As was promised in the Siege Road Crew visits Paxlair City Event Calendar post, a dozen or so doughty storytellers travelled from Siege Perilous to share their tales wi' the citizens and friends of Paxlair City on the night of Tuesday last. Whilst those notables conducted a weekly meeting upon the eastern roof of the Twin Towers, Felinious and I took advantage of their small arena in back, to ensure that Lindi the Savage would be properly attired for his public appearance on Chesapeake - wi' a nice, healthy, red hue. Important business thus attended to, all repaired to the roof, where the evening began wi' a speech from Hoffs, our tour guide: <blockquote><hr> My name is Hoffs, currently elected head of the Citizens of Wispwood Shire, a long-established community on Siege Perilous. On behalf of the Siege Road Crew, I would like to thank Mayor Winfield and the people of Paxlair for their hospitality and for providing us with a venue for this event. It is certainly a wonderful city you have here, and Lord British has been most generous with his gifts. Truth be told, though, the name of British is much maligned on Siege. He abandoned our world and left us with a set of laws that see noble men branded as killers, while many murderers walk around the cities unchallenged by the guards. But at least he did some good, as the wonderful fountains you have can attest. Actually, my journey here last week was the first time I have stepped foot on this shard. This is only the fourth shard I have visited. Indeed, I came to Sosaria nigh on a year ago and came ashore in the land of Drachenfels. A few days later, though, I heard about Siege and the challenge it represented and, though a struggle it may have been at first, I was overwhelmed by the sense of community and have been there ever since. Danger there may be in every trip outside a city, but without the danger there can be no sense of reward. Still, it is very nice to see new places, particularly one as welcoming as this. Anyway, on to tonight's event. Story Night has been a weekly fixture on Siege for the past two years now. We have decided to take Story Night 'on the road' to bring our tales to a new audience and, I sincerely hope, to hear some tales from the people of this land. The format is quite simple; anyone may step up and tell a story, poem, riddle or jest. As soon as one speaker has finished, another can take the stage. Short entries are just as welcome as longer ones. And the more we have up here, the merrier. So even if you just have a short joke to tell, please make yourself heard. We will continue until everyone who wishes to speak has done so. However, please feel free to come and go as you see fit. Finally, I would like to extend an open invitation to anyone who wishes to come to Siege and attend a Story Night in future. Usually the event takes place in the safety of The Golden Unicorn tavern in southern Yew. But we also make a road trip once a month to a different venue on Siege, which, erm, usually isn't quite so safe...Anyway, details are always available on the events calendar. Yes, there is always the danger you may get whacked on the head by some uncouth bully, but for the most part you will find Siege denizens only too eager to help visitors and newcomers. Just do not make the mistake that Gareth made whilst on a diplomatic visit to Siege yesterday. The first location he chose was none other than Homare, home of the most debased and wretched citizens of our land - the vampires. He received the usual welcome from them I believe. Do not, though, judge all of us by their actions. Siege really means friendship! Right, enough of me for now. To get the ball rolling, I would like to introduce our first speaker. It is a great honour for us that the leader of the Mud People, one of several tribes of savages on Siege, has deigned to make the journey here tonight. He is the eldest of all the savages in our land, and is what we might call a Holy Man or prophet; a seeker of visions from the spirits and teacher of the Savage Way to the young in his tribe. Yet he is no shaman, and knows not the ways of the magics. He is but a simple hunter, a warrior who tries to follow the Savage Way as best he can. [/ QUOTE ] <blockquote><hr> Ladies and gentlemen, would you please pound your chests and bang on your shields to welcome... ...Lindi. Fignut the Elder: *applauds and taps cane...* Kerrs Holley: *smells around for the savage* NANOC: *claps* Kush: *cheers* Elias of Arundel: *cheers* Queen Zen: *claps* AEowyn: *shakes crook* U'Wah Visago: *claps* Angharad: *claps and whistles* Winmere: Huzzah! Sebrina: *cheers* The Shadow: *bangs the table* Korin the Scribe: *claps* NANOC: *pounds shield* Elias of Arundel: *stares at the savage* Fignut the Elder: U'wah! Sebrina: Clap Clap Minsk: *claps* Lindi: *pounds chest* Good hear U'wah! Strong tribe. This strange. No like sing under wood sky. Glad here under true sky. Though miss earth spirit under feet. Think much what story tell. Tell father brother tale? Tell tale of how mother wed father. But think this I. Think instead tell new story now. No good speak city-tongue I. So work on story still. But now tell tale of Battle of Vesper. Call Tale of Four Spear! This very new. Battle only two night ago. Wake in forest I. Look for tracks, then hear drums. War drums of Zabu Bear! Look far to west, towards Zabu camp. See signals of smoke. Say war come Vesper. Know war come soon I. City man war with snake. Not know what I do. Hate city. Hate snake. Blood brother Halex mighty warrior. Lead Zabu Bear tribe. He send signal say come. He lead war party on snake! So gather war armor I. Put on war-paint. Ride hard for gate from savage village. When arrive Vesper find war already begin. When come here battle begin with skirmish. Near gate young vampire wait. Also Big D. Skirmish all try come town. But when army of city arrive they fall back. War begin on island of bank. Many snake fall there. I looks for tracks, follow berserker north. Trail archer snake do. Follow fast. I pursue. Across bridge battle. But berserker strike hard! Two blows I fall. When return to bank find battle move on. Army split two way. Yasou Wakayama lead clan south. Other force East. Halex go south, I go help blood brother. On bridge from island of bank great battle. Together we fight snake general. Almost kill when Spirit of Spear wounded. Withdraw I then. Halex fight on. I get Second Spear! No trust city man much. But gypsy girl give box of things he. Threaten curse if steal. He fear her curse. So give me spear! Lindi: While get spear I time pass. In far off town. In dark tower. Eldest vampire waits. Broods. Lurks. Come young vampire Righty see he. Tell of battle with snakes. Driven from gate bring dark powers he. WyRm cry out. Insolents Must DIE! Send forth from tower he creatures of night. Summon vampires young and old to tower. From cold crypt creep Krystal. From mausoleum march Monolith. Even evil Elvis come! Together four ride forth from home of Wyrm. Seek blood to drink! Seek bodies to break! Come they north bridge to island of bank. Set they there terrible curse. No mortal may pass without great fear. If see curse of black cloth...Know vampire near! From island of bank then set I forth. Seek rejoin Halex, fight in south. On bridge go south meet vampires I. There fall second time. There second time I die! But Waka clan hear of vampires come. Young vampire Tairon already fight they. Drive forth vampire they, dark fiends flee to east. War continue then. Move south once more. War reach island of fighters! Snakes all around fall. (short intermission here, whilst Lindi was resurrected after being killed a second time during th' telling of his tale) Good blow! Good kill. Much admire such. Feel like home. All city dangerous. On Island of Fighter Second Spear wounded. Again withdraw I. When return bank I, get third spear there. Then ride I south, to battle repair. On Isle of Fighter I track western edge. Seek track of vampire, who that way fled. See great snake general, fight city-man knight. On shield silver serpent, not know why both fight. But join fight I. Heal knight as best could. Strike blow with spear. Think so I should. When snake general die, return east I. See Halex now joined, by Marauder Priestess High. Glad see second tribe. Wish U'wah could come. But no hear drums. For sleep they sound. See at fight Wurrzag. Orc warrior fierce. Lower spear to charge. But Halex stop I. Say truce hold for time. Together we fight. Orc and savage both. Never see again, think I. Then Third Spear Wounded be. Again I withdraw. With Fourth Spear I return. See battle turn. See Snake draw back from town. When enemy unite. Even Miss Tea and Kelmo, together did fight. Then see Ibichi fall I. Move forward go I. Know she from old. Make war-paint, not know also bold. Never see cook so brave I. She fall but when rise to enemy fly. Brave heart she. Battle finish at graveyard. Once more there I die. But army move on. Fear to recover body, but must try. When get to graveyard there see brave man stand. Ronin Samurai Masuo fight there. Over body he wait. Parry blows from all snake. Shaman spells he does dodge. And slays all around. Until once more body I grab. And take things from the ground. Then end battle. He say, come with army and I. To Papua we go, snakes there also must die! *spits on floor.* No go Traitor's Town I. Say I with great force. Wish snakes great luck there. Hate all false savage. So Army move on. To Wilds I return. But battle not over. One snake miss we all. Army to Vesper must go. Once more. So say truth of night. All I see I speak. What sky spirit tell I, I also speak. Truth. Need much work. No well in city-tongue. [/ QUOTE ] The next to speak was Miranda, wi' another tale from Siege: <blockquote><hr> I am Miranda of KSS of Siege. I have kin here many of ye know as well. This tale is about our knights - a remake of the Battle of the Boyne: A Kingly host loom'd upon the stream A monarch, and his troops camped all around Upon our fair Britania, it's uplands far and wide Dwarfed by his gray palatial pavilion crowned. Not long ago our sky unclouded showed, Beneath the sparkling sun sol ray, That a gentle stream of blue silver freely flowed To meet its virtuous people, each newborn day. !! Suddenly Thunder ! Lord British's cannons!! BOOM ! Echoing thunderous, his injustice is shown Whilst a certained sulphurous cloud doth loom And moved along, tyranny upon the virtuous twas thrown! And knight and horse lie in mingled mass Irregardless of all life. With furious ardor onward the wounded doth pass To fight this deadly conflict and strife. Not at all strange, that with such ardant flame These knights of blue silver, their hearts beat high Their battle word by name was "Mithras " Their battle cry was for justice liberty, "Sol Invictus" ! Onward they went, onto Ouldebrit, these silver blue clad folowers of Mithras, Amid sounds of thunder and death unwonted rang All heard and seen the mighty clang. Their blue silver stream turn'd crimson, wide And clogged with many a corpse. Floating down the stream's gentle tide Corpses of knight, citizen, and horse Now fiercer grows this battle's rage.. Yon guarded stream IS crossed. And hand to hand and blade to blade,fighting, a king whom betrayed us, Hand to hand blade to blade..shouting Sol Invictus ! !!! HE FALLS HE FALLS their knight commander falls ! He whom protected the sacred scrolls in the sacred walls. Then they, their battle mages and knights of virtue brave, This persecuted silver serpent band Who foremost rushed amid the hostile wave For a time gained that hostile strand of land. They bleed, mighty Mithras they bleed !! For them please help them Mithras ye must intercede. This can not be the end of their virtuous career. And then that well contested strand o'land Lord British's successive waves of troops doth gain, Whilst the Knights of the Silver Serpent died in pain. Driven back across that blood soaked plain, Drew their blue silver swords one last time, in vain And the knights their lives and breath the king, did fling And they perished' fighting the unjust King. OH!! What better cause?? Thy witness is boldly shown Upon the blood soaked ground That tyranny must be over thrown ! Thy bravest and choicest fell, to unjust cannons sound. There is no shame, ye abandoned not the fray Ye fought injustice and tyranny this day. Labeled now as criminals by Injustice's law, Yet ye fight ye deaths shine as witness to all, The Truth! So sing ! Yes sing ! Sing harrah harrah for Liberty, sing harrah ! For freedom's sword must continue to draw To dare to battle those unjust in power on high So let ye blue silver banners fly With grateful hearts, remember to celebrate Truth, Honor and Courage are never out of date. [/ QUOTE ] By now (or yet, rather), the crowd was becoming quite restive. Thus, 'twas with true courage that The Shadow [SHAD] took his turn to speak, amidst a volley of various projectiles and field spells: <blockquote><hr> I am The Shadow! I, too, come here from a land far away. A place known to many as Lake Superior. This is a tale from there.. It was long ago, the beginning of our ages. Lord British ruled, and ruled he did! He rewarded villains and punished the good. One paladin in Trinsic saw that was no good. Calandryll was he, and he stood his ground. "From this moment on, Trinsic is now a free town!" Many sided with Calandryll to rebel against British. The High Council of Britannia saw that this was wrong. They got AngusThorn to correct this great wrong. He gathered his Loyalists to British they swore, that they would fight for Virtue, and British et al. And fought they did, for a great many months. The Loyalists were beating them night after night. And then a third party arrived. Orcs..(Ga'kuct: Hoowah!) They had an ambassador who wanted to bring peace between the humies and orcs. The Loyalists scoffed... (another brief intermission here, as more fighting ensued) Where was I? Ah yes, Orcs. The Loyalists scoffed at the idea of peace. Calandryll.. He had a vision of all being able to live Free in Trinsic. *looks over* With the help of the Orcs (and vampires too), the course was changed. The Rebels were winning. Night after night, the Rebels kept winning, because they had the power of orcs, vampires and drow on their side. And then.. Calandryll.. that fool. He felt bad for the deaths of the Loyalists. The pain he was causing, he wanted not. He decided to bring peace. Return Trinsic to Lord British. And it is still held by him today. The moral is.. when you are winning, don't give up. Thank you. [/ QUOTE ] Yours truly then took a turn, but only made it through th' third line before making a member of the audience sick (*Mueller looks ill.* Mueller is attacking you!), for which I profoundly apologize! Twas then that some thought it best to relocate for the remainder of the eve, to th' Blue Light tavern in Homare, at the invitation of one of our wonderful hosts, Gareth of PAX. There, I completed the reading o' my poem: <blockquote><hr> I've a piece which I wrote in appreciation of Pirates. 'Twas minded of it seeing ye here tonight: Ahh, tis grand indeed to be young and in lust - Tousled and glowing and happily mussed! Laughing in th' clasp of a bold buccaneer; Joys to be had wi' yon privateer - Reveling through nights wi' nary a thought As to what one should do---or what one ought not. Swashing and buckling - such blood-stirring rites! Enough to give rise *coughs* to th' subsequent nights Of roaring camraderie and more private play ; Pairings n' frolics an' romps in th' hay. Fie to th' naysayers! Avast wi' th' glum! Life be a plaisure, when well-soaked in rum! [/ QUOTE ] <blockquote><hr> Elias of Arundel [KPD]: I doth have a poem of sorts. More of ruminations than a story - of those wretched Ophidians. Those dastard creatures that forthwith took the city of Vesper not but a few eves ago. Many nights have I thought of the bloodshed given to us, the good people of Sosaria, by those wicked Ophidians. The death and despair I have witnessed first hand. On several occasions have I witnessed this firsthand... Those devils have taken back what they consider theirs. Yet I see the destruction again and again...I have let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin lands of our people...over her incurable wounds If I walk out into the field... Look! Those slain by the sword! If I enter the city... Look! Those consumed by hunger. Even the prophet and the priest...forage in a land they know not Why hath the Ophidians struck us a blow that cannot be healed? We wait for peace, to no avail...for a time of healing - but terror comes instead. Let the undead prisoners sighing come before you. With your great power free those doomed to death! Then we, the people and the sheep of the pasture...will give thanks forever...through all generations we will declare praise! Dare I say Triumph over the wicked is before us. For evil, in whatever in its many forms is no match for the Virtues and for peace! [/ QUOTE ] <blockquote><hr> Felinious: I can tell a short one. My tale occured in these very lands very long ago, when there was only one land, and Corwyn and Paxlair were somewhat new. I had set out on a trip to find a place to build a house. I had saved long and hard to get the meager gold needed for such a house to the sum of 44K gold, and bought my land rights and set out, with my deed. Long I walked, in the swamps, south of Skara and in the forests of Yew, in the mountains of Minoc and the dells of Britain. I took a boat to the Ice Isle that a friend had loaned me and looked to and from for a spot. My last sight of the Ice Isle was me using a recall scroll, as brigands from a murderous guild attacked me. Not a place to live, I thought. I went north of Paxlair, hoping to live close to it - but found no land, that I could build on. My heart dropped some, as I was giving up hope. Surely somewhere there was land for my small house? I wandered hungry and tired to the Dungeon of Wrong, and went by the ice caves near there. Suddenly I saw a small tree-crowned hill, but with space for..well what looked like a house. I took measurement, and it seemed like it would fit. So I claimed my land, and in a few days a house was built there. Happy was I, after 4 long days, my first home was built in the forest. [/ QUOTE ] Next to regale us was the original Queen Zen: <blockquote><hr> As many of ye know, Miranda of Siege is my baby sister - but I am Chesapeake and always shall be. For my friends from Siege, the Tale of the Orphan Queen: Some many moons ago, just prior to the land upheaval of the lost lands, a child was born into the marriage of a King and Queen. The couple named their first born, Queen Zen, for one day she would rule her parents kingdom. Her father was a strapping handsome raven haired King whom bore the Chaos shield, and his name was King Zenpher. Aye Dread Lord King Zenpher, but dreadlord for good reasons, for he provided Justice upon the Kingdom. Her mother was a tiny wee wisp of a woman whom bore the Order Shield. But despite her petite size, she was a powerful warrior in her own right. Her name was Queen Lady Enzia archer mage. Despite their differencs the couple were deeply in love, and lived in harmony, they the royalty of a kingdom located near Spirituality, which they jointly ruled with many virtues and strengths. Each summer the royal couple hosted a wonderful family outting for their kingdom. Twas a picnic for every citizen and family within the Kingdom, held near the forested grassy plains by Spirituality Shrine. Families of Chaos and Order alike all gathered for this family picnic outting. But one year no one noticed the yellow clad strangers were hidden upon the hills. As the families of Chaos and Order gathered, men, women,children, of the Kingdom of Zen were about to become assulted by cruel fates, fates unseen by all save for one toddler whom tried to warn her people, but no one was hearing the wee lass. Suddenly magiks and arrows shot down upon the people like rain. Hidden archers and mages were assulting the families gathered with vile fury. Not seeing whom fired the first shots, Chaos families assumed the Order families attacked them, whilst the Order families felt Chaos attacked them. Each *side* of the Kingdom Of Zen had assumed the worst,chaos and order alike, and began firing then upon their own kingdom's peoples. Families of Order killing Chaos, and families of Chaos killing Order. No one heard the wee lass as she tried to shout out where the true enemy was hidden. Men, women, children, all lain to waste by rapid firing mutually assured destruction. Twas over, as rapidly as it began. The soil soaked in blood by Spirituality of families picnicing in the Kingdom of Zen. Queen Zen: All Order all Chaos lain to waste, and annihilated, all men women children alike! All but one tiny wee toddler perished that day. The frightened sobbings of one tiny tot, sobbings which she herself stifled so as not to be found alive by the vile ones in yellow tunics,looting her kingdom's bodies. Her family, her kingdom, had suddenly become exterminated, shocked and fearful, stunned to see what hell hath befallen her entire kingdom, the wee queen was seeing all that was dear to her, lying before her dead and gone. Her parents kingdom twas littered with corpses, but she was too small yet to turn over the bodies to identify. After the vile ones left the wee Queen Zen could be heard sobbing, crying out over the bodies, saying: "Momma poppa, please find me, hug me, I need you !" But nary an answer came for the wee toddler. The toddler Queen Zen was utterly alone, no parents, no siblings, no kingdom, nothing left. Suddenly a bright white light appeared over the head of the child Queen Zen. Twas a bright white shining wisp speaking to the lass in wisp speak. The toddler could nary fathom the wisp speak but instinctively felt she must follow the wisp. The bright white wisp led the toddler to an orchard and wee Queen Zen ate. The wisp led the child to a waterfall and Queen Zen cleansed herself and her tattered outfit. Then the bright white wisp led the child to a shrine, that looked just like her father's Shield. There upon the Shrine of Chaos stood a brand new creature nary seen before ever! He was ravenblack with fire in his eyes, a new black steed stood there majestically looking at her. The toddler felt she should fear this magical raven black steed but she did not fear him. She seen a wonderously strange activity between the wisp and the nightmare steed. The wisp flew to the raven black steed and they nuzzled *noses* !! The Toddler Queen Zen wept and cried out.."momma, poppa is that you ??" The firebreathing black stallion and the bright white wisp came towards toddler Queen Zen and they made like an arch o'er her young head and she knew to follow them. They led her to the City of Minoc, where she found some sheep along the way for pets. The toddler gathered their wool and learned to make cloth and a new dress. She met some miners, whom made the the lass a sword and taught her to defend herself. In time over the years the young Queen Zen grew mastering warrior skills, of archery, swords and tactics. She also mastered tailoring to always be properly attired for a Queen, albeit an orphan queen with no parents, no kingdom nor king. Her kingdom became the lostlands of her birth, from Delucia to Papua to the Lighthouse & beyond. And whenever she sees them, Queen Zen weeps to see any nightmare steeds and the white wisps; always hoping in her heart to find her parents alive, somewhere, some day or to find mated pair, the mare and wisp; that helped her way, back in the day. I am, Queen Zen daughter of Chaos and Order, the phoenix rising, Orphan Queen of Chesapeake, and this twas my story, my life. *bows* [/ QUOTE ] <blockquote><hr> Honoring a request from the audience, yours truly read an original composition: The Bard (a true Siege story) With a mist, a swirl, a cloak of fog, Winter encircled the darkened bog. The chill, damp air smelled of faint decay, Reminiscent of rites gone badly astray. As owl played counterpoint to muffled tread, The grey-wrapped wood seeped dull and dread. The traveller rode on, forbearing to dwell. Long had she journeyed, through dank lands and fell. Surcease she sought; a rest from travail - A stall for her steed and escape from road's wale. Numb were her hands, a match for her thought - Then reaching a clearing, her clouding breath caught... For there she beheld a most welcoming sight ; From casements ahead, light spill'd into night; Music and woodsmoke mingl'd mid-air, Consorting wi' scent of savory fare. Dismounting swiftly, she lenghthened her stride, Desirous to learn what mote dwell inside. Her cloak she shook out and placed on carved chair. She'd turned to the bar before 'coming aware Of the bewitching sound of ancient lore As sung from the throat of a troubador. Regarding the stage, her heart leapt, dancing, Nae e'en pausing to question th' chancing. As firelight flicker'd on aged beams above, The minstrel sang on, and sweetly, of love; Of love denied and love's full embrace, Loves pursued and love lost wi'out trace - Illicit passions and innocent trysts - As she sat rapt, entranced, and list' So compelling was th' bard's croon, E'er ensorcelling wi' his tune; A mystery wov'd within th' lay As pure enchantment he did play. And as dark turned dawn, her blood did sing In harmony, wi' heart took wing. [/ QUOTE ] And with that...the eve drew to a close, as guests and hosts bid their farewells. 'Twas a most tumultuous yet quite entertaining eve, proffering something for everyone in attendance: an Orc, Pirates, a Savage, bloodthirsty killers and honorable folk - and I, for one, look forward to revisiting our new-found friends some day. *smiles* P.S. While I painted a few pictures of the proceedings myself, I've no way of displaying them - though two such may be viewed here If any readers have some of their own to add, please feel free to do so!