News

30th September 2002

As some of you know, for the last few days we held Captain Igneous Neo of the Britannia Guards prisoner. However, what started out as revenge for the capture and subjugation of Villa, soon turned into a headache as we found ourselves lumbered with a proud and ruthless fighter who, sooner or later, was going to try and escape.

I was ordered to dispose of him as I saw fit. During his confinement, I took the opportunity to talk to Neo at some length, and got him to admit what I suspected all along: that he, like myself, is undead. This posed something of a problem for me. I know from personal experience how hard it is to kill someone who is already dead, and more to the point, though I like a good battle as much as the next Dark Cloak, cold-blooded murder is not really my style.

I decided instead that he should be sold to Vesper, since his knowledge of Minoc's military secrets would no doubt fetch some good coin there. Naturally, Neo was not keen to co-operate, so I was forced to rough him up a little. He remained defiant throughout, and as only myself and Shazam were available to escort him to Vesper, he proved quite a handful.

As we approached the guard post by the Bog of Desolation, we saw that a good number of Britannia guards were waiting for us. As a precaution, I'd had a silver-edged dagger made and, seeing the hopelessness of the situation, I put it to Neo's throat. Though I expected the Guards to back down, they did not. I saw Shazam struck by magic and then felt an arrow enter my own shoulder. I was forced to take the only action left available to me: I slashed Neo's throat. Through their own rashness, the Guards had forced me to do the one thing I wished to avoid. Quickly, I motioned to Shazam to open a gate to safety, but he was struck down before he could go through himself. I managed to push Neo through but was then cut down by a hail of arrows and could not follow. I know not whether he is truly dead, but the Guards believe it to be the case. I am now wanted for murder.

Yours in darkness

DeadCal

 

28th September 2002

Dere was I, Gorbash mighty half orc Warrior, sittin in me favourite chair.When along comes dat Notsa bloke wiv a gorilla following i m......I notices like dat da gorilla is named after da master...so I grabs me big stick...an goes ta have some words wiv Notsa.

I tells i m to clear off before me gets angry or I kills i m....Dis does not stop him an he frows a few more insults out about dere people in da Dark Cloaks.

As me ah warn i m already I steps off da porch wiv a mind ta give i m some serious smackin....when blimey! If night don't pop up right behind me wiv a wepon in is ands like....

I goes straight into guard position an tells em straight...Leave now or me kills ya bofff....dey laffs at dis as dere is ummm? Twoer of dem an only oner of me...Dat night den says he wantin revenge fer me bitin i m like an fer dere way he treated..An he wants ta start wiv Gorbash.....

I wastes no more time ,avin took dis an an insult ta us I gots ta fight, so me attacks Night bloke.....

Several seconds later he is dead...I steps ova da corpse an saz ta Notas oy! U wont sum too den? An he backs off.

I stays watchin an sure nuff Notas comes back wiv da gorilla in tow...he now tryin tas fight me fer bitin Night...I tells i m? woss a poor orc ta do? Me was 'ungry...

He not accept dis very well an attacks me.....dis lasted a bit longer but me finally give i m da stick too...

So much fer dere revenge eh? I fink dey should dust give up now before me get really angry.

Signed,

Gorbash, Mighty Half-Orc Warrior

 

26th September 2002

There are a number of strange pigeons among the multitude that arrive at Seriya's coop every day. One of these had arrived the other day - an outlandish looking creature with a light green ribbon tied around his leg. The mark of the Army of Kaldor, a group of fighters from a strange land and times past.

The Army of Kaldor was seeking advice. I appeared that one of their number, a man called Avatar, had fallen under a strange curse. He was found acting strangely, apparently under partial control by another person. The control appeared to be connected to a bracelet with strange markings that was found on Avatar's arm, and which could not be released. Avatar's body was also altered. Spines had begun to grow out of Avatar's spine, putting the man in terrible pain.

The Kaldorians set their hopes on breaking the bond of the bracelet. They felt that Raistlin, the mage of the Britannia Guards, was the person controlling the bracelet. Raistlin had also altered a page in the Kaldorian's famed book of healing, which otherwise might have offered vital clues as to curing Avatar. The page now seemed to display the same strange symbols found on the bracelet.

Raistlin had hinted that the words on the page and on the bracelet were written in a language spoken on another plane. Having heard the rumours that the Master was another planeswalker, the Army of Kaldor contacted Seriya to ask for the Dark Cloaks' help.

Seriya could unfortunately not make anything of the markings or the growths on Avatar's spine, but the Master was most intrigued to hear of what she had seen, and asked to see Avatar and the bracelet for himself.

Avatar and his girlfriend Amber were brought before the Master two nights later. The growths on Avatar's spine had grown considerably larger in that time, and the man was very subdued and obviously in a lot of pain.

The Master did indeed recognise the markings on the bracelet; while they were not exactly the same as some he had seen before they were similar enough to allow a reasonable translation. After a lot of deliberation, and after consulting the book of Healing that the Kaldorian Lenar had brought along, the Master confirmed that he could lift the spell that bound the bracelet to Avatar. However he did not understand how the strange growths on Avatar's back were connected to the bracelet, or the control Raistlin exerted over Avatar's mind, and he warned the Kaldorians that removing the bracelet could have unforseen side effects.

As he was deliberating, another stranger was seen wandering in the Valley - it was none other than Raistlin himself. Seeing that his plans to bring Avatar under his control and transforming him into some hideous creature were threatened, Raistlin exerted the full power of his mind on Avatar, whipping the man up into a frenzy and causing the growths on his spine to mutate even faster. Faced with no other option, the Kaldorians implored the Master to aid them immediately and remove the bracelet, no matter the risk.

The Master simply nodded and ordered Choma to find him a suitable victim for a sacrifice, as he alone did not possess the necessary power to remove the bracelet. Choma returned soon after, dragging with him a hapless miner who had been prospecting the mountainsides in the valley. The miner, confused and afraid, initially refused to look at the Master, but after some suitable persuasion by DeadCal gave up his resistance and looked at the Master. As soon as the Master held his gaze, the miner began to pale and was wrecked with terrible spasms. As his lifeforce drained from him, the Master placed his hand on his heart. Hand glowing with the Miner's lifeforce, the Master placed his hand on the bracelet and began chanting words of power in a language unknown.

Almost immediately the bracelet snapped and fell from Avatar's hand, to be caught by Amber. The Master's spell had worked! Even better, his fears that removing the bracelet might cause undesirable side effects turned out to be unfounded. The growths on Avatar's spine receded almost immediately, and Raistlin's control over Avatar's mind was broken. Avatar was himself once more.

Avatar and Amber left soon after, immensely grateful to the Master for his help. The Master wished them well, reminding the Kaldorians that they now owed a debt of gratitude to the Dark Cloaks. Only Raistlin seemed unhappy with the turn of events. His wails of outrage echoed around the Valley for some time after, and he vowed to take revenge on the Dark Cloaks.

Signed,

Seriya DeLacey

 

26th September 2002

For weeks the dark ranger Night had stalked the Dark Cloaks. First he had skulked around the Dark Cloaks' headquarters, straining to catch a glimpse of the assembled Minions, and perhaps even their elusive Master. Emboldened by early successes, Night became bolder, and struck up a secret friendship with one of the Minions. Then, becoming oversure of himself, he foolishly began insulting the Master, mocking his authority and insulting his power. He even dared to suggest that it should be him who should grant an audience to the Master!

The time had come to teach Night a lesson.

Night himself offered a perfect opportunity. He brazenly demanded that Garret pay for the cleaning of his robe, which had been soiled a few days before, when Garret and the other Dark Cloaks had been brutally rounded up in the Baron's office in Minoc. This provided Garret with the excuse he needed to see Night in "private", away from his friends in the Guards.

As the Dark Cloaks could not enter Minoc after the incident about falsely impersonating charitable monks, Garret chose to wait in the gypsy camp outside town, sending DeadCal - the Dark Cloak Night had befriended - to bring Night the message that Garret was ready to settle the bill. Trusting Cal implicitly, Night followed her to the waiting Garret.

Night immediately asked for his money, which Garret promptly produced in a small pouch and threw on the ground. As Night moved to pick up the pouch, he suddenly found himself surrounded by the other Dark Cloaks, which had been hiding in one of the tents.
Having apprehended Night, we decided to grant him his long-sought audience with the Master - it would be an audience to remember, if perhaps not quite the way Night had imagined.
Arriving at Hawk's Hollow, the Master was at first angry at being disturbed for such a "trivial matter". Witnessing the continuing insolence of Night, who had proceeded to call him "Masterling", the Master began to question Night what he was doing spying on the Dark Cloaks.

Night refused to answer any of his questions, despite by several beatings by the surrounding Minions, and he even resisted the Master's attempt at taking control of his mind. Enraged by his stubbornness, the Master ordered Natalie to cut loose Night's shirt and armour, and Choma to heat up a brand in the forge. But even faced with a white-hot iron, Night continued to mock the Master. It is noted that DeadCal repeatedly voiced her concern over Night's treatment, questioning the Master's wisdom in his punishment.

As a just punishment for his insolence, the Master branded Night with the white-hot iron on the left shoulder. He ordered the Dark Cloaks to parade Night through the streets of Trinsic showing the Mark of the Master to the assembled crowds.
However, a few minutes after the Dark Cloaks had begun parading Night through the town, they came upon a sizeable force of the Britannia Guards. The Guards predictably demanded that Night be released. Garret, the ever shrewd negotiator, instead secured an exchange of hostages - the Dark Cloaks would let Night go but in his stead receive Neo, Captain of the Guard, and 2000 iron ingots.

 

An exchange was swiftly arranged, and the Dark Cloaks returned to their lair, knowing that Night would be in too much pain to stalk them for a few days at least. Captain Neo was stripped of his arms and runebooks, and taken to a safe location away from prying eyes.

Signed,

Seriya DeLacey

 

24th September 2002

Minoc Caravan a Success!

The Britannia Guards sent a caravan of valuable ores from Minoc to Cove today. The Dark Cloaks, hoping to obtain more metal to forge weapons with, decided to ambush the Caravan, as had the Knights and Mages of Kha, and the Army of Kaldor.

Sadly, the joint forces of the Guards and their allies, the Apostles of Valor, proved to much for small number of Dark Cloaks that had laid an ambush. To make matters worse, the Dark Cloaks were the first of the parties to encounter the caravan, and therefore had the largest number of defenders to deal with.

Under the circumstances, it was unlikely that the Dark Cloaks would be able to capture the caravan, but the Master hoped that his Minions could at least kill a number of the defenders. Unfortunately, when the caravan came into view DeadCal spied that smart-mouthed little mage, Phlebas, and her blood-lust got the better of her as she ran to attack him.

Separated from her comrades, DeadCal found her initial advantage turning, and eventually she was cut down by an axe and numerous spells from the mages. Gorbash and Shazam were able to unleash a couple of grenades but in truth, we did not remain standing long enough to do much damage to the caravan or its defenders.

Signed,

Seriya DeLacey

 

22th September 2002

Well, it seems we have been banned from Minoc for the foreseeable future, but with a little guile and planning there's no reason to avoid the place altogether.

I decide to go and gather a little information, while dressed as a bride...

Why, tis our old friend, Night. What a chivalrous fellow!

 

Did I get the wording quite right there? Probably not, but he doesn't' seem to notice. I dutifully follow my escort out of town.

Two more rangers arrive. One I recognise from previous jaunts to Minoc as Metallicker, another of the shadow rangers. His green-haired companion is a new recruit he refers to as Notsa. Now I'm sure I have seen this fellow before somewhere, though I can't quite place him.... I'm getting some funny looks from the two new rangers so I repeat my phrase and hope for the best.

We arrive at the moongate. Notsa disappears off to a shrine to do something about his negative karma. Seems that Lord British's finest will enroll just about anyone these days... Night turns down Metallicker's offer to help him escort me to my destination. What a nice chap!

Yours in darkness

DeadCal

 

20th September 2002

Last night we ventured forth to Minoc under the pretense of collecting charity for the poor. Disguised as poor monk, we hid our faced behind masks, claiming that we were pock-marked and scarred from the plague in Yew. Initially, the townsfolk were taken in by our disguises and though some had little to give, we managed to take a little from almost everyone, even if it were a gem or a few bandages.

The trouble started when Seriya, Morang and I decided to try our luck with the baron. He seemed displeased that we had been allowed to wander the town at will, and summoned Captain Neo who did then lock and guard the doors of the town hall while our story was verified.

Unfortunately, we were asked of our order and our story did not tally with that of our fellow Dark Cloaks who had been detained across town. We were then asked to remove our masks and when we did not do so, Captain Neo had to use force. I was anxious not to give mine up as my deathly pallor and red eyes are easily recognized, but he did then use his spear to prick my mask and, fearing for my sight, I let him take it from me.
Thus we were rounded up and detained in the town hall, whilst Baron Dart devised a punishment for us. Since I had heard tales of how he had put out one of Captain Neo's eyes with a poker for insubordination, I was more than a little concerned, and it seemed that my fellow Dark Cloaks shared this concern since Garret pulled a knife from his boot and did threaten the baron. A stand-off ensued, but we were forced to back down due to the lack of suitable weapons available to us.

In spite of this, the punishment was not too grave, for we were told to return the gold and not to set foot in Minoc again. We were then escorted from the town hall and a moongate to Hawk's Hollow was opened. I decided to make use of my hiding ability to stay behind and gather information, but the wily ranger Night suspected a hider and used grenades to flush me out. Unfortunately I was forced to run so that I might heal my blistered skin, and was soon seen by all. Night told his comrades that he would deal with me, and took me to one side. To my surprise, he did apologise most profusely for causing me harm, since he believed the hider to be Gorbash rather than my good self. He then allowed to me to return to Hawk's Hollow without further ado. Tis pleasing to see that chivalry is not dead. *smiles*

Yours in darkness

DeadCal

 

15th September 2002

As we assembled at guild headquarters for our training session, someone noticed a suspicious figure melting into the shadows. Recognising him as Night, that stealthy ranger of the Britannia Guards, we did a quick search of the Valley but to no avail.

Assuming he had gone, we gated to our secret training ground to begin our exercises. However, it seems that our cunning adversary had also slipped through the gate, for he was spotted and apprehended upon the island.

Garret generously offered to spare the ranger's life if he would run naked around the island three times. However, Night chose to retain his dignity, but at price: he would have to face one of us in combat. Thus it fell to me to perform the task, which I did with speed and mercy.

Perhaps his wounds will serve to remind him that we are not a foe to be trifled with. However, since he seems act with little thought for the consequences, I don't doubt that he will be back once he is recovered. I urge you all to guard what you say, even if you think you are alone, for you never know who might be listening in the shadows.

Yours in darkness

DeadCal

 

10th September 2002

Dark Cloaks, know that as of today Villa, who once was my trusted Apostle, has been demoted to the rank of Minon. I am very displeased with the fact that Villa has allowed himself to be captured and interrogated by the enemy.

It is vital that our enemies are kept in the dark in all matters concerning us - be it our numbers, our identities, the location of our headquarters, and most importantly concerning our goals and methods. By allowing himself to be taken and interrogated, Villa has greatly endangered us. Moreover, by being kept as a prisoner and virtually on display by an enemy he has opened the Dark Cloaks to ridicule by others, and brought great shame on all of us. Villa has shown himself not to be fit for commanding the Dark Cloaks.

He has however stood up somewhat to the interrogation of the Britannia Guards and has not divulged any information of critical importance that the enemy did not already know.

Because of this I have chosen to be merciful and grant Villa his life. From this day forth he will be stripped from his title and authority, and continue life as a mere Minion of mine.

Seriya, my well-loved Confidant, will step up and take over the duties previously held by Villa, in addition to her own. She will now be in charge of diplomatic relations and interactions with other guild, recruitment, and overall guild administration. Garret will continue his duties as my War Leader, and share joint responsibility with Seriya in ensuring that my orders are carried out.

Signed,

The Master

 

9th September 2002

 
Last night a small band of Dark Cloaks assembled at the guildhouse in Yew and, having been left somewhat to our own devices, we decided to see what was afoot in Minoc.

Reggie, Gorbash, Morang and myself were soon met by several members of the Britannian Guard, including Ruadnit Troi, Night and that young brat Sweet Agony. They soon summoned reinforcements and we were first asked to leave, and then when we declined to do so, we were challenged to duels.

Sweet Agony was most eager to fight, so I sent the orc against him with the proviso that he be given some tasty horseflesh if he prevailed.


The orc entered the battle with his usual enthusiasm and quickly defeated the young mage, much to the amazement of his cohorts.

Though Sweet demanded, and then won, a rematch, Gorbash performed well and was rewarded with his horse.

I was next to fight, and took on a lady mage by the name of Kari. Despite terrible mud underfoot, I soon had her blood on my kryss. She tried to avoid my speed by making much use of the teleport spell, but it availed her little in the end. A brave fight, but hopeless against the might of the Dark Cloaks.
Reggie then stepped up, and took on the mage named Phlebas, whom we had met previously. Last time Phlebas had been taken ill and was unable to duel, but this time he seemed in good health, at least until Reggie struck him down.

Finally, Morang took on Sweet Agony, and despite a brave attempt he eventually succumbed. This youngster is someone we must continue to watch, for he has little respect for his elders and needs to learn some humility.

However, with the score in our favour, I feel that the Master will be most pleased with our efforts.

Yours in darkness

DeadCal

 

3rd September 2002

Tonight a small band of Dark Cloaks visited Minoc in order to confront Villa's captors. The initial party consisted of Villa, Reggie and myself, although we were later joined by Seriya and Skowronek, who did an excellent job of listening in on the enemies' conversation.

When we arrived we came across a guard named Gentle, and his captain, one Igneous Neo (the very same Igneous Neo whom we bested during Villa's daring escape). Since Neo was in some sort of meditative trance, Gentle did most of the talking to begin with. He wished to speak with Villa in private, and took him down a long alley. Reggie and I would have feared for Villa's safety were it not for the fact that we know he is an accomplished swordsman, and could take care of the likes of Gentle with no problem.

Villa returned looking shocked, saying that he would not perform such acts even for 1,000 gold pieces. We enquired as to what acts Gentle wished performed but Villa was too traumatised to repeat them. What sort of men are these Britannian Guards that they would proposition a man of good standing like Villa? Though he speaks not of it, I only hope that Villa was not subjected to such gross indecency while he was being held captive!

Naturally, Gentle denied he had asked any such thing of Villa, and cried slander. He removed his glove and slapped Villa's face, thus challenging him to a duel. After a short debat, we decided to put the dog out of his misery and accepted the challenge.

The battle was well fought, and Villa emerged victorious as expected, while Gentle was taken off to the healer's for treatment to his grievous wounds.

At this point, the captain Igneous Neo awoke from his trance, and we were joined by two mages, an effete fellow called Phlebas and a purple-haired fop named Sweet Agony. These two thought highly of themselves, and began a battle of insults with us. These insults were mainly directed at my good self, so naturally I gave as good as I got. These seemed to anger Neo, who wished to duel me on behalf of his lackeys. Since I still had his blood on the tip of me' spear from the battle on Monday night, I was all too pleased to accept. It was a short battle and though he fought bravely, he soon joined Gentle in the healer's hut.

The mages liked this not one bit, and soon Sweet Agony was laying down challenges himself. He defeated Seriya in an even contest, then wished to battle Villa and myself. He insisted on rules that would be entirely to his benefit (we were not allowed to cast certain protective spells, nor drink potions of curing, nor partake of orange petals, whilst he was allowed to fight as he wished). We grudgingly agreed to his terms, knowing that they would disadvantage us severely, for it is better to be defeated with honour than it is to be branded cowards. Naturally, he prevailed in both duels, and Villa and myself joined Seriya at the healer's as expected, but we left with heads held high. We shall be keeping an eye on this Sweet Agony, and have marked him for death.

Yours in darkness

DeadCal

 

2nd September 2002

I am very happy to inform you all that Villa, the Apostle of Gorchak, has been freed from his prison. Villa was held in the city of Minoc by the Britannia Guards. The Guards had abducted him when their leader Albion and his troops interfered with the just punishment of Moiraine for her insults to the Master. They left Villa languishing in a cell in Minoc, with no charges or trial and under heavy guard.

Of course the Master could not watch by the abduction of his Apostle, and he instructed the Dark Cloaks to find a way to free Villa. Together, the Dark Cloaks hatched a devious plan. While visiting Villa in his prison, Seriya would slip the Apostle a number of mild poison potions. Using these, Villa simulated severe stomach cramps and illness. The Guards fortunately still have a modicum of mercy, and ordered Villa to be taken to the Minoc healers for treatment.

This is what the Dark Cloaks had been waiting for. The Minions laid a carefully prepared trap along the way from the prison cells to the healers. As the escort of guards passed through some abandoned buildings, the Dark Cloaks emerged from hiding and cast a big weighted net on the group. With the Guards entangled, Villa was quickly cut free and taken to a nearby boat. The Guards called their brothers for help, but it was too late. The Dark Cloaks rallied their forces and met the approaching Guards south of the city, engaging them in fierce combat, while the boat with Villa sailed unnoticed out of Minoc harbour. With battle raging, the Guards did not realise that Villa was no longer there until it was much too late.

Although many Dark Cloaks were knocked unconscious in the battle, they did land a severe blow to the head of Igneous Neo, Captain of the Guard. No doubt he will wish to take revenge for this (once he overcomes the severe headache he is no doubt now suffering). I also expect that Neo will get a comprehensive dressing-down from the Master at Arms Albion when he returns from the urgent mission that called him away. Watch your step, Minions - the Guards may well want revenge.

Signed,

Seriya DeLacey

 

 

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