Siege Perilous. Many think of this as a fearsome place. Many see it as a land in which every step beyond the front door could result in some evil-doer leaping out to slit their throats. A land of hardship, in which the flickering candlelight at the end of the dungeon is always one breath away from being blown out...forever. But then, there are those who are not cowed by children's tales. Siege is a land, much like any other. It has trees – perhaps a few more dead ones than other lands, but it has trees. Bushes, animals, both tame and wild. Ore for the mining, lumber for the chopping. Danger? Aye. There is that. But there are also friends to be found here, the likes of which no other land has ever seen. The recent sale of the house in the Abyss is the latest – and some would say, the greatest – example of how much this community cares. Some would feel that their own personal experiences deserve that prize. The tale of the Abyss house will soon take its place amongst the legends of Siege, that much is certain, and the efforts of Kelmo, and all who stood by him in this, will not be forgotten. You are heroes, one and all. I have a few short stories to tell, of recent days gone by, which I feel tell of the true heart of the strange land called Siege Perilous. So, pull up a stool, and join me by the fire, as I try to do justice to these good folks hearts and deeds. The day of the EArthquake “Strange, there used to be a floor there.” he thought as he passed through the mystic portal between the Spirit Realm and the lands of Siege Perilous. Cautiously prodding the air with his toe, as he inexplicably hovered in mid air, Blind Otto heard the sounds of rummaging below him. “Intruders!” he thought, and reached for his mace. Taking a step forward, he found that not only was the floor not there, the entire house had apparently dissolved into nothingness – and the portal had deposited him where the top floor used to be. Landing face-first in the tragic remains of his death robe collection, Otto cursed the fickle powers of the land. Not two days past, the rent had been paid. All doors had been opened and closed, and were in working order, and the strange devices attached to the house sign had appeared to be in working order, too. Yet, there was nothing to show for it save the splinters of ransacked crates, and a few parrots squawking sadly over the demise of their perches. Friends, this was what greeted me, as I came to pay my respects to the land I miss and love. There is little that would have made it a harsher welcome, save perhaps, being slain by one of my own looted weapons, as I stood in the ruins. Thankfully, that did not happen. No, instead good people started to emerge from the trees and bushes. A stealthy hand pressed some items into mine - “Here, I had to save some mementos for ye” a voice whispered. Another unseen soul casually dropped a box of books in my path, as I walked around. Then I hear the voice of an old friend, offering help and condolences, as Kelmo arrived on the scene. In the hours and days that followed, he went to great lengths, and great cost, to help me. Many did – some whose names I will never know – but whether publicly or anonymously, this was an outpouring of aid so great, it reduced this old miner to tears. Miranda's efforts were amazing, and words fail me when it comes to all that Holden Caulfield did for me! In the past few days, I have been overwhelmed even more by the kindness of this land's good people. As this year began, it seemed I was homeless. Now, I hold a fine keep AND I have a majestic galleon to pilot! I must warn any who still sail the seas in the older boats, there is a blind man ricocheting off the islands and denting the serpent pillars these days! They have yet to train any sea horses as guides for the blind, I fear. Siege Perilous, many have said over the years, is a harsh land. A place filled with loss, where your life and belongings can be ripped from you at a moment's notice. That is true – I must admit, I didn't expect it to happen to me in the way that it did, to be struck down by those who are supposed to guard and shape the land – but, aye, Siege Perilous is well named. It is a perilous place. It is also a place filled with the greatest community that any land has ever known. In times of grief, in times of trouble, it is impossible to feel alone. Thank you, my friends, one and all. You are the greatest treasure this land will ever hold, and the greatest that I have had the privilege to know. The Calamity of Calibretto's Castle Vortex walked the familiar halls of his old home, smiling at the intricate ways that the new owner had decorated every inch. He had long since moved on to a new location, one which he was perfectly happy with – but every now and then, this old castle called him back. Taking a last look at the battlements, he walked down the passage to the front door – and paused. Something had bounced off his gauntlet. Nothing big – not a harsh blow – but enough to startle him. Turning, he saw no one there. A ghost? One of those stealthy killers from Tokuno? Or just a thief, hoping to lift a treasure or two? “Show thyself, if ye be not a coward!” He yelled. Nothing but echoes answered him. He glanced down, sword at the ready, just in case... and stopped. A small piece of stone lay on the fine carpet. Looking up, he gazed with horror on a steadily growing crack in the ceiling. Another chunk of stone fell, narrowly missing him. “NO!!!” He yelled, and threw himself towards the door, just as the first full roof stone embedded itself in the spot where he had been standing. It lay there, half-upright, almost like a tombstone, giving portents of what would soon come. Outside, Vortex's gaze ran across the stonework. He had seen this phenomenon before, but never expected to find it here. The castle had fallen under the curse of the eid'oc. Something had to be done – and quickly. Leaping onto his horse, Vortex rode towards the homes of Gilfane as if the Harrower itself was after him. Messengers ran across the land, and pigeons filled the air, all trying to get a message to Calibretto. “Your castle is in the greatest of peril!” they all read, shouted, or beat on their drums. All, it seemed, to no avail. The days crawled by, and the wear on the castle became visible from far off. Then, the vultures began to circle above the ramparts. Gilfane assembled all the forces it was able in a small fort next to the castle. If Calibretto was to arrive, it might not be in time. These curses can be unpredictable at the best of times, as many have learned to their horror. The hour drew near, and there was no sign of Calibretto. Looters, scavengers, dire wolves and ettins walked the fields around the decaying building, as the day wore on. A small fleet of ships took their places along the shoreline. Then, without a sound, the walls, the rooftops, the doors – every sign of the castle – turned to dust and was blown away by the wind. Battle was heated. Stealthy salvagers hauled all they could from the wreckage, into the fortress and other surrounding buildings, as fireballs and earthquakes rattled around the area. Some items were indeed lost that day – but each one saved was considered a victory. When all was said and done, we built as large a building as possible at short notice where the castle had stood. We could only manage to get a keep there, but hope prevails that a more skilled craftsman or woman can achieve greater things! One of the looters proved that it takes no skill to achieve lesser things, but that is neither here nor there. From the paintings that were taken before the fall, it seems likely that the castle can be restored to its former glory one day – and, given the generosity of the good folks of Siege Perilous, it may even exceed it. Calibretto was heard from the next day, just as the lore of Sodd would have it. We can only hope that the greatest loss that day was not the loss of one of Gilfane's kinsmen. Camping Luna! The call went out! “Come and camp Luna!” they cried! Well, the test run went well enough. Next time, the organisers hope to pick a time when people are actually awake. Still – “A” for effort, folks – better luck next time! You might think this is taking a swing at the size of Siege's population. Well, no, it isn't. The timing could have been better – but, here are people who are trying to get all of us involved in something. Bank Camping has never been one of my favourite sports, but it was good to see people in Luna again. I'm not sure why – I've always despised Luna – but somehow, it felt good. People are here. Amazing people. You just need to know where to look, and to have that rarest of virtues - patience! A rather harrowing experience I felt the need to hit something. People had been incredibly kind, after my house collapse, but still... there was that urge... Contacting the Great Ones had been fruitless. I do, however, now have a classic gear for my music box, of one of them singing the timeless melody “We cannot replace the lost”. Some old songs never die, much as we might wish they would. In any regard, I needed to feel some vile creature's skull crumbling to fragments beneath my mace. As luck would have it, Hoffs had been playing with some strange skulls in the Star room, and soon news rang out, that the dread creature known as the Harrower had been sighted in Dungeon Wrong. We couldn't very well leave it there, so a group of us assembled, and sent in wave after wave of dragons to eat the beast's tentacles. How even a dragon can stomach such a meal, I will never know, but they seemed none the worse for wear. My armour, however, was not to be as lucky. The first, false harrower struck me down and destroyed my corpse in a flash. Thankfully, some of my fellow harrower-bashers had the foresight to bring some spares, thus saving me from appearing in these paintings wearing little more than a death robe. After what felt like an eternity, but wasn't, I heard a muffled thud as the creature hit the floor, and a ghastly wheezing noise, which I took to be it drawing its last breath. As it turns out, Hoffs has an allergy to elves, and had stood too close to one in the battle, but as the legend grows, I am sure the tale will be told of the harrower's last breath. I have to admit, there are few things which can relieve frustration as well as a good fight, with good friends, and evil monsters! Aye, many have slain harrowers before, and I am sure many will slay them again, but they can tell their own tales. This one was ours. Siege Perilous is full of tales of daring, of hard-won battles, of people overcoming impossible odds. Stories of friends who fought to their last breath, who went to the ends of the lands to help others, and those who gave of their time, their goods, and themselves, to see justice done, and the helpless helped. I remember those who gathered to honour and remember Folger, and those who stood with tears flowing in memory of Aeric Horn. I smile when I think of those who stood shoulder to shoulder, to help save the Temple of Mithras, and the first time I saw KSS – a tide of blue, sweeping in to drive away those who were attacking NEW. I recall weddings, parties, victories and defeats, hours spent helping new arrivals and learning from old friends. I fondly remember friends from KSS, Wispwood Shire, Iantown, and other clans, towns and villages, and I somehow manage to miss the evil ones from VmP and the undead, and narrow escapes from the pirates of RUM. And now, even today, we have the massive efforts being led by Kelmo to buy the Abyss house. All these memories built Siege into what it is today. EA gave us a landscape. People gave us a community. Those are some of my memories, of friendship, of good times, and of the things of legend – the things that make Siege great. Not “made”. Make. Memories are being made all the time, in this amazing place. I hope that those of ye with good memories will then help me, and recant your own memories - new or old - of amazing deeds, unexpected aid, and unforgettable friends. Come – let us hear yours.