Avalon http://www.uo.com/spot_49.html ‘Tis a fine sight, to see the people of Britannia set aside their differences and band together for a common cause. Dread Lord may toil aside Great Lord and stealthy thief may labor beside a wealthy merchant, if the cause be for the benefit of all. Our spotlight this week focuses on the Baja city of Avalon - a city born and grown prosperous from just such cooperation between unlikely companions. “They were in Avalon, and they knew this in their hearts. “Agnes lifted the edge of her dress slightly, allowing her to step off the small dragon boat’s plank onto the peninsula. Looking around at the large public buildings, busy shops, and humble homes, she recalled stories about the beginnings of the city. “The Order of Singularity was a humble guild, but it grew too rapidly and collapsed upon itself. The Order had called what would be its last Council Gathering, and only a few loyal core members attended. It is in that last meeting that the Avalon Project was born. “The Order was reborn with a new dream: to build a city, based in unity, cooperation, and companionship. It would be independent from the rule of Lord British yet maintain its own system of justice, wherein notable scoundrels could not scheme to become lords, nor would noble knights be considered infamous. “Adventurers from across the land answered the call. Locations were scouted, and it was Garreth who found the peninsula that was to become Avalon, their “City of Destiny.” The Founders of Avalon were Aidenna Shethane, Belwar, BlackWolf, Galenius Borai, Hazard, Lucina Juno, MacDeath Cross, Northstar, Rob, Sir Cloud, Yosemite, and Dynamo (who would become the first leader of Avalon as its mayor). Assisting them were the Order of Singularity, the Guardians of Virtue, the Lords of the Dead, the gentlefolk of the Baja Notepads, and the Player Killer Circle. Many were adversaries, but had come together in the spirit of cooperation and fellowship. “Agnes turned and reached out to the tillerman. ‘Here, kind sir...for you.’ She held out some coins for the tillerman who had brought them here, to this large peninsula west of the Dungeon Wrong. A small girl scooted underneath her outstretched arm, laughing and giggling. “The tillerman noted the gold coins in Agnes’s hand. ‘No thank ye, ma’am. I does what I does not fer profit, but fer th’ love o’ the doin’.’ He began preparations to cast off, continuing, ‘So, ma’am’ll be awlroight, ye daughter an’ ye?’ “Agnes smiled, both amused and pleased at the rough man’s good manners. ‘You are very kind, my friend. Yes, we’ll be fine.’ Agnes reached out and put the coins into his breast pocket. ‘However, I recall my youth in Avalon, also in the service of the people. You say you do not require my coin, nevertheless I shall leave it for you, or for your next patron.’ The tillerman thanked Agnes graciously, bowing slightly as he did so. “Agnes called to her daughter, who was walking the edge of the plank as though, in her mind, she was performing some daring circus act. ‘Come along, Tonya. We mustn’t dawdle.’ Agnes held out her hand for the young girl with dark pigtails. “Tonya turned around, full of smiles and good cheer. ‘Bye, Mith-ter Thailor-man!’ she called out. She and her mother exchanged waves of goodbye with the tillerman as he sailed off. “’Do you know what that building is, dear?’ asked Agnes, pointing to a large brick building by the shore. “’It’th a lie-berry!’ replied Tonya, smiling and skipping as she called out her earnest answer. “’Yes dear, a library. It’s one of the oldest buildings in Avalon. We’ll bring you back there later, and see if we can’t find something for you to read.’ Many more buildings had become part of Avalon since the city opened its doors to the public, on the 20th of June, 1998. The dream had become reality, and a place was born where all could visit and enjoy, regardless of class, race, or political affiliation. “The merchant and her daughter began walking east, keeping the visible shoreline to their right hand. The way was clear of trees and had few houses, as was typical for the Western Tip of Avalon. Agnes remembered the first tournaments, held in barrel-encircled arenas, or in a square of flour bags. “Many valiant warriors entered Avalon’s ‘fight nights’. First were the ‘Monster Bashes’, then later the famed Contest of Champions and the House of the Dead. Recently, the Amazons have held their ‘Invitational Tournaments’ in their tower, north of the Ring. “Tonya tugged at her mother’s long skirt as they passed the edge of the woods on their left. ‘Mommy, what’th ‘in thervice of the people’ mean?’ “Agnes chuckled. ‘Well, when mommy was young she volunteered to help Avalon, as did so many others, to help the city grow and prosper. I was a barkeep of some local renown, working at the Four Seasons atop the Avalon Town Hall roof.’ Agnes thought for a moment, then crouched in front of her daughter, licking her finger and wiping a smudge of dirt off Tonya’s cheek. ‘Would you like to see where mommy used to work?’ “Tonya bounced up and down, clapping her hands. ‘Oh! Can we mommy? Pleathe?’ She knew her mother loved to talk about Avalon, and Tonya always loved the stories of her mother’s past. Agnes chuckled again, mussing Tonya’s hair thoughtfully. “Tonya held onto Agnes tightly with one hand, and played with a daffodil with her other. They continued onward, past the magnificent outdoor wedding chapel, strolling amid the trees and the flowers toward some small homes and a shop with a patio. “Tonya looked up at her mother, her cherubic face full of innocent enthusiasm. ‘Avalon ith pretty, mommy! You had fun here?’ “’Yes, dear, we had quite a bit of fun...but there were also some rough times. Those first days in the frontier were harsh and unforgiving.’ Agnes trailed off, thinking back to the massive wars that had ravaged the land. Loyalties and affiliations shifted virtually from hour to hour. Some of those who had helped with Avalon’s founding later sought to destroy it. There were murderers, pirates, orcs, elves, cursed citizens, even the Followers of Armageddon who had threatened the safety of the city. But there were also those who came to help build the city. There were diplomats, healers, merchants, boatsmen, the beloved Fools, and eventually the stalwart Guardians of Avalon. “Agnes shook off the bitter memories, and continued. ‘Things worked out, though, my dearest. The citizens of this city-to-be held their ground and persevered.’ “’Celebrations of all types followed in those months: weddings, birthdays, and parties for the sake of partying. There were mock battles, and real ones, and the Tournaments. Other contests were held, some pitting bard against bard, others simply giving away large amounts of prizes.’ “The merchant and her daughter turned north as they meandered past a large shop. “’They used to mend and make armor for free here, now it’s Avalon’s Rune Library, some say the best in the land,’ stated Agnes. ‘We’re passing the Ring of Champions, now...right in the center of Avalon. It was built for Avalon’s Contest of Champions, but it’s been in disrepair, so we’ll move on to the Dead Dove Tavern.’ The small child’s hand tightened, and she looked up, with a sad, questioning look. “Agnes looked down. ‘What’s wrong, dear? Is...oh, I understand.’ Tonya’s mother smiled-laughing at herself inside. ‘There’s nothing really dead. It’s just a name. It’s often a fun place, began by some charming troublemakers called the Rogue Brethren.’ “Agnes slowed down a bit as she approached the northern shore and the Dead Dove. She frowned, considering where they were headed. They were closing in on the tower of the Amazons, who claimed the peninsula as their sacred homeland. Several times they had tried and failed to retake the peninsula, and currently an uneasy peace existed between the Amazons and the other locals. Tonya’s mother knew that Amazons could be a little touchy sometimes, and turned east, hoping to avoid potential problems. Tonya, oblivious to the possible dangers, continued her skipping and began humming a childish tune. “As they passed the museum, full of rare items and interesting bits of history, Agnes made a mental note to return there with her daughter, to help further her education. “Tonya began to pull on her mother’s hand. Agnes had been lost in thought, and realized that they were passing the Laughing Lunatic tavern. The very next building was the Avalon Town Hall. “So much time had past, and Agnes forgot how beautiful it was. Many special people had given much toward its splendor, but tragedy struck. Sabotage had caused it to collapse, but the latest engineering techniques were employed and it was rebuilt anew. “A Town Cryer now stood at the front door, and Agnes introduced herself and her daughter, and some slight pleasantries were exchanged. They compared stories about the merchant hall called the Avalon Commissary, and how funny it was to listen to the grumpy old man behind the counter. “Agnes and Tonya excused themselves, going inside the tower. They passed relics of yesterday, the stablemaster’s quarters in the back room, and the brewery in the stairwell. They climbed the stairs past the Ministers’ Chamber and the hunting lodge until they reached the top. “Once on the high-walled roof Agnes allowed Tonya to walk through the chairs & tables and skip across the stage all by herself. Agnes looked out across the peninsula and lost her breath for a moment, taking in the beloved view that she had not seen in so long. “Smallish fields of grass waved gracefully in the mild breeze; colorful flowers dotted the peninsula. Lush green woodlands, full of trees and flora of all kinds, divided Avalon into two distinct sections. Birds called out to each other, and the sun shone bright and warm over the City of Destiny. And around three sides the waves broke, sparkling white as they slapped against the shore. “This was where she started, this roof, this place. She stood there a moment, wondering if she was going to cry. “Mommy? You sad Avalon ithn’t your home anymore?’ Tonya was pulling on her mother’s skirt, her face very expressive with concern. “Agnes picked up her daughter and held her close, and told her the truth. ‘We may not live here, but I shall always consider Avalon my home.’ “’Come on,’ Agnes continued, grinning an infectious grin. ‘How about we go find a Fool or a ‘Laughing Lunatic’ to tell us some jokes?’ “’Yay!’ cried Tonya, waving her short arms and bouncing with newfound glee in her mother’s comforting arms. Together they made their way back downstairs, back into the heart of Avalon.” Located on the Baja shard, the city of Avalon can be found on a peninsula west of the Dungeon Wrong. You can read more about the city of Avalon on their website at http://avaloncity.cjb.net/. Join us next week as we spotlight a valiant quest for treasure that became much more than one Britannian bargained for. And please keep an eye on FYI for new spotlight topics!