StG: The Tempus Findal

July 25, 2014

There are many legendary creatures walking the fringe of rational thought, spoken of in whispers and discussed in the yellowed pages of ancient books.

The Tempus Findal, by Fantasio

The Tempus Findal, by Fantasio

The creature known as the Tempus Findal is one of them.

In the old Vith, Tempus Findal loosely translates as: The One and Only. Most League knowledge of these shadowy and somewhat tragic beings comes from a single person named Mary of Falconer who wrote extensively of them. Mary’s mother, a talented and beautiful woman of the shield known as Samartine of the Falcon, suddenly grew sick and languished. None of the various Hospitalers and learned sages brought in to assist her could do anything correct her failing condition. At some point in the process, Mary received an odd letter in the Posts. The letter was written by someone calling itself the “TF” or “Tempus Findal”. It went on to say that it was an insane supernatural beast of great power, that it had killed many people throughout its existence, and that it was masquerading as a trusted member of her mother’s vast court. It also wrote that it enjoyed select moments of conscience in between bouts of murderous madness, and that was why it had written to her. It claimed it was feeding upon her mother’s energy, and, if it wasn’t stopped, it would destroy her. As a final word, it advised her to arm herself by venturing out to Lake Venera, a lake in a volcano caldera located on the Xaphan world of Midas.

Mary diligently performed research and determined her mother was in fact being consumed by an Extra-Planar entity known as the Tempus Findal. Unable to uncover or thwart this creature alone, she hired a team of mercenaries known as the Sons of the Ram (The “Ramsons”), and together they vanquished it and saved her mother.

THE TEMPUS FINDAL:
The Tempus Findal (TF) is a lonely and contradictory being. It is, at times, relentless, remorseless, utterly insane, incredibly strong, and able to generate an all-encompassing Wall of Fear that cannot be withstood. It is, for all practical purposes, immortal and it may cross the Planes of Reality at will, all the usual controls and defenses in the Hall of Mirrors meant to prevent such crossings are ineffective against it. Once it has locked onto its prey, it will allow nothing to stop it. It will lie, cheat, steal, impersonate and murder to get what it’s after.

Admiral Pax, Lord of Adrastus and admiral in the Stellar Fleet was replaced by a Tempus Findal for a period of time (Eve Ventrue)

Admiral Pax of the Stellar Fleet was replaced by a Tempus Findal for a period of time (Eve Ventrue)

And, at other times, it is nostalgic and reflective. It is fully capable of feeling love, of feeling loyalty and remorse for the things it has done as it wanders from one identity to another. When properly sated, it can often “fall asleep”, forgetting what it is and believing it is simple a mundane person and living the life of a mortal.

But, sooner or later, it always “wakes up” and falls back into madness.

Depending on their mental state, they can appear either intensely beautiful, or singularly ugly.

THE FINDALMARCH:
The origins of the TF are tragic. These creatures begin life as an ordinary, mortal person. The Hospitaler Equation of Opposites states that, for every living being, a predictable number of alternate versions of that being exist across the Planes of Reality. This is also true for the TF however, an Extra-Planar event known as the Findalmarch happens at some point in its life that kills off all alternate instances of this person with the exception of one: one lone survivor. That lone survivor becomes a Tempus Findal, and their existence as an Extra-Planar creature and celestial vagabond begins.

THE KAIDAR GEMAIN:
The lone goal and mission of the Tempus Findal is to locate its opposite and feed upon its energy. A Kaidar Gemain (KG) exists everywhere, in every universe, and it is the energy of these rare, favored souls it seeks to devour. They can detect these individuals across the Planes, even across the seas of time anticipating their coming. Once they discover a KG, they will relentlessly pursue them. It is a “soft” pursuit. It can last years or even decades as they work their way into the KG’s life. They often become a trusted friend or confidant, sometimes they become a lover or a spouse. Like a cuckoo bird invading the nest of an unwitting host, they will kill and replace people as needed to get to the KG. And then they undetectably feed, taking the KG’s energy bit by bit, until they sicken and die. The process can take years. After it has fed long enough, the KG will “sour” and either die or, in worse cases, lose their status as a KG, becoming a Kaidar Gogol, The One who is Almost Everywhere, a raving, pathetic shell of what they once were. When that happens, the TF loses interest, turns its back and moves onto the next KG. During that transitional time, TF goes dormant, it “falls asleep” and forgets itself until it locks onto another KG. It can acquire a new name, develop an occupation, live like a mortal person. It is “happy” during this time, but it never lasts. Its hunger will invariably take it again.

The Findalmarch, the site where the Tempus Findal was created, can kill it (Carol Phillips)

The Findalmarch, the site where the Tempus Findal was created, can kill it (Carol Phillips)

COMBATING THE TEMPUS FINDAL:
Mary of Falconer detailed a number of ways that she and the Ramsons combatted the TF. Although TF’s are immortal, they can still be killed. The site of their Findalmarch, or items taken from that site, can kill them, thus discovering their Findalmarch site is key in combatting a TF. In Mary’s case, the waters of Lake Venera were like poison to it.

Sometimes the TF itself will willingly help bring about its own defeat. The TF is a tragic creature as it can go through periods where it feels great remorse for the suffering it has caused. They have been known, either consciously or unconsciously, to create charms and other trinkets that will allow a wearer to withstand their terrible Wall of Fear. They also brew a potion that, when smelled or swallowed by the TF, will restore their sanity for a short period of time.

Additionally, TF’s can be killed by other TF’s. They are extremely territorial, claiming whatever Plane of Reality they are inhabiting for their own. When two or more TF’s enter the same Plane of Reality, they will detect each other and fight to the death.

copyright 2014, Ren Garcia, Carol Phillips and Fantasio

Advertisements

The Wandwilla is a creature of legend. Spicy tales of the great tree-like beings dreaming forever is ecstasy drift out of Xaphan Space and have taken hold in the collective imagination of the League, such that the Sisterhood of Light themselves investigated the matter. What findings they came up with were never revealed to the League in general.

Wandwilla, by Ewelina Dolzycka

Wandwilla, by Ewelina Dolzycka

A Wandwilla is a bizarre creature. It is described as being the fusing of a Shadow tech male and a Shadow tech female—usually a Black Hat—into one. Shadow tech females are enthralled by the touch of a Shadow tech male, and, if the two are allowed to touch for too long, they will never be apart again, welding themselves into a Wandwilla. They are gigantic, tree-like creature of a ruddy, somewhat greenish hue. Its trunk, many times, is shaped in the form of a man and woman in an intimate embrace and its extensive tap root system often resembles a series of reclining human figures. Its branches are twisting and rather tentacle-like, often bearing large, pear-like fruits. They are never described as having any leaves, just the fruits. The fruits, meaty and sweet, are prized for their arcane properties. Wandwillas often twitch a little in the heights of pleasure.

Xaphan tales maintain there is a hidden world where the Black Abbess has collected all known Wandwillas—there they live in a sort of forest. To fall asleep in this forest is said to cure any malady known, including insanity.

Ex-Black Hat and Hospitaler Samaritan, Bethrael of Moane, once experienced the touch of a Shadow tech male and documented her experience for study. She noted his touch was killing and overwhelming and she could feel her body changing as he touched her. She also noted she was never quite the same afterward and often dreamed of transforming into a great tree.

Ethylrelda of Waam, pre-Wandwilla. Sketch by Carol Phillips

Ethylrelda of Waam, pre-Wandwilla. Sketch by Carol Phillips

The great Black Hat, Ethylrelda of Waam, became a Wandilla with her Spectre general Krotan of the Yard. Black Hats often fear becoming a Wandwilla and go to great lengths to isolate themselves from Shadow tech males. Yet, as they grow older, the prospect of becoming a Wandwilla begins to appeal to them more and more as a sort of reward for their centuries of service. Ethylrelda of Waam made no secret of her desire to become a Wandwilla and attempted to fuse with Lord Kabyl of Blanchefort, a powerful Shadow tech male who fell into her midst. Lord Blanchefort managed to substitute himself with Krotan, who loved Ethylrelda and wanted to join with her. Their Wandwilla burst out of her temple and towered over the skyline of Waam until in disappeared in the night, taken away by the Black Abbess the Waamites say.

In the League, noted horticulturist and ex Black Hat, Duchess Torrijayne of Oyln, believes a small grove of Wandwillas exists somewhere on Kana, and has made it her mission to locate this grove and ensure its protection and well-being.

copyright 2014, Ren Garcia, Ewelina Dolzycka and Carol Phillips

The Tribe of Vith and the history of the League are nearly one in the same, going back hundreds of thousands of years. Tall and Blue, the Vith were the original tribe of the League, the original Sisters were Vith. The first Ex-Commons of the League was mostly composed of Vith Houses, and, in the modern day, most of the enemy Xaphan Houses owe their ancestry to the Vith.

Captain Davage of the House of Blanchefort, a well-known Vith household possessing the Gift of Sight (Carol Phillips)

Captain Davage of the House of Blanchefort, a well-known Vith household possessing the Gift of Sight (Carol Phillips)

HISTORY:

In the old days of the Elders, the Vith acted as their right hand. They flew the cosmos and scouted the heavens for the Elders. When required, they fought the Elder’s battles. For ages, only the austere Vith sect known as the Sisterhood of Light could communicate with the Elders.

Upon arriving at Kana at the beginning of the EX Time Epoch, the other six tribes branched off and differentiated themselves from the Vith and spread out over the rest of the planet leaving the cold north to the core Vith, thus came the beginnings of the League.

THE HAITATHE HORDES:

In the early days of the EX, the Elders introduced a savage and giant-sized alien race to Kana, hoping to strengthen the Vith bloodlines and enlarge them in size. Unfortunately, the hermaphroditic Haitathe Hordes turned on the League and waged near constant war on the Vith, hoping to both enslave and devour them. In later centuries, the Haitathe would turn to the east and attack the Tribe of Esther.

GIFTS OF THE MIND:

As the Vith suffered under the lash of the Haitathe, The Elders realized they had made a grave error in introducing the Haitathe to Kana. In order to strengthen the Vith, the Elders bestowed upon them six Gifts of the Mind. These powerful Gifts (Strength, Waft, Cloak, Dirge, Stare, Sight) indeed saved the Vith and allowed them fight back against the Haitathe and turn them from the north. The Elders marked the old Vith with the Gifts Blue, with blue hair, eyes and skin. The other tribes greatly desired the Gifts of the Mind and attempted to marry into the Vith to acquire them via genetics. Vith lacking the Gifts became known as Cyans.

THE HEROES OF THE VITH:

The Coat of Arms of the House of Blanchefort. The Rose has been a common symbol of the Vith for centuries. Also, the image of a Haitathe Warrior can be found on many Vith CoA's. (Carol Phillips)

The Coat of Arms of the House of Blanchefort. The Rose has been a common symbol of the Vith for centuries. Also, the image of a Haitathe Warrior can be found on many Vith CoA’s. (Carol Phillips)

Some of the greatest heroes of Vith antiquity emerged during this time with the Haitathe. The League needed heroes, and the Vith provided them in earnest. There was the mighty Homma of Telmus Falls and his queen, the gigantic Emmira the Swordless. Of their children, Lennibus and Terfal ended the Haitathe influence in the north. Their sister Subra of the Mark was the first Vith female in history to be able to harness Shadow tech. Another of their children became notable for a different reason: Magravine became the infamous Black Abbess, leader of the Black Hat Sisterhood. There was also the famous Holt of the Mountain, a Vith Cyan (no Gifts) who defeated the Haitathe using nothing but guile.

THE SPLENDOR OF THE VITH:

Vith Bowerchests were once common in Kana and symbolized the Splendid Age of the Vith. Eventually, through guile, the Sisters ridded the Vith of them and they were forgotten in time. (Carol Phillips)

Vith Bowerchests were once common in Kana and symbolized the Splendid Age of the Vith. Eventually, through guile, the Sisters ridded the Vith of them and they were forgotten in time. (Carol Phillips)

After the Haitathe were defeated and generally removed from Kana, the Vith enjoyed several centuries of unrivaled success. The Vith Households attacked and conquered other non-Vith Households and expanded their influence to out-worlds such as Hoban and Planet Fall. They were flush with their Gifts and became potent with Gellar Magic–as they captured priceless and arcane items for themselves. They became extremely powerful, even more so than the Sisters. They kept their most prized possessions in their great Bowerchests, animated treasure vaults crafted in the shape of great beasts, and the skies over Vithland once shone with their wings and the land trembled with their passing. The Sisters, in concert with the other six tribes, conspired to de-power the Vith, and, over time, were successful and rid Kana of their Bowerchests.

ATTRIBUTES OF THE MODERN VITH:

The Vith are loyal and brave and always eager to meet a challenge. They are honest to a fault and will go to great lengths to keep a promise. They are said to be immune to the cold of the north, and are fearless as well.

They are characteristically tall and lean. The “Blue” traits of the old Vith have mostly been suppressed by inter-marrying with other bloodlines, however Vith blue-eyes and blue hair still exists in some Households. Many Xaphan Households still show the “Blue” traits.

The Vith language for a time was headed to extinction, however modern efforts to bring it back into use has met with success.

Most Vith Households mint their own currency. Vith currency is known as the hader and is usually on-par with SBL solaris.

copyright 2014, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

Sorry I’ve been away–the Con Season has been a pill.

"Tree of Life" by Ewelina Dolzycka.  The plot of Book II is told in this mural, with Carahil in the center as protector, the Planet Xandarr the object of his protection, and, in the wings, a weeping Maiax.

“Tree of Life” by Ewelina Dolzycka. The plot of Book II is told in this mural, with Carahil in the center as protector, the Planet Xandarr the object of his protection, and, in the wings, a weeping Maiax.

Book II, “The Hazards of the Old Ones” is the tale of Carahil and his quest to save the planet Xandarr. Running throughout the book in the background is the story of the god-turned-demon Maiax and the House of Bodice and the terrible tragedy that befalls them. The story is intended to be a parable of sorts, illustrating what happens when the gods interfere too much in the doings of mortal man. Carahil himself makes frequent reference to the story, using it as a cautionary tale in his own efforts to save Xandarr.

The story goes like this:

In 099989EX, the House of Bodice found themselves beset by demons. Their land in the northern Hala region of Kana went bad and they heard never-ceasing drums in the night. They went to the Sisterhood of Light for help, but were politely turned away. The Sisters did not believe their lurid tales–certainly they were over-exaggerating. (As it turns out, the Bodice’ land was sitting directly over the terrible Temple of the Exploding Head, and the demons they saw were the comings and goings of the Killanjo, the skinless servants of the Horned God who lived there.)

"Maiax Deceives the Bodice", by Justine Marie Hedman

“Maiax Deceives the Bodice”, by Justine Marie Hedman

Eventually, the demons became bold and tried to capture the Bodice and drag them below to the Temple where they could be offered up as sacrifice. Just as the Bodice were being carried off to their fate, a great creature came from the sky. It was Maiax, a god in the form of a gigantic elephant. He had seen the Bodice’ misfortune and had taken pity on them. Fierce and terrible, the demons rightly feared Maiax and they fled. Maiax became the patron god of the Bodice and he defended them faithfully for years. The LosCapricos weapon of the House of Bodice became the MAIAX, a little soapstone carving of an elephant that would summon Maiax himself when needed.

"Maiax in Flames" by Ewelina Dolzycka  Storytellers eventually cast Maiax as a liar and deceiver who personally oversaw the death of the Bodice

“Maiax in Flames” by Ewelina Dolzycka. Storytellers eventually cast Maiax as a liar and deceiver who personally oversaw the death of the Bodice

The problem with this arrangement was that Maiax was violating the Universal Rule of Balance. The gods cannot directly intervene on behalf of man. As a god, Maiax should have inspired the Bodice, provided leadership and offered advice, not directly defended them. In doing so, he brought a fearsome fate down upon their House, and they were all eventually burned alive in the Temple after first having been made to slowly starve and go mad in the cold emptiness of space. Once the Bodice were all dead, Maiax himself was punished by the Celestial Arborium. He was turned into a demon and sent to the Windage of Kind–the hell of the gods.

The Sisterhood of Light realized they failed the House of Bodice. They erected a statue in the ruins of their manor and created the holiday St. Porter's Day in their honor (art by Carol Phillips)

The Sisterhood of Light realized they failed the House of Bodice and erected a statue in the ruins of their manor. They created the holiday St. Porter’s Day in their honor (art by Carol Phillips)

In time, Maiax’ role in the death of the Bodice changed. Over three thousand years of telling and retelling the story, Maiax became not a protector of the House, but a deceiver, a liar, a demon revealing in their destruction who personally oversaw their deaths in the temple. When the Sisterhood of Light created St. Porter’s Day in their honor, they placed it at the extreme opposite end of the calendar as Maiax’ traditional feast day, to separate them as far as possible from their “destroyer”.

Eventually, Maiax escaped the Windage, along with Barr, the monkey god, Ibilex the crane and Mabsornath, the cat goddess. The foursome dogged Carahil as he attempted to save Xandarr and even tried to tempt him into becoming a demon himself. Carahil soon turned the tables on them and reminded Maiax of the tragedy of the Bodice. Still feeling the weight of their deaths, Maiax collapsed in misery. Carahil eventually forced the Celestial Arborium to forgive Maiax and the rest, to give them a second chance. Maiax though, was unable to forgive himself.

The story has a happy ending. Gathering his courage, Maiax goes to the spirits of the Bodice in Paradise to beg them for forgiveness (something he was forbidden to do as a demon). To his surprise, they are overjoyed to see him. They surround him and sing his name. They tell Maiax the one thing they lacked in paradise was him, and that they had missed him. He joins them in celebration forever.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia, Ewelina Dolzycka, Justine Marie Hedman, Carol Phillips

The Horvath Creeper in its favorite setting. (Carol Phillips)

The Horvath Creeper in its favorite setting. (Carol Phillips)

THE HORVATH CREEPER: AN ODDITY OF NATURE. The Horvath Creeper is a freshwater flowering plant native to the temperate regions of the planet Trimble, an N1 world in Xaphan space. Prior to human colonization in 000024AX, it was a slow-growing plant with a large, meaty flower requiring clean, still water and ample branches or twigs to cling to. A number of conditions had to be met in order for it to thrive and its mortality rate was high. Those specimens that did manage to grow large were often fed upon by local fauna.

However, that all changed when man came to Trimble several centuries back. The Creeper, in the presence of man, turned out to be a parasitic opportunist. Its spores had a tendency to collect in the maxillary sinus of any who breathed it in. In some cases, the spores actually sprouted, resulting in the death of the victim. Weeks after the person’s death, a flower would burst out of the victim’s skull. The Creeper found the brain matter of those possessing Gifts of Mind were rich in nutrients required for germination. In a few cases, people infected with the Creeper found themselves taken over by it. They were compelled to seek out calm pools of water and drown themselves in it. There, the Creeper would emerge, devouring the victim’s brain and using their skeletal structure as a framework from which to cling. In time the symptoms of carrying the Horvath Creeper’s spores became known: the inability to use the Gifts of the Mind, confusion, and a fervent desire to drown oneself.

Queen Ghome I of Trimble was enchanted by the macabre nature of the Creeper and added it to her deadly Garden of Zama. There, she bred it and enhanced its sinister characteristics until it became her favorite, and the phrase: “Where a Dead Man falls a flower grows.”

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

There are a number of legendary objects floating around the League and Xaphan space, however, none are more sacred and potent as the objects known as the Noabs. The Noabs are 25 objects pertaining to or collected from the 25 departed Elders, one object for each Elder. All of the Noabs are currently in the possession of the Sisterhood of Light in their stronghold of Westron in western Vithland. Many of the great Noabs are not known to the general populace of the League.

The Paramel, by Eve Ventrue

The Paramel, by Eve Ventrue

The Paramel is an exception. It is one of the few Noabs that is well-known outside of the Sisterhood. Appearing as a brass and gold lantern hanging on a long golden chain, the Paramel is a Noab from the Elder Va. The Sisterhood of Light once interrogated prisoners with it in Twilight 4. They also carried it before them into battle, mainly against the Black Hats, who were afraid of its light. When the Elders grew sick and died, the Paramel went out of control and glowed as bright as a star in the Kanan sky for many years until the Sisters managed to bend it to their will and tame it. The Xaphans sought to claim the Paramel and the classic Battle of Ebron was fought over it, with the League being victorious and the Sisters reclaiming it.

The attributes of the Paramel are in dispute outside of the Sisterhood of Light, though it is generally acknowledged by those learned in its lore that it is very powerful and not to be trifled with.

The Paramel provides power to the Missive's Panel on the Seeker (Carol Phillips)

The Paramel provides power to the Missive’s Panel on the Seeker (Carol Phillips)

It is said to be quite dangerous to be in close proximity to, as it actively vetted any who came near it, and those who fail its test are killed immediately. It can cast light far into the future or the distant past. It can bridge gaps of time and space and illuminate one’s fate. As a source of endless power, the Paramel has no peer. It can cast light across various realms of reality and throw aside illusions.

The Paramel has, at various times, displayed a cantankerous, wandering nature. It has escaped from the Sisterhood in the past, moving on its own like a living thing and “hid” in plain sight hanging like an ordinary lantern on Goddown Street in the city of Saga. It powered the Lighthouse of Tuk for several years and lit the Hall of Ethers in Alderveryl Convent. On those select occasions when the Paramel does escape, the Sisters relentlessly pursue it, though it sometimes takes them years to catch back up with the artifact. Any caught in possession of the Paramel are punished by the Sisters, though the Paramel itself has intervened on their behalf in the past, sparing innocent people the Sisters’ wrath.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia, Carol Phillips and Eve Ventrue

The author of the League of Elder series is looking for you! We’re collecting stories for an anthology focused on the Fiend of Calvert, a Jack-the-Ripper style killer featured in LoE Book VI: Sands of the Solar Empire.

Exterior of Fiend Pamphlet (Art by Carol Phillips)

What we want: We’re open for cool, atmospheric stuff. We’re open to poetry, to standard science fiction/fantasy, to gothic horror and steam punk and even Bizarro fiction–it simply needs to pertain to the Fiend in some way shape or form. Above all however, submission stories must fall within the genres of fantasy, science fiction, or a combination of both. Word counts should range from 250 (short-shorts) and up to 10,000 words for stories.

What we don’t want: Stories with excessive profanity, erotica, splatter horror or hate fiction. Illustrations depicting explicit frontal nudity will not be accepted.

Interior of Fiend Pamphlet (Art by Carol Phillips)

Source Material: We’re looking for all things Fiend. Look at the attached pamphlet–it contains a wealth of material to draw from, use it as a well-spring of inspiration. Submissions can be about the Fiend himself, about one of his victims, the places he plied his trade, witnesses to the murders, the Evidencers sent to discover his identity, or about the Mad Lord of Walther who finally stopped him. He a pretty shadowy character operating in an equally shadowy area of Kana, so extensive knowledge of the League of Elder Universe and established characters is helpful, but not required. In this exercise you have a remarkable amount of creative freedom. The actual identity of the Fiend has not been revealed yet (that’s in Book VII) so the sky’s the limit. Make him what you want him to be.

Map of the Calvert Region of Kana

Submission Dates: We will be accepting submissions until March 30, 2013, 11:59:59pm eastern standard time. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT

Payment: Payment for accepted submissions will be made in the form of a check within two months of publication. If preferred, payment may be made through a PayPal account. Authors of an accepted short story will be paid at the rate of 1¢ per word, up to a maximum of $100 US for stories and $50 US for poetry.

Rights: We purchase exclusive worldwide print and electronic rights. These rights exist from the point of contract to a period of two years from the date of publication. It is also understood and agreed that Ren Garcia may retain the right to archive the Work for reprinting use only in the anthology format. The author shall retain all other rights to the Work not specified here.

How to submit: Send us via email a short 150 word or less blurb (written in third-person) describing your story along with your planned final word count (approximating is fine) and what sort of story it is (sci-fi, horror, steam punk, etc). Please also include the first few pages so we can get a feel for your writing style. We’re flexible about silly stuff like spacing, font, justification and all that, however, if you turn in an overtly unprofessional submission it probably won’t go very far.

Multiple Submissions: Only one story, or up to 3 poems per author will be considered. Illustrators/artists may submit up to two illustrations. All submissions must be submitted separately (one submission per email).

Simultaneous Submissions: Simultaneous submissions are not permitted due to the fact that the Fiend of Calvert and associated characters/environs are League of Elder trademarks.

Response time: 1-4 months depending on your submission date. Our responses will come in the form of a simple form letter via e-mail.

copyright, 2012, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

Wherever people have sailed, be it across the seas, over the mountains, or through open space, there have always been tales of lost ships, the ghost ships: The Flying Dutchman, the Mary Celeste, the Edmund Fitzgerald, and on and on.

And so goes the Heade-On-The-Hearth, a warship in the League’s Fleet like many others, she has assumed a unique place in the lore of inter-stellar shipping, the demon ship that comes upon one in the emptiness where there is no help.

The “Heade-On-The-Hearth” by Fantasio

The Heade-On-The-Hearth was launched from Tusck port, Station Indigo, Onaris in 002452AX. She was a Webber-Class warship, a standard Fleet design that took up the bulk of the serviceable fleet back in the early days. The Webbers were an ugly, functional ship that featured an open gantry system laced with removable crew, cargo and engineering pods that could be configured in a variety of ways such that no two Webbers were exactly alike. The Stellar Mach Coil was a dangerous and somewhat unpredictable power system at the time and was housed in the starboard faring well away from the crew areas. The Webber fleet was eventually superceded by the larger, more modern Straylight class ships. She was named after a city on Onaris, as is customary.

The Heade served for only a short period of time. Shortly after her maiden voyage, she was conscripted into battle with the Xaphan armada at Sorrander-Quo. There, she sustained major damage to her starboard fairing and had to be towed from the theatre. Eventually she was scuttled and left to drift in The Kills region of space. She was removed from the Fleet’s active books.

Several months later, mariners began issuing warning of a pirate ship sailing the deep sea between Kana and Onaris. Witnesses claimed a black Webber ship came at them from nowhere bent on theft and mayhem, a ship missing its starboard faring. Eventually the name of the offending ship reached the ears of the Fleet admiralty: the Heade-On-The-Hearth was doing the pirating. An investigation of The Kills revealed that her hulk was missing. It was later discovered that a band of pirates from Onaris, the Drury Brothers as they were known, had stolen the Heade from The Kills, strapped on a set of old Woburn rocket engines and brought the Heade back to life. The Druries used the Heade to great effect, able to fall on the weak and helpless and flee just before any dispatched to stop them could arrive.

Eventually the Fleet set a trap for the Druries off of Exeter’s Belt (a nebula eventually renamed Druries Belt). The Druries took the bait and, in the ship battle that followed, were sunk by the Fleet after hours of fierce fighting.

So much for the Drury Brothers …

However …

The Heade-On-The-Hearth modified with spotlights and tentacles (by Carol Phillips)

The Drury Brothers soon returned alive and well in their Heade-On-The-Hearth ghost ship. The Fleet, convinced they were dead, scoffed at the notion, however, ship after ship were accosted they were forced to act and face the Druries again. The Fleet, in concert with local authorities, sunk the Heade over a hundred times only to have it return from the dead over and over, and, with each resurrection, she came back more odd, more sinister, bristling with alien weaponry and dark accessories strapped to its gantries.

Eventually, the sightings died down, and the Druries and their black ghost ship faded into lore. On the new world of Bazz, they said the Devil had a new assignment for the Druries, to feed his children.

They still say if one dare to venture alone from Kana to Onaris and one wander off the shipping lanes, the Druries will get you.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia, Fantasio and Carol Phillips

There are many ruins dotting the landscape of Kana, especially in the northern continent of Vithland where the remnants of old manors and castles litter the landscape. Most are forlorn and ill-trodden places, overgrown and generally best left avoided. One notable exception is the Ruins of Caroline sitting in the green lands of Hala near the Straights of Elder under the eye of the Sisters’ lighthouse. The ruins of the fallen manor are frequently visited. Inns and pubs nearby do a brisk trade of those travelers seeking to visit them. The locals frequently go to the ruins and tend to the grass and keep the footing level so that visitors unfamiliar with the terrain won’t hurt themselves.

“The Ruins of Caroline” by Carol Phillips

The House of Caroline was a Great House of Hala stock. Like most Halas, the Carolines were simple farmers and tillers of the land. They were well-liked, generally followers in the complicated social scheme of Kana instead of pacesetters. They had many friends across Kana. Caroline Maidens were known to be very beautiful. The Carolines were known to be quite tall for Halas, taller even than the Vith. The Sisterhood of Light diagnosed them with the early onset of Giantism.

The Carolines were one of twenty-five Great Houses to flee the League during the Great Betrayal in 000000AX and become Xaphans. Most of the other fleeing Houses were mal-contents and rabble-rousers: The Burgons, the Zary and Trimbles. The Carolines, however, were content league citizens–it was the House of Zary, a rather wayward House, that cooerced the Carolines to leave the League with them. So, broken-hearted, the Carolines boarded their ships and left their beloved manor by the sea behind.

The Carolines wandered the empty passes of Xaphan space for months. They were raided by several other Houses, including the House of Zary, who were starving in their transports. In danger of becoming extinct, the Carolines put out a distress call, which was answered by the League vessel Victor. With the Victor’s help, the Carolines settled on a gray world in the Tu Mervolin system.

There, the Carolines thrived, becoming Xaphans (technically, enemies of the League). The Carolines, however, always maintained friendly relations with the League and, during the Battle of Mirendra I, provided safe harbor for damaged League vessels, saving many lives. For their part in the battle, the Sisterhood of Light reinstated the House of Caroline’s familial patent in 003152AX, making them dual League/Xaphan citizens.

The abandoned Caroline Manor fell into ruins over the centuries, the grand estate tumbling down and blackening. The Lords of Hala went to the Sisters and demanded they be permitted to raze what was left of the manor and rebuild a new House there. Their request was denied and Caroline remained a ruin.

A Lady in the Ruins

6 ft 7 Melazarr of Caroline ended up in the Ruins a record 59 times (painting by Eve Ventrue)

An interesting legend and fad arose over the years regarding the Ruins of Caroline … as time and time again, the ruins were not completely abandoned.

The House of Caroline’s LosCapricos weapon is a strange garter-belt-like device called the VERY MARY. The VERY MARY, when worn by a Caroline maiden, will spirit her away from danger and return her to her ancestral holdings: the Ruins of Caroline near the sea in Kana. Over the centuries, Caroline maidens grew taller and taller and became more and more adventurous. Often times they found themselves in mortal peril, and many times they found themselves standing alone in the ruins under the Kanan moonlight. In 000272AX, Eon of Caroline was about to be sacrificed in Burgon and was saved by her VERY MARY. She wandered the ruins and, driven by cold and hunger, made her way into the countryside to locate shelter. She was met by Zal of Thompson, a lord from a nearby Great House and was welcomed into their home. Soon, Zal and Eon fell in love and he made her his lady. Eon was well-liked, and when word of how she arrived on Kana got out, gentlemen seeking a fine bride began venturing out into the ruins, hoping to encounter a Caroline maiden from nowhere as Zal had done.

The fad became popular and gentlemen from all over Kana and elsewhere flocked to Hala to take their turn sitting in the ruins under the moonlight. They brought with them flowers and candies, and gifts of jewelry. They wrote heartfelt letters and placed them by a remnant of masonry that became known as the Heartstone. The fad might have faded, as many often do, however, occasionally the gentlemen’s efforts were rewarded with success and the pratice perpetuated itself, eventully becoming a cottage industry in the region.

Carofabs

As with all things, there were those who sought to take advantage of such a quaint fad and turn it to their own ends. Such was the Carofab: a local lady who disguised herself as a Caroline. Kanan ladies became rather jealous of all those eligible men going to Caroline to seek romance. They developed a rather sophisticated spy network so that they could know exactly who was going to be sitting in the ruins and when. When a desired gentleman was slated to be out there, Kanan ladies hoping to catch his eye would dress themselves up as a Caroline and meet him there. Lady Constance of Belmont-South Tyrol did just such a thing and won a husband for her efforts.

copyright 2012 Ren Garcia