, but his face shows
his disapproval. King Trajon stands. " Kinewyn, it has been far too long. Please, please accept my apologies
for bringing you here are under these conditions. I assure you I would never have resorted to these methods if
the matter is not of the utmost importance." The King steps from his dais and opened his arms to embrace
Kinewyn.
Kinewyn raises his hand, blocking the King from moving forward. "I do not embrace my captor, King
Trajon. I will hear no more of your word play. You have taken my band as captives. You will treat with us as
captives, not as guests who came of our own free will."
In unison blades flash from the King's knights scabbards. In instant response, Azor draws Klage from his
back. Bryong circles to Azor's back and a bright blaze of blue light crackles between her hands. Kinewyn
stands still.
"Hold your steel!" King Trajon shouts, "You are insolent even for an elf. I brought you here for discourse,
not for bloodshed. Hear my words and I give you the oath of a king that you will be free to go."
Kinewyn thinks and finally nods slightly. Azor stands from his battle crouch and sheaths Klage. The now
brilliant corona of energy collected between Bryong's hands dissipates slowly. The King's mages are still
mumbling and gesturing.
"Shut up, you fools," the Prince shouts. The knights do not cease their muttering despite the Prince's outrage.
Bryong's display of latent power hints at the veracity of her reputation as one of the most powerful magic
users on Thrycion. The King's mages are among the most learned and experienced magic users alive, yet they
practice the old methods of spellcasting. Each day the mages spend several hours memorizing the spells they
might need to cast. In order for a mage to cast a spell the complex liturgy of the spell has to be spoken along
with exact hand gestures. Once a spell is cast the memory of it is wiped from the mage's mind and he will
have to memorize it again the next day. Bryong practices as a Freecaster. She can instantly call reserves of
energy to cast custom spells in seconds. No memorization, no spoken liturgy. Light Bringer was the first
Freecaster on Thrycion and only a handful of men and women had followed him since his death half a
century past. So far only those with rare, strong innate magical ability could do what Light Bringer taught in
the Book of Free Magic.
Azor watches Prince Ayson fume, glaring back and forth between Bryong and his father's mages. Bryong's
open display of her ability obviously galls the Prince. Azor shifts himself between Bryong and the Prince and
bare his two pug fangs. Kinewyn shakes his head, "Speak, Trajon. I do not wish to be here any longer than
necessary."
The King hesitates. He has put men to death for affronts less than this. Azor can see the King's frustration. It
is obvious the King is not used to dealing with anyone so heedless of his power. Azor knows, however, that
Kinewyn shows no man more respect than he has earned.
Finally the King turns and settles himself on the white marble throne. "As King I am responsible for trade
between Taltherin and the powerful kingdoms that border her. I presently have scouts in every corner of
Thrycion looking for unique and valuable goods to import to Taltherin or for new ports or city for the goods
Taltherin wishes to export. As you know to the north of Taltherin is the nomad kingdom, Grenfell. I believe
you know the half-orc, Brugon Slace. He leads a hundred clans now in Grenfell. A cruel and tactless beast
with little appreciation for the advancements we have achieved in Taltherin. He is uncultured and monsters
walk the lands of his kingdom without being checked. Yet I have kept the peace with Brugon for fifteen
years. My father was at war with Grenfell clan leaders for the last decade of his life."
The King pauses and nods at his mages. Two immediately exit the room. "Now that peace may be threatened.
One of my trade scouts returned from Grenfell four months ago with a very interesting item. As your
Freecaster well knows living and non-living material can only hold enchantment for a number of days
determined by the magical ability of the enchanter."
Azor looks to Bryong and she nods to both the Golon and Kinewyn, confirming the King's words. The two
mages return. Between them floats a beam of wood, a choice piece of lumber Azor guesses was cut from the
center of a large tree. "This is Hearan lumber," the King smiles. "Cut from the Hearan forest in Grenfell. This
wood, unlike any my mages have ever found holds enchantment permanently. The levitation spell that my
trading scout cast on this beam should have lasted three days. The spell is as strong today as it was when it
was cast four single crest moons ago. One of the Grenfell clans believes the Hearan forest is sacred. I have
sent several envoys to buy the wood in volume from Brugon but he has sent them all back empty handed. I
need this wood. Fortunately for you and Brugon, I am a patient man. I have brought you here to commission
you to fell three mature trees from the Hearan forest and return the wood along with three saplings. If you
will help, Kinewyn, it will avoid a war which could be devastating for both Taltherin and Grenfell."
Azor waits for Kinewyn to answer but Bryong shakes her tousled red curls. "What do you need the wood for
exactly?"
Kinewyn answers the Freecaster's question. "Ships," the old elf says plainly. "Flying ships. I saw the
foundation of a ship yard in Edge City as we passed through. I wondered why you would have a ship yard
more than 3,000 man-strides from the nearest river."
King Trajon brushes his brilliant white cape from his knee. “Flying ships. Can you imagine the changes such
a creation would bring? My mages assure me that they will be able to increase the rate of growth on the
saplings you will bring me. Taltherin will show the world its first flying ship in two months from now and
before the next harvest we will have a merchant fleet. These ships will increase trade ten fold in Taltherin
and enable us to trade with kingdoms that are out of our reach now."
Kinewyn shakes his head. "Brugon Slace is no more of a fool than I. He will not treat with you because he
knows that if you are to build a fleet of flying ships you would use it for more than merchant runs. You
would defeat his clans in the span of a dozen full single crest moons. In fact, a fleet of flying ships would
enable you to win back those tracks of forest lost to the Krahame kingdom in the south. I can imagine the
changes that flying ships would bring about. Trade is not your primary concern, Trajon."
"You will coat that tongue of yours with respect, elf, or I will carve it from your mouth," Prince Ayson's hand
goes to his side where he finds no sword.
Azor ignores the threat. He could tell by the Prince's quick fury that Kinewyn had the right of it. Azor
watches as King Trajon hisses for Ayson to be silent.
"My son has his grandfather's wrath. I on the other hand have tempered that fury into reason. Look Kinewyn
at what I have done with Taltherin. My people eat and build and prosper. I share my wealth and do not
tolerate the brutish lords that served my father. I have kept the peace with Brugon Slace for ten years. I even
allowed that fat harlot to the South to take back tracks of forest that were rightfully won from her husband in
order to avoid bloodshed. But I am neither a fool nor weak. I see that this wood will change Thrycion. The
man with the foresight to acquire it and put it to its proper use will have an incredible advantage over all foes.
I have the strength to take what I would have. But I do not wish to accomplish a task by force if it can be
avoided. I can have fifty thousand swords on their way to Grenfell to take those trees in five days. Tens of
thousands will die. Or I can send you. What will it be, Kinewyn?"
Kinewyn rests his thumbs in his high belt, close to twin silver daggers, "The decision to send 50,000 swords
into Grenfell is no one's but your own. I am a thief but I steal only what has already been stolen. There is no
dispute that the wood is within lands rightly controlled by the Grenfell clans. I will not steal the wood or the
saplings for you." Kinewyn meets King Trajon's eyes and wordlessly echoes his resolution.
"Well, Kinewyn you force my hand-"
Kinewyn shakes his head, "No more. I will hear no more. I have listened with open ears and an open heart. I
now press upon you your own words. My band is free to go."
Azor reads the King's hesitation. He watches as the King's eyes scan the three adventurers before him. Azor
does the math with him. Kinewyn is now into his third century but he moves like silk in the wind, fluid and
unpredictable. The old thief can certainly be counted on for the death or maiming of five to ten of King's
knights. Bryong is always hard to gauge because her efficiency is limited by only two factors, her
imagination and her force of will. Azor has seen her turn slashing swords into harmless sprays of water, lock
warriors' feet to the ground and even throw a man into the sky, making him ascend though he were falling up.
Azor does not even consider how many King's knights he can fell. These guards have no ropes, nets or
chains. How can they possibly stop him? Only the mages are a threat to him and he can believes he can crush
their frail bodies before they can mumble and gesture out a spell of any significance. Certainly the present
King's knights and mages are enough to kill at least Bryong or Kinewyn, but not both. Azor will not let a
man leave the room alive if either of his band mates fall, be he king, prince, knight or mage. Azor's pug fangs
turn up slightly as he sees the King come to the realization that 40 of his finest knights and five of his mages
are not a match for three of Kinewyn ' band.
"You are free to go. So be gone," King Trajon says from behind clenched teeth.
Kinewyn raises the hood of his cloak, taking his time. His soft green leather boots make not a sound on the
white marble as he leaves. Azor and Bryong fall in behind. Only after Kinewyn is past every one of the
King's knights does he turn. "How many envoys did you send to Brugon Slace, Trajon?"
"Three."
"Did Brugon harm any of these envoys?"
The king looks up, "The first was sent back unharmed with nothing more than Slace's refusal to sell me the
wood. The second was sent back shaved bald, the traditional shaming of a Grenfell warrior. The envoy's
guards were stripped of arm and armor. The third envoy is still missing."
"I will serve as your envoy," Kinewyn says. "I guarantee I will return with enough wood to build three flying
ships. Perhaps I will be able to set up terms to buy more wood in the near future."
King Trajon stands and walks the length of the hall. "What is your price?" The King's mages close behind
him like a cape. Azor circles forward, closer to the King. "We cannot discuss a price for services I will render
until you have paid for services I have already provided. You owe each member of my band 1,000 gold per
day for the journey. 16,000 gold. You owe me a one day advisors fee of 5,000 gold. 21,000 gold total."
King Trajon laughs. Kinewyn turns and walks. "Wait!" King Trajon's laughter disappears like water on a hot
stone. "Vischkin, fetch the Elf's sum from the Counter. Be quick about it."
Kinewyn continues as Vischkin shuffles away. "My price for bringing you the wood is the return of all of the
Craster forest to the Wood King and the return of the Banal Canyons to the Prathan kingdom."
The king frowns, "That is hundreds of walks of land that thousands of Taltherin men died to obtain. And why
would you concern yourself with anything in the Prathan kingdom?"
Azor watches Bryong size up the mages behind the king, capturing the runes and symbols that adorned their
robes.
Kinewyn straightens his lithe form. "My price is my price and my reasons are my reason. I have made you an
offer. Accept or refuse my terms as you will, Trajon . But be warned. You speak of thousands dead and war
raging between Taltherin and Grenfell. Thousands will die if you clash with Brugon Slace. But whose
thousands? You underestimate Grenfell because they have not built castles and do not trade in the farthest
ports of Thrycion. But war is not a cultured pursuit and I doubt you would understand some of the advances
Slace has made in the craft of war."
Azor watches the King as Kinewyn ' words wash over him, sees the King push his doubts down so they will
not show on his face. "I will give the Craster Forest to the wood King and triple the 'fee' I am paying you. But
I will not return the Banal Canyons to the Prathan kingdom. You ask too much. This my final offer,
Kinewyn. Far more than three ships lumber is worth."
Azor tenses knowing Kinewyn ' answer before it comes. Kinewyn has set his price. He would not have done
so if he were in the mood to negotiate. From behind an ornate curtain near the throne Vischkin enters.
"I will take your final offer as a refusal of my price. So be it. I also decline your offer. With my fee, I will
take my leave."
King Trajon bristles at the old elf's words. "You forget your place, Kinewyn. I am ruler of this kingdom and
you will not mock my hospitality. You will act as my envoy on my agreed terms and thank me for my
generosity. I have suffered enough of your insolence."
Kinewyn flips his cloak. It flutters open. A graceful flick of his wrist sends a small pouch over his shoulder.
The bag arcs and jingles lightly in the air before being sliced open by one of Kinewyn’s thrown daggers.
Gold coins and a few gems spray out. Kinewyn ' action takes only a second, a second in which every eye in
the room follows where the old elf directs. Simultaneously, Azor moves one long stride and extended his
mammoth arm. When the King's knights and mages raise their eyes from the spectacle Azor is holding the
King at arms length by the head. Three stone fingers thick as loaves of bread grip King Trajon's head like a
fat melon. Trajon's feet dangle inches above the floor. Azor unleashes a startling gravely roar. The sound
stuns the knights in the room and freezes their arms reaching for steel. Azor follows Kinewyn, stepping
backward toward the door.
Kinewyn voice is clear and forceful. "If one blade is unsheathed Azor will crush your King's head. Baron
Grell, clear our path. We will exit the castle by the Cliff Gate. Move!"
Chapter 04


Twitter Inbox (Private account)
snowripper_z - Buy every snowboard you can find in the Philly area, ship them all over night to the motel I
am at in North Carolina.
14 minutes ago from TweetDeck
snowripper_z - I am going through the gate at 4 PM so make sure FedEx can deliver by 1:30 PM.
13 minutes ago from TweetDeck
extrudude72 - 150 be enough? Why you want em?
12 minutes ago from Seesmic Desktop
snowripper_z - 150 is cool if that is all you can get. The dwarves at Bar Cargourn Mountain have taken to
snowboarding after a long day in the mines.
9 minutes ago from TweetDeck
extrudude72 - I am going to have to pay full retail for these on such short notice.
8 minutes ago from Seesmic Desktop
snowripper_z - NP. The dwarves are paying in 8 ounce gold and platinum coins. Give the guys at
@boardstiff a generous tip.
7 minutes ago from TweetDeck


        Like statues the King's Lions stare back at the group, each man now gripping the black gold hilt of his
sword. Not one dares pull his blade.
"You will no- aaaaeuuu!" The King's protests turn into a squalling shriek as Azor gives his head the gentlest
squeeze. The mages move back. Baron Grell eventually moves back as well but doubt covers his visage.
Azor is halfway down the muraled hall following Kinewyn and Baron Grell when he feels Bryong's absence.
He stops and turns to see the redhead throw an open hand strike to a King's mage's chest. She snatched the
fee satchel from him as the mage heaves to breath. Bryong curses at Azor to keep moving as she bolts toward
him.
The distance to the Cliff Gate is covered with Azor shaking the King at servants and guards and knights,
Kinewyn threatens Baron Grell's life if he misleads them and Bryong sprinkles gold coins and curses as she
runs. The group bursts out of the castle into the sunlight. Azor growls. The castles' parapets are crammed
with archers drawing down on Kinewyn and Bryong. Azor shakes King Trajon like a rag doll toward the sky
and the lines of tensed arrows lower.
This rear courtyard is a quarter the size of the castle's front courtyard. Although the yard is well groomed it is
apparent that it has seen few visitors. The front courtyard is frequently used as a training ground, a staging
area, a temporary market and even a carnival site at times. The rear yard seems empty, purposeless. "Open
the Cliff Gate," Kinewyn bellows. At the same time he points to the corner of the yard and Bryong runs to
get a coil of rope from a ready war wagon parked there.
"You will not leave this castle with our king," the Gate Keeper stands on the edge of the crenellations
without a thought that 120 feet of open air loom below him.
Kinewyn speaks as Bryong lashes the end of the rope to Azor's free hand, "I have no intention of leaving
with your King. The freecaster and I will descend three tree heights down the cliffs and none of your men
will pursue. When we are both at that safe distance Azor will release your King and follow us. I warn you
now that if we are pursued men will lose their lives."
"You will pay for his, thief," Prince Ayson rushes up behind the Gate Keeper breathing hard. "Today or
tomorrow, thief, I will personally make you pay."
Azor cannot help but snicker as Kinewyn ties the rope around his Elven waist without bothering to look up at
Ayson. The old elf hears revenge speeches as often as righteous men hear temple sermons. The gate is
clinking the last few yards to closing as Kinewyn jogs over the edge of the cliff. Twenty feet of slack plays
out before Azor gently tightens his stone fingers around the rope and slows Kinewyn ' descent.
Citizens found guilty of the worst crimes, those who preyed upon children or who attempted to harm the
King's family, are flung from the Cliff Gate. Their screams become inaudible hundreds of feet before they
strike the mist covered bottom.
Azor feels tension on the line as Kinewyn swings like a pendulum. The Golon knows the elf will work
quickly, the only way the old elf knows how to work after a life devoted to the thieving arts. Azor remembers
from his previous visit to the castle that the land he stands on, the land bearing the Cliff Gate is only a thin
ten foot ledge of rock. The gate is extended out thirty feet past the body of the cliffs. This is by design. Four
centuries passed, King Fasilge had men chip away hundreds of tons of rock around Buelgwarn Edge Castle
to make entry attempt from the cliffs a foolish, deadly task. Azor plays out another fifty feet of line and feels
the rope go slack. Kinewyn has reached the point where he can climb on the cliff rocks independently. Relief
passes through the granite titan. Anyone of the archers could have cut the line with a single arrow.
Bryong flings the satchel, heavy with gold, over Azor's shoulder lashing it to his massive torso, "Come as
soon as the rope goes slack." Her voice is quiet but Azor hears her concern. Bryong is running as soon as the
words are spoken. She disappears over the cliff using the same thick rope Kinewyn was lowered on. Azor
turns and glares at the crenellations holding Trajon up like a banner. He feels the stillness and the tension. It
pulses out of the humans surrounding him in waves. Azor knows that what they feel now is intense fear,
palpable anxiety. These feelings are almost alien to Azor. Even in the adventure filled years Azor has spent
with Kinewyn he can think of only one time when he has felt fear. He is impregnable, an immovable obstacle
and an irresistible force. While one well placed arrow could kill Bryong or Kinewyn every archer here could
fire on Azor and it would leave nothing more than thin white scratches on his black granite hide.
The rope goes slack again signaling Bryong is safe. Azor stamps the rope under his massive foot and jerks
his arm free. A loud, dangerous snap rings across the rear courtyard and the torn rope darts over the cliff's
edge like a retreating snake. Azor faces Prince Ayson and backs slowly toward the cliff edge still holding the
King in his unbreakable grasp.
"You think we will let you simply climb down?" The clink of chains echo across the courtyard as six King's
knights drop from the low stations on the cliff gate. Kinewyn would warn them, Azor thinks even as he
began to move, warn them to retreat from the actions that will cause their deaths. Azor has learned that trying
to protect humans from their own foolishness is like trying to forge a sword with a candle's flame. With vigor
Azor flings King Trajon ten yards into the courtyard. Before the screaming monarch hits the ground Azor
charges through the Kings knights sending armored bodies, chains and dust flying like chaff. He was leaps
into the air, staring at the misty clouds below when he feels the metallic snap of a coupling around his ankle.
Gravity gives him no time to ponder this occurrence, instead clasping his massive frame and pulling him
down. Azor can not see the lone King's knight above holding onto the quickly disappearing chain, looking
back at his fellow knights wondering why they were not scrambling to grab the chain, to help him hold the
stone monster. Azor feels a tug as the chain snatches the poor soul over the edge to follow him. The jagged
cliff edge that Kinewyn and Bryong had descended to is yards away from Azor now. Kinewyn and Bryong
grow larger in his vision as he and his chain-clutching chaser plummet.
Bryong is working fast. Azor is not surprised by the brilliant flash of light that surrounds Bryong as she
draws power into herself. She catches him with unseen, powerful hands five yards before he smashes into
her, Kinewyn and the rock face. He is frozen, all of gravity's effects unnaturally, abruptly halted. Azor's heart
quickens as he hears the chain still tinkling, singing a giddy song of descent. Bryong is directly below him,
sweat glistening on her face as she holds all two tons of him in mid-air.
Azor knows it is unlikely Bryong sees the falling King's knight. The near blinding points of light where her
eyes should be indicate that she sees only the components of her spell. The unfortunate knight was thrown
into a hard arc when he was launched from the Cliff Gate by Azor's weight. He now sails past the three band
mates screaming. Kinewyn recognizes the danger immediately and flings himself at Bryong, taking both of
them out of Azor's drop path. As Kinewyn touches Bryong her spell immediately dissipates.
Azor is ready for the abrupt continuation of his fall. Even as his stone body drops the last few yards to the
ground he is drawing Klage. The mammoth black blade is whirling in his thick fingers a split second after he
takes the jouncing hit of the mountain. He drives the sword deep into the stone at his feet and clasps the
leather bound hilt with both hands. His stone leg, thicker than a ship's mast, jerks back as two hundred
pounds of human at the end of sixty feet of chain runs out of slack. Azor grunts and clutches his sword,
anchoring himself.
The sound is faint but horrifying. A wet, bone-crunching smack proclaims the knight's death. Azor rises and
puts his back into drawing Klage out of the mountain. He stoops again and lays his hand on the deep slit his
blade had made in the mountain. He speaks his apology softly for the wound he has given his brother.
Bryong coughs as Kinewyn helps her to her feet. Dark rings of sweat are visible on the edges of her leathers.
"Well, done. Both of you. We must move quickly," Kinewyn motions for the two to move along the edge of
the rock face.
A fast, hard swipe of Klage and the steel coupling around Azor's leg breaks and rattles over the edge. Bryong
starts and her knees buckle beneath her. Azor scoops her up before she hits the ground.
She coughs and raises a hand. "We can't move quickly. The tunnels in the cliffs are a maze. Get too deep and
we might not ever find our way out. You know that, Kinewyn."
Azor huddles Bryong close to his chest as she speaks and tries to shush her, calm her. Kinewyn slips passed
both of them moving toward the cave opening a few yards down. Azor follows reluctantly.
"Coveark will find us. I'm sure he is working his way down from the castle through the tunnels now,"
Kinewyn ' face shows no sign of doubt.
"No Kinewyn, he is not coming. Since we left the village I have been able to feel him close. I have not been
able to find his presence since we entered the castle." Bryong is adamant.
Now Kinewyn stops. Azor reflexively turns away from Kinewyn’s glare, shielding Bryong. There is deep
concern in his eyes. "Bryong, how can you find Coveark?" Azor grunts as white arrows shatter on a ledge
near them. Bryong is a freecaster which by definition meant her abilities are constantly in flux. Azor knows
Kinewyn is uncomfortable with Bryong using her power to track Coveark.
The sound of more arrows shattering on the cliff edge outside the cave shakes them. "Move, move,"
Kinewyn urges. Azor plunges into the cave opening. Kinewyn passes them and has a torch burning before
they reach the first bend. "Pay attention, Azor. My old mind won't remember our turns."
Azor ignores the old thief's self-denigration. He has watched Kinewyn showcase his age and weaknesses to
the world but he works close enough with the elf to disbelieve Kinewyn is ever at a disadvantage he does not
counter for. The limitations of age Kinewyn suffers are greatly outweighed by experience, keen intelligence
and calculated caution. Azor discerns that Kinewyn is not being cautious here. Before they move on Azor
walks Bryong to the cave wall where she quickly scratches a directional arrow. The three move fast, deeper
and deeper into the red tan cave tunnels. Four turns, six turns, ten.
"Slow down, Kinewyn," Bryong is recovering enough to walk now. She eases herself out of Azor's cold
arms. "Do you have any idea where we are?"
"Not really. And that is the point King Trajon's men won't know where we are either. Coveark will find us.
Stop nattering, young one. Trust in your band mates the way we have trusted in you time and again."
The three walk for a short time and then break for a meal. Bryong and Kinewyn share their small portions of
nuts, wine and dried berries. Azor shares their conversation and companionship, needing no organic
sustenance. They are gathering there packs when Kinewyn signals with his hand that he hears someone
approaching. They wait, hands on hilt, as a figure rounds the nearest rock face and draws closer.
Bryong breathes a sigh of relief. "Oh, Coveark, thank the Light I was wrong."
The figure ignores her words and comes out of the shadows pulling his hood back. The streaks of silver hair,
the weathered skin and the eyes that hold two of Coveark's life times stop Bryong in her tracks.
Kinewyn put his hand on Bryong's shoulder to settle her. "Dromen," the old elf speaks the name without
emotion.
Coveark's father nods and meets Kinewyn ' eyes. "The King's knights are close but you will certainly avoid
them by continuing to head into the barghests' coves. Follow me if you don't want to be used as food for
infant barghests." Dromen moves away and as soon as his back is turned Azor can not tell the man from his
son.
"It is Coveark's task to lead us," Bryong's voice echoes off the damp walls.
Dromen stops and turns, "Coveark is not here to perform the task that is expected of him? I can only imagine
how disappointing that is for you. I can only imagine." Dromen stares at Kinewyn as he answers Bryong's
question. Kinewyn does not look away but Azor wonders why his normal confidence is absent.
        Azor grumbles. "Lead on, Dromen. It is kind of you to help us." Azor sweeps Bryong and Kinewyn
forward and Dromen loses no time in leading.
Chapter 05


Glorflimwae
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Area - 3,485 km² (1,346 sq mi)
Population - Total 417,500
Ethnicity 77.5% Elven /22.5% Caucasian (Amish)

Members of Elders Council
Ariralo of Ikaran
Yenri Cexatuto
Elivetik Isykamol
Lotilfec Oxime
Modam Xarikeor

Glorflimwae is a village in the south west of Nohayaor on Thrycion. It is landlocked and borders the counties
of Anixa, Eroyab and Urona. It contains the unitary authority of Nohayaor.

Glorflimwae is characterized by its high downland and wide valleys. Thick Bressel Plain is famous as the
location of the ancient fey teleport circles that linked hundreds of elven villages for elven kings use millennia
ago.

Glorflimwae is unique among Nohayaor villages in its allowance of unlimited immigration of humans,
specifically Amish from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Millersburg, Ohio. As political leaders from Earth
have struggled to build political and/or social bonds with Thrycion elves, this one village has become a
success story in peaceful Elf / Human relations. The elves of Glorflimwae have encouraged immigration of
Amish families to their village because they respect Amish families’ quiet, peaceful, environmentally
observant lifestyles and because they desire to learn from Amish craftsmen and craftswomen, who the elves
of Glorflimwae believe surpass their own skills.


        The cool breeze common to Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the fall rustles Derek's stark black hair. He
firmly, carefully shuts the door to his gleaming, fully restored 1969 Camaro. Derek scans the yard of the
professor's three story Victorian. Two dozen college students with Greek letters on tees, windbreakers and a
few sweaters mill across the plush manicured lawn.
Derek flashes his "good to see ya" smile to one of his distributors as he makes his way round back. A sorority
girl from Chi Delta Alpha places a plastic cup full of whatever keg has most recently been tapped in his hand.
He takes it, hugs her and let her paw him anxiously. He grins at the frat boys as they envy his good fortune.
The coed completes searching him for weapons and gives him a quick kiss on the cheek. He brushes her
cheek with his open hand and then disappears into the packed house. Derek squeezes his way through the
throng gyrating to the latest hip-hop release. Derek notices the Professor has been careful to remove his more
delicate, valuable treasures from the various areas of his home.
Squeezing past another half dozen acquaintances, Derek finally makes it upstairs to the professor's study. The
dark oak door to the study looks like it belongs on the front door of the house - reinforced steel core with a
double dead bolt. Derek knows the door is just a part of what makes the professors study a practical panic
room. The mammoth door opens slightly and two waifish girls ran out giggling. Derek ignores the two and
enters shutting the door behind him. The room smells of patchouli oil, lilac and smoke. Professor Smith takes
a long drag and waits for Derek to sit in the plush burgundy leather chair across from him.
"Well?" Smith still has not blown any of the smoke he has taken in.
Derek leans forward, forearms on knees, "Forty-four grand. The customary 100% on the monthly 20 and I
made an additional twenty four beyond that. Twelve for me, twelve for you."
Smith remains silent for a moment and casually meets Derek's eyes. "Adequate." Smith takes the two
envelopes offered and lets them rest in his lap. "Choi believes you are handling for another." The statement is
made in a flat matter of fact tone. The accusation and the danger is clear to Derek.
"It is what you think that matters to me." Derek shifts upright.
"Of course," Smith smiles. "I think you are handling for someone else." Smith waits. He does not take his
eyes away from Derek's, waiting for a response.
Derek has not read the personal power guru texts the professor has but he knows an attempt at intimidation
when he saw one. He enjoys their silence until finally the professor sighs. "The risks you take are my risks. If
you are handling for someone else you must tell me, Derek."
Derek locks his eyes to the professor's. "The risks I take are yours. And now your risks are mine. I told you
that Lucas would be a problem. That's serious, what he pulled this month." Derek brushes at his black jeans.
"Dammit, Derek. Is that what this is about, Lucas? I told you Lucas is a necessary evil. Did you think you
would be my only go to guy forever? Generals have more than one officer, Derek. Business has been
growing. There is more product than you can physically handle-"
Derek interrupts. "I know business is growing. I got no problem with you bringing up new handlers if they
know what they're doing. You could have brought up Cado. I been telling you he has more talent than we are
using. This Lucas is an A-1 clusterfu-"
"Lucas brought me 68 large this month, Derek."
"That's short term thinking, Professor. Peter, been in Lucas's crew for eight months, shorted him three
benjie's and Lucas punished him by slapping his girlfriend right in front of him. And he still has Peter
working for him. Peter ain't gonna to let that pass. He ain't going to forget that. That kind of decision making
threatens everything you have built."
"Derek, I am afraid you cannot see past your own concerns. I have a business to grow and you choosing to
handle for someone else because you don't like my hiring choices- well, that is simply not acceptable. I am
going to give you one week to focus your attention on handling the product I provide you and strip away
whatever distractions you have indulged in recently."
Derek shakes his head. It would happen tonight as he had expected.
Smith taps the armchair's rich fabric. "Do you understand me, Derek?"
Derek rises from his seat, walking to the door and opens it. He glances back, "You will regret not trusting
me, Smith." He closes the door and walked into the hallway. He stops for a moment and draws in a deep
breath, holds it and releases. He is ready.
He comes down the stairs to the main living room on the first floor and finds Lucas staring at him as he
descended. As he expected. Derek quickly finds Peter and Choi's positions.
Lucas grins and shouts, "Derek, I told you to stay away from the Beta Delta girls and here I am told you were
pawing up-"
Derek pushes two jocks aside roughly and walks directly up to Lucas, "Skip to the good part, Lucas. Go
ahead and draw your gun. I'm going to need it to kill you."
Silence wafts though the room like smoke. Lucas' face is ashen. Derek hears the rustle of a wind breaker
behind him and he blurs into motion. Derek smacks Lucas's across the face and snatches the ludicrous
chrome .45 auto from his jeans. No holster. What a dumb, sloppy bastard! He hauls Lucas around and uses
him as a shield against Choi, who is already firing. Bullets wiff past Derek while two bury themselves in
Lucas' leg and stomach. Derek lets the .45 blaze. Choi flinches. The back of his head sprays across the room.
The screams seem to travel slower than the coeds lunging for every exit.
Lucas slumps forward, losing breath. Derek pulls him up and he howls dryly in pain. Peter approaches, his
gun leveled on Derek. Derek pushed the .45 hard into Lucas' ribs. "Shoot him," Derek says to Peter.
"No, no," Lucas pleads struggling to make the words clear.
Peter stopped in front of Lucas, rage clear on his face, "Shut up! Whose gonna hit who, Lucas? Huh, huh?"
Peter hauls his 9 mil back and smacks Lucas across the face with it. A tooth falls to the blood soaked carpet.
"How do you like getting smacked in the face, Lucas? How do you-"
Derek can hear the perfectly tuned whine of an Italian motorcycle in the front yard. "Finish him now. We
don't have time for this!" Derek yells.
"Oh, we got time for this, Derek," tears streak Peter's face. He levels the gun at Derek's face now. "Keep your
ten grand, Derek. I'm gonna have my say." The gun stays level with Derek's face but Peter's eyes drops to
Lucas. "We were gonna get married, Lucas. I loved her and you raised a hand to her!" Peter's gun drops
down to Lucas.
"I'm s-s-" Lucas' body wracks as he tries to spit the words past his blood and pain, "I'm sorry."
"What?" Derek watches Peter's face go flat, surprise leveling rage. Derek closes his eyes for half a second.
You want something done right, you do it yourself. Derek raises the .45 quickly and fires his last bullet
straight into Peter's temple. Peter drops like steer under a slaughter bolt. Rushed, Derek lets the .45 drop and
easily pushes Lucas all the way down to his knees. "I hate pikers, Lucas. Meet you in hell." Derek twists
Lucas' head with speed and force, snapping his neck. Derek waits for Lucas' body to go limp before releasing
him.
"Lets go, lets go." Marcus sweeps into the room careful to raise his pistol when he moves passed Derek.
"Cado and Monk have their bikes out front. I got the jeep. Where's your piece?"
Derek breaths a sigh of relief even as the hint of sirens lick his ears. "I used that shiny toy," Derek makes for
the door knowing his crew is ready. "I'll take Monk's bike and he'll go with you in the Jeep. Cado will run
with me out of town in case we do get pursued. You and Monk move the reserves in case the Professor
knows more than I think he does."
Marcus tucks the chromed .45 into his pants and nods as they walk out onto the front porch. Cado sits loose
on his motorbike, facing out toward the street. Monk holds up his 1,200 cc racing bike next to Cado's, full
face helmet on the seat. Derek dons the helmet and waves Monk off to join Marcus in the Jeep. Derek smiles
despite the now louder wail of Lancaster police sirens. His crew is there, efficient and ready when he needs
them. Cado leads the group out, slow and casual. The sirens are still three or four blocks away. No sense
showing the signs of flight before it is necessary. Derek has walked away from many crime scenes when
running would have had him shackled.
He watched as Marcus and Monk turn off onto Spruce Lane. Cado leads him down Roland. The fall leaves
catch the moonlight elegantly. Another locker key rests in his jacket breast pocket. One hundred grand split
between the three. Cado will do right by Derek's crew. He will also use his stake to replace Derek's influence
in the city. Cado is strong and ready. Derek soaks in the visions of suburban sprawl overcoming the Amish
countryside. He is unsure how he knows he will never see Lancaster again. He let the pristine Amish
farmland fall back as he steers with one hand and checks his mobile with the other. Stephen's text message
glows bright, "Meet me in Atlanta tomorrow night".
Chapter 06


Foliage for Brisglanx Copse
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Foliage for Brisglanx Copse”, released October 2013, is a film by elven director Fiorilla of Treselteng. The
film is based on the true story of Kiperfidlan, a mentally challenged Thrycion halfling. The film shows the life
and unforturnate death of Kiperfidlan, who famously extended his personal tradition of collecting leaves for
the members of his village to a band of goblins and gnolls who inhabited a cave close to his home. Shot in
sepia tone and eschewing any translation of the halfling, goblin or gnoll languages, the film was critically
acclaimed, yet commercially unsuccessful.

The film is of note because it is the first film to be exclusively directed, acted and produced by Thrycionians
that has won Oscar awards. In early 2014, “Foliage for Brisglanx Copse” swept the Oscars winning Best
Picture, Best Director and Best Actor in a Supporting Role.


         Stephen exhausts his resources, his mind and his body traveling from Milwaukee, to Atlanta in less
than 36 hours. The obstacles to his travel and sacrifices of comfort are meaningless to him. Nine years of
B&B play, studying every rule book and source book as though they were sacred text have made Christopher
Korbach a revered mentor in Stephen's mind. Korbach created the world, the world that mattered most to
Stephen - Thrycion. Stephen read Korbach's story in RPG magazines. He cross-referenced what he learned
there with interviews Korbach had given business magazines concerning his game company (Tactical
Exchange Gaming). In 1969 Korbach dropped out of Yale to design a game. Korbach lived in an abandoned
warehouse, eating primarily chicken noodle soup while he wrote five journals on the world of his creation,
Thrycion. The first journal covered the lands and rulers of Korbach's world. The second and third journals
covered creatures and weapons of Thrycion. The fourth journal covered the magic systems of the world. The
fifth Journal was an exception. While the first four journals were hand written, the fifth journal was a
meticulously typed - a rules system, completing the first roleplaying game ever created.
Stephen had read all of the Journals in their original form (having downloaded pirated scans from
peer-to-peer file sharing networks). Stephen had not been born when Blade & Bolt was released in 1971
by Tactical Exchange Gaming. He was just entering his teen years in the mid nineties when Blade &
Bolt was king of the quarter billion dollar roleplaying game industry that Korbach had fathered. In the early
nineties dozens of RPGs were vying for market share. Stephen bought the core rule books for most released
RPGs, just to see how the rules system varied from Korbach's initial B&B rules system. None of the released
RPGs supplanted his passion for the original RPG, however. He studied Korbach's work the way a Rabbi
studies the Torah.
The trip from Milwaukee to Atlanta does not go well for Stephen. He knows exactly how to travel across
light forest without tiring a horse while making sure to watch for elf trail markings or orc hunting tracks. He
has studied this. Spur of the moment purchases of electronic tickets for red eye flights and taxi trips with fast
speaking Hindus are proving challenging. His stay at an Atlanta four-star hotel (that Stephen chose because
of proximity to the mental institution) goes awry quickly. Stephen does not known that a skilled thief can
cleanout two suitcases, a laptop, PDA, digital camera and a wallet in the time it take to get a bucket of ice
from down the hall.
"I just need another couple of hours to reach my friends in Milwaukee and then they will wire me some
money. Please, the clothes on my back are all I have," Stephen leans on the marble countertop.
The front desk clerk smiles crookedly. "Well, the credit card you reserved the room with is now stolen,
correct?" Stephen runs his fingers through hair and groans.
"How much does he owe?" Stephen turns to see who has asked the question. Derek grins at his friend and
reaches for his wallet.
The clerk looks down at the screen in front of him, "The room is $140 and $80 is our standard for
incidentals." Stephen notices that the "sir" the clerk used with him when he booked the room is now gone
from the clerk's carefully chosen words.
Derek places bills on the marble counter, "Here is $300 in cash. That should take care of the room and any
porn flicks he orders tonight. All square?"
The clerk looks at Derek's long black hair and black leather jacket. He hesitates but then his relief to have the
headache of the paper work of the stolen credit card and the evening room switch taken off his plate win him
over.
"Very good. Let me cut you some new room keys."
Stephen takes the room keys and smiles back at Derek. "Thanks for coming. Obviously, I need your help."
Derek walks with Stephen back to the room and Stephen explains that they should wait until they are out of
the halls before he tells him why he asked him to come 750 miles in a day.
The room is comfortable and clean and Stephen is able to recount Marcia's story of Korbach's being
committed to a mental ward because of his statement that Thrycion was a real world that he visited and then
wrote an encyclopedia and then disguised the encyclopedia as a roleplaying game.
"Derek, I think it's true. I think Thrycion is real and Christopher Korbach really went there. Now I want to
go. I want to go to see Christopher Korbach tonight and ask him how he got to Thrycion and then I want to
go to Thrycion myself."
Derek shifts in the deep, umber leather chair and pushes the ottoman away as he sits forward. "Stephen, if
you actually go to Thrycion that world won't exist in the form of structured combat rounds where you lose hit
points. You couldn't handle a plane trip and an overnight stay in Atlanta with losing everything you have.
Everywhere you would go on Thrycion you will have to walk. You're a hundred pounds overweight,
Stephen. Thrycion will eat you alive."
Stephen looks hurt for moment. The weight comment hits hard. "Maybe you're right. That's why I'm not
planning on going alone."
Derek shakes his head vigorously. "Going? Stephen, come on. This is a wild goose chase. You're letting your
imagination get away from you."
"We'll see Derek. Now obviously, I could you use your help getting all this done. I know you think this is all
crazy and that is why I'm asking you as a friend to help me."
"You are my friend, Stephen. I guess if this were something sensible and easy you wouldn't have to ask as a
favor. I'll give you three days. What is our next action?"
"Wait, wait, Derek. I have to be honest. I tapped out my bank account to get down here over night and I make
jack from my Dorm Monitor job. It could take me a couple months to pay to you back for the room and -"
Derek shakes his head, "Now you should feel weird about asking me to help you get to another world. But
don't feel weird about the money. That is the one thing that's not a concern to me in this whole picture. Wait a
minute; are Cynthia and Max still at GameCon?"
Stephen breaths a sigh, "Yes, I didn't even tell them I was leaving. I was just so laser focused on getting
down to Atlanta to see Korbach."
Derek walks to the other side of the room and snags a bottled water from the mini-fridge. "Give me their
mobile numbers and I'll arrange travel for them to meet us here by tomorrow."
"Why would you do that, Derek?"
"Why wouldn't I? They're part of our gaming group and if what you're saying turns out to be true we are
about to go to the world we've all been gaming in. I wouldn't want to be left behind."
Stephen pulls his foot up and places it on his knee and lean back into the soft leather of his chair, "What if
you're right and it's a wild goose chase?"
"Then you'll have some explaining to do, won't you, Gamemaster. Stephen, Cynthia and Max are part of your
crew and you don't leave your crew behind when you do something big. Now tell me how you plan to get
Korbach to tell you about Thrycion."
Derek and Stephen talk through the potential problems for another hour before turning in. Both are able to
sleep easily due to the layer of weary the day's travel has placed on them.
The next day begins with inspiring progress. Derek is true to his word. The money is not an issue. He drops a
cool grand on the morning shift guard at the mental ward and their audience with Korbach is arranged
without incident. Derek can tell Stephen is relieved that the mental ward Korbach has been sent to is clean at
least, and the halls are trafficked by patients that seemed engaged and active. Stephen looks at Derek with a
question on his face but Derek waves him off anxious not to alarm the guard with an unnecessary
conversation. The guard leads the two into a small, windowless room with only two chairs and a bare table.
Derek notices that all three pieces of furniture are bolted to the floor.
"You got 30 minutes, not a second longer." The guard closes the door as he exits.
Korbach is wearing an emerald green polar fleece. Salt and pepper lace through his beard and the ring of hair
around his temple. The top of his head is bald. Korbach looks quizzically at Stephen and Derek as Stephen
sits in the chair across from the game designer. "Did my daughter send you?"
"No, no Mr. Korbach, I, I -" Stephen gulps and then takes a deep breadth. "My name is Stephen Cairnhist and
I am a Blade & Bolt Gamemaster. I was told about what you said in Milwaukee, that Thrycion is a real
world and what happened to you because of that statement. I traveled immediately from Milwaukee to see
you today. I believe what you said. I believe that Thrycion is real. I've studied the world you wrote about in
AB&B for seven years. I know in my heart that everything you said is true."
"My daughter didn't send you." Korbach sits forward. "You're wrong. I've been under incredible stress this
year. I created roleplaying games and built the roleplaying game industry around TEG. Now some collectible
card game company is going to buy my company as a subsidiary. A subsidiary! My books don't sell because
gamers are busy playing in card tournaments, not to mention on-line gaming. I cracked at that convention. I
just said what I wished was true. I wish that Thrycion was real. I wish what's happening now wasn't real."
Stephen relaxes, "Mr. Korbach, I can recite sections from your Thrycion journals. When I read them for the
first time I could see it all in my head. I know now why the World Journals were submitted in battered
handwritten black books and the rule book was a typed manual. Those journals were written in Thrycion. I
know it. I'm here to... Mr. Korbach -"
Korbach stands, "Your wrong. You are a poster boy for all those church groups who say table-top roleplayers
can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality. This conversation is over."
Derek steps forward and shoves Korbach back into his seat, "Stephen, here is a dyed in the wool, spend every
dime, got all your books on a shelf-shrine kinda fan, Christopher. I hear you pissin' and moanin' cause
nobody's buying your game. Well, if I remember correctly, roleplaying games single handedly destroyed the
war gaming industries back in the early seventies. What goes around comes around, old man. Now, I don't
think it's too much to ask that you hear Stephen out unless it's ever so important that you get back to drinkin'
Koolaid and playing ping-pong with the rest of the loonies.
Korbach is silent and sizes Derek up. Derek gets a wicked grin suspecting Korbach will try to leave despite
the warning. Korbach turns reluctantly back to Stephen.
Korbach stares at Derek a moment, then drops his gaze. "What do you want, Stephen?"
Stephen looks back at Derek, "I'm sorry I didn't tell him to do-"
"What do you want?", Korbach repeats impatiently.
"Well, I - I mean - Can you - I want to know how it happened. How did you find Thrycion? It must have
been incredible."
Korbach is contemplative for a moment. His body relaxes and he leans onto the table. "It was May, 1968. I
look back now and that time is just... It's as though it evaporated. A big part of that is Alexa, my daughter.
Watching a child grow has a way of compressing time. This was before she was born. Back then I was a
sophomore at Harvard majoring in mathematics..."
Derek steps forward, "Skip the icing, Stephen here has your social security number memorized, I'm sure. Just
get to the Thrycion part."
Chapter 07


Droguszoqt
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dragon King of Zimbabwe

Reign - 8 August 2012 –present
Predecessor - President Robert Mugabe
House - House of Shryivwi

Droguszoqt is the Dragon King of Zimbabwe. He took power the day after he burned Zimbabwe’s
government structures and consumed President Robert Mugabe. A short-lived, limited military response from
Madagascar was rebuffed by Droguszoqt’s team of dwarven wizards. No developed nations supported the
UN’s request for military aid in the situation.

Human sacrifices to Droguszoqt began on 1 January 2013. The many tribes in Zimbabwe had been united by
Droguszoqt. When the dragon demanded that a single maiden be provided by the tribes for his consumption
each day the little resistance tribe members voiced was quickly silenced by tribal leaders who were pleased
with the wealth, commerce, medical aid and social structure the dragon had brought to Zimbabwe in a short
period of time.

It took 11 months for the UN to draft an international resolution against the human sacrifices occurring in
Zimbabwe. However, the resolution gained no traction as representatives from European, Asian and African
countries pointed out that while human sacrifices were occurring in Zimbabwe deaths from famine, disease,
child birth and violence had plummeted to rates that were all superior to the United States of America.


        Stephen looks ashamed, "Derek, please. I'm sorry Mr. Korbach, take your time..."
Korbach now seems more relaxed, "Well, I suppose I can expedite my story. May 3rd, 1968 I'm on spring
break from college and I'm crammed into a VW bus with five or six other hippies. It's the middle of the night
and we're in North Carolina heading toward a Vietnam War protest in DC. We've been driving a couple of
hours and well, those times were different. We were enjoying the herb of the time, enjoyed far too much
actually..."
Derek laughs, "Those times weren't that different."
Korbach shrugs, "Perhaps your right. Any way the minibus pulls over and we pick up what we thought was a
hitch hiker. A man dressed in thick dark robes joined us. He couldn't contain his surprise when the van
started moving and he spit out a string of incomprehensible words. I remember we all laughed for a while, we
thought he was just a bizarro, stoned, traveling hippy like the rest of us. We offered him some of what we
were smoking. He smelled it and handed it back. Then he clutched a huge sapphire at his neck and uttered
strange words. A blue light swirled from his mouth like tentacles, a thin strand touching each one of our
mouths and when he spoke we could understand him. His first question was 'What plane is this?' 'You're not
in a plane, you're in our peace bus, man!' The rest of the conversation was like that. We could understand his
words and he could under stand ours but we weren't talking about the same things. Anyway, the guy tired of
talking but he couldn't help staring out the window, watching the lights and the cars going by. Despite his
efforts he eventually fell asleep. We stopped only once during the night in a tiny town about 50 miles out of
DC. One of our group got off there. Everyone was so stoned they didn't care what was happening. We arrived
at the Vietnam protest in the morning and the sun and the fresh air woke the unusual traveler. Immediately he
clutched at his neck where his necklace had been and it was gone. His satchel was also gone. He demanded
to know who had stolen his talisman and spell book. We all just kind of looked at each other. He stormed off
into the protest crowd. I knew that the member of our group who left us at the gas up in the small town had
robbed him. I felt bad about the situation and so I followed him into the crowd to tell him. The area around
the reflecting pool was packed and I could just see the edges of his dark robe as he angrily shoved his way
through the crowd. Finally the crowd grew too thick and I thought I wouldn't be able to catch him because
the crush had stopped him from moving forward. Suddenly I heard a growl, like a bear had been loosed.
People flew backwards away from the traveler in a perfect circle around him. Two people were hurled into
the pool. I just stood agape like the rest of the crowd. The traveler looked around at all of us. I guess he was
looking for a different reaction, fear rather than amazement. He ran and the crowd parted for him. In a
moment he was gone. That was the last time I saw him.
Derek leans against the wall, "If that was the last time you saw him then how did you get to Thrycion?"
Korbach smiles and leans in closer, "Well, even as my brain clawed its way out of the night's drug induced
stupor I started to put the pieces together. Talisman, spell book, the spell the traveler cast. None of it was a
drug hallucination. The traveler was a warlock, I thought. I had seen some things from a girl I knew who
belonged to a coven. I hurried and caught a bus that would take me back to the small town where we gassed
up. Before the sun set I had tracked the thief's movements by questioning the townspeople. Turns out he sold
everything in the satchel to an antique shop. I got the shopkeeper to admit that he bought the satchel. He had
it on display and he did a lot to discourage me from buying it. Said that it was written in a completely
incomprehensible language. He finally quoted a price of three hundred dollars and that ended the discussion
because I had spent my last dime just getting to that town. I left and started hitching back to town. I hadn't
walked more than a mile when I saw the shopkeeper pass in an old pickup heading into town. He drove past
without a glance and as I drudged along wondering what this whole trip back here had been for it occurred to
me that the shopkeeper had been completely alone at the shop. I ran back to the shop and while I caught my
breath I built up my resolve to break into the shop and steal the satchel. The breaking in was easy. It was the
sixties and there were no alarm systems wired directly to police stations back then, not a small town shop at
least. I found the book right in the display case where it had been when I tried to get it earlier. I searched for
the backpack but I could not find it anywhere. I left and hitched a ride out of that town as fast as I could ,
heading back to the area where we picked the traveler up. I thought the antique dealer had been wrong when
he said that the writing in the spell book was incomprehensible. I could read and understand the writing but I
could also see that the text was not English or any other language I had seen. Actually I could only read and
understand it the way a sixth grader could read an advanced volume on quantum physics. I had my hitched
ride drop me off at the spot where we picked the traveler up. It was five in the morning and I hadn't eaten
anything for almost a day. I was able to determine that the traveler came through a portal in the mountain
from what I read in his spell book. I took one look at the mountain and new I couldn't climb it without
equipment and a guide. I hitched into town. I had no money to buy climbing gear even if it could be bought
in town. I started searching for somewhere I could pawn my watch for even a few bucks and came across a
group of local teens. I asked them if anywhere in town sold climbing gear and they told me you could buy
some gear at the hardware shop. They also remarked that I didn't look like much of a climber. We talked and
the teens must have liked me because they took me to see the best climber in town, an older brother of one of
the teens. I didn't have a dime to pay him but the boys must have sensed something special happening -
maybe they were just bored - because they convinced the older brother to take me up the mountain. The
guide was able to find the tracks of the man who had come through the portal quite easily. He had taken the
smoothest path down the mountain and he was not an experienced climber. The guide pretty much sherpa'd
me up the mountain to a cave where the trail of the traveler had begun. This cave contained the portal to
Thrycion. I knew I wanted to go through so I "
The door to the room opens abruptly. The guard motions for Derek to step out for a word.
Derek spreads his hands, "Give us a min-"
"Now!" the guard says with a hint of menace in his voice.
Derek frowns, "Let's talk in the hall."
Derek steps into the hall with the guard, closing the door behind him. Stephen turns back to Korbach.
"Please, give me the key to the portal right now before Derek comes back in. Mr. Korbach, I am going to
Thrycion. If you give me the key right now, I can protect the knowledge of how to open the portal. I have a
love for Thrycion, the same as you. Please give me the key right now.
Korbach gives Stephen the portal key to Thrycion.

THRYCION - APPROACHING GRENFELL, ONE HOUR AFTER FOOTFALL
    A cool breeze brushes across Bryong's cheek as she strokes the strong neck of her horse. She soothes
him as she struggles to successfully ignore Kinewyn and Dromen's conversation. Their argument over
kingdom politics has droned on for over an hour now and seems only now to be winding up.
"I assure you, elf, Brugon Slace will not accept an offer to buy the lumber of Grenfell's forests. Simply
because you desire to do so will be enough reason for him to refuse it to you," Dromen flicks a stone from his
path with his walking stick with a swift, single stroke.
Kinewyn scans the surrounding forest as he walks. "Did you find Brugon Slace to be difficult to bargain with
last time you were in Grenfell? I dare say he is not one to put too much stock in traditional diplomacy, and
why should he be. Grenfell is filled with monsters driven from the surrounding lands by adventurers and
mercenaries and knights. He has forged a kingdom where orcs and barbarians, and liches and werewolves are
considered citizens with rights and privileges. A precarious balance that your King Trajon would be unable to
manage."
Azor stops and draws Klage. He spreads his feet and sweeps the mammoth blade in front of him. Bryong
circles her horse and sees the disturbance the Golon is reacting to. Leaves rustle and branches twist back
before a figure flings himself from the trees onto the downward slope to the group's side. A somersault and
the figure stands.
"There are Planes Walkers not half a mile from here," the ranger, Coveark, brushes dirt from his emerald
cloak.
Bryong shrieks with joy, leaps from her horse and throws herself into a hug with the ranger.
"Good to have you back!" Kinewyn draws two daggers from under his cloak. "Lead on, ranger."
Dromen walks forward to greet his son but Coveark releases himself from Bryong's embrace and is up the
slope again before Azor has even lowered his blade.
"Four humans, they are not native to Thrycion." Coveark speaks without looking back at the group, keeping
his focus on the path ahead. His feet leave not a single blade of grass disturbed as he moves forward.
Bryong motions for Azor to shoo her horse off, to be found later, in case combat ensues when they approach
the Planes Walkers. She hustles to catch up to Coveark with the rest of her bandmates and Dromen in tow.
"They killed a Korg an hour ago high up on Noenficar Mountain," Coveark slows and smiles at Azor as the
giant makes his way up the path. "There is something wrong about the group. One of them is clearly a
fighter, based on his movement and bearing. I cannot determine what purpose the other members of the
group serve. Obviously, one of them is a sorcerer or mage since they planewalked to Thrycion."
"Curse you, Coveark. Stop," Dromen shouts and halts. "I have not seen you in three years, son. You can
honor your father by acknowledging my presence. Certainly you remember all I taught you of trackless travel
but you announce our approach to the Plane Walkers with your speech."
Coveark stops but does not move back toward his father.
Azor lets out a deep grumbling chuckle, “Kinewyn’s band does not sneak up on opponents when Azor
accompanies them." The Golon stretches his sapphire laced hand back down the path, indicating the branches
and twigs his five foot wide shoulders have sprayed to the ground.
"I am not sure why you are here father but I know why Kinewyn, my band leader, is heading toward
Grenfell. I will not spare a moment of progress toward Kinewyn’s goal for whatever foolishness you wish to
discuss. Now ready your sword to help us or head back to your king, father."
Kinewyn steps toward his ranger and raises a hand, "Your father has aided us, Coveark. Speak with respect
to the man who raised you and taught you well."
Coveark lowers his eyes, turns and heads toward the Plane Walkers, "Over this hill and they will be in view."
Coveark crests the hill and his band mates join him.
Below walking along a well-traveled dirt path Stephen, Max, Derek and Cynthia are engaged in
conversation. Azor crunches to a stop and the four gamers stop and look behind them.
Cynthia's eyes go wide and Derek shifts his pack off of his back, hand heading toward the compartment
carrying his Glock. Stephen raises a hand for him to stop and steps forward. Max steps back and stumbles in
a rut in the path.
Stephen raises his voice, "Greetings, citizens of Thrycion. I am Stephen... Of Earth. We mean you no harm."
Kinewyn looks to Bryong and she approaches Stephen's group with her hands outstretched.
"Everyone stay calm, she is a sorcerer. Look at the runes on her cloak and her spell component pouches. I
think she is going to cast a spell on us so we can communicate," Stephen keeps his eyes on Bryong as she
approaches.
Max stammers, "We can't let her cast on us." Max pulls one of the three Glock's Derek brought to Thrycion.
"Dammit, Derek. I told you not to give that to him," Stephen curses.
"Back up! Back up!" Max shouts at Bryong
Bryong stops in her tracks, "Kwee forsk tren nad feylte dweng mnoltre."
Bryong smiles, points at one of the pouches on her cloak.
Max pulls the trigger and shoots the freecaster through the shoulder. Bryong screams and Azor is in motion.
Derek and Stephen dive out of the way as the Golon charges down the small hill and hits Max full on. Max is
sent flying ten feet before he hits the dirt. Every rib on the right side of his torso is broken.
"Wenksyl gorth! Wenksyl gorth!" Kinewyn shouts. Daggers appear in his hands as he walks steadily down
toward the gamers and Azor. The rest of his band Dromen and Coveark begin to follow but the old elf stops
their progress with a level palm directed their way.
Azor unsheathes Klage and angles it inches from Cynthia's chin. She is frozen, wide eyed and speechless.
Stephen scrambles up and immediately puts his hands out, showing clearly that they are empty.
"Stop, stop. We do not mean to harm you. I am so sorry," Stephen steps toward Kinewyn and Azor. Max
groans and Derek glances to where his bag lays on the dirt path and to where Max's dropped Glock lies.
Kinewyn circles Stephen, moving him toward Azor.
Stephen raises his hands, "I have no weapons. Please, we did not come here to harm anyone."
Kinewyn’s right hand flickers and a silver dagger is replaced instantly with a small flask of blue-green glass.
Bubbles pop and appear inside the flask under the cork. Kinewyn bites the cork, spits it away and squats next
to Bryong. He pours the liquid, all of it, into her mouth. Bryong coughs, some of the liquid now on her chin.
She sits up.
Cynthia pulls her eyes away from the gigantic blade in front of her, "Stephen, that was a healing potion."
"Yes, it was. The sorcerer is probably down between 5 and 10 hit points," Stephen answers back.
Derek shakes his head.
"Treinank qwo folch yroken mesktrinx brelg wasopert megronx cheelt protorgn," Kynewyn stands and offers
a hand to Bryong as he instructs her.
Bryong takes the hand, pain evident on her face. She lets go and puts her hands on her calves, steadies
herself. Then she stands.
Derek braces himself.
Bryong raises her hands. White tendrils of light flow from each of her fingers, connecting slowly to the
mouths and ears of each of Stephen's group and Kinewyn’s band.
"I am Kinewyn, adventurer free of allegiance to all but my band mates. Bryong, my freecaster has made it
possible for anyone within 1,000 feet of any member of your group or my group to communicate freely with
each other no matter what language they speak. Who are you, Plane Walker, and why has your companion
attacked one of mine?"
Stephen breathes a sigh of relief. "I am Stephen. I am from a place called Earth and I have traveled to
Thrycion to see your world and know it wonders. My friend, his name is Max, was frightened by your
freecaster's abilities. He attacked your band mate without reason. I am the leader of this group and I will take
full responsibility for his actions."
Derek steps forward and picks up his bag from the ground.
"Coveark, come down here and give all three of your healing potions to Stephen's friend," Kinewyn places
the silver dagger in his left hand back into its sheath at this waist. "I warn you, Stephen, others in Thrycion
will not be so forgiving of your companion's lack of knowledge of our world and its ways. Be careful in your
travels."
Azor sheathes Klage and Cynthia backs away. Kinewyn, Bryong and Azor head up the hill and wait for
Coveark to finish administering the healing potions to Max. Max gulps the contents of the last healing potion
and breaths hard after he has downed it.
Cynthia goes to Derek and Stephen, "We should go with them. Based on the fact that they healed Max after
he shot them, they are definitely of good alignment."
Stephen nods.
"We don't know where they are going," Derek rebuts.
"Cynthia is right, Derek," Stephen’s pats his friend on the shoulder and walks up the hill.
“Kinewyn, I know this is a lot to ask. My friends and I are not aware of Thrycion's ways and having a guide
as knowledgeable as yourself would be invaluable to us. Would you consider letting travel with your band,
only as far as the next village or town?"
Kinewyn shakes his head. "Your friend bears a powerful magical item with haste and foolishness. He would
be a danger to himself and my band mates traveling to where we are going. We have healed your friend and
asked nothing in return. We are not well met and we leave you and your band in peace, Stephen."
Stephen rushes back down the hill. "Are you OK, Max?"
Max smiles as he walks over to retrieve the Glock he dropped. "Never felt better."
Stephen steps in front of Max's path and picks the pistol up first. "Good, Max. Good."
Stephen runs back up the hill. “Kinewyn, this masterwork ranged weapon is yours if you let us walk with
your group only to the next village or town. Max will bear no weapon as we travel."
Kinewyn looks at Stephen's extended hand. "Bryong, please tell me the nature of this object."
Bryong takes the Glock and holds it in her right hand and casts with her left. The Glock floats above her
palm and glows slightly before settling again in her hand. Bryong shakes her head, "This object is not
magical. It is not blessed or cursed and it does not appear to be crafted with any valuable gems or metals. I do
not believe its crafting is masterwork quality. I doubt any craftsman labored even one single crest moon's
span to make it."
Coveark steps forward. "And yet it felled you." Coveark takes the pistol into his hand, feeling the weight.
The ranger wraps his hand around the grip.
"Whoa, whoa," Stephen steps between Coveark and Bryong. "Please, ranger, you must be proficient with this
weapon before you can use it."
Kinewyn grins as Coveark switches to a gingerly grip of the pistol, "Do you wish to have this trinket,
Coveark?"
Coveark does not take his eyes off of the Glock, "I do."
The old elf adjusts the line of his cloak, "Make sure you and your friends step lively, Stephen. We have much
ground to cover."
Stephen rushes back down to his friends and begins to explain that they will be traveling with Kinewyn’s
band.
Derek spits on the ground. He knows he has just witnessed the first of thousands of Earth/Thrycion arms
deals.
Chapter 08


Twitter Interview
vwine_weekly - Why are Napa Valley vintners standing behind the gnomes of Dublefringe? Frankly, their
vintages produced so far have been amateurish endeavors.
12 minutes ago
napa1ava - The gnomes of Dublefringe are as dedicated to making great wine as the collection of Napa
Valley vintners.
10 minutes ago
napa1ava - Experience can be earned through hard work and perseverance, but passion is the key.
9 minutes ago
napa1ava - The gnomes of Dublefringe are passionate about establishing themselves as the premier vintners
of Thrycion.
8 minutes ago
napa1ava - Because we believe this to be true, Napa Valley vintners have partnered with the gnomes of
Dublefringe.
8 minutes ago
napa1ava - We have helped the gnomes to identify 3 new valleys on Thrycion with Mediterranean climate,
geography and geology similar to Napa Valley.
7 minutes ago
napa1ava - We are sure these new found valleys are conducive to growing unmatched Thrycion wine grapes.
6 minutes ago
napa1ava - In exchange for our assistance and collaboration the gnomes of Dublefringe are now breeding
thousands of Carchgrints.
5 minutes ago
napa1ava - This Thrycion avian has a voracious appetite for Glassy-winged sharpshooters, Earth insects
Napa Valley has had great difficulty dealing with.
4 minutes ago
napa1ava - I believe this new age of community and friendship between Napa Valley and Dublefringe will be
advantageous for all involved
3 minutes ago
napa1ava - And most importantly, beneficial for wine connoisseurs of Earth and Thrycion.
3 minutes ago


         Azor steps over the twisted root of an ancient tree. Derek follows him, hopping on top and then down
from the root.
The Golon strokes his chin, "You say that there are libram in your world that speak of our world as a game."
Derek walks quickly to keep up with the stone giant's stride. "Well, if by 'libram' you mean book, then yes. It
is a roleplaying game called Blade and Bolt, B&B for short. Basically, people, in my world gather around a
table for anywhere from three to six hours and pretend that they are controlling a character in this world. The
characters are usually a rogue or a wizard or a cleric or a fighter. We tell stories together in the setting of this
world, Thrycion. That's a roleplaying game. Now here is where things get sticky. The roleplaying game fans
back on Earth don't know that this world is real."
"And the way that this game was created was that a Planes Walker from your world, a man called Korbach,
came here and wrote down all he saw in journals and then turned those journals into a game when he
returned to your world, Earth?" Azor asked.
"Korbach isn't a Planes Walker, he's just an ordinary man-"
"You mean a commoner, a peasant."
"No, Korbach's not a peasant, he has money. Well, lets say he has lots of gold but he really isn't a Duke or a
Baron or anything like that. In the part of my world where I live we don't have kings or royalty and the way
we buy goods is actually by trading special slips of paper."
"These slips of paper are writ with magic, I assume."
"No, magic does not exist on my world."
Azor stops and turns to face Derek. "There is no magic on your world?"
"No magic on my world. There are no sorcerers, no wizards, no clerics. No magical healing, no scrolls, no
wands or magical rings."
"Then you have come to Thrycion to bring magic weapons and equipment and tomes back to your world so
that you may help defend it against magically powerful planes walkers that enter your world."
"No, I am not sure if any of the magic that exists here on Thrycion would be viable on Earth. Actually, we
have technology on my world - computers, guns, flying machines, spaceships, cell phones - that rivals the
magic on your world."
"I see. If there are no wizards or fighters or rogues or clerics on your world and you yourself are none of
those, what purpose do you serve on your world?"
"Oh, ahh, well, I - I am a merchant on my world."
"What do you sell?"
"I sell, well, I sell - You know what Azor, I am many things on my world and one of them is a liar. But now I
am on Thrycion and perhaps on Thrycion I can be something different. I am going to tell you the truth. On
my world I sell drugs. I sell substances that are like alcohol but are much more powerful and much more
damaging to people. It was not a great purpose, but I was good at it and I did make a crap ton of money. I
broke the laws of my land and hurt a lot of people to do business though."
"Oh, I see. You align yourself with the spheres of evil and chaos." Azor reaches above his head and plucks a
small flower from a tree limb above him and gazes at it in his palm.
"No, no. We don't have alignments on my world. We don't believe that your actions fall neatly into spheres
of evil or good, law or chaos. It is more complex than that."
Azor lets the flower drop. "So your world is free of both magic and morality. Most interesting."
"Honestly, I think you would -"
A scream echoes through the forest surrounding the two. Azor waits a few seconds to isolate the direction of
the noise and surges off through the trees once he is sure. Derek yanks the pistol out of his pack, drops the
heavy bag to the ground and flies through branches and foliage to catch the giant. Derek jumps from a small
hill crest, slides down a loose embankment of moist thick grass and follows Azor's deep clomp marks until
he bursts out onto an open field. Across the field, a small village stirs with the frenzied movement of peasants
and horses as they run from four Minotaurs.
The Minotaurs carry long curved blades and wear black leather armor. Derek watches as one of the
Minotaurs knocks a child from the arms of a farmer and then eviscerates the man even as the child scrabbles
back toward the man. The single scream Azor and Derek heard is now a cacophony of burning thatch and
sorrow and fear. Azor pounds toward the Minotaur that is cutting at entrails wrapped around his hooves.
Azor hits the Minotaur with all the force of a fifty-foot charge and shatters its torso and shoulders. A burning
hut fifteen feet behind the struck Minotaur topples as it bursts through a load-bearing timber. Azor growls
and unsheathes Klage and searches for his next kill.
"To your left, Azor," Derek shouts and points.
One of the Minotaurs turns to see Derek and runs for him.
"This way, this way, Derek!" Stephen and Cynthia shout from a copse of trees at the eastern edge of the
village. The Minotaur stomps forward and Derek sees runes along the edge of the minotaur's curved blade
flash with brilliant white light as the minotaur mouths something. Derek raises his Glock, sights as the
Minotaur approaches. His hands are shaking so hard he cannot aim. He turns and runs, looking back as the
Minotaur gains on him. Winded from the run in the forest, Derek feels his chest burn and hears the hooves
directly behind him. A flash of green and brown and the Minotaur flies sideways, perpendicular to the path
he was running along. Derek spins and sees Kinewyn stab the Minotaur a half-dozen times before springing
off the downed minotaur's chest and run off at surprising speed. Cynthia and Stephen run out to Derek and
help him back to the copse of trees.
"Whe-, whe- where's Max?" Derek places his hands on his knees and closes his eyes to stabilize himself.
Cynthia puts her hands on his shoulders, "We don't know."
"Well, come on, we have to find him. I can't run anymore. Stephen, take the Glock and go find him. Now.
Now."
Stephen looks from Derek to the burning village, screams and fire and chaos emanating from the area, "Uh, I
don't know-"
Cynthia curses, "No, Stephen, of course you are not going into the fray. Shut up, Derek. Bryong and
Kinewyn and Azor have each killed one of the Minotaurs, its almost over. Just-"
The limbs of the trees behind them rustle but a moment before a fifth minotaur bursts forward. Stephen
screams. Derek and Cynthia are parted as the Minotaur shoves Derek to the ground and slashes his blade
from Cynthia's shoulder to hip. Cynthia falls back, cleaved in two. Now Derek howls and grabs the
Minotaur’s horn from behind. He pulls the Minotaurs face to him and fires point blank. There is a bison's
grunt and Derek fires again and again, following the Minotaur down as more of its head turns to red mist.
Derek stands and empties the clip into the Minotaurs chest.
Derek doesn't notice as Bryong approaches and takes the pistol out of Derek's hand. Kinewyn and the rest of
his crew approach.
"Come to, man," Kinewyn shakes Stephen's by shoulders gently as the college student, a world away from
his home, stares at the carnage before him.
Derek is brought out of his stunned state by Kinewyn’s attempts to bring Stephen back. He looks at Azor,
who nods and places a stony hand on his shoulder. Derek nods back and goes over to Kinewyn and Stephen.
"Stephen, snap out of it," Derek says sharply.
As though Stephen had to hear the voice of someone of his own world he startles. "Oh, I'm sorry. Oh, Good
Lord, no, no, no."
Stephen goes to kneel next to Cynthia. Coveark steps in front of him. "No, noble, there is nothing you can do
and much you can harm. Please go over to the village and let Bryong tend to your friend's body."
Stephen looks passed Coveark and sees a palm's width of separation a between the two halves of Cynthia's
body. He wretches and places his hands on his knees. Derek gives him a moment and then leads him back to
the village, Kinewyn, Azor and Coveark following.
The five are surrounded by villagers immediately. The villagers barrage them with thanks and well wishes.
The village elder commands his people to gather provisions to send with Kinewyn’s band. Surprisingly,
Derek watches as Kinewyn makes a show of thanking all of the villagers for the fine food and clean blankets
and a fresh horse. Derek wonders why the old elf would accept these things even as huts in the village are
still smoldering. He is struck, however, by the immediate resiliency of the villagers. Even the children are
already picking up chunks of debris to make room for rebuilding.
Stephen watches one of the children drag a log to the edge of the village to place it near other charred
timbers. The smoke swirls and then clears and Max steps out from the forest.
Stephen runs to him. "Where were you?"
Max stops. "It's good to see you too, Stephen. I see Derek with the elf but where is Cynthia."
Stephen tells him.
Max turns away from Stephen and waits until his voice won't crack and his tears stop flowing. "Stephen, we
have to go back. This is completely out of hand."
Stephen shakes his head, walks back to where Kinewyn is talking with Derek. Kinewyn greets Max once he
catches up and leads his band and Stephen and Derek back to where Bryong is now sitting next to Cynthia.
Cynthia is whole again and Stephen bends down next to her.
"You have cast a gentle repose upon her," Stephen says and a pained smile crosses his lips. "Thank you,
Bryong. You have honored a brave girl." Tears now fall from his cheeks. Stephen turns to the rest. "Please,
we know you are traveling to Grenfell. But would you help us to bury Cynthia."
Kinewyn waits a moment before speaking. "There is no need to bury Cynthia. My band has long known that
one of us would fall eventually. We have made arrangements with a powerful cleric in Taltherin to have one
of us resurrected if ever it became necessary. Azor and Coveark and Bryong, it cost each of you a year's
stakes in gold to buy that resurrection. Will you give up your stake in that arranged resurrection to aid this
fallen Plane Walker."
All of Kinewyn’s band answer immediately Yes.
Kinewyn smiles and Derek jumps and claps his hands. "Of course, of course. A resurrection spell can be cast
by any thirteen circle cleric in this world. This is incredible. Oh, Stephen, thank God!"
"Thank who, Derek?"
"God, Stephen, God, or the devil or Cthulu or Ra or whatever deity raises the dead on this world. What does
it matter, Cynthia is going to live. She is going to live," Derek's joy cannot be contained. He is oblivious to
Stephen's dark frown.
"Absolutely not. Cynthia will not be resurrected. Hebrews 9:27 - 'And it is appointed unto man once to die,
but after this the judgment'. Cynthia will not be resurrected."
"What," Derek stops as though he does not understand. "What are you saying, Stephen?"
"I am saying that it does not matter if we are on Thrycion or Earth. Resurrection is a blasphemous action and
I will not subject Cynthia's body to dark magic."
"Dark magic," Derek's voice rises. "What the hell are you talking about? Kinewyn is of the sphere of good.
That is clear. Kinewyn, the cleric you speak of holds to the sphere of good, correct?"
"Yes, of course," Kinewyn affirms.
"It does not matter, Derek," anger now crosses Stephen's face. "You know I never included anything from the
Deities and Divinity Source Book in my game. That is the one area where the Blade & Bolt game
crossed into occult material. I would not allow it in our game and I will not allow Cynthia to be resurrected
here on Thrycion. It will not happen."
Max exhales deeply. "Stephen, in case you haven't been paying attention. This is not 'the game world', this is
Thrycion, the world that Korbach based his game on. Cynthia is really dead. Actually deceased and on
Thrycion she can live again. This isn't a player character death; this is a person death, Stephen. Now get you
head out of your-"
Stephen smashes his fist into Max's mouth. "Don't tell me where we are, Max?" Stephen straddles his fallen
friend and raises his fist. I know-"
Derek kicks Stephen in the shoulder from the side, sending his sprawling.
"Enough," Kinewyn shouts.
Bryong raises her hands, brilliant energy enfolding her fingers. She casts and Stephen, Derek and Max are
held fast, unable to move of their own volition.
The old elf speaks softly, "I see that your group is not in agreement on the issue of resurrection for your
fallen band mate, Cynthia. I will not aid any one of you in a decision against the other. Decide among
yourselves what fate she will have but our offer to supply a resurrection we have saved and protected for
years is now rescinded. Your bickering and anger shame the lot of you."
Stephen growls in anger fighting the spell uselessly to move again. Max groans in pain as blood flows from
his mouth. Derek is motionless as his tears fall to Thrycion.
Chapter 09



Freecasters
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A freecaster, sorcerer, wizard, mage or a person known under one of many other possible terms is someone
who practices magic that derives from supernatural or occult sources. Before Footfall these terms (sorcerer,
wizard, mage) belonged to the realm of fiction works of fantasy, such as fantasy literature and role-playing
games; they drew on a history of such people in mythology, legends, and folklore. However, since Footfall,
freecasters are defined as people who practice magic derived from supernatural or occult sources. Currently
only people of Thrycion origin are capable of practicing magic. Thrycion freecasters are capable of using
magic on both Thrycion and Earth. No one born on Earth has been able to cast any of the spells or use
scrolls that Thrycion freecasters have created. There is a great deal of attention being paid by corporations,
governments and organizations as to whether Thrycion/Earth multi-origin children will be able to perform
magic on Thrycion, Earth or both.

The most notable freecaster to date is Bryong; the first freecaster to routinely, publically display magical
abilities on Earth. Bryong’s resurrection of 100 New Orleans / Hurricane Katrina victims, funded by
Winifred Proach and televised over a course of four months on her daytime show is considered to be the
event that introduced freecasters to a global audience.


         Cynthia's funeral is beautiful. The villagers have wrapped her corpse in silks and clean linens. They
have spiced the cloth so that a powerful scent of flowers wafts behind her as she is carried into the forest. The
entire village follows. Stephen and Derek accept Kinewyn’s warning not to ask the villagers to carry Cynthia.
He explains to them that the people of Eramyl believe that once a person has passed their body cannot be
touched by family or friends. Doing so reminds the fallen one of their connection to Thrycion making it more
difficult, if not impossible, to leave their loved ones.
The village elder sings a sonorous message of sorrow and loss to the night. The women of the village, having
never met Cynthia, cry quietly. Stephen realizes that many of the people here have lost members of their
families today. Fathers, brothers, sisters, and yet they honor Cynthia because they believe her to be a hero, an
adventurer like Kinewyn’s band members.
Stephen is surprised when Max steps forward to speak. "People of Eramyl - thank you for this ceremony for
Cynthia. You did not know Cynthia, so I will tell you about her. Cynthia was a girl who had dyslexia," Max
falters, thinks of a way to explain to people who did not know the young gamer or her world. "Cynthia
became confused when she read. We were students together when we were children and I watched her
struggle to learn what other children picked up easily. She began to hate books. I'm sorry - I mean scrolls or
tomes. She grew to hate the written word because it made her look foolish to her fellow students. And
Cynthia was not a fool, she had a brilliant imagination. She could think through problems that others gave up
on. Well, Cynthia's confusion went away because of one special tome - a book about your world, Thrycion.
This tome (which me and my fellow Plane Walkers thought of only as a game) became a precious gift to
Cynthia. She struggled through the first reading and then the second reading went faster. She read that tome a
dozen times before three double scythe moon's spans had passed. Cynthia then read through all of the tomes
written by Korbach, a Plane Walker who traveled to Thrycion decades ago, and then read them again and
again. She did not set out to become an avid reader but it is what happened, because of Korbach's tome that
detailed Thrycion. Thank you, people of Eramyl, for this tribute to a fallen hero."
Max walks back to his place near Stephen and Derek. The villagers lower Cynthia into a deep grave and men
come forward and shovel dirt over her corpse. The village's wisdom, bowed and grey with age brings a paper
lantern to Bryong. The paper lantern is simple and rest in the crook of a forked branch. The flame inside the
lanterns glows bright white, absent of the oranges and reds of a normal flame. As Bryong holds the lantern
the wisdom reaches into pouches in her tattered cloak and takes out a vial of honey. She dabs the honey on
thick around the edges of the lanterns top.
"What is she doing?" Derek asks Stephen.
"I’m not certain. I’ve never seen anything similar to this in any of the B&B source books."
The villagers begin to proceed back. Bryong stands at the start of the path back to Eramyl. As each villager
passes her she casts a spell, recreating in her left hand the branch and the burning lantern in her right hand.
The villagers each take the lantern and hold it high as they proceed down the clear path through the forest.
Stephen and Derek queue up and receive their lanterns. Stephen has to look around before finding Max
talking to Kinewyn far back near the last of the villagers waiting to receive a lantern.
The trees are a dozen yards back from the path and Stephen looks at the night sky. He is disappointed to see
that there is cloud cover. No moons or stars can be seen. Stephen wonders if he would have been able to
make out any constellations. The path is easy to follow and Stephen settles into the silence of those around
him. He is startled by a screech from above and behind. He turns to see a patch of dark activity in the sky
behind them. The screech is echoed by other creatures and Stephen lowers the lantern and steps back as he
realizes a swarm of blue-black bat-like creatures are descending on the villagers. Derek's alarm is evident as
he drops his lantern and throws his backpack to the ground to dig for his Glock. The villagers around the two
simply stop, turn and hold their lanterns high. The blue-scaled flyers, each a meter in length from clawed
wing-tip to clawed wing-tip, swoop down screeching and snatch each of the lanterns from the villagers
hands. Stephen's lantern is held low and the fast, adroit flyer going for his light has to dip and dig talons into
his shoulder to snatch the lantern and bound away.
Stephen curses and wipes at the blood on his shoulder. Derek puts his hand on top of Stephen's head and
turns him to view the sky. A river of swirling lights weaves its way into the starless night. The lanterns bob
and twinkle as the flock of scaled bat-creatures soar out. Stephen forgets the pain in his shoulder as he
witnesses a luminous ceremony of memory conducted by creatures of Thrycion.

THRYCION, ERAMYL VILLAGE - 7 HOURS AFTER FOOTFALL

         "You should get some sleep, Stephen," Max comes over and sits at one of the logs surrounding the
bon fire the villagers have made.
"What were you talking with Kinewyn about?"
Max smiles and nods at the two young villagers sitting a few logs down from them, "Earth. Kinewyn is very
interested in our world. You know all that time we spent roleplaying in this world, looking for something
interesting, and it turns out Earth is as interesting as Thrycion any day. That old elf thief was amazed to hear
that books are so plentiful on Earth that most towns have multiple libraries. He was quite intrigued when I
told him about airplanes and speedboats and television."
"You shouldn't be telling him those things, Max."
"Why not? You wanted to tell him?"
"No, because there is no sense in telling him about things he will never see," Stephen picks up a long thin
branch at his feet.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that were going back to Earth soon and were not coming back to Thrycion again."
Max looks surprised, "Why?"
"What do you mean, why? Isn't it obvious? You shot someone before you were here even two hours-"
Max laughs, "Well, you taught us 'always alpha-strike the mage'."
"This isn't even remotely funny, Max. That Golon broke bones in you, didn't he? Cynthia is dead and I’m
lucky that wisdom had a poultice to cover the half-inch slashes that bat-thing put in my shoulder. There has
been nothing but violence since we arrived and we haven't even been here eight hours."
"Stephen," Max places a hand on his shoulder and draws it away as Stephen winces. "Listen, I am sorry I
doubted you. I thought you were crazy but I came because I’m your friend. And you know what, friend; this
is all going to work out just fine. We are going back to Earth and guess what? We and probably half the B&B
players on Earth are going to millionaires, some of us billionaires. Stephen, do you have any idea what you
have done. The discovery of Thrycion makes Christopher Columbus' trip to America look like a boys scout
earning his hiking badge. The governments and corporations of Earth are going to be lining up to do business
with every kingdom on Thrycion and who has the knowledge of Thrycion's people, creatures, locations,
magic, treasure? B&B roleplayers, that's who. Being a veteran B&B roleplayer is going to be the hottest skill
set on the job market for the next two decades. Earth governments and corporations will be recruiting B&B
roleplayers left and right, at top dollar. And you, Stephen, are now the gatekeeper. You have the key to the
only portal between Thrycion and Earth."
Stephen snaps a length off of the long thin branch and casts it into the fire in front of them, "Let's count the
way's you are wrong. One - the portal in North Carolina is not the only portal to Thrycion from Earth. Two -
no one is going to get rich serving as a guide from Earth to Thrycion because Three - I am not going to be the
door man for Coca-Cola and WalMart to setup shop in Thrycion. You were right about one thing. In this
case, I am like Christopher Columbus and look at all the good he did the “New World". The difference
between me and Christopher Columbus is that when I go back I can make sure no one else follows, in either
direction."
"Well, I think that is a pretty ugly way to look at the situation. Stephen, you loved the B&B roleplaying game
because it allowed you to share this special world with people. Now that you find out that this world is real,
not just a product of Korbach's imagination, but a world as rich and vibrant as our own you don't want to
share it?"
Stephen is silent for a moment. "It's a good point, Max. I would like to share Thrycion with people, but I
don't think it is possible. When we play B&B I have control of all of the non-player character's actions and
the player characters are run by people I know, I like and I trust. If I let people starting coming and going
between Thrycion and Earth in the numbers you are talking about, I will not be able control the situation.
Even at that, I’m ashamed of my own actions since I came here. It was stupid of me to give that Glock to
Kinewyn. I just wanted us to be close to a real group of adventurers, to see for real what we had pretended to
be all those hours at the table back on Earth. I'm cursing, too."
Max laughs, "Stephen, you really are funny. Cursing. Come on. You have to admit your faith as an
evangelical Christian is pretty laughable now. I respected your religion on Earth because I didn’t know if
Jesus really died on the Cross to save mankind. I watched you live your life and honestly, there were days
were I thought, hey, maybe Stephen is different because he has been reconciled to God through his belief in
Jesus Christ. You always said that sin separates us from God (and, yes, I have felt separated from God) but
that acceptance of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross could reunite us again to God because our sins would be
paid for. But now, Stephen, now we know that even if Christ was resurrected, it meant nothing. Here
resurrection is a commodity, bought and sold. Why would it be different on Earth?"
Stephen looks directly at Max, "Well, I am most pleased that at least you listened when I presented the
Gospel to you, even if you don't remember the verses. You need to hear them again. Problem! 2
Thessalonians 1:8-9; In flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who
do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from
the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. Solution ! 1 Peter 3:18; For Christ also suffered
once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh
but made alive in the spirit. Response! John 3:36; Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does
not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. Until believe you need a savior and
ask Jesus Christ to save you, you are destined for Hell. You need to understand Max, my faith in Jesus Christ
is not shaken by seeing resurrections here on Thrycion. It is strengthened. There is sorcery on Earth, just as
there is sorcery on Thrycion and these people are in no less need of a Savior to give them everlasting life than
the people of Earth. I wish we could stay so I could study resurrection here on Thrycion and determine why
God allows it, but I am convinced we need to leave right away. Kinewyn set Coveark on first watch and he
has some of the villagers spaced around us. I think its safe to sleep but we need to leave and go back through
the portal first thing in the morning."
"Whoa. That is awfully fast. Kinewyn wants to go with us. Is it fair that you give him that little time to put
things in order to leave with us?"
Stephen throws another length of the branch into the fire, "He is not coming with us. It's too dangerous.
Aaaarrg - you frustrate me, Max. Why did you call yourself a Plane Walker when you spoke at Cynthia's
funeral tonight? We are going to be remembered here on Thrycion. Every word you say matters."
Max shakes his head, "Yes, every single word matters. Every action we take matters. I called myself a Plane
Walker because that is exactly what I am. You, me, Derek and Cynthia (and she gave her life to do it) walked
across from the plane Earth exists in to the plane Thrycion exists in. That's what we are now, Plane Walkers.
We have been on two planes."
"What makes you think that Thrycion is on a different plane than Earth, Max? I think Thrycion is in the same
universe as Earth. These are just two planets separated by probably billions of light years."
Max laughs, "You are way out of your area of expertise, Stephen. The fact is we don't know how or why
Thrycion is here. But you should understand now that you have seen it that Thrycion is simply a world that
Korbach traveled to. He did not create Thrycion whole-cloth out of his imagination."
Stephen shifts, he is sweating because of his weight and his proximity to the fire, "You’re right about that,
Max. We won't find our B&B characters running around on Thrycion. These are real people, real kingdoms,
real dangers. I know that now. B&B is a game and Thrycion is real."
"Stephen, I am sorry I shot Bryong today. I was scared and I panicked. I will accept your decision to leave
and go back through the portal to Earth in the morning if you will think about letting Kinewyn come through
with us. Please just think about it. Think about the heroism he displayed today, on behalf of the people of
Eramyl and on behalf of each of us. When you realized there was a whole new world to explore here in
Thrycion, you couldn’t wait to get here. Kinewyn is an adventurer that now knows that there is new world to
explore. He is excited and I think he deserves a chance to see Earth. Please think about it."
"I will, Max. I will. I have to go check on Derek. I haven't seen him in almost two hours."
"No worries. He is keeping watch with Azor."
Stephen tosses the rest of the branch into the fire, "Azor is a Golon. He doesn't need sleep. Derek does."
"Stephen, Derek is talking with an extraterrestrial life form. I don't think he is ready to sleep right now. We
are each going to process this whole thing in different ways. Let him enjoy Thrycion while he can. You go
get some sleep so we can start out early tomorrow morning."
Stephen nods and makes his way back to the tent Coveark set up early for the gamers. He waits to close the
flap long enough to see Max head over to Bryong's tent. He wants to stay up and watch Max but weariness
takes him and he falls asleep with his shoes on.

THRYCION, ERAMYL VILLAGE - 7 HOURS AFTER FOOTFALL

        Stephen is sore from sleeping on the ground. His clothes, slept in and three-days worn, are rumpled
and rank. He stuffs his B&B BladeMasters Guide into his backpack and comes out of his tent. Fifty feet away
toward the forest surrounding Eramyl, a fire roasts a brace of fowl. Kinewyn is serving boiled eggs to
Coveark and Bryong. Derek and Azor sit on the other side of the fire, talking. Max is nowhere to be seen.
Kinewyn smiles and sets down the small pan he is serving from and helps Stephen with his gear.
"Break your fast, Stephen. Eat with me and mine."
"Thank you, Kinewyn. I accept your hospitality as the woods accept the wind."
"An Elven thanks. Your friend Max was correct, you are knowledgeable of Thrycion and its peoples."
"Max told me that you wish to come to Earth with Derek and Max and myself."
"This is true, Plane Walker."
"Why do you wish to come to Earth?"
Kinewyn sits with grace, "I am concerned about the wizard that Korbach met on Earth."
Stephen is stunned.
"Surely, you understand that a Thrycion wizard on Earth is a concern for both our worlds, Stephen."
Bryong nods in agreement with Kinewyn, "I am one of the most powerful freecasters on Thrycion. I consult
with wizards, sorcerers and mages in nearly every city Kinewyn’s band travels through. I have never heard
any wizard, sorcerer or mage describe the wonders of Earth that Max told us about last night. I think the
wizard that traveled through the portal before Korbach came here is still on Earth. We should find him."
Stephen places the wooden bowl containing his breakfast down, "I - I never even considered what it meant
that there is a Thrycion wizard on Earth. I was so intent on coming here that it just never processed in my
head what that could mean. Yes, it would be good to find that wizard. But Kinewyn, you need to understand
some things before I will even consider taking you and Bryong back with us to Earth. One - I believe
Bryong's magic will not work on Earth. The only cases of magic being displayed on Earth like exist here on
Thrycion are in the Bible, an important book on my world, but those accounts are two-thousands years old
and magic is not a part of every-day life on Earth. Two - I am the only one who has the key to the portal
between Thrycion and Earth and once I go back I do not intend on returning. I have seen the chaos and loss
that I have caused here in less than a day and I do not think Thrycion and Earth should be connected again. If
you came to Earth then I would expect you to stay there."
Kinewyn looks at Bryong and she shakes her head. The old elf turns again to Stephen, "Even if I did not
intend to bring Coveark and Bryong, I would not stay on Earth forever. Thrycion is my home. You have
stayed a single day on Thrycion and there has been chaos and loss just as you have said. Stephen, I can assure
you that chaos and loss occurred on Thrycion before you arrived and it will occur after you leave. Let
Coveark, Bryong and myself come to Earth for one single day. If Bryong's magic does work on Earth than it
is possible we will be able to find him in even that short amount of time. I do not believe our presence on
Earth will not be catastrophic and it will mean a great deal to each of us. We have adventured to farthest
corners of Thrycion, but we have never Plane Walked. As an act of friendship between Earth and Thrycion
before the portal is closed again, please let us walk for one day on your world."
Stephen shifts, not used to sitting on hewn logs, "One day on my world, staying with me each moment, you
will return to Thrycion, without question?"
Kinewyn looks Stephen in the eye, "I will."
"I believe you, Kinewyn. Let me get something in my stomach and we will be on our way. Derek, come on
over, were going back directly after we break our fast."
Derek leaves Azor and comes over to Stephen.
"I am staying here, Stephen. I am staying with Azor."
Stephen places his bowl of food down again and listens as Derek continues.
"Stephen, the weekly B&B games were the best hours of my week every week. Now I have a chance to live
in that world and the chance to be something that I don't think I ever would have been on Earth."
"A fighter?" Stephen inquires.
"A hero, Stephen. This can be a new start for me. Azor is continuing on to Grenfell to warn the clan leader
Brugon Slace of King Trajon's plans to steal their regions timber. Azor is taking care of Kinewyn’s tasks
while he’s gone and I am going to stay and help him."
"Derek, I don't intend to retu-"
"I heard every word you said. I don't intend to return to Earth. Thank you, Stephen. You gave me something
special on Earth and something priceless on Thrycion. I will miss you, Friend."
Stephen stands and embraces Derek. Derek returns to where Azor sits, grabs his backpack and brings it to
Stephen. "All my gear, including the Glocks, is in here. There are three envelopes in there as well. Each
contains a key to a locker at the following international airports - Philadelphia, D.C. And Atlanta. There is at
least $75,000 in each locker. Give one to Cynthia's family and do whatever you wish with the rest."
Chapter 10


Twitter Inbox (Private account)
hdhntr_frlnc - I’ve found out how he’s doing it. He’s working with an MIT dropout who maintains a tablet
PC loaded w/ every spell listed in B&B Players Guide.
27 minutes ago
blakwa_83divlead - So what, how would that help him? Supposedly he’s wrecking freecasters left and right.
Surely, he’s not only mage with an extensive spellbook.
26 minutes ago
hdhntr_frlnc - Korbach’s collection of spell descriptions in B&B Players Guide allowed this hacker/wizard
duo to combine spells from various regions quickly.
25 minutes ago
hdhntr_frlnc - Biggest advantage duo has is new spell selection method. Hacker lingers 50’-100’ away from
combat, wizard levitates tablet in front of himself.
24 minutes ago
hdhntr_frlnc - Wizard chooses from spell list provided by hacker which the hacker bases on a
combat-situation-specific guided algorithm.
23 minutes ago
hdhntr_frlnc – He chooses from longer spell list in 2 to 4 seconds while opponent wizard takes 5+ seconds
to choose from spellbook - its reason he is winning.
22 minutes ago
blakwa_83divlead – Brilliant. We definitely want him. We will pay 2X your normal recruiting fee and pay the
hacker/wizard duo top dollar. Done?
21 minutes ago
hdhntr_frlnc - Not done. 2X my fee is good but Thrycionians do not take paper money; concept is ridiculous
to them. You will have to pay wizard in gold, gems.
19 minutes ago
blakwa_83divlead - That will be problem. We have same issue with 50 other possible Thrycion recruits.
18 minutes ago
blakwa_83divlead - We can’t get our hands on enough gold because it’s being horded by major corps and
governments now to conduct business with Thrycion elements.
17 minutes ago
blakwa_83divlead – Are you willing to recruit him and we can pay him in full in gold 7 days into contract?
16 minutes ago
hdhntr_frlnc – I am willing to wait w/ hacker and wizard at Waldorf Astoria all expenses paid for 7 days.
Wizard signs contract w/ Blackwater/Xe for Au then.
11 minutes ago
blakwa_83divlead – Done. See you, the hacker and the wizard in seven days in New York.
10 minutes ago


         "No, no, no. Jason, listen. Remember that girl who interned for the producer in Los Angeles? Yes, the
brunette. You have to contact her and get her to hook me up with producers who book live TV, and not local
news, either, something big. I am talking Tonight Show, MTV TRL, someone who reps any of those kind of
shows - national, not local. OK, OK, OK. I'll tell you what I have. Now you have got to trust me, this is going
to sound very strange and you might laugh but I am not kidding. I have a schizophrenic medium. Yes, a
medium, like a witch or Freecaster. Yes, exactly. Thing is though, she can visually perform magic. Stuff you
can see. Make a car disappear, flickering lights in the air, make objects float around the room. None of this
'does you name start with an J or a K' or 'your dead grandfather says he loves you' crap. This girl is amazing,
she's like David Blaine times 100. And I am telling you when two connected TV producers see her they are
going to throttle each other to be the first to pay us to have her on TV today. This is going to be very big and
it is going to happen very fast. It is going to happen today once they see her. Trust me, when the producers
see her all the questions will be over and they will meet my price. Now I need you to do your part and have
two producers at the Regency Hotel in Yancy in 90 minutes. I am going to shoot $1,000 to your PayPal
account now and another $2,000 when the meeting is over. Get our frat brothers involved as directly as
needed, have 'em call whoever needs to get called to get this done, do you here me?"
Max waits for the positive response and hangs up. He walks back toward the hotel sidewalk, passes SUVs
and minivans and makes his way up the stairs of the Motel 6. He stops and gets a couple of cans of Coke out
of a vending machine before continuing on to the motel room.
The motel was chosen based on location alone. A convenient stop along the route the group is traveling. The
physical distance Max and Stephen and their "guests" (Kinewyn, Bryong and Coveark) have actually traveled
today is significant. All told, three miles by foot, ascent to the mountain portal on Thrycion and then on
Earth, a sharp descent, two miles by foot and 20 miles by taxi. However, Max feels weariness beyond the
physical travel. He feels as though a part of his soul was left behind on Thrycion, similar to jetlag, but an
order of magnitude deeper. Max steels himself before entering room 317.
Despite the hasty choice for their lodging the room is clean and comfortable. Kinewyn and Bryong sit on one
of the queen beds that dominate the room, watching television.
The old elf does not look away from the screen, "So you are saying that on Earth people build devices
specifically so that they can be scryed upon? On Thrycion, wizards and nobles pay gold by the sack to ensure
they cannot be scryed upon."
Stephen smiles, "Yes, this 'scrying' others through devices is the main form of entertainment on Earth. Most
people watch a few hours of television, every day. This is stock car racing you are 'scrying' right now. What
you are seeing here is happening on another location on Earth right now. This is a little unusual though. Most
'scrying' through televisions is actually 'scrying' events that happened in the past."
Bryong nods , "I have scryed the past but I could not change the location or time or individual I scryed as
quickly as you are able to change what you scry with this device." She hits a button on the remote and shakes
her head as vehicles hurtling across asphalt at two-hundred mile an hour switch instantly to a steamy soap
opera scene.
Max looks at Stephen and thumbs toward the door. Stephen nods and walks with Max outside onto the third
floor walk way in front of the room. Stephen closes the motel room door behind him.
A cool breeze blows and Stephen takes a moment to enjoy it before turning to Max,
"Bryong, says the Thrycion wizard is located three days ride from this location. A day's ride by horse in B&B
equates to 20 miles. So we should be able to reach the wizard in an hour and half, approximately."
Max spits off the side of the railing, "You know this guy has been laying low for almost four decades now.
It's unlikely he's going to appreciate being found."
"I know. I’m worried too, but I want to thank you for agreeing to dump those Glocks before we took the cab
here. They caused nothing but problems on Thrycion and I am glad that Derek sent all of the firearms back
with us to Earth."
"I think it was a foolish decision on both parts, yours and his, but I understand that you had strong feelings on
the issue and wanted to give you some peace if I could. Listen, Stephen, I am really tired. Could you possibly
walk down the road to that Arby's and grab some sandwiches, turnovers and some mocha shakes? Bring it all
back for the group? If we are all going to be fireballed by a Thrycion wizard that has been hermiting on Earth
for twice my lifespan than I at least want to have a full stomach when it happens."
"Hey, we have some time since the wizard is close. That's a great idea. It will take me 20 or 30 minutes and
you can grab a catnap. No problem, Max."
Stephen walks down the hall and disappears down the nearest stairwell. Max waits until he sees Stephen go
around the building. He watches until he sees a green and white Taxi appear near the motel's lobby.
Max checks his cell phone for the time and ducks back into the room. Coveark has not sat since they arrived
at the motel and he is still pacing back and forth, glancing with apprehension at the television. "OK, Coveark,
you’ll be glad to hear it is time to go."
"Excellent," Coveark, grabs his cloak and arranges it to cover his short swords, "The sooner we find this
wizard, the better."
Max nods and helps Bryong gather her gear.
He leads the three of them down to the lobby area and hustles them into the cab.
"Since these cabs don't seat more than five, Stephen is meeting us at the interview for the visit to the noble
family-" Max says sliding into the front seat and turning around to address the group.
The driver, a young Korean woman with a thick southern accent interrupts, "Renaissance fair is about a
hundred miles from 'ere. I can take you but I have to run your plastic first."
Max pulls out two twenties, "We are just going into the city, Regency Hotel on Parkside and Belmont and
take the fastest route."
Bryong sits forward, "We will be presented to the King and Queen?"
Max turns forward and buckles his seatbelt (a habit from his street racing hobby), "Yes, when the King and
Queen of America heard there was a freecaster in their lands, they decided to meet you immediately. Now we
do have to make a quick stop to deal with her captain of the guards and show him that you are actually a
freecaster and not some peasant who will waste their time."
Kinewyn is intent on the landscape that is now rushing passed him, "King Trajon is the same. He will not
allow peasants into his courts. Brugon Slace of Grenfell sleeps among his people and does not let a day pass
without speaking with the lowest classes of his subjects."
Coveark places his hand on Kinewyn’s shoulder, "Worry not, old thief. Azor will reach Grenfell in safety. I
am sure the clan leader will greet him and his new pet, Derek, with a feast and there will be joy in their camp
that night."
Max shifts in his seat, "We have leaders like that here. We call them Democrats."
The cabbie gives Max a frown.
Max shakes his head, "We're LARPers - live action role players. Nothing to worry about. Just keep driving
please."
Bryong tries to comb her hair by running her fingers through it, "Trajon cares only for his immediate
concerns when dealing with those in his court. Max, does this King and Queen require special attire for their
court?"
"That is a great question, Bryong. This particular King and Queen do care about what you wear in their court
but the ladies in waiting of the court will prepare you for your presentation. Our time with them will be short,
probably about 45 minutes, about the amount of time it would take you to set up camp. The King and Queen
are intrigued by adventurers and they will ask you many questions. Just answer honestly. If you can display
your talents for the King and Queen they will be most delighted, I am sure."
Coveark shakes his head and looks at Kinewyn.
Bryong thumps Coveark in the chest, leaning across Kinewyn, "Oh no, you two, we are guests of Stephen
here and each of you will greet this King and Queen with civility and respect. Just as you take point when it
is time to enter a dungeon, Coveark, I will take point when it is time for diplomacy."
Kinewyn laughs, "Bryong, you are a valued member of my band and today we shall do as you ask." The elf
looks at Coveark until the ranger nods in confirmation.
The rest of the trip to the Regency Hotel is spent with Max, explaining things that Kinewyn, Coveark and
Bryong are unfamiliar with. He answers questions on cars, skateboards, billboards and cell phones.
Max pays the cabbie double the fair to soothe her unease at the groups odd behavior. He begins to enter the
Regency Hotel when a strikingly attractive young woman approaches him with hand extended. "I'm Beatrix
Knowle and represent Winifred Proach. I have sent the other two producers you were suppose to meet here
today off. I don’t need to see Bryong perform. I have $250,000 in cash in this briefcase to give to you now.
We want Bryong on a live show in two hours."
Max backs up a step, looks at the Italian leather briefcase and steps forward again, "Winifred Proach, you
mean that black billionaire lady that half the housewives in the US watch every weekday."
"No, I mean Winifred Proach, the billionaire business woman whose show is watched by a diverse audience,
including many young male college students exactly like you. The same Winifred Proach who can mention a
book on her show and put the author on the next New York Times Best Sellers list. I mean Winifred Proach,
the woman who is being courted by politicians, industry magnates and celebrities to attend to their concerns.
That Winifred Proach. Now, the offer is fair and I can assure you that you are not going to get a better offer
today. Are you interested?"
Max is silent a moment. "Oh, you mean Queen Winifred. Oh yes, Bryong will be delighted to appear in her
court today."
Chapter 11


Twitter Report
cnnstarchester - This is Carson Chesterton micro-reporting for CNN. I am on the grounds of Kolkau in
Poland.
19 minutes ago
cnnstarchester - Kolkau was a subcamp of German concentration camp Stutthof, which was the first
concentration camp built outside of Germany by the Third Reich.
17 minutes ago
cnnstarchester - The site has become a rallying point for Thrycion freecasters of the shadow, necromancy
and blood domains.
14 minutes ago
cnnstarchester - These freecasters state that the events that occurred here during World War II have made
the site an ideal location to cast ritual spells.
12 minutes ago
cnnstarchester - Shadow, necromancy, blood spells cast here resolve at intensity levels 5 to 10 fold greater
than same spells cast on defiled Thrycion ground.
9 minutes ago


        "Bryong, settle down. You look beautiful and Kinewyn and Coveark are going to meet us in the
Throne Room. Stephen called on the cell phone and said that he will meet us after our presentation to the
Queen." Max opens the door to the green room and ushers the young freecaster into the hall.
Bryong walks down the white corridor where a few of the Queen's assistants , surprisingly dressed little
different than Max, are smiling at her. Two double doors open and Bryong is ushered into Winifred Proach's
studio. The crowd applauds and Bryong is taken aback by the number of people the queen allows in her
court. Which person is Winifred is evident immediately. The structure of the entire room is created to allow
Winifred Proach to be visible and audible to all in her court.
Max seems relieved to see Kinewyn and Coveark are already seated on a plush couch across from Winifred.
Bryong is reassured by his smile. Winifred is elegant and pretty but her posture and clothes do not appear to
be that of a noble to Bryong.
Winifred rises from the couch and walks to greet Bryong. Bryong looks to Max, startled that the Queen of
America is approaching her without guard or ceremony. Immediately she stops and places one knee to the
ground and lowers her head. Winifred stops, smiles to her audience and then continues to Bryong and stoops
down to meet her eyes, "Bryong, welcome to my show. Thank you very much for coming." Winifred places
her hand on Bryong's shoulder as she says this. Bryong starts as a wheeled camera sweep behind her.
"Nothing to worry about, Bryong. Please sit down with me."
Bryong rises and walks to the plush single chair that has been set for her. Max sits with Kinewyn and
Coveark on the couch. Bryong notices Coveark scanning the crowd for danger. The old elf and the ranger
look strikingly out of place, journey worn adventurer's garb interrupted by weapons and carried provisions.
Winifred sits and and straitens the loose sleeves of her Charvet silk crepe blouse with French cuffs. Bryong
shifts uneasily and pulls at a thread on her rune embroidered jerkin. Despite the attention Winifred's people
paid to the young freecaster in the green room, watermarks and wear are visible on her attire and she is quite
aware of her appearance.
"Bryong, Kinewyn, your mentor for the last seven years, has told us that you are a talented freecaster,"
Winifred's says in a voice that is pleasant and inviting. "Could you explain to us in your own words what a
freecaster is?"
Bryong reflexively nods in deference to royalty but pauses as she looks out at the audience. The audience is
casual and their anticipation can be seen in their positions. They are unlike any audience Bryong has ever
seen in a nobles court.
"Of course, Queen Winifred." Bryong continues. She notices a quick hand gesture Max makes to a producer
near one of the cameras. "I am a free caster which means that I can use arcane knowledge to cast a number of
different spells. I know less spells than a wizard of equal learning but I can cast more spells between each
slumber than a wizard can cast."
Winifred takes a moment to smile at her audience and then the camera before asking, "What type of spells?"
"Oh, I know all spells from the first seven circle of the Gentrod Libram. Spells of protection, standard
offense spells such as Lightning Bolt and Fireball. Spells that will bind a man or spells that will purify
provisions. Since I studied with the Clerics of Crixiven for some time I am also capable of casting some
divine healing spells."
Winifred shifts back in her seat, displaying comfort and warmth to her guests. "Could you show us a few of
your spells, perhaps?"
Bryong reminds herself that this is not the first time she has cast for a Queen. The young freecaster stands.
"Of course, Queen Winifred. This is my bag of gold pieces. Kinewyn instructs us to carry fifty gold at all
times for dealing with local merchants or guards who would see their palms crossed with precious metals or
the like. I am sure none of those are in your employ," Bryong falters in her speech for a moment, worried she
has insulted her host.
Winifred immediately reassures her and Bryong continues. "As you can see, this gold piece is stamped with
the likeness of King Trajon and it would be accepted at any port in his kingdom." Bryong places the gold
piece she is displaying back into the bag and twists the leather top of the bag. She places her palm a few
inches below the bag and lets go with her upper hand. The bag floats as tendrils of white light snake around
the bag. Delight appears on Bryong's face as she lets the spell wend and then lets the bag drop back into her
hand. She plucks a gold piece from inside, handing it to Winifred. It glows white as through the whole of the
gold piece were made from radiance.
Winifred's hand pauses and Kinewyn rises and takes the gold piece from Bryong, "Queen Winifred, our host,
Max, has explained that magic is not common on your world." The old elf takes the bag from Bryong, hands
a piece to Coveark and a piece to Max. Each now holds a gold piece shining brighter than the studio lights.
Beams of luminescence escape from between their fingers. Kinewyn holds a shining piece in the flat of his
hand, stoops before the Queen, offering the coin to Winifred.
Winifred, forgetting the cameras, takes the gold piece and the light bathes her perfect skin, illuminating a
expression of knowing.
Bryong takes her seat again, "I have focused on the schools of conjuration and enchantment, Queen
Winifred, but I am able to cast spells from all of the schools."
Winifred places the coin on the empty wool fabric cushion next to her and turns to a camera, "Max, a college
student from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, found Bryong and her..."
An audience member waves her hands at Winifred from the back of the theater. Winifred halts her
description of Max's meeting Kinewyn’s band and addresses the woman directly. "I am sorry ma'am we
usually prerecord this show but we are live today as my producer explained before we began today. I will
take questions from the audience later in the hour."
Coveark leans in and whispers to Kinewyn. Bryong meets Kinewyn’s gaze and can see he is unsettled at how
deferential the Queen is to this subject in her court..
The woman in the audience continues, despite Winifred's warning, "I am sorry, Winifred. Oh I just, oh, I am
so honored to be here to-, oh, I just could not help but ask. That magic girl said that she can heal." The
middle-aged woman puts her hands to her heart and leans down toward her daughter. A young girl sits next
to her in a wide open space that has been set aside for a wheel chair. The girl looks down away from the
stage.
Winifred immediately stands, “Please, you and your daughter can come down to watch the show from the
front row. My staff will assist you and Bryong will answer your question near the end of the hour."
Winifred turns back to Bryong, "Everyone is so excited to see what you can do, Bryong. Thank you again for
being my guest today."
"Of course, Queen Winifred. Why are their wheels on that child's chair?"
Winifred's smile breaks, "Bryong, there will be many questions from the audience in a short time but I really
want the audience to hear your story, tell us a little about yourself."
"Yes, Queen. Well, I am from a small fishing village on the world of Thrycion," Bryong's words trail away as
some of Winifred's staff begin to wheel the little girl toward a back entrance to bring her out again closer to
the stage.
"I'm sorry, Queen. Is that child unable to walk?"
Winifred's face tightens, "Yes, that is why she is in wheelchair." Winifred looks up toward the back and her
members of her staff stop where they are.
Bryong stands immediately. She casts again. The small girls chair levitates to shoulder height. "Do not be
frightened child. I will not drop you." Bryong spins her chair slowly with circular motion of forefinger above
palm. She gauges the weight and then brings the girls chair floating above the audience down to a gentle stop
in front of the dais. Coveark rifles through his pack and produces a scroll case that he hands to Bryong. She
opens the scroll case and takes a weathered piece of parchment down to the girl.
Winifred looks over to her producer, who hustles away immediately.
"Child, I wish to heal you. Would you be healed?"
The little girl looks up to her mother. "Yes, Katy. Yes"
"Yes, magic lady. That would be nice."
Bryong smiles and reads from the scroll. There is a collective silence from the audience as they watch the
letters of the scrolls burn bright through the parchment, disappearing as they are read.
"Rise. You will walk home with your mother this day, child."
Bryong places her hand on the girl's long black hair after she has stood. The girl looks back at her mother
uncertainly. Bryong holds the girls hand and shoulder and walks along with her as muscles that have never
been used to stride, pull her unsteadily up the stairs.
"It will take you a few weeks, Katy, to get used to walking. But your mother seems a spirited lady who will
aid you each day and you will be able to aid with the harvest this very fall."
Katy looks down at her legs, as they carry her back up to her mother. She looks to her mother and beams
with pride even as she pulls on Bryong's arm to steady herself.
The girl’s mother rushes down the stairs. "Thank you, oh, thank you." The woman embraces her daughter
and tears stream down her face and onto her lime green blouse. She kisses her daughter and takes in her joy
before turning again to Bryong and then going down to her knees. "Thank you, thank you. It is a miracle."
The audience begins to stir, some looking around the set confused, others rising as though to exit.
Winifred stands, "Thank you for joining us today on a very special 'Winifred'. We will be right back after
these messages."
Chapter 12


Juggalo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Juggalo or Juggalette (the latter used for females) is a name given to fans of Insane Clown Posse and other
Psychopathic Records artists. Juggalos view their group as a family that reveres a common philosophy, the
Dark Carnival, a theme prominently featured in six of Insane Clown Posse albums known collectively as the
6 Joker's Cards.

Recently, the Juggalo community has swelled dramatically as thousands of Thrycion orcs and half-orcs have
been welcomed into the group. Leaders in the Juggalo community have publically expressed concern over
unwanted attention the group has received from the United States Census Bureau and the CDC. Both of these
groups have stated that the study of Juggalos is being done so that these organizations will be proactively
prepared to supply the unique social and health services that will be needed by the growing number of
Thrycion/Earth multi-origin children who are now being born into the Juggalo community.


         Bright beams from two full moons wash the lush grass beneath Derek's sneakers. Azor walks passed
him to the edge of the cliff. The rope and timber bridge lies against the ragged rocky cliff's edges on both
sides. The center sections of the bridge are tattered and ragged wounds. Scorch marks range up the remnants
of the split bridge.
"Fireball," Azor's gravelly voice carries in the rocky surroundings. "These mountains are inhabited by bands
of orcs and goblins. Adventurers come here to steal back the loot the tribes pillage from surrounding villages
and the convoys they attack in the seasons of Grehororg and Bristorp." Azor stoops and picks up a long
sword. The blade is snapped a few inches from the hilt. "There was pitched battle here. Adventurers probably
severed the bridge to cut off a larger force of orcs or goblins from pursuing them. I hope they escaped with
their lives. Their choice will cost us a day and a half of added travel."
Derek shakes his head, taking in the bits and pieces of previous battles scattered around the now useless
bridge. A battered wagon, its wheels cracked or shattered sit atop a craggy stone near the beaten path. Derek
walks to it and stoops.
Azor stares at the chasm, thinking. Azor's concentration flutters away like dry leaves in an autumn breeze as
hears the tinkle of steel links. He draws Klage in an instant and turns to face attackers. Derek startles, drops
the thick chain he is dragging from beneath the wagon. "Whoa, whoa, big guy. Just thinking of a way to get
us across the chasm." Azor stands, feet apart, Klage held low and forward. Moonlight glints across the
sapphire laced through his granite hide. "You do not know what a link crew, do you?"
Derek relaxes and turns to fully face Azor. "No.
Azor re-sheaths Klage, "Well, Golons are granite and gem from crown to toe. Long swords, spears, arrows
are all useless against us. Generally, even war hammers and maces are a small danger to us. On the
battlefields against humans, dwarves and elves we are a tremendous threat, unstoppable if fought
conventionally. Link crews are how we are brought down. A group of men, usually eight to a dozen, swarm
around a Golon and throw hooked chains at leg, arm and neck. I have seen my stone brothers fell in this
manner. It will never happen to me."
Raising empty hands and stepping away from the chain at his feet, Derek speaks evenly, "I didn't know,
Azor. I can understand why the sound freaked you out. I am glad you told me though. Now I can listen for
the sound as we travel and when we are in battle. I promise you I will not let a chain game anywhere near
you." "Thank you for that pledge, Derek. Kinewyn swore the same words and kept his promise to this day in
our travels together."
Derek smiles, steps away from the thick chain links. "Now, obviously a chain used as a weapon, bad thing. I
understand your concern. But follow me here. This is probably 35 yards of heavy duty chain. If we can
secure this on the other side of the chasm, we can climb across and get the news of King Trajon's plans to
Brugon Slace a day and a half sooner. Azor nods, scratches his chin with thumb and forefinger. "The sooner
we reach Brugon, the safer his people will be. However, Derek of Clan Smith, I know from experience that
without someone the other side to secure the chain it will not hold when we try to cross. The chain is hooked
on both ends but the odds of either of us throwing a secure grapple from 20 yards are slim."
Derek frowns, walks close to the gaping emptiness between their location and their goal. "Take a look. Over
that sage brush area, there is a down slope. The distance between this side of the chasm and that side is no
more than five or six yards. If I had a running start I think I could clear that gap." Azor moves closer. Loose
rocks chip under his weight. "Perhaps you could clear the distance, but the slope on the far side slants sharply
into the chasm. It is only at nine or ten yards where there are roots and breaks in the ground that you could
use to get a solid foot or handhold."
A quick kick sends a stone plummeting over the edge off Derek's sneaker, "I can't clear nine or ten yards."
Azor nods, "It was a good idea. Let's get moving. If we move quickly we can shave a few hours off of this
day and a half delay."
Derek grabs his pack and follows Azor, "What would Coveark do if he were here?"
Azor stops, "That matters little as Coveark is not here."
"Humor me, please. Coveark is just a human, like me. He doesn't have Bryong's magic, the racial benefits of
an elf or your strength. He would have to solve this problem with the resources I have." Azor turns back to
Derek. "Coveark is a twelfth circle ranger. He trained for four years to be a Kings guard, thousands of hours
of sword training, riding lessons, mounted combat and archery. He would hardly being approaching this
problem with the same resources you have." Derek lowers his head, embarrassed. Azor has been open and
fair in accepting Derek's aid. The Golon makes it clear now that he is not a replacement for his band mate.
Azor pulls his thick feet out of the shallow holes his weight has made in the loam below him, steps into fresh
ground, "To answer your questions, Coveark and I have faces situations before. We traversed a distance of
five meter from a city tower to an adjacent building's trellis. Coveark came at the gap at a run I launched him
after catching his boot. Coveark tumbled to a stop when he hit the roof on the other side." Azor smiles and
continues on down the path.
Derek stands considering. "I can do that I can do that." Azor stops, "Are you adept at tumbling?" "No, no, I'm
not. But I will shake off a few bumps and bruises and scrapes. Not a problem." Azor shakes his head, "Most
likely you will break an arm or a leg. I will give you enough credit that you will probably not break your
neck." Derek grimaces and ambles. "Wait," he steps over to Azor and taps the buckled pouch that is sewn
onto the sling keeping Klage on the stone giant's back. "You told me that you carry a healing tincture to give
to one of your band mates if they run out of to their own. If I break a leg, you can toss me the tincture and I'm
good as new." Azor brushes a thick branch away from his path, "Your plan is dangerous and I don't think you
have considered all of the things that can go wrong. In this, you are exactly like Coveark."
Azor turns and walks all the way back to the ledge, however. He surveys the ground that Derek will need to
run along before he is thrown across the chasm. "40 feet of clear ground cover there. Don't let that one root
break your stride. You only need to start the leap and orient yourself correctly - head pointed slightly above
the point you intend to land at. Keep your knees tucked and your feet together. I will lightly throw you with
my sword hand."
Derek quick shuffles his feet and throws a half dozen fast jabs. "Let's rock." Azor looks quizzically at him.
"No pun intended," Derek laughs. Azor gathers the chain and throws a bale of it across the gap. It lays strewn
across short scrub, unsecured. Next Azor chucks Derek's pack effortlessly across. Azor stoops on one knee
close to where the cliff drops away.
Unencumbered he begins his run, knees pumping high, hands knifing passed his side. Derek leaps a yard in
front of Azor. Azor sweeps his sword hand, twists his standing and pushes Derek out over the chasm. Derek
keeps his eyes on the land spot, fast approaching. He consciously avoids looking down into the gap of jagged
rock that drops for 200 yards beneath him. He lets his feet drift out in from of him. The impact is on him
before he expects it. He hits hard and pitches forward to roll out the force and speed that warps around him.
His shoulder comes forward as he intended but instead of rolling over and over, his shoulder snags, snaps and
splinter on the rough ground. A sharp shriek of pain escapes him. Derek watches trees and shrubs and jutting
rock tumble passed him in a chaotic pinwheel. His shriek is hammered into a desperate howl as he slams to a
stop on his back. Derek struggles to remain conscience, realizes he cannot breathe. He feels his eyelids close
and he fights it without success.
The stars are the first sight he sees; stark brilliant white points piercing a sky of perfect black. He looks for
the big dipper and sees only constellations never seen by anyone of Earth. He remembers he is on Thrycion.
Through his pain and shock surges relief. He settles himself and sits up. Azor is watching from across the
gap, hands on knees. Klage lays flat on the ground at Azor's side, "You were only out for a moment. Is you're
shoulder broken?" Derek takes a tentative breath, "Without a doubt." He strains to make his voice heard
across the gap.
"A bold effort, my friend. A bold effort," Azor stands. "I need you to get that chain around that tree trunk
behind you and to do that you are going to need the healing tincture" The Golon carefully takes out small
bottle from the pouch on his sword sheath. He makes sure to handle it with care. Derek strains, pulling
himself painfully to a sitting position. He closes his eyes, waits for the nausea to spin down. "I'm ready to
catch it." Azor shows his pug fangs in a quick smile. "What are smiling - achaugh, huff..." Derek places a
hand on his ribs, "What the – ahhhh, oh - are you smiling at?" Azor shakes his head. "You reminded me of a
close friend. Are you ready to catch the tincture?" "Does a bear crap in the woods?" Azor kicks a stone over
the edge of the cliff, "Well, yes a bear does scat in the woods but it seems like an odd question to ask now."
"Just throw the tincture. Throw it!"
Azor takes a step back, shifts and sends the tincture over the gap with a light underhand lob. The dark blue
glass catches the rays of both of Thrycion's moons as it tumbles end over end. Derek blinks and locks onto
the bottle. The weight of the bottle smacks into his thumb and he curses loudly as it bobbles between his
thumb and forefinger and cracks open on the petrified roots behind him. Azor straightens, all trace of his
smile gone.
"Aaaeergh! I cannot believe I dropped it," Derek wilts from the pain his exclamation causes. Azor walks to
the edge of the gap, close to the chain that droops across, unsecured on Derek's side. "Derek, focus. You must
secure the chain. If an opponent comes upon you on that side I will be limited in the aid I can provide."
Derek pushes himself to stand and howls again as his shoulder and ribs protest. He lies down until he can
collect himself. "I can't stand, Azor. I think I can drag the chain over to the tree and wrap and hook it." Azor
nods, waits. Derek settles his breathing and begins crawling to the pile of chain. He must rest every three feet
as he drags the chain half way to the tree. Azor assures him he will bring the wineskin in Derek's pack when
he crosses the gap.
Derek groans, "Coveark would not have dropped that bottle would he have?" Azor answers. "No, most
assuredly not. He would have caught the bottle and put it in his satchel. Then because he takes great joy in
insulting clerics and bards as often as possible, his bad fortune would have set two dozen goblins to attack
him on that side of the gap. Because he is selfish and brash, Coveark would fight all two dozen goblins on his
own before he secured the chain to allow me to pass over. He would slay a dozen of them before drinking the
healing tincture and then fight the remaining dozen, taking significant wounds to slay them. At the end, he
would end up dragging that chain to secure it for me just as you are now. Do not be discouraged, Derek. You
had the courage to try your plan and you are displaying the endurance now to complete the task, even after
your plan failed miserably."
Derek's only response is to crawl faster through the second half of the distance to the tree. Circling the tree,
dragging broken torso and chain over rock and root, Derek is glad his tears are hidden by the darkness. Derek
fits the hook into a link and waives for Azor to come across. The Golon wraps the slack on his side of the gap
around the tree and resets the hook. His traverse of the Gap is clumsy and slow, but the chain holds and soon
Derek is drinking deeply from the wine skin. Azor has to carry Klage in his hands as Derek rides in a jury
rigged sling on Azor's back. The two are attacked by a pair of rangers as they approach the nomad kingdom,
Grenfell. Azor is forced to kill one of the rangers to break the other's spirit. They loot the corpse for three
healing tinctures, 30 gold pieces bearing King Trajon's image and a gleaming short sword that hefts as
though it were made of light wood. Derek walks with Azor toward the half-orc Brugon Slace's camp,
equipped, blooded and certain that he will be adventuring until he is gray or fallen.
Chapter 13


Twitter Inbox (Private account)
cynthia_wynth - Did you make the appointment with Swae Frinceweln?
7 minutes ago
hillary_wynth - No, we discussed this. Pick a human wedding planner. You know hiring an Elf will upset
your father.
6 minutes ago
cynthia_wynth – So for your dresses and shoes you are following the latest Miami, LA and New York trends,
but for my wedding plans its Boise trends?
5 minutes ago
hillary_wynth – I know, I know. Every wedding I have gone to in the last three months has had an Elf
wedding planner and Halfling caterers to as well.
4 minutes ago
hillary_wynth - But your father is already upset you promised teleportation of all guests from ceremony to
reception. That’s $250,000. No Elf wedding planner!
4 minutes ago


         "Thank you for joining us here again on Winfred. We have truly witnessed something amazing here
in our studio today. To be honest, I booked our guest, Bryong, and her entourage today on the suggestion of
our producer. I believed we were booking an incredibly talented Freecaster who could create recordable
illusions on stage. I was warned that Bryong was mentally unstable. I understood this going into this live
interview and I was not overly concerned because, one, I have superb security and, two, I have interviewed a
few Hollywood superstars that I was certain were mentally unstable. However, I, and all of my audience have
just witnessed Bryong heal a young girl after levitating her wheel chair 20 yards over rows of my guests.
During the break Bryong performed another act of kindness that frankly shocked me. I can assure you, ladies,
Bryong and her powers are quite real. Inspiring, truly inspiring."
Winifred stops for a moment turns and sits again next to Bryong. "Young lady," Winifred takes Bryong's
hand. "Please stop amazing us with this incredible, powerful gift of healing magic you have been given and
tell us your story. Let us see you and not just what you can do. Please, Bryong." Bryong is silent. The queen
is grasping her hand as though she were a member of her royal family. Bryong looks to Kinewyn and he
reassures her with a slight, slow nod. "Well, Queen Winifred, I am a simple woman who grew up in a fishing
village on Thrycion. My world is drastically different that your world. I count myself blessed by the Sun God
that we met Stephen and Max and have been able to travel to your world, Earth. Truly I have seen things here
that have no equal on Thrycion. I would tell you of my world but my friend and mentor Kinewyn, has
forgotten more about our world than I have seen. Please, Queen Winifred, let him tell you of Thrycion."
Kinewyn sits forward. Winifred raises a hand and beams at the old elf, " Kinewyn, believe me when I tell
you that we wish to hear every detail about your world. In fact I would like to have you back on the show
where you can tell us all of the wonders of Thrycion. But right now, Bryong, tell us how you received your
gift."
Max interjects, "Winifred, Bryong has been traveling almost non-stop the past two days, she is tired-"
Coveark stands, moves directly in front of Winifred, his back to her. A blur of his arms and his twin short
sword are drawn. "Queen's guard, come forward, foes approach." The ranger shifts his stance forward as
simultaneously the double doors on the far right of the top of the studio and the far left at the top of the studio
blow off the hinges. Tactical teams rush down both aisles toward the stage. Each assailant has submachine
gun raised to impact resistant visor. NOTE: unclear description :NOTE
The lead man shouts. "Get down! Get down now! Hands on the floor!"
Max immediately bolts to the backstage. Women in the audience scream. The tactical team members halt in
positions along the aisle stairs, carefully avoiding each other's line of fire. The lead trooper gets down on one
knee. Kinewyn remains in his seat. Bryong rises and places herself between the queen and the troopers. The
lead trooper barks at Coveark, "This is your final warning. Drop those knives immediately!"
Coveark spits on the floor. "You will not harm this queen."
The lead trooper taps the live line control on the side of his helmet, "Green, Blue, he is wearing body armor,
two to the chest." There seems to be no time between his order and the blossom of red at Coveark's chest as
their rounds pass uninterrupted through his leather armor. Coveark drops his short swords and falls, turning
back toward Kinewyn. His blood drips down on Winifred and the posh Italian sofa. Screams rise from every
corner of the studio.
Coveark tries to hold his upper body off the floor for just a moment before collapsing. Bryong's hands glow
and she moves forward to touch her fallen band mate. Her attention is on him and the growing patch of red at
his chest when a trooper's shield smashes her full in the face. She is flung backwards and two more troopers
bring batons down on heart and head in a flash of adrenaline-fuelled speed and violence.
Kinewyn is up; motion at his wrist and two troopers drop, clutching at daggers buried to the hilt in their
necks. A spray of bullets from left and right and Kinewyn snatches back his arm in pain even as he launches
forward, knocking two troopers away, slashing the stomach of a third. He dashes toward the open doorways
at the top of the studio, using the chair tops as stairs. Audience members duck and scream as he runs atop the
chairs. Foam and blood from chairs and occupants dance at his feet as bullets chase his steps. NOTE: Not
security or police, I assume, if they are shooting into the audience :NOTE He tumbles to the floor at the top,
rights himself and is moving. He reaches the doorway and is forced back as four troopers cram out through
double doors toward him. Two knock him down, two swing batons down on his outstretched arms, more
troopers rush to add a half dozen more swinging batons.
Chapter 14


Thruddite
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Thruddites are a Thrycion social movement spanning across all Thrycion races that protest - often by
destroying tool shops and large vehicles - against changes produced by the mixing of Earth’s cultures with
Thrycion’s cultures. Many Thrycion inhabitants have begun to use Earth technology; primarily electronics
and power tools. However, most Thrycion inhabitants do not wish to have roads, air travel or manufacturing
facilities on Thrycion, seeing these as the worst examples of Earth’s technological excesses as well as the
primary reason for the comparatively poor condition of Earth’s environment compared to Thrycion’s.

Since the flow of technology from Earth to Thrycion is limited by what can be brought through the Gamers
Gate, the Changuch Gate and the Tokachi Gate it has been relatively easy for Thruddites to stop roads,
airplanes or factories from being built on Thrycion. The Thruddites bring ad hoc militant forces to bear
whenever any significant progress is made toward establishing roads, air travel or factories anywhere on
Thrycion.

Recently, a schism has arisen in the Thruddite community as dwarves have been vocal about making an
exception to the traditional Thruddite position and allowing railroad systems to be built in some Thrycion
nations.


        Stephen pulls his cap down a bit more and thumbs through the news article a screen at a time on his
cell phone. He has been careful in travelling to Gypsum, Colorado, using tips and tricks that Derek explained
to him when they met in Atlanta. "- BC Management states they will follow up on each cease and desist that
has been sent. This has done little to stop the viral spread of the five separate videos, each from different
cameras in Winifred’s studio. Thousands of blogs are carrying the videos. The videos are being spread
quickly through peer-to-peer sharing sites. And all of the largest social network sites have the video
prominently linked to from their members’ profiles. Speculation runs high as Internet pundits and media
personalities discuss theories explaining the videos; as mundane as the apprehension of escaped mental
patients all the way to theories as outlandish as the existence of another world. Table-top roleplaying Gaming
communities, formerly a niche interest, has now gained mainstream attention as the evidence being collected,
analyzed and distributed electronically links more and more to the Blade and Bolt table-top roleplaying
game, written and published by Christopher Korbach in 1973. Prominent podcaster Eli Brinster had this to
say, ‘Right now, Christopher Korbach, the writer, designer and original publisher of Blade and Bolt is in a
mental health facility in Atlanta, Georgia because he claimed that he visited a world called Thrycion in 1969.
Two weeks after his admittance to the facility, three people, identified as Kinewyn, Bryong and Coveark,
appeared on the Winifred Proach show claiming to be from a world called Thrycion. One of these people,
Coveark, is shot and killed on live television by a tactical team bearing no state, federal or national insignia
and now it is unclear where this man's body is being kept or if he has been buried or cremated. The
whereabouts of his companions are equally a mystery. I have been working on this story every waking
moment since it broke but I have to admit I am anxiously awaiting the night news interview of Max Esso. I
think that is going to answer a lot of questions."
Stephen snaps the clamshell phone shut, drops his head. Coveark is dead. Kinewyn and Bryong are who
knows where, most likely prisoners. Stephen thinks over his actions. He has linked earth and Thrycion.
Powerful forces on both sides of the gate on Mount Gibbes would want to establish a controlled station
between the two worlds. Stephen knows he has to decide how to join the two worlds. Only he has the key
now, his key choice having overwritten the key Korbach had chose in 1972 when he had come back through
from Thrycion to North Carolina for the last time. He is certain that if he does not act quickly he will soon be
captured. Surely, the troops who stormed Winifred's studio were government agents. He does not have long.
He knows this.
An ancient Carmengia rolls to a stop in front of the bus stop. Stephen grabs his bag, ducks into the car.
Marcia hugs him fiercely. "I am so glad you are OK. Thank you for calling me. I know this is huge and I
really appreciate you trusting me to help." Stephen nods, "Thank you, Marcia. I know I am asking a lot."
Marcia checks her mirror and pulls out into traffic. "What happened? Why weren't you with Max?" Stephen
frowns, "What do you mean?" "Why weren't you with Max on the Winifred Proach show?" Stephen sighs,
"Marcia, I would never have brought Kinewyn and his band on to a show like that. I was hoping it would be
a few years before it became public that there are portals between Earth and Thrycion." Marcia slows for a
red light, "There is more than one portal?" "Marcia, I don't mean to sound melodramatic but Coveark died
because he knew where one of the portals is. I need you to know that Max betrayed me and put Kinewyn,
Coveark and Bryong in danger. I know I bear responsibility for what happened because I allowed them to
come back hear to Earth but what Max did was flat out evil. He is going to use this situation for his own
personal gain and I don't think he cares who gets hurt." Marcia passes a bus, "Well, what do you want to
happen, Stephen?" "I want Thrycion to be an open world. Look at all the joy a game based on Thrycion
brought the table-top RPG community. I want all the peoples of Earth and Thrycion to have new choices on
how and where they live."
Marcia is silent. Marcia turns left and drives past Salt Lake Tabernacle. “Well, I think those are noble
purposes. Of course, I am somewhat biased.” Marcia places a hand on Stephen's arm for just a moment
before pulling it away to shift. “Do you know what you are going to say?” Stephen's face is wry, “Yes. I have
given it as much thought as time allowed. I think I have a clear message to convey.” Stephen goes over the
main points with Marcia and listens carefully to her feedback. Marcia slows the Carmengia and turns onto a
long gravel driveway. The Carmengia passes acres of scrubland. Stephen leans forward to take in a four story
mansion in the middle of a meticulously kept xeriscape. Round turret towers rise at both ends of the
expansive front face of the edifice. Bright lights beam from every window and Stephen can see the home is
packed with people. He helps Marcia find a place to park between a battered old pickup and a pristine Ferrari
F150.
        The two make their way up the driveway and then Marcia takes him off path, to walk around to the
back of massive home. They enter through white, double French doors into a crowd of Blade & Bolt players.
They range in age from 16 to 76 and are equally wide ranging in race and social class. The room they enter is
a combination of foyer and tavern, rusty oak and stone furnishings. There are large bars, each manned by a
bartender on both sides of the room. Marcia attempts to sweep Stephen through the room quickly. A young
man in a tam raises his cup, “Huzzah, the man of the hour!” All in the room turn toward Stephen who
frowns. “He is here. The man who will open Thrycion to us!” Others now close in closer to Stephen and
Marcia, expectant. Stephen realizes they are waiting for him to speak. “Thank you, thank you, everyone. It is
wonderful that the Blade & Bolt community has quickly come to my aid. Helping with everyone that must
occur before the Gamers Gate to Thrycion is opened. Thank you for believing me and thank you –” Marcia
raises a hand and steps in front of Stephen. “And the way that you can all help Stephen the most right now is
to let us go upstairs to speak with Damon. Stephen cannot stay in one place too long, the fast we are in and
out of here the better chance we all have of travelling to Thrycion soon. THANK YOU! Please, let us pass.”
Disappointment radiates through the crowd before they part and allow the two to pass through the wide, art
spotted halls and up the elegant stairs to the second floor.
        As they walk, Marcia points and draws in just a few of the many Blade & Bolt players in the mansion.
They follower her as she leads Stephen into large room that is tight with workstations, server racks and a
number of coders pointing and discussing a complex line chart on a smartboard. Damon, who seems to be the
center of the conversation, wears a hoodie that looks too big for his gaunt frame. “Stephen, excellent. We can
begin.” He immediately returns to his workstation where a Mac, a PC and a Linux netbook sit, connected to
six screens. As he spins up applications, services and sites, Marcia introduces Stephen to everyone in the
room. “Stephen, this is Michael Sventon, he is in charge of getting all the gear that is needed for your
communication streams; mobiles, computers, software; free, open source and purchased. This is Tricia
Rivers. She is arranging for transportation for all the mission critical tasks that need to be completed. This is
Delano Ericson. He will be aggregating the huge of amount of media information that is surrounding your
return to Thrycion. He can help you determine the few stories you wish to respond to, if any, and keep the
community informed of what is truth and what is not. Damon, here is in charge of your outgoing
communications to everyone but the Blade & Bolt community. He will be making sure that you can
communicate out whatever you wish to whoever you wish with as much broadcast or privacy as you desire,
whenever, wherever you are.” Damon nods and Stephen notices that his pupils are white, as though he were
blind. It takes Stephen a minute to realize these are cosmetic contacts. “First order of business is getting a
video out to the masses, correct?”
         Stephen pulls an Aeron chair and sits. “Yes, how long after we record will it take to distribute?”
Damon smiles, "I can have the video posted to Viewtube within five minutes after you finish. I have about
150 RPG sites ready to distribute whatever message you give in text, podcast, HD radio and as many other
electronic formats as you can think of. However, I think the trigger will be if it is Boing Boinged pretty soon
after its posted. From there it will spread like wildfire through blogosphere, web communities and all the
cross communities. LARPers, comic fans, MMO crowd and the sci-fi community. They all have a lot of love
for the table-top RPG community, or at least respect. They will help." Stephen nods. Can we get started? I
am actually quite anxious to get this done.”
A thin Goth brings a bottled water to him and Damon rises from the seat. Stephen sits down in front of a
stark white backdrop and Marcia places the Nikon DSLR in front of him. "Go when you are ready." Stephen
sits on the stool in front on the black sheet backdrop, "Hello, my name is Stephen Cairnhist and I am college
student at Millersgrove University in Lancaster, PA. Since I was twelve years old I have enjoyed the
table-top roleplaying game Blade and Bolt. In addition to enjoying hundreds of hours of gaming and gaining
well over a dozen intelligent, imaginative friends, the game also opened up an area of scholarly pursuit for
me. I systematically learned every detail of every product published for Blade and Bolt. I also studied the life
of the creator of the game, Christopher Korbach, and how he brought his brilliant table-top roleplaying game
to market. Last week, Christopher Korbach spoke at the largest gaming convention in the world, GameCon.
He stated that Blade and Bolt was not actually a game but instead an encyclopedia, a guide he had written for
a world called Thrycion. Christopher Korbach declared that in 1969 he traveled through a portal in Mount
Gibbes, a peak in the Black Mountains of North Carolina. Today, I am specifically speaking to the hundreds
of thousands of B&B players in the United States of America and throughout the world. Please listen to me.
Thrycion, the world described in Blade and Bolt is absolutely real. Now, I need to make this crystal clear
because people have accused our gaming culture of not being able to tell reality from fantasy. Thrycion is not
a world made by magic with its source the Blade and Bolt RPG. Thrycion is real world, with real people, real
creatures, real magic that Christopher Korbach discovered by going through the Mount Gibbes portal. B&B
is travel guide to a world as real as Earth. Make no mistake, what has occured is first contact event. We now
know that man is not alone in the universe, there are planets other than Earth that are populated by sentient
life. OK. Please keep that clear as you listen to me.
Thrycion is connected to our world, Earth, by three portals. The first I have spoken of, a portal in Mount
Gibbes, North Carolina, the second is a portal on Mount Abu in the Aravalli Range in India and the third in is
a portal on Mount Yari in Nagano, Japan. Christopher Korbach chose to travel between Earth and Thrycion.
Then he created Blade and Bolt to allow anyone who was intrigued with the concepts of new worlds and
storytelling to learn continuously about the world of Thrycion. I do not believe it was Christopher’s intent but
what Blade and Bolt did was to carefully prepare a group of intelligent, imaginative readers, writers and
Blade & Bolt players on Earth to serve as a perfect group of ambassadors and diplomats in the first contact
encounters that will occur between Earth amd Thrycion. I implore you, my fellow table-top RPGers, consider
carefully what I am about to ask. You have played Blade and Bolt and now are aware of the races that
populate Thrycion. You have knowledge of the lands of Thrycion, the unique dangers that exist on that world
and the opportunities that exist in a cautious, respectful and above all peaceful interaction between Thrycion
and Earth. You played Blade and Bolt because you desired to tell communally the stories of heroes of your
own creation. Now I am asking you to be heroes in a story we will tell with our actions. In 48 hours I ask
every knowledgeable Blade and Bolt player to rally at the base of Mount Gibbes in North Carolina. At
exactly 2 PM EST on November 15th I will open the portal between Thrycion and Earth and take a group of
60 Blade and Bolt players across to Thrycion. Players, I assure you that the world is even more vibrant and
fascinating than Korbach described it. However, I will remind you to consider all of the dangers that your
player characters have encountered in Thrycion. All of them are real, all of them are present on the world I
will take you to. In addition to the 60 blade and bolt players I will also bring a group of 20 diplomats chosen
by the nations of Earth. Every person, gamer or government official who goes to Thrycion will go unarmed.
No weapons will be carried across the portal. The first away team will return from Thrycion to Earth after a
stay of three days. Thank you everyone for your attention and thank you to all of the Blade and Bolt players
in advance for the response that I expect."
Stephen stops and takes a long drink from the bottled water. There is silence from the two dozen people in
the room. There is motion at the room's entrance as several people quickly leave and people from the hall
squeeze into take their spots. Damon is keying and mousing as a young man in expensive urban style hoodie
steps forward. "Hold on Damon, stop working. We can’t send that message out yet." Marcia steps between
Damon and the young man, "We talked about this Jeremie. I warned you that the message would contain
material the RPGT was not aware of." Jeremie raises a hand in protest, "The gaming community has 60
representative and the nations of the world have 20. That is outrageous. There are decisions to be made and
alliances to be built when that away team steps onto Thrycion. You need to inverse those numbers, 60
diplomats and 20 Blade & Bolt players. " Marcia steps toward Jeremie, "Three years of poli-sci at Brown
doesn't give you the right to dictate anything to Stephen." Damon taps a key and stands, "Shut up, both of
you. It doesn't matter now. The message is sent and within the hour that video will be on a thousand blogs.
By morning it will be the leading story on every television news channel and by tomorrow evening the story
will spread across three quarters of the globe. It is done." Damon motions toward the left corner of the room
and Tricia steps forward. She hands Stephen a backpack. Damon walks to Stephen, places his hand on
Stephen’s shoulder. "Everything you need to travel including a laptop with a mobile connection. Tricia will
take you to your next stop and I will make sure you are kept moving until the meeting at Gamers Gate in
North Carolina in two days." Stephen nods, "Thank you, Damon." Stephen turns to Marcia and there is an
akward moment as she attempts to kiss him on the cheek as he tries to shake her hand. "Thanks for believing
me, Marcia. I am going to try to see you as soon as I arrive in North Carolina." He takes her hand and places
his own on top and smiles.
        Tricia drives Stephen from the mansion in a black 300C and switches it for a Grand National after
driving 15 miles west. Stephen clicks the feeds on two different RSS aggregators watching the story spread
through the blogosphere. Tricia puts distance and ambiguity between the mansion and wherever the next stop
is. Stephen shuts the laptop down and prays for the first time that day. He prays for wisdom and courage.
Chapter 15


Orichalcum
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Orichalcum, formerly a fictional metal mentioned in several ancient writings, most notably the story of
Atlantis as recounted in the Critias dialogue, recorded by Plato, is now a valuable metal being heavily
imported from Thrycion to Earth. A metal produced by the Dwarves or Clan Kaylia and Clan Parkura,
orichalcum is now more valuable than gold. Economists do not believe this value will remain at its current
price due to the fact that its primary use on Earth is to be forged into various highly collected (rather than
actively used) melee weapons. Orichalcum, as is currently produced in the Thrycion mountain mines of
Xorfgnorgn and Tersglefoea, is stronger than iron, lighter than wood and can be worked to a high sheen
which is retained even after objects made from the metal have been used roughly for some time.


         Sweat collects on Derek's shirt. His hiking boots are in good condition but his jeans are ragged.
"Azor, Kinewyn allowed me to accompany you from Grenfell to to the monster lands to warn Brugon Slace.
I understand this is a temporary arrangement but my clothes were not intended for this type of extended
travel. I need some new clothes soon. Would you be willing to loan me one gold piece to get some new pants
when we reach Brugon Slace's camp?" Azor turns and reaches back. He pulls Derek up over a large boulder
and onto the ledge he stands on. Another 50 vertical feet rise above the two before the next shelf. They have
been traveling toward toward the monster lands since the morning and Azor has assured Derek they will
reach Brugon's camp before nightfall. The steep rocky slope they now traverse is dotted with squat leafy
trees. Derek notices the ground, marked by claws or talons of climbing predators. Evidences of their kills still
litter the ground in open spots.
Azor stops and looks down at the slope they have climbed. "Derek, I have found you to be a traveler who
moves quickly, remains alert and does not waste rations or resources. We have engaged in combat on our
journey three times. I have found you do not hesitate to act. While your melee skill are want, you courage is
not. When Kinewyn returns from your world - Oorth? - I will recommend to him that you be added to our
band. Kinewyn trusts my granite judgment, so it’s likely you will be added to our number, if that is your
wish?"
Derek is silent a moment. "Azor, I did some unforgivable things back on earth. I am a wanted criminal there.
Your offer is too generous. I don't deserve you faith in me." Azor's pug fangs, curl into a smile, "Derek, your
past is a world away. Thrycion is your future. The leader of my band is a thief, Derek, but an elf of honor as
well. I can think of no better way to lead a life of adventure and discovery on Thrycion than for you to join
with us." Derek peers down the slope behind them. "I-" He takes another moment before speaking again. "I
will be honored to adventure with you and Kinewyn and Bryong and Coveark. Thank you for this
opportunity." Azor motions for them to continue upward. "What about my pants th-"
Derek stumbles back and loses his footing as the sky above fills with wood and sail and motion. "Pull in that
yardarm, Kodane." A gruff, commanding voice wends down comes from the 75-foot skyship above. Derek
cranes his neck to see the skyship sail in the opposite direction they are traveling. Derek stares up at the rich
brown oak of the keel. Suddenly Derek is looking into Thrycion's second sun. Azor raises his sword hand
before his eyes and recovers from the surprise and quickly extends a hand to help Derek up. The two run full
tilt to catch up to the ship as it weaves to avoid high treetops.
         "Ho, above. Ho, above," Azor booms a call upward. Derek sprints ahead, ascends a sharp hill to get
himself closer to the ship. His chest burns as he hauls himself up the hill. He jumps for joy when he sees
heads and shoulders appear a long the starboard. The flap and ruffle of sail is heard as the crew slows the
ship. Derek places hands on knees and catches his breath as the ship stops and thick ropes are dropped. Derek
grins at Azor as they make their way to the ropes. Azor shakes his head, "Go on up and explain that they will
need to add three more ropes to this one before I can climb up." Derek nods and jumps onto the rope and
begins hauling himself up. "Use your legs", the Golon shouts. At the top of the rope, half-orcs grab Derek's
upper arms and lift him over the newly cut and sanded railing.
Derek forces himself to thank his helpers before taking in the deck of the sky ship. "Thank you, I am Derek
of earth. My band mate and I bear a message for Brugon Slace." Derek breathes out and ignores the burn in
his arms from ascending the rope. Orcs now leap down from the raised decks at fore and aft of the ship and
approach. They part as a lone figure walks forward. "What message do you carry for me, boy?" Derek,
despite having run a half-orc character for the last eighteen months of Stephen's campaign is surprised at
Brugon's size. His thick frame is garbed in expertly tailored brown leather armor. Black plated gauntlets
cover pitcher sized fists. Derek notices finely crafted items adorning the towering leader. Each piece surely
brought to him by his loyal scouts, raiders and fighters is unmatched. Each magical item is unique, taken
from a different felled enemy. "You know my friend, Azor the Golon. May I wait to continue until he is with
us?" Brugon shoves a pair of orcs out of his way and shouts down as he braces himself against the railing,
"Get your heavy arse up here, you rock slag."
Without instruction orcs add a half-dozen more thick ropes to the one Derek climbed. While the extra ropes
are needed to safely haul Azor up, Derek notices that the skyship is not tilted by the Golon's weight. Derek
thanks Brugon and aids the orcs in hauling his friend up and then over the railing. More orcs have come up
from lower decks and now the group surrounding Azor and Derek presses tighter. Azor raises his arms to
embrace Brugon. Brugon's stern face is transformed into a bright gnarl fanged grin. "My friend, leader of
Grenfell, master of monsters, listen to the words of this young man. He bears important news.“ Derek has
been watching the orcs that surround him. The way they jostle and clamor around, invading each others space
thoughtlessly.
        Derek starts his address to the group by roughly smashing the orc directly behind him in the mouth
and shoving the two to his sides away. This produces a ripple of chuckles from the other orcs and a pocket of
space opens for Derek. "King Trajon is sending troops to take lumber from the Hearan forest in Grenfell.
King Trajon's scouts are aware of the lumbers ability to retain enchantment. Trajon attempted to hire
Kinewyn’s band to ensure a steady flow of lumber from your forest by whatever means necessary. Kinewyn
refused. This situation is compounded by the arrival of my band on Thrycion. I, Derek, my band leader
Stephen and my band mates Max and Cynthia traveled from Earth, our home world, to Thrycion through a
portal located in Mount Gibbes. Our worlds have only had a handful of travelers pass between them but I
believe soon that many people and creatures will pass back and forth between Earth and Thrycion through
the portal. Most likely there will be war. Azor and I came to inform the clans of Grenfell of all these
occurrences."
Brugon steps closer to Derek, looks down at him. He stares at Derek for a long while before turning and
looking up at the poop deck. There a slim human woman stands dressed in a colorful embroidered small coat
and leather breaches. Her shoulder length gold hair and pale skin are a striking contrast to the green and
brown skin of the orcs on the ship. Derek notices that no orc, despite the press of creatures on the top deck is
within two arms lengths of the woman. A single sheet of parchment floats in front of her and shimmering
gossamer strands of glowing script are being written to the sheet by an unseen hand. The woman nods to
Brugon, indicating that she is indeed capturing the important details.
Brugon’s hands rest on pommels of twin short swords. "This young human speaks truth, Azor?" "Truth and
warning, monster king." Azor scruffs the hair of a wee orc that is pressed toward him by the crowd. "All
quite interesting, some already known to me. But tell me, Derek of Earth, about this near world of yours and
how a young human without spellbook or sword came to be a planewalker." Azor steps toward Derek and
places his stone hand on his shoulder. "Derek will tell you of his odd world but not a moment before he has
enjoyed two bowls of Graggoth's mutton stew or before you send half this rabble below deck or before you
explain to me how your people, who struggle to erect a decent meeting tent, were able to build a flying ship."
Brugon laughs as he watches Graggoth clamor off to retrieve the afore mentioned stew. "Oh, my monstrous
horde had nothing more to do with the construction of this ship than the acquisition of a dragon egg to trade
to the wood elves." Brugon's arms extend toward bow and stern of the ship, indicating the whole of the
vessel. "High Ground was built in the span of one single crest moon by Var-keer RaCholt's best craftsmen.
That conniving elf prince required me to have his dragon egg delivered in a chest of gold, silver and
platinum, wrapped in a family crest tapestry from the Meerhold dwarf clan. The egg's wrapping and box
alone cost me 60,000 gold and 15 good orcs lost in combat."
Azor steps to the railing and runs his thick fingers over the smooth beam, "I see it now. The elves'
craftsmanship. Not a nail was used in all of the construction." The orc rabble begins to disperse at a simple
shooing motion from Brugon. The half-orc leader sits unceremoniously on the deck. Derek sits down as well
and forces himself not to grimace when his hand presses on fat gob of orc spit. "You are correct Azor. Even
at the high cost I paid I am amazed at what Var-keer RaCholt's craftsmen were able to accomplish in such a
short time. I am on my way now to offer this ship to King Trajon in exchange for fifteen miles across the
length Taltherin's border to be seeded to my clans. Var-keer RaCholt promises me I will have a new ship
ready before this double new moon. If King Trajon refuses my offer I will trade with the witch to the west."
Derek smears the viscous snot across the deck behind him. "When King Trajon sees this ship Brugon I assure
you he will send half or more of his army not just to steal some of the Hearan lumber but to secure the
Hearan forest itself. There will be war."
Brugon looks to Azor who nods to confirm Derek’s assessment. Graggoth bounds forward with a bowl
slopping green stew over the sides. Derek takes it and looks to Azor, imploring a way to graciously decline
eating it. Azor sticks out a sapphire laced tongue and licks his lips while his hand circles in front of his
stomach. Derek spoons some down, is surprised by a rich taste and spoons down some more. Brugon sits in
silence for a full five minutes, considering. Derek finishes the bowl of stew and throws it at Graggoth to
demand more. While Brugon's orcs laugh, he does not. "So with war about to break out along our border, you
bring news that trade and diplomacy and perhaps conflict will commence between Thrycion and Earth."
Derek nods. The lithe, attractive female human comes to join them. Floating parchment follows her and
settles between Derek and her. "Tell me of Earth," Brugon directs. Derek begins and glowing script scrawls
across the parchment, capturing his words.
Chapter 16


Twitter Report
espn0zeb - Zeb McMannon micro-reporting for ESPN. Thrycion half-orc Azdrogus Brel has signed a $22
million / 3 year contract with the Baltimore Ravens.
espn0zeb - This signing is being questioned by most NFL analysts as Azdrogus has never played football.
Head Coach Robert Feldman responded with -
espn0zeb - “Azdrogus' 7 year record as undefeated champion of HerzKalch fighting pits is enough
experience to make him our lead linebacker this season.”
38 minutes ago


         A cool, salty Atlantic breeze sweeps across the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Kinewyn
walks to the edge and watches high waves roll into the aircraft carriers side below him. "Please step back
from the edge, Kinewyn." The navy officer steps forward, tensed and ready to lunge after Kinewyn if he
choses to jump. "Why do you use my first name? I am a prisoner, not a friend or associate? I have noticed
that people of Earth give little regard to names. Many people on your world are not even offended when
others shorten their name or ignore appropriate honorifics." The naval officer relaxes slightly when Kinewyn
returns toward her, back from a 50 foot drop to icy water below. Her Asian features are muted by her
pudginess.
Kinewyn wonders why this soldier lacks the strong, lean physique the rest of the aircraft carriers crew has.
"Kinewyn, I use your first name because I wish to be your friend. Will you use my first name, Kimiko?"
Kinewyn frowns. "Lt. Commander Kodai of the US Navy, it is foolish for you to wish to be my friend. Four
of the soldiers on this ship are recovering from wounds I dealt them this morning. My escape attempted only
failed because I wished to gain my freedom without taking the life of your soldiers. Tomorrow’s escape
attempt will be unreserved and successful. It is unfortunate that some of your soldiers will have to die. I do
regret that." "Kinewyn, I assure you that your presence on this aircraft carrier is solely for your own safety.
The only reason you are being kept in a cell is because you continue to attempt to leave this aircraft carrier. If
you will simply answer a few questions and put on a civil demeanor than this adversarial stance can be
dropped on both sides."
         Kinewyn turns away from Kimiko again. A seagull dips past him and under the sloping side of the
ship. "If I answer one question truthfully, will you bring Bryong to the deck to speak with me?" Kimiko
pauses and Kinewyn notices a bauble that sits over her ear. "If you answer one question truthful then as soon
as we are done speaking Bryong will be brought to speak with you in the conference room on the deck where
you met with Admiral Reynolds earlier today." Kinewyn breathes in the fresh sea air, "Ask your question,
officer." The wind picks up as Kimiko takes a smart phone from her belt pouch. She flips the clam shell
device open, keys a button. Kinewyn tries to move in toward her to watch the small screen on the device but
he must first circle her to ensure that his blowing cloak does not disturb her. Kinewyn catches the scent of
lilac and jasmine, but only a trace.
The screen shows Max Esso. He is wearing a brightly colored leather jacket bearing a large logo across his
chest. "Zip Pappa Web Hosting" can clearly be read even on the small screen. An attractive woman holds a
microphone to his mouth. "I am standing here with Max Esso, one of the five rolegamers who traveled to
Thrycion earlier in the week. GNN is the first to bring you a detailed account of what actually happened on
the distant planet. Max, tell us what happened to you on Thrycion."
         Max waits silently until the woman moves the microphone closer. "Robyn, I could talk to you for the
rest of the evening and not even cover what occurred in the first hour on Thrycion. The experience was
incredibly rich. Fortunately, the Houman & Wiffle publishing house has purchased the book rights to the full
story of what happened on Thrycion. SO your viewers will be able to read the full story this fall. I am in talks
with Barner and Kit media right now for the movie rights, so I am confident that this story will be available
to the world in a variety of formats. But I can tell you that the event that shocked me most on Thrycion was
the death of my good friend Cynthia Mullen. The group that followed Stephen Cairnhist through the North
Carolina Portal was myself, Derek Burgast and Cynthia Mullen. After we scaled Mount Gibbes and went
through the portal we traveled for about ten miles on Thrycion to an area near the Hearan Forest, which
located in the clan lands ruled by the half-orc Brugon Slace. There we met Kinewyn’s band, a group
Thrycion mercenaries. Kinewyn is an elf, an experienced thief. His band consisted of himself, Azor, a Golon,
Coveark, a human ranger and Bryong, a female sorcerer. If any of your viewers did not understand either the
race or the profession I just named they should purchase a copy of the Blade & Bolt Players Guide Book or
the B&B Gamemaster’s Guide."
Robin holds up a hand to Max. "Actually viewers please tune in tonight at 10 PM for Joe Corsair's in depth
story on why marketing firms and conglomerate corporations are currently snapping up all of the B&B
Players Guides and Creature Collections on online auction sites at prices in the thousands of dollars per copy.
Please Max, continue." Max takes a quick look at his watch. "Thank you, Robin. Despite my protests,
Stephen decided our gaming group should travel along with Kinewyn’s band." Robin again raises a hand,
"To clarify for our viewers, Coveark is the man who was killed on the Winifred Proach show and Kinewyn
and Bryong were taken into custody." Max nods, "That is correct. Now if I may continue." A frown forms on
Max's face as Robin steps away slightly, but also extends the microphone. "So we travel with Kinewyn’s
mercenary band to a small village and are planning to enjoy dinner with the villagers when suddenly the
village is attacked by Minotaurs. Minotaurs with axes and great swords just descend on the village. They cut
down villagers left and right. I tell you, Robin, as a veteran Blade & Bolt player I had seen these types of
situations at the game table many times. But seeing the real world, Thrycion, that Blade & Bolt was an
encyclopedia of just really had an impact on me. Well, the battle is raging and Kinewyn tells us to stay out of
the way which I did. Derek, Stephen and Cynthia just stand there in the middle of all of it and to on ones
surprise a minotaur sweeps through and disembowels Cynthia. Kinewyn’s band dispatch the minotaurs and
we gather round -"
Robin opens her mouth to interject, thinks better of it as Max raises an eye brow at even the suggestion of
another interruption. "So we are all standing over Cynthia corpse and Kinewyn says that Bryong can
resurrect Cynthia. Stephen immediately becomes offended because he is one of those died-in-the-wool
fundamentalist conservative evangelical Christians. He says that it would be "an abomination unto God to
resurrect Cynthia". Derek and myself try to convince him that what he is saying is foolishness, but he was
adamant. Kinewyn sees all this dissension in our group and says that Bryong will not resurrect Cynthia
because our group is not in agreement on what is a critical decision. So, Robin, while I am here today to
share my experience on what happened on Thrycion, Cynthia Mullen is buried in a swamp on Thrycion and
that sad reality lays squarely on the shoulders of Stephen and his dogmatic religious superstitions." Robin
waits to make sure she does not step on Max's words before turning to the camera. "An amazing story is
unfolding as the first contact gaming group -"
Kimiko clicks the button on the phone. "One question, Kinewyn. You answer truthfully; thoroughly, and I
will take you to speak to Bryong immediately. Agreed?" Kinewyn pauses. He can hear a slight whispering
from the bauble close to Kimiko's ear. "Agreed," Kinewyn responds. Kimiko asks, "What do you know about
resurrection magic?" Kinewyn loosens the leather straps around his wrist as he answers. "Resurrection is an
ancient spell, its origins debated by arcanists and diviners. It is cast primarily by veteran clerics of many
different gods. Its components cost in the tens of thousands of gold pieces. The spell is capable of restoring to
life any creature killed by mortal hands. However, even when the spell is cast by a skilled cleric, always the
resurrected creature is slightly diminished. There is no loss of mental capacity or memory. It is just that the
resurrected creature will not be able to use their all of their skills and abilities to the full range they enjoyed
in their first life."A sense of relief plays across Kimiko's face. "Thank you, Kinewyn. Thank you for giving
an answer of significance."
Kimiko draws here cell phone, hits call button. "Escort Bryong to the Johnson conference room. I will bring
Kinewyn to speak with her now, thank you." Kinewyn nods. "See, Kinewyn. We are building bridges to one
another with cooperation." Kinewyn shakes his head, "Please do not forget what I told you. I will leave this
ship tomorrow. The only question will be if my exit will be through the cost of several of your men’s lives.”
Kimiko’s expression hardens. "This way." Kimiko leads Kinewyn back across the deck of the ship. Activity
has picked up and Kinewyn stops to watch as two mammoth machines are rolled out outward the bright
yellow lines he is walking perpendicular to. Kimiko turns, "Those are F15 Strike Eagles, Kinewyn. They are
flying weapons platform that allow the US government to attack military targets up to thousands of miles
away within hours with the force of 200 infantry."
Kinewyn watches an F15s taxi to a launch position. "Indeed." Kimiko extends her hand, "We need to
proceed." Kinewyn nods and follows. Ground crews scurry past Kinewyn as he approaches the main tower
near the aft of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Kinewyn glances over to a crew member who is watching him.
Quickly, as Kinewyn and Kimiko pass, the crew member raises two right hand fingers straight against his
leveled left hand. He turns his hand clock-wise as a key turns in a lock. Kinewyn is startled and stops. The
crewman immediately drops his hands and moves toward the F15 Strike Eagle. Kinewyn tries to focus and
continue with Kimiko but he is startled. How? How does an inhabitant of earth know a thieves' guild hand
sign for "freedom" from a world he could never have set foot on? Kinewyn curses himself under his breath as
Kimiko comes back for him, again insisting they continue back into the air craft carriers’ interior to speak
with Bryong. She sweeps her gaze across the deck for what Kinewyn was looking at. He hurries forward,
forcing her to halt her quick search and jog after him. "I am excited to see Bryong. I am surprised that you
are fulfilling your end of our agreement so quickly." A broad smile spreads across Kimiko’s face, "You will
continue to find, Kinewyn, that cooperating with the US military awards fast and substantial
rewards."Kinewyn nods as he ducks to enter the circular door into the interior hall way. The piercing whine
of jet engines echoes into the hall as they head to the conference room where Bryong waits to speak with
Kinewyn. The grey hall of the aircraft carrier gives way to an open area in the ships interior. The sterile hard
plastic beneath their feet is replaced with plush dark carpet that leads to a wide accommodating conference
room. The room is sealed. Two guards are visible inside behind a wall wide window. Large screens display
complex charts and metrics on the far wall. Two additional guards stand just outside the conference room.
Bryong sits with he hands cuffed in front of her. She smiles and stands when she sees Kinewyn.
Immediately the two guards standing behind Bryong run toward the conference room door. The first guard, a
stocky Native American who seems crammed into his navy whites, kicks the door shattering it off its hinges
and startling both of the guards on the outside of the conference room. The AmerIndian and the blond female
guard leave Bryong behind as they both explode out of the conference room and physically attack the
exterior guards. Relying on speed and surprise the Native American and the blond female disarm both
guards. Kinewyn grins and effortlessly strikes at Kimiko's neck. She falls unconscious at his feet. Bryong
backs to the rear wall of the conference room. "Fear not, freecaster. We are being freed by these people."
Kinewyn motions Bryong to come out to them as the AmerIndian and the blond female pull their sidearms.
"How did your compatriot know the Silk Blade sign for freedom?" The AmerIndian flashes perfect teeth,
"Page 146 of the Blade & Bolt Gamemaster Guide. Let's go. We need to be on the flight deck in less than 40
seconds."
Bryong rushes to them. The AmerIndian, Kinewyn and Bryong bolt across the flight deck to two F15 Strike
Eagle fighter jets. Personnel from all over the flight deck converge on them. Bryong raises a hand and shouts.
“To me!” Kinewyn steps close to her and their two helpers turn and stop their forward movement to do as
Kinewyn does. Bryong places a hand an embroidered rune on her vest and stamps her foot down. Every
soldier on the deck is knocked prone as force radiates out from Bryong. The AmerIndian smiles and is on the
move again toward the fighter jets and the other three follow his lead. Side arms are drawn by soldiers on the
above decks and Kinewyn is relieved as he hears distant shouts of “Don’t Shoot” from officers. The blond
shouts, “Kinewyn, you are with me.” She leaps up the ladder to her cockpit and Kinewyn is in the seat behind
her faster than she can turn to help him up. The fighter jets are flight-ready and the Blond is the first to close
her cockpit. “Kinewyn, put on the helm that is back there with you.” Kinewyn does as he is told. “Now
harness yourself in.”
         The Blond raises a hand with two fingers extends as she looks out to the AmerIndian. He extends two
fingers as well and the Blond fires up the jets on her fighter. She thumbs a signal to her aid on the deck and
there is a sound of two sharp twangs. Kinewyn can feel the vibration through the fighter just before the F15
Strike Eagle is hurled forward. The F15 Strike Eagle darts out passed the edge of the airline carrier and arcs
up sharply in an instant. Kinewyn screams as he is lifted out of his seat and pressed against the top of the
cockpit. The loose harnesses he had been trying to put on now lash his back. The Blond yells, “You’ve got to
get the harnesses on. Pull yourself- ” Kinewyn kicks the Blond in the head and hears her curse as the fighter
jet rolls and she fights with the stick to regain control. Kinewyn turns himself around so that he is facing the
seat and grabs a swinging harness. He yanks himself down into the seat and presses a hand against his
forehead, bracing against the pain caused by slamming into the canopy. He hears murmurs from the pilot in
front of him and he focuses again on getting harnessed in and getting the helm on his head. A machine, huge,
bigger than a cog boat streaks out past the blond. Kinewyn only views it for a second before it is ahead of
their fighter jet. The old elf’s alarm rises, even as he forces himself to don the helm. “Thank God. Kinewyn,
you’re harnessed in and you can hear me?” Kinewyn collects himself before speaking. “I am.” The
AmerIndian’s voice cuts across the blond pilot’s. “That’s not good. That’s not good, Loofa. I see four F-35A
Lightning II’s. Two ahead two behind. No way we can out run them.” The blond banks her fighter left. “Shut
up, Boken. We got introductions to take care of. Our pursuers are not a problem. Bryong and Kinewyn, on
behalf of the USS Abraham Lincoln’s Red Five Blade & Bolt table-top roleplaying group, welcome to Earth.
I am Erica Aumbear, flight tag Loofa when I am piloting this bird, and my fellow rescuer is Quenton Mulpas,
flight tag Boken. He is the primary Dungeon Master for the Red Five Blade & Bolt table-top roleplaying
group.”
         Kinewyn grimaces as the fighter banks and climbs. "Loofa, on new band? Those fighters are close."
"On new band, Boken. Level out and go back on route. Those pursuing fighters are not going to fire on us.
Commander-In-Chief won't allow the loss of this significant a political asset. Sorry, Kinewyn and Bryong
just some shop talk. You're going hear some static on your head sets as we change channels to avoid our
conversation being overheard by our pursuers." Bryong touches the matte finishes of her helmet, "Kinewyn, I
think this world has machines that are equivalent to scrying." Boken arches his fighter out in front of Loofa's,
which changes direction to a sharp angled descent. Loofa listens to the fast breathing coming from
Kinewyn’s microphone, "Kinewyn and Bryong, we are 175 miles off the coast of Pennsylvania. I need both
of you to take a minute and pull the buckles of your chairs as tight as possible. There is a large tract of land -
a national forest where we are going to eject you over. The canopy above you will explosively -"Kinewyn’s
breathing grows rapid over his open microphone. Loofa stops and the powerful thrum of the F15's engine fill
the silence. Bryong’s voice fills all their ears, "Kinewyn, these flight tools are simply machines. They are no
different than the car we rode in with Max or the cell phone Stephen used to talk to his friends hundreds of
miles away." The pounding thrum returns and then Kinewyn's speaks, "Erica Aumbear, please continue."
"Thank you, Kinewyn. I need the both of you to prepare to be ejected from these aircrafts. First the canopy
above you and then the chairs you are seated on will be explosively thrown upwards and you will be cleared
from the afterburners of these fighter jets." Bryong responds immediately, "I need to be able to see Kinewyn
to cast Leaf's Descent on him." Kinewyn feels the tight constriction across his chest as Loofa yanks the F15
Strike Eagle vertical and then angles out across her pursuers’ path. "You will have to sight each other and
then direct yourselves together in freefall.”
Boken spirals his aircraft behind Loofa and punches the velocity, shooting passed her, "Loofa, nix the eject.
We can land in Pennsylvania and travel with Kinewyn and Bryong. They can travel safer with us." Kinewyn
interrupts the AmerIndian, "We have been pursued and traveled many leagues in foreign lands before. Please
allow us to make our escape. We thank you for your aid." Loofa matches Boken's speed, "We eject on three,
Boken." Alarm laces Bryong's voice, "Kinewyn, when we are out there you to have to find me and get close.
I have to start casting as soon as we are out of these machines." Loofa readies her hand over the eject switch.
"Three, two, one." The canopies blast away from the F15 Strike Eagles and Bryong gasps in cold, thin
rushing air. The freecaster's hair is propelled directly upward like an arrow for 150 yards before the
momentum of the ejection decreases and the chair begins to tumble end over end.
         Bryong steels herself, pulls the steel latch at her chest and kicks the chair away. She raises her knees
and crosses her arms in case the chair strikes her. She exhales as the chair hurtles laterally away until its
forward momentum is arrested by a wing of one of the pursuing jets. The F-35A Lightning II explodes into
shards and Bryong screams as fire and shrapnel fill the twirling sky. A light kiss of metal on her cheek and a
jagged punch of plastic on her upper arm as the pursuer’s debris is spun out across the sky. Bryong sees only
chaos. Fire, spin, up, spin, traces of her blood, spin, debris, spin, Kinewyn arrowing toward her, spin, the
second pursuing jet blasting forward, spin, open sky. Spin, spin. Spin, spin. Bryong tries to collect herself,
failing until she is thumped hard on the back. She startles and Kinewyn’s arms are around her waist. She
smiles, even as the faint traces of a loose jet engine's whine pass her ears. She turns to see Kinewyn’s
reassuring grin. Kinewyn meets her gaze. There is no reassurance, no fear. "Start casting! Start casting! Do
not write the last light rune until I say to." The spin of the green earth below slows.
Bryong casts her arms out and begins scrawling runes of light in the whistling air. Her glowing script turns in
sync with her and Kinewyn. She finishes the last of the runes and Kinewyn shouts. “No, no, wai-" Spiking
into the rotating vision of blue, white, green and brown are discernible trunks and branches. "Now," Kinewyn
shouts. "Now." Bryong slashes the last light rune into the air before her and Kinewyn's speed and momentum
are subsumed into the vertical stream of runes. Her arms and legs splay out and Kinewyn lets her go to gently
fall the remaining fifty feet to the treetops of Reading, Pennsylvania.
CHAPTER 17


Abjuration attack
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its Thrycion sources remain
unclear because they lack Earth-accessible citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise
citations where appropriate.

The Abjuration attack is a form of arcane cryptanalysis designed to deal with the prevailing idea that even
weak arcane ciphers can become very strong by increasing the number of verbal, somatic or material
elements, which can ward off an arcane differential attack. The Abjuration attack works in such a way as to
make the number of verbal, somatic or material elements in an arcane cipher irrelevant. Rather than looking
at the data-randomizing aspects of the arcane black/white cipher the Abjuration attack works by analyzing
the metamagic key schedule and exploiting weaknesses in it to break the arcane black/white cipher. The most
common one is the metamagic keys repeating in a cyclical domain rotation.


         The gamer pulls his hiking backpack off and sits down in a collapsible lawn chair next to Stephen.
Blade & Bolt players, marketing executives, citizen reporters, Homeland Security and Secret Service agents,
foreigners, celebrities and their entourages swarm around Stephen's tent. Marcus turns in his chair, looking
from side to side for a break in the sea of on-lookers. "Chaotic, I know," Stephen speaks loudly and leans in
toward Marcus. "Listen, I am sorry this is going to be rushed. Your are the number one poster on
en-world.com with intelligent well-crafted posts on B&B, Shadowrun, Call of Cthulhu and Castle
Falkenstein. I also hit your Flickr account and viewed your pics from your last three trips to GameCon."
A shout interrupts, "Stephen-", "Stephen, is it true, Stephen, that Bryong murdered Lieutenant Joseph
Granger at your command and that Bryong and her rogue elf bodyguard are now heading here to rendezvous
with you to go through the portal and escape justice here on earth?" Marcus shakes his head as a dozen Blade
& Bolt players surround the reporter, each holding up his character sheet and regaling the reporter with
stories of their table-top adventures. Stephen laughs as the reporter is caught up in a ripple of caffeine-fueled
table-top RPGers moving out toward the fringes of the now sprawling Mount Gibbes basecamp. “I am not
sure how you can laugh at that. Actually, Stephen, I am amazed you have not been taken into Government
custody. This is a first contact situation. This is the first time Earth will make contact with sentient beings
from a planet other than Earth. How are the nations of the world allowing you as much control as you have in
this situation,” Marcus asks.
Stephen nods, “You are right. I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to orchestrate this much control. I
can tell you without hesitation that primarily it is thanks to the table-top roleplaying game community. They
are brilliant. And why wouldn’t they be? They all play a game that requires you to read 300 to 900 pages of
rules just to get started. So the first person that helped me avoid being arrested by the US on sight is Quinn
McShan. She is a sophomore from Brigham Young. Quinn laced together the intricate communication
process I used to simultaneously engage and negotiate with the US, UN and China. The chain of
communication included ham radio, sequences of playlists from mp3 music pirating sites, chat logs,
disposable cell phones and hand-written notes carried by bike messengers as a back channel when necessary.
All of the details of constructing this communication had to be worked out using emailed text files wrapped
in PIG encryption. Quinn helped me to make it clear to the US, UN and China that I was the only possessor
to the key to the gate to Thrycion. Once I did that I was able to leverage one government against another to
arrange to take each nation's leader across to the new world. Quinn's role in helping me to get everything
arranged in a short period of time was critical. No less than three dozen others risked much to make
something happen that most people would have dismissed as fairy tale. With the news feeds spreading the
video and stories of what happened on Winifred’s show, coupled with the rumors that were spreading like
wildfire about the two navel officers deaths from Kinewyn and Bryong's escape, I was quickly designated as
a suspect in federal and international investigations. By engaging US, UN and China simultaneously I was
able to convince the US government that if they did not cooperate with my plan to open the gate in the USA I
would open the gate in Japan or India. As soon as it was clear that there would be difficulty capturing me and
in controlling the burgeoning amount of information being released through the US’ free press about
Thrycion, the US government changed its priorities from capturing me to ensuring I opened the gate on US
soil. Things dominoed fast after that and I was able to negotiate the suspension of investigations into
Cynthia’s death. Once the US was not trying to arrest me it was not difficult to get the UN and China on
board.”
Stephen grimaces, "Anyway, that’s not this sitdown is about. You're in; you're going with me to Thrycion.
Since I got here this morning I have been pressed for meetings with the President, the leader of the UN, the
British prime minister, the Russian President and the Chinese President. I thought I was going to be able to
hand pick 60 Blade & Bolt players from this crowd but I don't think I will have the freedom or mobility to do
that. I think if I am not engaging with these diplomats it could get uncomfortable for the RPGers who
answered my call and congregated here. I want to avoid threats so I am going to alternate my meetings,
government officials, Blade & Bolt players, government officials, Blade & Bolt players. That means I need
help filling out the 60 Blade & Bolt players. I need you to pick 15 Blade & Bolt players by 7 PM tonight.
That is two hours before I bring everyone through the portal. I want each gamer you pick to be from a
different state or country. Can you do that?"
         Marcus rubs his hands back forth on the ragged cargo pants he is wearing, "I can do that. Thank you
for trusting me." Stephen stands and offers his a hand. Marcus stands and shakes his head. "No. I am weird
about people touching me. I will text you the name of my picks as I make them in case you want to Google
them." "Excellent," Stephen pulls out a new smart phone from a belt pouch. The two exchange phones,
quickly dialing the others phone. "Thanks again." Marcus grabs his pack and ducks back out into the throng.
Stephen breaths in deeply, exhales. He pokes his head out of the tent and calls to a Prada quaffed Beltway
Type A, "Ellen I am ready to see POTUS. Bring him on in."

        "Listen to me. Their teeth are long sharp and gnarled. They are going to tear up the top on our current
20 ounce bottle. Frankly, I don't think plastic is going to work at all. Call Porter – no, go down to his office
and ask him about his son at Princeton. When he's done grousing about him not picking up physics as his
major I want you to talk to Porter about mass producing wooden bottles. I know, I know I don't give a fu-.
No, no, it does not matter if we lose $1.50 a bottle for the next three years. This is about locking down the
Thrycion orc community as cola PopCo dedicated imbibers for the next three centuries." Rachel throws a
half smoked Marlboro on the loamy Virginia soil and grinds it with brand new Eddie Bauer WeatherEdge
Shearling boot. "I'm not trying to ignore your input. I just don't have a lot of margin for error here." A portly
Asian woman wearing a Homestar Runner t-shirt jostles passed her, turns, apologizes and is briskly shoved
back.
"Move on, doofus," Rachel places one finger in her ear. "I hear you. Tell Huntroy that PepInc bottling has
John Deckama and Tracy Croy down here and then tell him I need another 50K cash down here within 90
minutes." Rachel concentrates to hear the response. "Hey, can we get a picture?" An affable young man steps
in front of Rachel holding up his cell phone at two Star Wars cosplayers. A tall lanky Stormtrooper looks
puzzled at a brown clad bounty hunter next to him. The cosplayer the Stormtrooper is looking at is wearing
Princess Leia's disguise for infiltrating Jabba's sanctum in "Return of the Jedi". Rachel knows this because of
the cute CSS designer she lived with for a year and a half after her divorce. He watched the Stars Wars
movies over and over in the same manner she read and re-read Jane Austin novels. She had liked his
performance tuned BMW and the options dollars paid-for outfits he bought that were straight from the first
ten pages of the latest GQ magazine. She did not like that he had left her because she had not spent more than
30 consecutive minutes with him in 3 months. Just like her miserable ex-husband.
Two Blade & Bolt players stepped up to the requesting cell phone photographer. "Sorry, we are in a hurry.
Nother time." A pretty college student hustles the cosplayers passed the young man. Rachel curses under her
breath, thinking that something is really wrong. "Listen, I have to go right now. Make sure I have that 50k
here within the next 90 minutes." Rachel hits the end key and stuffs the smart phone into her new khaki vest,
hustles to follow the cosplayers. The college girl leading the cosplayers stops and stands on her toes. She
runs her hands through through shoulder length brown hair and peers around until she spies a large tent with
a flag. The flag is emblazoned with a twenty-sided die icon. She gathers the cosplayers to her and heads
toward the flag. Rachel notices that the tall Stormtrooper glances around before following. Rachel laughs.
The Princess Leia is holding her blaster backwards with the barrel pointed at her stomach. Rachel runs,
rushing passed Blade & Bolt players, corporate reps and reporters. She cuts a trail of cursing bystanders and
displaces students and fanboys. "Hold up, sister." Rachel grabs the college girl by her polar fleece. "I need a
word with you-" The college girl throws a hand up, knocking loose Rachel's grip. "Let go of me," she spits,
annoyance radiating off of her.
The college girl steps back and takes in Rachel. The Stormtrooper and the bounty hunter are now still,
watching. "Get out of our way. We are in a hurry." Rachel steps forward and leans into the college girl. The
college girl sniffs and wrinkles her nose at the mix of new clothes, Burberry and two packs a day. "I would
be in a hurry too if I was escorting two extraterrestrial fugitives who are wanted for the deaths of two US air
force pilots. I am not a reporter, a cop or a government agent but if you don’t follow me this very instant I am
going to shout your Thrycion friends' names at the top of my lungs and you can bet that every reporter, cop
or government agent on the ground here at First Contact Central is going to be on you like an overweight
gamer on a extra cheese burrito."
Marcia stops and her taut, hurried stance unwinds. "What do you want?" Rachel gives Marcia some room and
motions in a friendly way for her and the cosplayers to come closer. "My RV," Rachel points to a gleaming
half-million dollar tour bus with PopCo corporate red and blue colors. "I want just ten minutes of your time
to talk. That's it." Marcia glares at the ad executive and for moment she begins to raise her hand to call
Kinewyn and Bryong into action, but even as she does her hand is pushed down by huckster pushing passed
to hand a bottled water to a customer for three times its retail price. Too many people around. Marcia nods in
consent
Rachel leads them through the crowd and into the trailer. A middle-aged man in khakis and a polo sits
hunched over a keyboard in from four large LCD monitors built into the wall. "Hey, Rachel I just got three
designs for bottle wrappers for you to choose from. That new Korean guy is fantastic; clean lines, simple
design, but with quirky-" Rachel, interrupts, "Thanks, Jason, good work. I need the trailer right now. Go find
Marcus and let him know we definitely have two people going through to Thrycion and we are going to need
every every single thing on the list I gave him earlier. Two of each item." The man saves, closes all of his
applications and stands. "Got it." He heads out of the trailer and the sound of the crowd breaks into the
luxurious PopCo buses' interior for a moment before he closes and locks the door behind him.
Rachel walks to the far end of the RV and sit in an area with three plush leather seats. "Don’t be obstinate,
sit." Marcia hesitates before nodding to Bryong to join her and as she sits. Kinewyn remains standing. The ad
executive goes to lights a cigarette and frowns and pushes the cigaretter back into the back. "I am sorry I had
to threaten you. You and Bryong and Kinewyn know probably better than most of the people out there how
fast things are happening right now. In exactly," Rachel pulls her cell phone out to check the time," "One
hour and 47 minutes Earth will be joined to Thrycion through this portal that Stephen Cairnhist discovered.
First contact with an alien world populated by humans, elves, orcs and dragons. Not what anyone expected?
Now -" Marcia raises a hand. "You are wrong. Christopher Korbach discovered the portal. And he did it
before Stephen was even alive." Marcia shakes her head before continuing, "What the hell do you want? I
just spent the last 36 hours without sleep transporting Bryong and Kinewyn over four state lines to get them
within a quarter mile of Stephen without them being arrested. So please, cut to the chase and explain why I
am a talking to an ill-informed suit from a soda company." The silence in the hermetically sealed interior of
the RV presses down.
Rachel shifts forward. "OK. The reason you are talking to me is because I need to make sure that PopCo is
selling our soft drinks to every orc on Thrycion within the next fiscal quarter." Marcia stands. "What? Is that
what this is about? Humanity finds out it is not alone in the universe and hawking soft drinks is your first
concern!" Rachel shifts back into the white leather behind her. "You know what. I am not particularly
interested in a social conscience lesson from a coed whose biggest responsibility is making sure next
semesters tuition check make it to the bursar's office. Yes, first contact is history, so was the death of Julius
Caesar, the first shot of the civil war, the first stamp of the Gutenberg press. Do you think business is
suspended because the world changes? No, the world changes because business never stops. And just
because you never got around to reading "Atlas Shrugged" doesn't mean you get to thumb you nose at me.
Now you have a choice. I can make sure that not only do you, Kinewyn and Bryong get reunited with
Stephen but that Stephen remains free to open the portal to Thrycion and return to Earth without becoming a
prisoner of the US government. And trust me the odds of that happening are increasing as we speak. Or if
you refuse to work with me, you and Bryong and Kinewyn can become prisoners of the ATF officers that are
50 meters out that door. Make your choice." Marcia looks at Kinewyn.
       Kinewyn removes his storm trooper helmet. His golden hair falls down on the white plastic of his
shoulders. He locks Elven eyes on Rachel. "Your threats are clear. What you ask of us is not." The PopCo
product manager does not hesitate, "I want one thing only. To go through the portal with you."
Chapter 18


Sturble
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sturble (short for "urban stables" refers to a new transportation fixture in many US cities. Sturbles began to
spring up in large US cities with significant populations of Thryconians in early 2013. Rich thryconians,
either afraid or uncomfortable in automobiles, took to having stables built in the city to accommodate their
horses. Miami was the first city to re-path all of its streets to the one-way automobile / two-way horse street
model that is now in place in over 25 major US cities. The building of Sturbles boomed in US metropolises
when ecologically minded citizens began riding horses along with Thryconians in an effort to reduce their
carbon footprints. Most sturbles have dedicated as much as half of the horses kept there in to use by the cities
poor. Businesses, city governments and philanthropists fund these “po-runner” horses to help ensure there
will be more and more horse traffic on the streets of their city, displacing automobile traffic and encouraging
more environmentally conscience city development.


Derek gazes at the crystal blue sea spanning out beyond the port city Gloan Alta. "Do you have its equal on
Earth?" Brugon Slace leans against the rail. "Absolutely, New York shipyards are filled with ships from all
over the world. Airplanes dozens of times faster than this skyship. Buildings so high they call them
skyscrapers." Brugon breaths the cool sea air in and gazes across the white capped waves below, "I like the
sound of that. You know, Derek, you seemed genuine in your desire to warn of us your of world. The
changes you warn of seem significant. Powerful ranged weapons, transportation beyond the means of
Thrycion. Significant power lies in these things. But a world that has never seen magic? Hmmm... I wonder if
Earth does not have more to be concerned with of our world than we do of yours." “Perhaps, Brugon,
perhaps." Brugon grins and points down at the city, "You were right, Derek. Gloan Alta is buzzing. Look at
the walls filling up with citizens to see Thrycion's first skyship. This will be good day for my people. Trajon
will pay most likely a heavy price for our lumber, as much as we can fell, and we will grow rich as he wars
against the humans and elves surrounding his lands." "If you are supplying him to war won’t that make his
enemies your enemies eventually?" "Sooner than later, Derek, but I will sell to Trajon's human enemies as
well."
Derek zips up his hoodie as a cool ocean breeze sweeps across the bow of the skyship. "What about he
elves?" Brugon's fangs show as he frowns, "They have always treated my people with contempt. I look
forward to seeing their blood spilled in their manicured forests." Derek stares ahead at Gloan Alta. Even from
their distance the increased bustle of the port city is evident. "Look at that." Derek points down to the east
gate of the city. Two riders, King Trajon’s colors flashing with their movement, barrel out of the city's west
gate. They push their mounts down a path parallel to the sea. "They are headed toward Noenficar Mountain.
Toward the portal."
Brugon turns and calls to the female sorcerer. "Ayahail! Quickly." Ayahail motions for an orc near her to
take the skyship’s wheel and shoves other orc warriors out of her way as she approaches Brugon. She takes
her place beside the great half-orc. Brugon points, "I wish to see the top of that mountain." Derek steps back
as the sorcerer scrawls runes of light in front of her. An instant passes before a thick shaft of light flashes out
across the bow of the skyship. A grey winged falcon appears at the end of the beam and wheels around to
head back to the sorcerer. Before the bird reaches her Ayahail raises her fingers to the bird. A circle of red
luminosity appears and passes through the bird. The sorcerer closes her eyes. Brugon places his hand on hers
shoulders and readies to steady her if need be. Azor approaches. Derek steps away from Brugon and Ayahail.
"What did she do?"
Azor leans down and speaks as quietly as his granite throat allows, "She summoned that hawk with an
advanced spell that allows her to see through its eyes. As soon as it was summoned onto this plane she
teleported it from here to the highest point she can see on the mountain. She is looking through the falcon's
eyes right now as it travels above the trees. She must maintain the spell even as she is perceiving from
another point of view. That is why Brugon stands close, in case she loses her balance. It is a disorienting
experience, Bryong has told me." Derek steps aside as an orc hauls loops of rope passed him. All of the orcs
are busy now preparing for disembarkation at the port city below. Derek walks across the deck and pulls
himself up on to a thick baton circle that surround the center yard mast. "I think I see smoke at the at the top
of the mountain." Azor looks to where Derek is pointing. "Thin wisps," the Golon says. "Probably cooking
fires." Derek jumps down as Brugon takes his hands away from the sorcerer's shoulders. He listens to her
report and nods before calling to the orc at the rear of the ship. "Ridge Leaper, haul that wheel around, head
to the mountain. Trajon and his impling son are at the portal now with two dozen king's guardians and three
times that in soldiers." The orcs and goblins and gnolls bustle around with comments and jabbering before
changing their activity. The skyship stalls in the sky for a moment before the crew works out the process of
turning the sails at the needed angle. The skyship surges forward and satisfied growls and chortles bubble up
from the monstrous crew.

Brugon holds up a gleaming blade, “It’s a vorpal blade taken off of some fool paladin who rode into our
village alone on a white destrier last Krauforner's day. My people were celebrating and this human rides into
the village singing about flowers and stars and lopping heads off left and right from atop his warhorse. He
got two dozen fathers and challengers before my people pulled him down. They ripped his plate mail off of
him piece by piece and stabbed him to death. His warhorse was delicious and extended the Krauforner's
feasting for a whole day." Derek takes the thin jet black sword. "The balance is fantastic. But, Brugon, I can't
use this. It's worth 35,000 gold pieces. It should go to your finest warrior. Not me."
         Brugon draws his blade and strikes down at Derek. Azor's hand goes to the hilt of Klage as Derek
jumps back, raises the vorpal sword and parries. "And what will you use to defend yourself, Earther? Your
selling phone? As sure as Goblin's like gristle hind, blades will flash when we meet Trajon on that mountain.
If I had met him at Buelgwarn Castle, him on his throne with all his power to rain on me at his whim."
Brugon shakes his head and continues, "And if his son were off at a brothel as he usually is then I expect we
would have been able to come to an agreement, making a mutually beneficial trade of land for the enchanted
wood. But we will stand toe to toe on soil and he will be unsettled. He can not control his son, Prince Ayson,
who will force conflict because his hatred for monsters overwhelms his sense. You will need the magic in
that blade and rest assured my best – Kreelbreaker, Chorsk, Thistlebane, Freestorn, and Sunderbale – are
equipped from head to toe with the finest magic items from many fallen adventurers. Unlike humans we of
the monster lands do not trade magic items for shiny coins." Azor nods in agreement. Derek smiles, "Thank
you, Brugon. Again, I am stunned by the generosity of the people of Thrycion.”
Ayahail tugs at the runes on her sleeves, "No, Derek, thank you for aiding Kinewyn and his band. They have
been allies to our people for many years. Kinewyn continues to recruit brave and unique heroes." Derek
looks down at his ACG sneakers and the moment is broken as goblins begin to curse at each other in the
rigging. The skyship turns, narrowly avoiding collision with the mountain. Brugon's pilot takes them up on
an upward, spiraling route to where smoke can be seen. Derek waits for Azor at the bow. The leaves of the
tall trees below are beginning to change to the brilliant reds, oranges and yellow of autumn. The skyship
rounds a sharp curve of the mountain; a deep shelf juts into the towering stone.
         Below dozens of King's Guards and soldiers troop over thick green grass that is interrupted every few
meters by crags of black rock. Immediately, the men below draw their weapons. Azor points as several of the
soldiers, each wearing leather instead of the chain armor worn by others of the King's men, sprint to nearby
trees and begin climbing toward the skyship. Azor points to the King's banner, planted firmly in the loamy
soil, only five yards before the gaping maw of tunnel entrance that leads to the portal. Prince Ayson Trajon
runs and yanks the banner out of the ground and charges on toward the skyship. Brugon curses in orcish and
jumps on to the skyship railing, saving himself from a 50 yard fall by snagging a sail rope that pulls taught
with his weight. He brings his free hand to his mouth and bellows, "Stand down! We come to treat with King
Trajon. We offer trade and exclusivity to your kingdom." Prince Ayson shouts from below ordering his treed
archers to fire. Arrows arc across the bow and Derek instinctively raises his hand before his face. He is
startled when an arrow lodges perfectly through Brugon's throat. Azor shouts immediately, “Sorceress,
sorceress, here to me." Azor moves over Brugon, who has fallen back off the railing and is sprawled on the
deck choking as a red circle halos out from beneath his neck.
         Azor's voice booms through Derek's surprise, "Remove the arrow!" Derek glances back toward the
trees. An archer’s arrow arcs past his shoulder and shatters against the aft mast. Azor growls. Derek kneels
and moves Brugon's hands away. Derek hears an angry orcish shriek. A young half-orc warrior sprints across
the deck, leaps to the railing and launches himself into the tree of Brugon’s attacker. Derek focuses, grabs the
arrow at its base and snaps the shaft with one clean powerful jerk. Arrows skitter across the deck as he lifts
Brugon onto his side. Derek yanks the bottom half of the broken arrow out from the back of Brugon’s neck.
Brugon's eyes are now shut. Derek rolls the monster leader back supporting his head with a hand now slick
with blood.
The sorceress arrives with spell components in hand and Derek shifts out of her way. "Kerzai chath frovolost
theng." A flash of spiral light bridges between Brugon’s wound and her right hand. Derek watches the wound
heal in seconds, a flush of health returns to Brugon. He thinks back to the dozens of times Max's cleric healed
his paladin in their Blade & Bolt campaign. He brushes away splinters from the arrow shaft off of Brugon's
neck. Brugon blinks and sputters. Azor pushes Derek aside to haul Brugon to his feet. Rage flashes across the
half-orc's visage and he grabs hold of one of soldiers who is rushing by. Brugon draws a heavy, serrated
blade from the soldier's sheath and lifts it above his head. He screams a war cry to his men.
Derek dodges left as arrows whistle across the deck. Brugon shouts to the pilot. "Take us down, takes us
down!" Brugon grimaces as an arrow punches through his left arm. "Bring me Prince Ayson’s head," he
howls. Orcs rally around their leader as the pilot arcs the skyship close to the mountain. Brugon and his men
hurl themselves over the port railing onto the high ledge above Trajon’s camp. Azor jogs over to Derek,
drawing his six foot blade. Derek steps back, unsure, "Wait. Wait. What about talking to King Trajon? Just
because his son is a vengeful fool that doesn't mean that King Trajon won't talk with Brugon."Azor places a
mammoth stone hand on Derek’s shoulder, "Look down there. Brugon's men and Trajon’s men are dying.
There will be decisions made here today, but they will be made by the victor. Now, decide. Do you want that
victor to be Brugon or Trajon?"
Derek grabs the rail to steady himself as the skyship scrapes alongside the mountain. "Brugon. I want Brugon
to be the victor." Azor nods, "Then raise your blade, man, and make it so." As the skyship turns back to the
open, Derek draws the vorpal sword and leaps onto the craggy ledge. He falls against the slick stone and cries
out in pain as he scrapes his knees. An instant later, the rock around him vibrates as Azor pounds to a landing
on sure feet. The golon reaches down to Derek and hauls him up. Azor whirls Klage before him and runs to
the grassy edge below. He crashes into three of the Kings Guard. A clatter of armor, a scream and two of the
King’s Guard are down, silent. Derek turns to see a plate-mailed figure charging toward him. He shifts his
stance as he has observed Azor do and raises the vorpal sword. He dodges the wide fast attack and the fighter
follows his arching attack passed Derek, who turns and kicks the falling attacker in the shoulder. The man
falls heavily onto the grass and curses.
         Derek raises the vorpal sword and buries it in the man's stomach. He yanks the blade from clutching
gauntlets and turns to see a dozen of Trajon’s men running toward the cliff's edge where Brugon is advancing
with his orc warriors. Shouting and the harsh ring of steel fill the air. A King's Guard attacks Derek with a
spear. He sidesteps, slams the spear to the ground and bashes the guard square in his face guard. The guard
falls and Derek leaps high and stomps visously on the guards mailed chest. The plate crumples and Derek
kicks him in the head for good measure. Guards approach from his left and he begins running toward the
portal until he hears the distinct sound of a thick chain playing out.
Derek turns immediately to see four of Trajon's soldiers carrying thick lengths of chains ending in large
hooks. They hurtle straight toward Azor the Golon and Derek burst into a following run. He gains fast on the
last soldier in the line and shifts his blade in his hand to attack from behind. Armor and muscle slam into him
from his left, throwing him two yards. Derek rolls, his blade slices across his thigh before he is able to stand
and face the King’s Guard who is raising a short sword and advancing. Even as his newest attacker closes
Derek glances over toward Azor and sees the Golon is frozen, his sapphire eyes locked on the chain gang that
is now surrounding him. Derek realizes that Coveark, Bryong and Kinewyn have faced this before and saved
their friend. Right now, right here, Derek must be the band mate that protects Azor.
Derek curses and rolls to his left to get away from the attacker. A cacophony emanates from behind his
attacker and both men turn to see the source. A battle wagon, pulled swiftly by two heavy horses, barrels
forward. Steel banded wheels press a hard line across the loamy ground. Derek's attacker is forced to jump
out of the way. Derek does not hesitate, rolling to his feet and running alongside the battle wagon. The gamer
does not lose a stride as he leaps up onto the side, vaults to the top and skewers the driver through the
shoulder blades from behind. He kicks the man down from the driver’s seat and takes the reins with one
hand. The wood splinters as Derek slams his magical blade down in the seat next to him and circles the
wagon around. The barded heavy horses trample the first chain swinger as though he were brambles and
brush. The second chain swinger dives out of the way only to be caught by an arrow from one of Brugon’s
orcs from 30 meters away. Derek careens the wagon toward the third and fourth chain swingers. The third
chain swinger whirls his chain and delivers a lightning fast strike of meters of his chain to the forelegs of the
left horse. A grating shriek escapes from the horse as its legs churn at the tightening chain.
         The paired horses startle and rear up cracking the wooden rail between them. The momentum of the
battle wagon pushes against the two horses and both are crushed to the ground. The battle wagon splinters the
horses rigging and rolls a few more yards before tipping over on to the right wheels. Derek sees the shift
coming, snatches up his blade and deftly jumps over to the side of the battle wagon, which has now become
its top. Azor is peering around, shaken. His giant sword, Klage, now rests in only one stony hand, not
positioned for attack or defense. Derek sees a second chain gang running across the mountain ledge toward
Azor with Prince Ayson at their head. Derek shouts, "Run, run, Azor. Run to the skyship. Now! Now!" Azor
looks to Derek, looks at Klage held listlessly in his giant hand. He tightens his granite grip, sheaths his blade
and runs.
 A flash of joy wells in Derek as he realizes the Golon trusts him as a bandmate. He turns back to see where
Prince Ayson is and leaps down from the top of the battle wagon. His left hand is on the wagon wheel to
steady his quick drop. He moves to toward Prince Ayson but a sheer pain erupts in his wrist and his feet
remain where they are. He looks to his wrist. It is buried beneath at least three circles of chain. Even as the
young man realizes what has happened the chain swinger yanks the line and the coil pulls tight with three
hooks digging into the chain and the wood of the battle wagon. Derek yanks hard but accomplishes no more
than dislodging some broken spears of wood which fall to the soil. Prince Ayson lets his momentum drop and
stops just short of the reach of Derek's sword.
He smacks at Derek's glistening blade and smiles broadly. Derek grunts and tries to pull free of the wagon
wheel. His wrist is caught fast. Prince Ayson circles Derek, tapping and jabbing at his sword, enjoying his
opponent’s helplessness. Prince Ayson looks intently at Derek's. He steps back, "You are the planewalker.
We had an adventurer from the north reporting four planewalkers traveling toward the monster lands with
Kinewyn’s band. Well, well planewalker, one foot onto our Thrycion and you have allied yourself with the
very worst of our world." A cruel smile cracks Prince Ayson face and he lunges forward slicing Derek's
sword arm. "One of your companions has already lost her life on Thrycion. You will be the second of your
group to die." Derek strains and swings, cutting only air.
Prince Ayson jumps forward and Derek parries his blow weakly. Derek tries to catch a glimpse of Azor,
hoping his friend has reached the skyship, escaped the other chain gang members that pursued him. He
cannot see passed Prince Ayson, who is pressing. His thoughts swirl up, "I am going to die here on Thrycion,
just like Cynthia did." Fear wells in the young gamer as he grips his sword unable to move toward or away
from his attacker. Prince Ayson hacks again at his guard and then steps back and inhales deeply, readying
himself. Derek sees the King behind Prince Ayson. King Trajon is now running out of the mountain tunnel
that leads to the portal. The King is yelling; his hand outstretched to his son. The combatants, both Brugon’s
orcs and the King’s Guard are lowering their weapons. But the king’s words are lost; drown out by a scream
of rage as the Prince pulls back his sword for a killing strike. Derek realizes this is the last moment of his life,
unless he can save himself. In a flash Derek raises his blade, strikes down severing his trapped and sweeps
forward with an arcing slice with his good arm. Prince Ayson’s head hits the ground with only the piff of soft
grass beneath it. A silence from the King’s Guard and Brugon’s forces as the King's words reach Derek. "No,
son, no. I command peace. I command peace."
Chapter 19


Twitter Report
abccorbinv - This is Corbin Vester micro-reporting for ABC. As expected the death of Detroit police officer
Michael Smylik fueled passing of Statute 1139-A.
38 minutes ago
abccorbinv - Statute 1139-A establishes Breed Specific Legislation forbidding sale, ownership, transport of
dire wolves into or out of state of Michigan.
38 minutes ago
abccorbinv - The Thrycion dire wolf has become a favorite new weapon for Detroit street gangs, used to
harrow local police forces.
37 minutes ago
abccorbinv - The mayor expressed his hopes that Statute 1139-A will stop street gangs from obtaining these
alien predators to use against Detroit police.
35 minutes ago


        Stephen gazes down from the precipice of Mount Gibbes. Below him 125,000 people; Blade & Bolt
players, news crews, foreign dignitaries, corporate representatives, bloggers, photographers, gaze back at
him. News copters circle the mountain at the proscribed two mile distance. US Army AH-64 Apache attack
helicopters ensure this distance is observed. The news copters cameras carry Stephen's image across the
world through two dozen 24-hour news channels. Stephen turns away to address the President of the United
States of America, Patrick Reilly. Obadun Pruscarnge, President of the United Nations and Chinese President
Lou Zhang lean in to hear him as well. Five other nations; Israel, Russia, Japan, Great Britain and India each
have their national leader there as well.
A bodyguard stands near each man. "Are you ready, President Reilly?" Stephen waits as Reilly turns to
Zhang and Pruscarnge, indicating with a reaching motion. "WE are ready, Stephen." President Reilly steps
back to place himself closer to the world leaders. "We are. Are you?" Stephen nods and walks passed the
three men to where Marcus waits with Bryong and Kinewyn. The entrance to the tunnel that leads to the
portal howls out to them. The high wind sweeping across the mountain passes over this dark maw, calling a
warning. The 60 Blade & Bolt players lined up against the mountain talk in hushed tones as Stephen stands
on top of a drink cooler to address them. "Blade & Bolt players, thank you for venturing with me to
Thrycion. Your chosen hobby, table-top roleplaying games have made you, and you along, the best possible
diplomats to this world. The games that taught you that 300 page rulebooks were fun, that five hours of
collaborative storytelling was a great use of a Saturday night, have prepared you to cross this portal today. I
know that each of you will not be surprised with the world you travel to today. Your knowledge of the Blade
& Bolt Roleplaying Game will ensure that. But I do not know that each of you are prepared to bring
knowledge of Earth to the peoples and creatures of Thrycion. So, I ask you now to prepare yourselves to
bring this world with you. Fill your minds now with what you want to share with Thrycion. Roman history,
democracy, computers, cheese steaks, comic books and Hello Kitty. I wish to join Thrycion and Earth in
peace. I wish each world to have the best of the other and lose some of the worst of each in the joining. You
carry with you not only the knowledge of Thrycion but the value of wonders waiting here on Earth." Stephen
raises his hands, telephoto and video lenses from the swarm of distant news copters focus in on him. "It is
time to venture together to Thrycion. Follow me."
        Stephen jumps down from the cooler and enters the tunnel. He makes his way through the dark
passage toward the carved rock face at the center of the mountain, the Earth face of the portal . The 60
carefully chosen Blade & Bolt players press in, with the dignitaries following. A flare of light as the Chinese
bodyguard turns on a military grade flashlight. Harsh white blue light washes the craggy walls and ceiling of
the tunnel as the tunnel tightens and ends at a smooth granite wall. Engraved into the wall is a hooked, wiry
scrawled design. The Blade & Bolt players and dignitaries close to Stephen. They wait curiously to see the
answer to a question that has been bounced around on the news talk shows as well as the blogosphere over
the last two days. What is the key to open Gamers Gate, the portal to Thrycion? Stephen motions Bryong
forward. “Bryong, you go first and immediately cast an area of effect spell for 1,000 yards to allow all within
the area to speakly freely with each other regardless of their language.” Bryong nods. Stephen then addresses
the ten or so travelers behind him close enough to be near because of the narrowness of the tunnel,
"Christopher Korbach passed to me an indelible key to this portal to Thrycion. He did this when I told him I
knew he was telling the truth at GameCon, the truth about Blade & Bolt not being a roleplaying game, but
being his encyclopedia to the world of Thrycion."
         Stephen unbuttons the top three buttons of his shirt. His shoulder is covered with a green hooked wiry
tattoo. Stephen places his hand on the design. A flash occurs beneath his palm and he extends his hand out to
those following him. "This is the only key to Gamers Gate as well as the gates in Japan and India. If I die on
Thrycion, no one will be coming back to Earth from Thrycion through this gate.” Stephen’s eyes remain on
US President Reilly as he states this. His words chain back through all of the group as Blade & Bolt players
repeat it. Stephen waits a moment before turning and placing his hand on the engraved design in the granite.
At contact the wall marbles and shifts into a translucent plane. "Quickly, move through to Thrycion."
         The bodyguards pass him first, then the dignitaries, mixed with the boldest table-top roleplayers. The
trepidation is evident in the halting steps of the last through Gamers Gate. Stephen follows and the
shimmering portal closes as he places the indelible key back onto his shoulder. He hurries to catch up to the
stream of Earthers who are now exiting into the clear sunlight of Thrycion. As he gets close to the exit of the
tunnel, close to the loamy ledge over looking Gloan Alta, the port city. Stephen hears shouts, anger and
confusion. He is running now, beginning to pant as he see Derek on his knees, a King's Guard holding long
swords at the base of his neck. Stephen pushes the prime minister of Israel out of the way. Brugon's sorcerer
is rolling light and force into a tight sphere in front of her. Brugon is shouting, "Tell your tin solders to
remove their blades or Ayahail will use Sundering Flame to incinerate your son’s remains, destroying any
hope of his resurrection."
         The intense strain of anger and shock slacken on King Trajon's face. "Wait, Wait, Wait," Trajon's
hands are raised. Brugon's orc warriors press in closer, axes held higher. The King's Guards tense as bodies
crush in around Derek. Blood still flows from Derek’s arm and a white hue covers his skin. His eyes are
opening, unfocused. King Trajon collects himself, points at Brugon to shout. Brugon and Trajon both
acknowledge the silence that is now spreading through the orcs and the King’s Guard. They both turn to see
Stephen standing with the dignitaries, a trail of a dozens of Blade & Bolt players behind them. The man next
to Stephen steps forward. "King Trajon, I am United States of America President Patrick Reilly. We come in
peace from earth. That young man there," the President points to Derek, who is bleeding copiously, "is a US
citizen and needs medical care immediately. I ask that you allow my assistant to tend to him."
Trajon’s fists unclench and he steps toward the Earthers. His eyes dart away to where his son's decapitated
corpse lies, but mercifully his King's Guards have collected his body and head. "Who are you all?" King
Trajon asks. Derek falls sideways and his blood seeps into the ground beneath him. President Reilly raises a
gloved hand, "I just told you who I am, now stand aside so that young man may be aided. NOW." Trajon
sweeps his gaze across each dignitary, each gamer. It is evident that they are unarmed, with no visibly carried
weapons. Brugon begins to walk forward, "Aid your man." Trajon steps aside and waves a hand. Instantly his
King's Guards stand down. Brugon barks, "Lower your axes." His orcs lower their weapons. The skyship
High Ground silently glides closer to the pack of monsters, soldiers, travelers. President Reilly’s bodyguard
rushes to Derek. Stephen notices that the Chinese President's bodyguard immediately steps forward to protect
both his charge and President Reilly. Brugon's sorcerer closes her eyes and begins casting. Brugon goes to
his knees and brings Derek’s wounded arm close to his body. The sorcerer casts. The bodyguard jumps back
as light winds between the edges of Derek's arm and the severed hand.
The bodyguard moves to a fighting stances and readies to strike the sorceress. The sorceress closes her eyes
concentrating, completes the healing spell and stands as Derek’s eyes flutter open. Brugon thumps a thick
clawed hand onto the middle of Derek's chest. "Thank the Render, you are healed." Derek blinks and moves
to stand. Stephen steps forward and offers a hand. Startled, Derek looks about. Stephen grins, "You are still
on Thrycion, my friend, relax." King Trajon pushes President Reilly's bodyguard back and President Reilly
raises a hand to stay his man. "Tell me again, who you are and what is your purpose in my kingdom!" "I am
Patrick Reilly, President of the United States of America, a powerful nation on Earth. This is Lou Zhang,
President of China and Obadun Pruscarnge of the United Nations. There are also leaders from other powerful
nations of my world here. We come to your world in peace. No one in this party is armed. We come to
establish a lasting peace with you, to build a relationship of mutual benefit and sharing."
        Brugon walks to stand parallel to King Trajon's position. Trajon glares at him before addressing
Reilly again. "You speak like no Planes Walker I have ever encountered. However, like every Planes Walker
I have ever encountered you wear trouble like a wet cloak. This boy that you insisted be healed by my
enemy's sorceress just murdered my son in cold-blood. Standing behind you are Bryong and Kinewyn, a thief
and a witch who are wanted for crimes against my court. Fortunately, you have an immediate opportunity to
prove the measure of your words about establishing a lasting peace. Surrender Kinewyn and Bryong so they
may be added to this boy as my prisoners and we may begin discussing the nature of the relationship our
nations will have."
Reilly is silent, keeping his gaze on the King. The sound of heavy feet on wood from above and then the
ground shakes as Azor slams down from a 10 meter jump from the skyship. Azor stands to his full eight feet
and walks to Derek, shoving aside three King's Guard. "Derek goes no where with you, Trajon. Kinewyn, it
is good that you are back." Azor places a hand on Derek's shoulder and begins to lead him over to Kinewyn
and Bryong. President Reilly intercepts him.
"Derek Burgast is wanted for crimes on Earth and Thrycion. He should remain in the custody of King
Trajon." Zhang and Pruscarnge nod in agreement. Azor looks down at Reilly. "You are not of this world,
noble, so you are not aware that Kinewyn’s band cannot be held by any authority beyond his own. Derek
leaves now with us. Brugon, may we retreat back to the nomad lands?" Brugon immediately waves the
skyship down and Azor walks his friend Derek toward their departure. "Azor," Kinewyn’s voice is slight.
The absence of surety and command startle the Golon into turning back to his Elf leader. "Derek must be
given into King Trajon's custody. These men, these nobles from Earth, wish to discourse with the leaders of
Thrycion and the fates in play are far beyond the concerns of a thief and his band."
        Azor keeps his hand on Derek's shoulder. “Kinewyn, Trajon will kill him. Kinewyn, Trajon would
have killed us if not our own escape. Have you forgotten?" Kinewyn comes close to the stone warrior, "I
have forgotten nothing. Not a King's treachery or a friend faithfulness. Azor we must allow Earth and
Thrycion to find a peace or these two worlds will be at war before the two moons have crossed."
        Azor looks to Bryong and she does not meet his gaze. “Kinewyn, he saved me from a chain gang.
Kinewyn... WHERE IS COVEARK?" Bryong buries her face in her hands. “KINEWYN, WHERE IS
COVEARK?" The old elf raises a hand to Azor's shoulder and sadness wells in his crystal blue eyes. "NO.
NO. NO -" the Giant's voice booms back from the mountain. Brugon steps between Kinewyn and Azor.
"Time to go, Azor. Quickly!" Brugon ushers Azor forward toward the thick dangling ropes that hang from
the skyship. Trajon shouts, "No one is leaving. Guards -"
Swords leap from scabbards, Brugon and Derek and Azor break into a run. Bodyguards jump back to their
charges. Arrows and blades move toward the runners and then there is an flash of light and motion. Eight
King's Guards drop where they stand. Blood is now speckled on King, Presidents and Blade & Bolt players.
Daggers are in Kinewyn’s hands and rune light swirls away from Bryong's hands. Reilly's bodyguard moves
ten feet and instantly gives a King's Guard a half a dozen blows and takes his sword. He begins to head back
to his charge. It is too late. Trajon shouts in rage as he lashes out toward President Reilly with his long
sword. "Damn your peace, Kinewyn, and damn you." Trajon thrusts the long sword clean through President
Reilly. King's Guards crash in around him forming a wall between the falling president, the killing king and
the bodyguard who prized a weapon above his charge. "My son, take my son's body and return to Buelgwarn
Castle."
        Stephen backs away, seeing violence spread from the center like ink dripping down onto paper.
Indelible loss spotting out across lives and time. He watches as Derek and Brugon and Azor are hauled
aboard a retreating skyship. As King Trajon takes the corpses of his son and the corpse of the USA's
president on a mad rush down the mountain. King's Guards are killed at the edges of his surrounding circle
by pursuing bodyguards who know melee combat only as a secondary skill. Blade & Bolt players stand
around him shocked at the speed and danger of the event, until they see four of their own are down, taken by
stray arrows or hastily swung blades. He watches Kinewyn and Bryong, standing motionless as their band
mate leaves them. He looks back to the tunnel and then down to the key that is emblazoned on his shoulder.
"Hurry, the trees over there can cover our path for a half a mile at least." Stephen has to break his gaze from
the chaos before him and focus on Damon in front of him. "What? - Wha..." Damon pulls his pack from the
ground and sinks his arms through the loops and readies to leave. "We can follow the trees for a half mile or
so. We have everything we need to camp up here tonight and then we can go down to Buelgwarn Castle to
treat with King Trajon tomorrow." "Treat with King Trajon tommor-" Stephen places a hand on his stomach.
"Well, sure. Diplomacy, my man, page 137 of the Kings and Campaigns Module has a whole section on
resolving disputes between rival nation states," Damon takes a few steps backwards and motions for Stephen
to follow. Stephen looks at the Blade & Bolt players around him. Several are collecting up the bodies of the
fallen and not a one is looking back to the tunnel, only forward into Thrycion. Stephen throws his pack on his
back and runs with Damon to the trees.

        The summer and fall on Thrycion passes quickly. Stephen passes a key to the Japan / Mount Tokachi
Gate to Derek. There is no choice in this matter. Passing the key to the India / Changuch Gate to Damon
caused his death. Damon's death is a blow to Stephen, testing again his resolve to eschew resurrection for
those he cares for. However, he continues his new role as Christian missionary to the farthest corners of
Thrycion. The India / Changuch Gate is held now by the combined army of Brazil, ExOil, Finland and nine
Dragons from Thrycion's third Ley Pole. Hundreds of soldiers, reporters, laborers and religious pilgrims
come through the India / Changuch Gamer's Gate each day. They pay gold and silver and gems for their
passage directly to Max, who is the liaison between the Indian government, the corporations and the dragons.
Hundreds of crates of weapons, electronics and drugs are brought through the gate each day. Max takes his
cut and distributes the rest between his lead partners.
        With Brugon, Derek leads the allied forces of the monster nation, Native Americans and Australians.
Weapons and soldiers are swept through the Japan / Miunt Tokachi Gate to combat the spread of the Dragon
ExoOil forces across Thrycion's Kreeston continent. Azor serves as a solider in Derek and Brugon's army,
refusing a role as General or counselor. Derek is happy to have his new friend near but the sadness in Azor at
Kinewyn’s absence is tangible. King Trajon's court at Buelgwarn Castle is abandoned. After the dual
resurrection of his son, Ayson Trajon, and President Reilly, King Trajon returns to Earth where his son
promptly wins the Republican nomination for President. He leads the Democratic nominee by 7 points. All
possibilities of recession are swept away as the North Carolina / Buelgwarn Gamers Gate brings a wave of
commerce and magic to America. The success is so sweeping that the US extends invitations to the third
world countries of the world to become United States 51 through 100.
Sudan and Zimbabwe become US states within 3 months. Thrycion Magic users travel the US on tour buses
like rock stars, stopping in towns, healing the residents and casting unique spells for profit or fame or as
simple blessing to the residents. Bryong becomes an A list celebrity when she works with Winifred Proach
and resurrects 40 percent of the 1,000 people who lost their lives in the New Orleans flood of 2003. Like
Azor her sadness at the disappearance of Kinewyn is a pain that no one around her can take away. At the
behest of Fortune 1,000 backers President Reilly allows thousands of orcs to populate the Midwest states of
the US. PopCo runs buses from North Carolina to Denver each day carrying orcs hopped up on sugar water.
Stephen thinks on these changes as he heads down a shallow rise toward a Githwarn village. Thin, tall green
humanoids stop picking purple fruit from waist high shrubs to view his approach. A wizard, a fighter and a
cleric walk a few paces behind him. They have protected him in this exact situation dozens of times.
"Greetings, my Githwarn friend. I am an evangelical Christian and would like to share the Good News of the
resurrection of Jesus Christ with you."

THE END
GLOSSARY

[CHAPTER SUMMARIES]

Chapter 01 - First Contact on Thrycion / Stephen’s crew approachs GameCon in Milwaukee

Chapter 02 - Kinewyn’s band visit Bryong's village / Marcia tells Stephen of Christopher Korbach’s being
committed to a mental health facility

Chapter 03 - Kinewyn’s band meet with King Trajon at Buelgwarn Castle

Chapter 04 - Kinewyn’s band escape from Buelgwarn Castle and encounter Coveark’s father

Chapter 05 - Derek's has an incident at Millersgrove University in Lancaster, PA and receives Stephen’s text
message to meet him Atlanta

Chapter 06 - Derek and Stephen's talk over the Thrycion trip at Atlanta hotel / Derek and Stephen speaking
with Korbach at the mental health facility

Chapter 07 - Korbach tells of 1969 Thrycion trip and gives portal key to Stephen / Kinewyn’s band reunited
with Coveark, who leads them to intercept Stephen's crew (the Footfall event) / Max shoots Bryong /
Stephen's crew begin travels with Kinewyn’s band to Grenfell

Chapter 08 - Derek explains Earth to Azor / Eramyl village is overrun by Minotaurs and Cynthia is killed /
Stephen, Derek and Max argue and Stephen refuses resurrection for Cynthia

Chapter 09 - Cynthia's funeral / Stephen and Max discuss whether Thrycion should be kept from or opened
up to Earth / Stephen's crew and Kinewyn’s band breakfast and Kinewyn, Coveark and Bryong decide to go
to Earth with Derek deciding to stay on Thrycion

Chapter 10 - Stephen, Max, Kinewyn, Coveark and Bryong reach motel in North Carolina / Max leads
Kinewyn’s band away from Stephen and meets with a young producer for Winifred Proach’s live daytime
talk show, securing a television appearance for Kinewyn’s band

Chapter 11 - Kinewyn’s band appear on Winifred’s show where Bryong levitates a girl in a wheelchair and
heals her

Chapter 12 – Derek and Azor cross chasm together as they travel toward Grenfell

Chapter 13 – Winifred presses Bryong for personal details of her life after seeing the healing / Winifred’s
studio is stormed by a tactical team

Chapter 14 - Stephen is picked up by Marcia in Gypsum, Colorado and taken to a mansion where he is
introduced to gamer allies / Stephen distrubutes the first vtube video annoucing the opening of Gamers Gate
in 48 hours in North Carolina

Chapter 15 - Brugon Slace brings Derek and Azor aboard his skyship, High Ground

Chapter 16 - Kinewyn speaks with US Government captors on aircraft carrier / Kinwyn and Bryong are
freed by US Navy fighter pilots and are ejected over Reading, Pennsylvania

Chapter 17 - Stephen meets with Marcus, recruiting his gamer crew to go through to Thrycion / PopCo
Product Manager Rachel intercepts Kinewyn and Bryong on their way to speaking with Stephen and strong
arms them into getting her a spot on the group going through to Thrycion

Chapter 18 - Derek, Azor and Brugon reach Taltherin and combat ensues when they fly the skyskip, High
Ground, over the portal site

Chapter 19 - Stephen opens Gamers gate and leads 60 gamers as well as US, UN and Chinese leaders across
to Thrycion where Trajon and Slaces forces have just finished battling

[STEPHEN’S CREW]
         Stephen Cairnhist – Millersgrove student who believed Korbach when he said that Blade & Bolt
            was an encyclopedia and not a game. GameMaster.
Max Esso – Millersgrove student. Member of Stephen's Blade & Bolt group. Leaves Thrycion with Stephen
and takes Bryong and Kinewyn on Winifred's show.
Cynthia Mullen – Millersgrove student. Member of Stephen's Blade & Bolt group. Cynthia dies in a small
village on the Kinewyn's path between Taltherin and Grenfell.
Derek Burgast – Millersgrove student. Member of Stephen's Blade & Bolt group. Remains on Thrycion
after Stephen and Max go to Earth with Bryong and Kinewyn.

[PEOPLE OF EARTH]
        Eli Brinster - Prominent podcaster.
Lt. Commander Kimiko Kodai - US Navy resource assigned to discuss the existence of resurrection
magic on Thrycion with Kinewyn.
Patrick Reilly - President of the United States of America. Accompanies Stephen to Thrycion.
Obadun Pruscarnge - President of the United Nations. Accompanies Stephen to Thrycion.
Lou Zhang – President of China. Accompanies Stephen to Thrycion.
        Damon – Supporter of Stephen. In attendance at the mansion when Stephen announced his away
           team to Thrycion.
Jeremie – Supporter of Stephen. In attendance at the mansion when Stephen announced his away team to
Thrycion.
Teresa – Supporter of Stephen. In attendance at the mansion when Stephen announced his away team to
Thrycion.
Drake – Supporter of Stephen. In attendance at the mansion when Stephen announced his away team to
Thrycion.
        Rachel Dumphers - PopSoft Product Manager. Baltimore Born, Harvard educated, divorced
           smoker with a rat dog.
Marcia – Millersgrove undergrad. Became friends with Stephen in badminton elective class. Marcia plays
ICE, Cthulhu RPG, not D&D. Stephen plays D&D, not Cthulhu RPG. Both are table-top RPGers but have
never been at same table.
        Cado – Derek's right-hand man in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
        Winifred Proach – Massively successful day-time talk show host.
Beatrix Knowle – Producer for Winifred Proach's show.
        Erica Aumbear – US Air Force F15 Strike Eagle pilot. Flight tag – Loofa. Facilitated Kinewyn's
           escape from the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Quenton Mulpas – US Air Force F15 Strike Eagle pilot. Native American. Flight tag – Boken. Facilitated
Kinewyn's escape from the USS Abraham Lincoln.
        Admiral Reynolds h g o ra fh av t l ephh ral l h lv eekNvl laNe NA yvaNeS eh –
           .eaehrae Alhv l hav n klnvh
Lieutenant Joseph Granger.f eaS leaeS katNl patthh la yvaNeSpe h hnlaNe eh l53-fav ANvnh A g –
MarcusyNtl kt a glhk he epe lN n NNeh eN h NA l h S hve r N Shl lN SN l vNnS &f kvN aehel yt hh –
.lN vanaNe
Quinn McShanyvaS            NneS gNk N Nvh r N knle lNShl hv l h nN    nean laNe kvNnhee glhk he nehe lN -
. o eh n ae ,ea ntl ehNneta heS Sh eh ehSNla lh ral l h g
 Lucas.f var t hvnS hh thv ehvhp patte ae e en elhv –
 Peter and Choi.hrk vl NA enn ep nv ;evnS hh thve –
 Christopher Korbachl h Neta ,ghnvhlta .yNtl gNthkt aaeS t h &l h aerhelNv NA l h yt hh ,ynltan tta –
r Neh ae Sarhe l h aehhtalth pha la n vaelNk hv ( n e hrhv lN lv rht lN vanaNe AvN h vl lhANvh glhk he
 .)eNvl n
 Alexa Korbach &l h aerhelNv NA l h yt hh ,v eNvl n pe h nS lhv eh kvheahhel ynltan ttan vaelNk h –
l h Neta n e hrhv lN lv rht lN vanaNe AvN h vl lhANvh glhk he ,ghnvhlta .yNtl gNthkt aaeS t h
 .)r Neh ae Sarhe l h aehhtalth pha la(

[EARTH ELEMENTS]
         Mount Gibbes (On Thrycion, Noenficar Mountain) – Part of the Black Mountains in North
            Carolina, summit is 6,520 feet (1,990 m). The Gamers Gate, a portal to Thrycion is located here.
Changuch (On Thrycion, Far Kharnsh Mountain) – Himalayan Mountain peak located in Pithoragarh,
Bageshwar Uttarakhand, India. Summit is 20,741 ft feet (6,322 m). The Changuch Gate, a portal to Thrycion
is located here.
Mount Tokachi gn         al .n k e ,ōoNnel ae kh p tNn lhh ae iNpp ah – )fvphv oNnel ae-gl v ,ne vanaNe(
. kNvl t lN vanaNe ae tNn lhh hvh , h Np n a t lh .)Al 4,8,6( hlvhe 7,022ae
Millersgrove University – Institution of higher learning in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
GameCon - Number one table-top roleplaying game convention in the world.
         Regency Hotel – Hotel in Yancy where Max met Beatrix to book Bryong and Kinewyn on
            Winifred's show.
         Participating Nations and Organizations - UN, America, China, Israel, Russia, Japan, Great
            Britain and India sent representatives with Stephen on his return to Thrycion.

[KINEWYN’S BAND]
        Kinewyn – Elf Thief. Leader of Kinewyn's band.
Coveark – Human Ranger. Dromen's son.
Bryong – Human freecaster, hailing from a small fishing village.
Azor – Golon fighter. Carries a huge sword named Klage.

[THRYCION PEOPLE]
        Brugon Slace - Leader of a hundred clans in Grenfell, the Nomad Kingdom.
Hearan Forest - Where hewn wood is found. Located in Grenfell.
Ayahail – Human female sorcerer serving Brugon Slace.
        Prince Ayson Trajon – Cruel and bigoted son of King Trajon.
        Vischkin – King Trajon’s money counter.
        Kreelbreaker – One of Brugon's finest warriors.
Chorsk – One of Brugon's finest warriors.
Thistlebane – One of Brugon's finest warriors.
Freestorn – One of Brugon's finest warriors.
Sunderbale – One of Brugon's finest warriors.
        Graggoth – One of Brugon' Orc servants. His mutton stew is enjoyed by Brugon's warrior.
        King Fasilge – King of Taltherin four centuries before King Trajon. Set up fortification for
          Buelgwarn Edge Castle.
        Var-keer RaCholt – Elf Prince. Built skyship “High Ground” for Brugon.

[THRYCION ELEMENTS]
       Thrycion – The first planet discovered to contain sentient life. Christopher Korbach was the first
         human to travel there. He reached Thrycion by traveling through a portal in a North Carolina
         mountain, rather than through space travel.
High Ground - Skyship built for Brugon Slace.
       Taltherin – Middle Kingdom governed by King Trajon.
 Gloan Alta - Port city in Taltherin on Thrycion.
          Grenfell - The Nomad Kingdom where the hundred clans led by Brugon Slace roam and live.
 Thrycion’s two moons - Wyn Forx and Litna
          Krahame - Kingdom in the south.
 Craster forestyvNkhvla eaehrae lvahe lN rh eaeS v Ne vhlnve lN l h NNh eaeS -
 Banal Canyons -.yvNkhvla eaehrae lvahe lN rh eaeS v Ne vhlnve lN l h yv l e paeShN
 Barghest .f kvhh lNv ANneh vNneh ynhtSr ve –
          Korg - f kvhh lNv henNnelhvhh la glhk hepe nvhr r he l ha k ee l vNnS t hve t lh ANv l h
              .Aavel la h
 Eramyl -.vh nael a ae patthh ae oaeNl nv ll npeatt Sh r h
 Gentrod Libram.aentnhaeS yvaNeS ,f el eh vh ekhtt lNNp elnhahh la ea vanaNe Avhhn elhve –
 Clerics of Crixivenl heh nthvane ekhna taih ae vhelNv larh eh ,y ehh Nnl NA l h yv l e paeShN –
 .yvaNeS elnhahh ral l h ANv la h .khttevhenvvhnlaNe e
 Season of Grehororgf Ah elaeS nhthlv laNe l l NeNve l h e nvaAanhe NA ratt Shve r N lnatl l h evhvhe –
 . athe NA al 30r an lvaeSe nN        hvnh eh nntlnvh lN tt ratt She ral ae ,lvahSh
 Season of Bristorpf eN lhv la h NA hnahl r he ratt Shve vhAthnl Ne l h nvnhtehee l ha rh aeAtanlhh Ne –
 .Nl hve ae l h t el ah v
          KodaneiaS tvNneh ,neh NA yvnSNe gt nhpe e ake he Ne l h epae ak –
 Meerhold dwarf clan grNve heh ahe NA .er vA nv Ale he r N lnath San t rh kNee – Var-keer RaCholt
 and his elf clan.
 Ley Polee lnv t nhelhve NA San t kNrhv rhvh ekhtte n e lh n el t Nel – vanaNe e l vhh tha kNthe –
n e lh hh nn             Nvh h eata l e ear hvh hteh Ne hAANvltheeta la Avhh n elhve eh r hvh San t alh e
 .l h kt ehl
 Kreeston.neh NA l h ANnv nNelaehele NA vanaNe –
 Krauforner's dayf NeelvNne Ntah a nhthlv lhh ae tvheAhtt r hvh n athvhe vh SaAlhh la hntle ANv –
 .Nl hvnN      allaeS ranaNne kv epe Ne Neh e
 Freecaster.o San nehve Ne vanaNe –

								
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