Saturday, 23 October 2010

A Dragon sighted off the coast

My Dear fellow Faerie scholars
Today we sighted an enormous Dragon; a blue scaled Great Wyrm from north of the Great Rift Valley, I firmly believe. I could barely contain my excitement as it flew by our rolling barrell of a galleon. Most of the other passengers, merchants and traders, rushed to take cover below decks, thinking, erroneously, that the dragon might attack at any moment.
It was quite clear to me, however (with my knowledge of dragons and dragon lore) that the creature was simply heading south ~ mayhaps it was a female who, having hatched her brood over the winter, was simply heading south for the sun.
She was a truly magnificent beast, blue scales sparkling in the sunlight and her large wings flapping slowly ~ her very mode of flight indicated that she was no threat. If the dragon had been diving towards us out of the sun or sneeked up astern to rip off the ships masts (something she was evidently large enough to be capable of doing with ease) then I would have been concerned. In fact she showed little interest in us tiny mortals, scurrying about on the deck of our cog. All too quickly she was gone. The crew relaxed somewhat and the captain, a shifty fellow at the best of times, gave me a peculiar look. Clearly he was impressed or maybe perplexed, at my lack of trepidation.
Later, when the Captain announced we were stopping off at Sak-Luaan, my heart really sank. A reknowned cess-pit of rogues and pirates, to me the town of Sak-Luaan was a far more dangerous and unpredictable danger than the Blue Scaled Dragon flying calmly by!
All good wind to your sails, me hearties!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Aboard a ship and sailing North for Gorglis

Dear Friends and fellow Faerie scholars,
I have taken passage upon a great cog (a large, round-bellied, cargo ship owned by merchants of Linkholm) to the city of Gorglis. That great metropolis of the north was not originally on my intended route but I have become vexed with the labour of walking on stony, unmade roads. The fare was expensive (twelve silver lions!) but will have the added advantage of carrying me past the rough and bandit-infested hills of Norbria where I have been waylaid by thieves before. Once in Gorglis I can head inland and then turn North again, perhaps via Carmin. My plan is to take up with a caravan of traders in Gorglis. Several such caravans of heavily laden ponies and carts apparently leave Gorglis in that direction each month and being with one would afford me much needed protection in the wilds of the North.
The wind is set fair and the ship, being large and commodious, comfortable. My sleeping pallet is atop the cargo; which consists of many bales of woolen cloth and is thus a soft and cozy berth. The other passengers are mostly merchants and traders or their agents. They make pleasant enough travelling companions, their conversation, however, is rather limited. Being concerned as it is with such things as the price of corn in Anguin or whether it is worth exporting fur pelts south to Redune this year and so forth.
There are a group of shady looking elves onboard (which is unusual) they sleep up in the rigging (being treehouse dwellers) and keep themselves to themselves. I have tried to enter into conversation with them but they just wrinkle up their pointy noses and give me dark looks without even the courtesy of a reply.
Time for salt beef and ships biscuit on the poop deck now, so I shall sign off.
Yours affectionately,
Cornelius Clifford
Aboard the Blue Swan, somewhere in the Lucpin Sea.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

A Thief in the Night

Dear Friends
Whilst staying the Drifting Miner Inn some snivelling thieving toe rag slipped into my room whilst I lay snoring (dreaming of a high summer tea of pilchards on toast followed by scones and jam and clotted cream as it happens) and stole all my money! I knew the thief had to be a Dwarf, for he clearly broke in through the window, which is small and low to the ground. My room is on the ground floor and the window, carefully locked the night before, was ajar and the latch broken in the morning. The landlord was, at first, unsympathetic, in fact he almost laughed in my face! This made me so mad that I stomped off to the watchhouse and shouted my plight at them with such anger and frustration that half a dozen of them instantly marched round to the Drifting Miner Inn, armour clanking and looking very serious.
The authorities in Linkholm seem to take crimes like thieving very seriously and do their best to stamp it out, unlike the guards in Gorglis, for example, who would not give a fig in such a situation. The Burgers of Linkholm apparently want traders and merchants visiting their city to feel safe - hence the strong and instant reaction to my complaints. I also suspect they imagined me more more important than I, in fact, am. So of course I let them believe me to be a prominent and respected scholar from the Imperial City.
The upshot of all of this drama was the Innkeeper refunded all of my missing silver from his own pocket and gave a reluctant apology, grumbled into his beard like a naughty child. I moved my belongings to a more reputable Inn forthwith, for I was now convinced the Innkeeper was in on the theft, why else would he cave in so easily? I have repaired to the Durkesh baths for a steam and a welcome relax after my ordeal.
Yours in affection,
Cornelius Clifford

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Some pleasant Dwarf hospitaliy in Linkholm

Greetings Friends!
After a speedy but bumpy ride across North Redune in a wagon full of barrels of Westle beer, I arrived safely (if a little shaken up) in the capital of that kingdom. Linkholm is a fair sized city, encircled by high stone walls and with a large river running throught the middle. This leads down to the docks where a great deal of trade is transacted.
As well as being a large mannish city and port, Linkholm has the advantage of being the nearest harbour to the Dwarvish (or Kindred) kingdom of Puggor. The three great holds; Fuggin, Bleddin and Tharhold of that powerful dwarven state produce large quanitities of metal, particularily iron from the deep mines of Fuggin. This iron is manufactured into tools and weapons by the Dwarves of Bleddin, and much of thier work passes through Linkholm. The King of North Redune collects handsome revenues from this trade as well as from the produce of his own mannish people; wheat, sheep and from them, wool.
There is a large trading fleet of great cogs based in the city and these barrel-shaped ships tranport the dwarvish and home grown goods as far north as Gorglis and south to Imradd and beyond. Many ships from the Archipelago (Anguin, Pernor and so forth) also come here to trade, so it is a bustling and busy place.
After my bumpy ride I decided to stay in a Dwarvish tavern - having never experienced such a thing before. It was called the 'Drifting Miner' and is frequented by many dwarves who come and go in the course of their trade. Although the headroom in the bar room was decidedly limited, the beer was excellent and the food good solid fare. They make a robust mutton and parsnip pie (with a thick savoury gravy) which I enjoyed immensly, followed by sweet oat and cinnamon cakes drizzled in cream and honey.
I must say the dwarf hospitality far exceeded my expectations and the evening was topped off by a long round of deep droning epic songs (accompanied by a heavy dwarf drum) that the whole company seemed to know by heart. Most efficacious.
Yours truly

Sunday, 23 May 2010

The Kingdom of Redune and a ride amongst Westle Beer!

Dear fellow Faerie Scholars,
I have now left the Kingdom of Barradon (and very glad I am to do so!) and entered the Kingdom of North Redune. This country has closer ties to the Empire and is consequently marginally more civilised than Barradon. My next night's sleep will be in the village of High Dyke, although I would rather get to the town of Linkholm. Sadly that commodious port and market town is too far to walk in one day.
I would have to admit I was ambling along in a despondent manner (at the prospect of being marooned in High Dyke) when a caravan of great wains caught me up. The drivers, men from Westle, were pushing their heavy horses hard to maintain a cracking pace. When I waved in a friendly manner, one of them beckoned me aboard. He would not stop, and I nearly lost my footing trying to climb up on the high running board. But it was done in the end and I am now safely bouncing along amongst a dozen great barrels of best Westle Beer. And they must be delivered to Linkholm by nightfall. What a splendid piece of luck!
Fare thee well
Cornelius Clifford

Saturday, 8 May 2010

To The North!

Dear Friends
Regretably my friend, the Green Wizard and I are, in fact, no longer friends. We had the most ferocious row after I challenged his theory on the nesting habits of the great southern wingless worm. Clearly his ideas about dragons and dragon habits differ greatly from mine. For I have seen several nests of this particular breed of dragon and know of what I speak. Whereas my erstwhile friend clearly does not! It soon became clear that I was no longer welcome there so I left his commodious tower without further ado. Also with a sad nod to the Wizard's excellent elf chef, whose cooking I shall sorely miss.
I am currently staying in a large and fortified inn in the village of Darth which straddles the Great North Road in the kingdom of North Redune but must make haste, for the Landlords wife is a terrible tartar and says no hot food will be served after sunset, so I must repair to the dining hall with all speed.
Fondest regards

Monday, 26 April 2010

At the Wizard's Tower

Apologies for not writing sooner, my friends, I have been rather caught up with a new companion; the Green Wizard I met at an inn in Derse. After several pleasant discussions over somewhat mediocre meals we found we had a great deal in common. The Green Wizard (who's real name is Albert Fingardious Spiggletoad, and only his robes are green, not his skin!) studied as a magical apprentice under a well known mage in Gorglis. He went on to spend several years at the renowned Monastary of Ong. It is from that time that Arthur moved away from the commercial magic of potions and powders (as his Master in Gorglis had practised) and began more esoteric studies. Specialising in studying bestiaries of magical creatures, and indeed the monsters themselves in the wild, whenever the opportunity presented itself.
This, of course, is the area of magical academia where we have so much in common. Arthur's ideas about the development of three clawed lesser drakes (as opposed to four clawed) in the wild mountain regions north of Throm are most interesting....
Anyways, we struck up an instant rapport and it did not take much persuading for me to accept Albert's offer of a short stay in his tower, some miles north of Derse. Consequently I am now ensconsed in this most pleasant of wizard's towers, spending the hours and days reading tomes in my host's splendid wizard's library. I admit, it is hard to resume my journey north and all the privations of travelling the wild lands beyond the Northern Realms. I shall leave soon, if only Albert's elvish cook wasn't so accomplished!
All joy to you
Cornelius Clifford Esq.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

A chance meeting with a respectable wizard

Dear friends,
After my basic but filling lunch I set off to explore the delights of the large walled town of Derse, only to discover that there were none ~ delights I mean. It is a rough and hard place inhabited by men who are almost universally rude and blunt. Already the civilising influences of the south are wearing thin (this far north) and brutal self-interest emerges victorious here, as often as not.
I visited the main market of the town, in the hope of some afternoon refreshment, only to find an awful lot of grubby sheep and a number of coarse farmers and shepherds. However, in a little pub called the Full Jug I met a rather pleasant fellow. A wizard wearing clean green robes and carrying a long straight staff and a bundle of books, bound together with string. Such a character could hardly fail to attract my interest ~ with his obvious badges of academia along with the fact that he stood out from the general loutish crowd by being clean and well turned out!
We had a pleasant conversation over a jug of light and excellent sweet wine (imported from Gefiel in the south, locally they only make a heavy sort of beer.) We have arranged to meet again on the morrow. In the meantime I must set about finding some accomodation.
Fare you well,

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The Kingdom of Barradon

Glad as I was to escape from the Faerie Realm of the Niggle tribe, the next morning I awoke very damp and very stiff from a night spent unprotected in the wild wood. With no breakfast to be had, I set off northwards as soon as it was light. Soon I found myself passing through open woodland in which a fair number of wild pigs were snuffling and snorting amongst the undergrowth alongside partridges and pheasants who pecked and scrabbled in the dirt enthusiastically. The sight of these animals put roast boar and game pie in mind and spurred me onwards with renewed vigour.
By mid morning I came across a large and well made road heading north east, this I assumed to be the Great North Road. I was delighted when this was confirmed by a toothless old tramp sitting by the roadside sucking and chewing on a fibrous root. I gave him a penny for his trouble but refrained from asking to share his food ~ I was not yet that starved!
Before long I could see large farms and villas set back from the road on either side. Well tended fields of barley and oats had now replaced open woodland. I strode past a long train of heavy wagons, piled high with goods and canvas covered, and driven by small fat dwarves with long whips. These dwarvish drivers were insolent and unhelpful when I tried to strike up conversation with them as I passed. Perhaps they were uncomfortable or nervous to be passing through lands of men.
At last the walls of Derse came into view, across a large river, spanned by a strong stone bridge. I strode across this with confidence but was halted at the open gates by a pair of surly guards; unshaven and in tatty and disreputable uniforms. It took a bribe of ten silver lions to gain entrance but I did not care. I rushed into the first vaguely respectable looking ale house and ordered a lunch of boiled mutton in onions with great slabs of rye bread ~ coarse fare certainly but it tasted heavenly to me!
Cornelius Clifford
At the sign of the Kings Purse, Shootfuller Street, Derse, in the Kingdom of Barradon.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Imprisoned in a Faerie Realm

Dear Friends

Today I was imprisoned in the settlement of a tribe of Niggles, deep within Gefas Wood. I had a good look at my captors when they hauled me, tightly wrapped in the net they had trapped me in (probably more usually used for capturing game, I thought) some distance through the forest. These people are clearly of fae descent; they are small, under three feet tall, thin and have pointed ears and features. Despite my protests, these little people did not talk or respond during my ordeal and simply threw me, net and all, into a thatched hut and secured the door.
After some time I managed to wriggle free of the net but there was no such easy escape from the hut. I had hoped to be brought before their chief but at nightfall the gang of ten or so Niggle hunters reappeared at the doorway.
Their leader demanded an outrageous sum for my release. It occured to me that they had captured me without recourse to their chief and were simply on the make, in a private kind of way. This gave me increased confidence in the haggling that followed and I managed to beat the little blighters down to 14 Anguinian crowns for my release and safe passage across the river.
They would not let me out of the hut without first receiving their bribe. Once they had it, however, they were true to their word and escorted me through Gefas Wood in the dark of the early evening.
By about midnight we reached the great river and I was curious as to how we would cross, for it must have been forty feet to the far bank. The first Niggle stepped carefully into the river and the others motioned for me to follow. By the dim light of their lanterns I could now just make out a line of hidden stepping stones, just below the surface of the water. I was impressed by this ingenious and permanent river crossing. These Forest Folk, for all their petty larceny, had risen in my estimation somewhat in consequence.
Once I was safely deposited on the other side of the great river the Niggles disappeared back across the river and into their forest. I was left to pass an uncomfortable night on the north bank.
Fare thee well,
(Eagerly anticipating a goodly supper and comfortable bed in the City of Derse!)

Monday, 8 March 2010

Gefas Wood

Dear fellow faerie academics,

After a comfortable couple of days rest in Illen (and a number of tasty, although unadventurous, meals) I set out due north from that dull but otherwise pleasant city.
After cutting across some tame open countryside, mostly farmland and so forth, I came to the southern edge of Gefas wood. I confess that I had held a strong, if perhaps marginally irrational, desire to see the place for some years. A gnome of fairly limited acquaintance to me had said that Gefas Wood was one of the Faerie Realms and as such I thought it worth investigating.
At first the woodland was fairly open and pleasant, with a mixture of decidious trees and shrubs, I saw some healthy fallow deer and rabbits, as well as a fox and a goodly number of squirrels and common birds. This happy idyll, sadly, did not last.
After several hours of marching north through this wide forest I had an ominous feeling of being watched. Then I spotted some excellent tree houses, high in a grove of ash and beech trees. Just as I was getting my breath and enjoying the sight of these obviously Fae structures, a net fell upon my head. I was quickly captured, trussed and carted off by a gang of Lesser elves, a tribe of Niggles they were and mighty irritating little people they turned out to be!
I will send more news as soon as the little blighters release me!

Cornelius Clifford,
Trussed up in Gefas Wood

Friday, 5 March 2010

In the City Of Illen

Last night I spent a most pleasant evening in the city of Illen. Although it took a long time to get in yesterday, it was worth it. The city is built to a very regular plan within impressive six sided (or hexagonal) walls. These fortifications are tall and strong and very well maintained. The men of Illen are clean, respectable and, for my silver, a little on the dull side. But the food at the Golden Fawn Inn was delicious (I had a cheesy pie and sauteed potato slices - most efficacious) and this was followed by a rousing evening in the company of a party of rumbustious dwarves from Fuggin who were in town to sell spear heads and other weaponry of their own manufacture to the Duke's armourer.
Today I must choose between three roads; the main road west, to rejoin the Great North road at Noillen, a lesser road east, to cross the estuary at Galdos (a rough and bandit infested area) by way of the troll ferry, or the shortest route; through Gefas Wood. This is an area known to be infested with Lesser Elves, Sprites and Forest Goblins. I think the latter will suite my purposes best. Hopefully I will reach the town of Derse within a day or two and pick up the Great North road there without any serious mishaps!


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Into Illenshire

Dear Friends

This morning I crossed the border into the Shire of Illen. The border guards (proud lancers in blue hose, fancy braid encrusted red jackets and tall yellow shakos) were most polite, recognising my academic robes and according me with the appropriate respect. However, once out of sight of the border post (conveniently housed next to a large and commodious inn) I was set upon by a large gang of irritating sprites. Although well dressed and clearly not beggars, these mischievous creatures threw stones and taunted me relentlessly for several miles. A mere irritation, it is true ~ and causing no more than a few bruises ~ if that is the worst attack I am to endure on my long journey north I shall be much relieved.
I am writing this parchment whilst waiting in a long que to enter the large city of Illen, it seems that the smart troopers here are very particular about who enters their fair and strongly walled city, so I may be here for some time!
Fare you well

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Leaving Imradd for the North

I have, at last, left the comfort of the chambers which had been loaned to me by academic colleagues at the University of Imradd. This morning I left the protective walls of that great city and began my journey north through the homelands of Redune.
Tonight I plan to rest here, at the Frolicking Dragon Inn, on the Great North Road, some miles south of Illen. I have entrusted this message to a distinctly unreliable looking dwarf called Figgle, who was just a little bit too eager to take my Anguin gold crown! Hopefully it will reach you safely.
Yours whilst waiting in eager anticipation of some roast boar and parsnips for supper,

News from the Faeire realms

Greetings, esteemed friends,
This is my first post on the strange thing you folks in the mundane world call a 'blog' - sounds like some kind of troll to me but apparently it is a sophisticated magical message sharing club!

I am about to o set out on a much anticipated tour of the Great Rift Valley to carry out essential research into the breeding habits of the Great Blue fire drake and will post my news and observations here.

Best wishes

Professor Cornelius Clifford

At the sign of the Hanged Goose