Saturday, 2 February 2013

Editor's Monthly Roundup - January

Plunged into a deathly winter where evil strikes at goodness from every shadow, could there really have been a better month in which to launch The Fantasyland Herald?

When I first met with a group of strangers claiming to be from another world, I did consider them likely fae folk, out to trick me into following them down into a eldritch realm beneath a grassy hill, whereupon I would be forced to live out an unnaturally lengthened life attending a non-stop procession of debauched parties.

Alas, they were telling the truth.


I told them I was merely the editor of a humble pamphlet informing those few citizens of Abevorn's Royal City who could actually read about the mundanities of day-to-day life in the Isles of Aebron. They in turn explained that rampaging trolls, questing knights and vengeful witches turning whole villages of men, women and children to ice were happenings both unheard of and exciting back in their world.

A few more flaggons of mead later and my scepticism vanished; The Fantasyland Herald was born. Of course, it's still early days. A pamphlet needs few writers, whereas a daily newspaper needs many more. Never doubt our constant search for new and original contributors to improve and expand our coverage.

But enough of such vainglorious self-reflection, my duty here is to reflect upon the news of the last month and without further ado, I shall do exactly that.


The assassin appears in the Royal Castle's Nightfall Hall

And so it began: The Fantasyland Herald's first major news story was a tragedy. The Queen was killed at the hands of a mysterious assassin and, but for the grace of the Gods, the King might have joined her. The hunt for the assassin continues even now. Sightings are coming in from across the kingdom - too many for us to cover - but the most reliable reports suggest the villain is now somewhere in the Shadow Wastes, possibly headed for the pirate city of Port Bloodwater and a ship bound for foreign shores.

In his wake, mourning. Hundreds of thousands crowded the streets to bear witness to the grandest funeral procession this country has seen. It was during the Royal City's last farewell to its beloved Queen that Prince Mikael, thought lost in the wilds of the Southern Ranges, made a sudden reappearance. Our correspondent, Katar Bristicus, covered the event here, and now travels with the funeral procession south to the Queen's birthplace in Suward Gardens.

All of which raises many questions: who sent the assassin? What happened to the Prince during his brief disappearance and who were the mysterious companions he returned with? Will the King to recover from the loss of his wife in time to heal the rifts now tearing apart the Royal Council?


With the King retreating into mourning, leadership of fair Abevorn lay in the hands of eleven men and women who can barely keep from forming those hands into fists and punching each other until the whole land lies bruised and bleeding on the floor.

Any hope the Royal Council could have put their differences aside to present a united front for the people to rally behind were cast to the four winds when Lord Edward Hawkcroft stood upon the steps of the Broken Arch and made his now infamous speech of the six-stroke cross.

Lord Hawkcoft's speech on the steps of the Broken Arch
The sign of the six-stroke cross can now be seen spreading across the kingdom. For centuries it was the symbol of Abevorn, now it stands for something else: a code of right and wrong shouted on street corners by people whose only authority comes from a sash around their chest and the menace of gangs bankrolled by a supposed 'People's Militia'. And of course, where our country leads, others follow...


Our Olverym correspondent, Cuffid Longnose, reports on a rabble-rousing raconteur by the name of Disant Two-Combs. While not a great orator like our own Lord Hawkcroft, that's no handicap in a country where sophistication and intelligence would be considered vices if they were any people there smart enough to think up such words. Disant apparently wishes to return his homeland to the glory days of dragons, which you might rightly think a foolish notion, but you are bright, whereas his local audience most certainly were not.

Fortunately, another of our near neighbours has a far more practical attitude toward awarding citizens free speech. Caewal's populace may say what they like, safe in the knowledge that when they have finished, a demon summoned by their Witch-Queen rulers will tear them apart if their words were inappropriate. So far, our correspondent there, Karlton Atherton, has managed to avoid speaking out of place, but if he does, rest assured we shall have an artist on hand to paint the consequences.


Darach Muerdelain
The final major news story from the past month concerns the evil hero the bards have dubbed 'The Prince of Profane'. Darach Muerdelain fought in the last great war against Belgren, but his time in the Spited Lands blackened his soul and now he walks the land weighed down by demonic enchantments and the blood of the many he has killed. This month he added four more names to that list.

The Fellowship of the Heart were a party of five adventurers renowned throughout the land for their goodness and charity. They were tracking Muerdelain in response to call from the Bishop Theocrace Hobbs, who had discovered that the Prince of Profane had got his hands on the 'The Skull of the Underking', a vile artifact thought lost within the dungeons of Ban-Bakkun.

The Fellowship of the Heart faced down Muerdelain in the Cloister of Doves at Craven Priory. Evil prevailed.

It was thought all the members of the Fellowship were killed, but we eventually found out one survived: Amarisa Innskeld. We wait with baited breath to see what both she and Muerdelain do next.

Amarisa Innskeld


And so that concludes my first roundup of news from 'Fantasyland'. I use quotes, because this is a term I am not altogether happy with. There is nothing fantastical about the place to those of us living here, especially with this foul winter that has descended upon the Royal City. Six foot snowdrifts line the streets, ice hangs from the mantel of even the heartiest fireplace and I haven't felt sensation in my toes for nearly a week.

Oh, while I remember, one final note on our roving travel writer Bobo Melf. While we haven't heard from him in a while, we are reasonably confident he is alive and well out in the wilds of Abevorn. Or if not alive and well, possibly dead and gone. But on the off-chance he's actually dying in a ditch somewhere, I'll send out a pigeon to look for him.

Edmund Stroff

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