I have not always run this Inn.
In times a-passed, I was much more thin!
In these works I shall recount my tale,
On pages extant, lest my memory fail …
Once during every thousand years,
Throughout the shards, across the spheres,
The planets into alignment fall.
Through unseen barriers, laws do stall:
Upon each shard – a sacred Wood.
The realities bend, and ‘twixt them could
A faithful spirit through them travel,
Into neighbouring worlds; and space unravel.
My tale is of one time now passed.
When the Blessed Grove of each world touched last:
Priests of Nature, from every sphere,
For a brief time, met without slightest fear.
Strangers all, they came as one,
To praise their Gods, and tell of victories won …
A throng of Nature’s priests did meet.
In that Sacred Grove, and each other greet.
As if they had known one another forever.
Perhaps kindred spirits, apart but never
Separate – united by their art,
Each a single facet of Nature’s part.
After feasting, and much merriment,
There came a silence, exuberance all spent.
‘Twas the ritual Sacrifice’s time,
And the purpose of this humble rhyme.
Heed these words, for should ye follow
In their wake, and not in tawdriness wallow,
Thou shalt perhaps catch eye of higher powers,
Whom look down upon our mortal hours,
And in sacrificing, as did we that night,
Blessings to ye,m impart they might.
About ye thy sharpest wits do keep!
‘Til Sacrifice is made, restless be thy sleep!
For now, ensure to pay closest heed,
For upon these pages, the secret ye shall read,
As to the Sacrifice’s construction.
And so, to work ye go, after some deduction.
Keep handy ye store of scholarly wits,
For in tongues quite foreign are these writs,
So from the Heathern to safe-guard,
The hidden knowledge – by study hard,
Thou shalt the Naturewalker’s Tale unfold,
And to the eventual Sacrifice travel bold.
“Nine offerings were made to the Powers,
Each symbolizing toil of mortal hours,
Three times three, created by mortals,
Burned at once, in the Grove between portals,
Three given by Elvenkind fair,
Delicate offerings worked with care,
Three from noble Humanity’s kin,
Each festive creation ushered in,
And three from Karana’s favored race,
Fitting tribute to their Lord’s smiling face,
First came the priests from Elven lands,
Their three gifts held in whitened hands…
There came a tall elf named Sylvaned Tree,
Carrying a bottle bigger even then me!
Of workmanship it was most refined,
the jewelled bottle well definied.
The bottle itself was first created,
from magical gold, with opal mated,
With a glass bottle, by jeweller skilled,
what gorgeous craft with drink to be filled.
Once bottle crafted, now came this brew:
Using the magnum, wine yeast, and double grapes too,
With a little soda water mixed to taste,
Not a drop of liquid gone to waste.
With these fine ingrediants five,
The result was a champagne for which to strive!
In order to mix the soda water,
Ye should seek out Mudhand’s Daughter.
Thus water and soda should ye simply mix,
To produce more fizz than Fizzlepop’s six!
The elves do brewing in varying strengths,
adding more or less grapes, such lengths!
However this drink requires grapes just two,
Though using one or three can taste fine too.
With gift upon the fire overturned,
Back to the throng Silvered Tree returned.”
Then came the second Elven gift,
A sacred sickle with poise and lift.
A smiling elf stepping out from the band,
Named Summer Sirocco, after warm wind’s hand.
From three main parts were made his Sickle,
All forged together with hammer fickle.
First I must tell you of captured essence,
So that what follows makes more sense.
Across the worlds there are scattered,
Runes, words and other magicks mattered.
Here in Fungus Caves can be found,
A Celestial Solvent, from elf-girl bound.
Place a vial of this within a mortar,
And grind in rune, or word, without water.
The result is purest magic’s flavor,
With many uses, ye shall savour.
One such use is in powder blessing:
Imbue the Elf-deity’s gem with Tunarean tressing.
With this gem, and acid, and magical essence,
Fire in a kiln, to release the magical presence
For each of the Sickle’s three main parts,
The process is similar, say truest hearts:
Each main part is made of Seven:
Dust blessed from Tunare’s Heaven.
Your hammer, and a metal sheet,
Celestial Essence and a temper meet,
A gem – one from red, green or blue,
And finally the correct Mold too.
Whether making blade, hilt or pommel, choose thy Mold,
And the correct product shall ye behold.
The temper of which I have said,
Is brewed from Elf-wine, coloured red,
Mixed with Magical Essence but,
Also add a sprig of the leaf that the Sickle shall cut.
From these three can the temper be made,
With which this Sickle’s game is played.
With the offering place upon the fire,
So to the crowd did Summer Sirocco retire.
From the kilns of Kelethin came offering third,
A prayer to the Goddess then was heard,
From the lip of she name Fox’s Fyre came,
Hymns sung in the Elf-Queen’s name.
As the gathering sung in a single voice,
Upon the fire was placed the Elf druid’s choice:
A shining Idol of Tunare, golden
From potter’s hands, this product molden.
Eight constituents for this are needed,
To my earlier words I trust ya heeded!
Take magic’s essence, and water flask,
And a sizeable block of magical clay for this task,
With a sketch of the idol, too,
A lump of gold, and Emerald Imbue,
With Distilled Mana and your sculpting tool,
Place on thy Potter’s Wheel, as normal rule.
When ready to firm the clay at fiery heat,
Use a Godly glaze, and adequate firing sheet.
With practiced skill and some luck,
From the kiln’s flames the Idol might you pluck.
Also made by the Potters of Kelethin precarious,
Other Idols, for deities various.
It is said that each uses a differing stone,
Though this is knowledge that I do not own.
And so it was that the Elf-gifts Three,
Were all upon the fire beneath the Great Tree.
The sun that had lit the Grove so far,
Sunk beneath the trees, and so we saw a Star,
A sign that the Powers’ now did glance,
Down upon the Congregation’s dance.
Next came the three gifts from the druid of man,
Fashioned according to their traditional plan.
Wonders of strange metals are they,
Some in the coldest land, velium workers, they say.
In the manufacture of even the smallest bits,
The creation of temper tested their wits.
Though not solved, this course to thee I show,
So that in the right direction might ye go.
Brew together magical essences four,
And into that mix a special drink they pour:
Crated by human settlers in the Ice Land
Explorers, brave adventurers, and
Made from Allspice; water ye will also need
With some brown form of native seaweed.
Using a small glass, you Heater is created,
Upon which the strongest tastebud can be sated!
However, ye shall use it to mix, as I have said,
with magical essences four, as you have read.
“Listen here”. said the first druid of Man.
Here is your gift, but I won’t like your plan!”
With fiery tempter and eyes alight,
From the one named Gosselin many took fright.
“There are ways and means for druid life,
My way is the right way, all else is strife!”
Unto the fire he placed an object strange.
‘Twas a fishing rod, with incredible range.
The spool was smithed by the look,
Two velium bits and sandalwood I think it took.
Then, so strong and pliant the cord,
What incredible fabric could this afford?
Perhaps a cord made entirely of silk,
and treated by tailor, maybe of that ilk.
It would take the largest egg ye could find
Then brewed into oil, if I used my mind.
Use that egg’s oil with silk cord to treat.
That would be the line – it would be quite a feat.
‘Place the line and the spool into a box of tackle,’
‘Then, and this is the part as cunning as the jackal,’
‘Add in a single magical essence vial,’
‘And a small blessed Karana-dust pile.’
‘The fifth and last item to place in there, ‘
‘Is the bracnh of a sacred tree – but from where?’
‘It looks otherworldy, as from a spot,’
‘That is of Norrath and mortal places not.’
‘From these components five, I think one could fashion,’
‘That magical rod, cast on the fire with passion.’
‘Unto the crowd, did Gosselin glare;’
‘He stepped back, raise to him none would dare.’
‘Second from Men came a curious Stein,’
‘It certainly looked like nothing of mine.’
‘It was as if a Potter had taken,’
‘Magical essence, and water if I’m not mistaken.’
‘Along with his tools, and a ceramic sketched,’
‘With some magical clay and then fetched,’
‘A lacquered star ruby, but what is this stone?’
‘Perhaps a jeweller could make that alone:’
‘A little lacquer, and the gem, in his kit;’
‘I’m sure that would be a suitable fit.’
‘Use all six on the Potter’s Wheel,’
‘Then fire in the Kiln, however you feel.’
‘Carried by Paldor, a druid so tall,’
‘Steins made from other stones are within his thrall.’
‘In order to make the sacrifice ripe,’
‘Thou shouldst use the star ruby type.’
‘And so with a win Paldor retook his place,’
‘Amongst the singing crowd, a smile on his face.
The came the third and final gift of Man,
Brought by Running Wolf, but where had he ran?
A strange name for a druid fine,
He closely resembled a friend of mine.
The gift was a Robe, so well made and sewn,
If I were a taller, I’d have one of my own!
The neckpiece was silver, smithed with skill;
Magical silver, metal bits and water to fill.
Then, gems of the primary colours and that chain –
A jeweller had clearly crafted one main.
With pieces of Tunarean silk – perhaps three,
A tailor had sewn the robe, I could see,
Also using a pattern, and the gemmed chain,
And a magical needle, or I am not sane!
Those basic ingredients six went to form,
The luxuriant robe, honourably worn.
Upon the magical silk, I then did wonder,
A process exact, one cannot blunder!
Combining a swatch of silk, and magical essence,
And a pinch of Tunarean dust would make sense.
The magical needle, now there is a thought –
I think from a mold and metal bits is it wrought;
Magical essence and water don’t forget to include,
Then smith in the forge whenever is your mood!
So mankind and elfkind their gifts are given,
By love of their Gods to their arts driven.
A second star appeared brightly in the sky,
As if the opening of another deity’s eye;
And so, to those of Karan’s humble folk,
To the duty of sacrifice, passion awoke!
Sorrun, brave halfling, he held high,
What appeared to be a sumptuous pie!
So fitting for the halfling kin,
There is no doubt he is far from thin!
The pie smelled divine, made from good dough,
A good shaped pie tin; the filling though
It seemed familiar, as if it were a paste,
Created from vile plants in my Caverns, make haste!
Stay them well, and mix them with flour,
And cream and allspice, a taste to devour!
Such a wonderful pie, all the halflings agreed,
All eyes on the crust, so great was our need!
That gift delivered, it was my wish,
To give to Karana our customary dish;
My eyes well up, tis how strongly I feel,
When I contemplated this epic meal.
Listen closely, and I shall teach you the making,
Though it requires much study of baking!
The Picnic is something that we all adore,
One always desires to have just a little more!
Eight components there are to this feast,
The first, a cheese, is but the least.
Add mints, salad and jumjum spiced beer,
And two slices of jumjum cake, nothing to fear!
And the eighth is a basket, bringing up the rear.
The most widely known is the jumjum cake,
From usual methods, add jumjum, to make!
Mints are simple, and can be made by the sheaf,
Just mix frosting with a eucalyptus leaf!
Now listen closely for brewing of spiced beer –
Barley, hops, spices and jumjum you shall need near!
Mix in some water, and into a bottle pour;
The salad requires ingrediants four:
Lettuce, and fennel, vegetables and jumjum,
Tasty on its own, sometimes nice with rum!
Mix three frostings and a fruit portion,
Creates a spread quite lovely, use caution!
Mix it with bread and a sandwich you’ll find.
That’s for the picnic, if you’ve been left behind!
Weave two mandrake roots together, task it!
Then sew in some boning: your picnic basket!
A meal so good, a while it takes to eat,
More than a food, a religious treat!
A final gift of Karana’s kind.
What other treat could I possibly find?
Something worthy of his attention.
What better symbol could I mention!
From my backpack I then withdrew,
My old talisman, that’s seen me through,
Adventures of all kinds, when I were young,
And with the brave and foolish fought among.
The Lucky Cabbage, my faithful friend,
That’s been with me until the end!
And then to the Elder Gods I did proffer,
The ninth of Nine, the final offer.
A cabbage of your own you can enchant,
Sprinkle dust upon the wild cabbage plant.
Magical essence, acid, pebble from the plains,
To place in the kiln is all that remains.
Thus your blessed dust created,
Your craving for Lucky Cabbage sated.
The fire in the Grove roared high,
Its flames touching the ebon sky,
The Gods then did upon us shine,
What they revealed I shall keep mine.
However, you can perhaps try too,
By making the Nine sacrificing true,
In a fiery furnace of suitable heat,
A smiths forge, perhaps, your needs will meet,
Remember that the Gods are always looking,
Make well thy sewing, and fair thy cooking!
For those of you bold and adequately plucky,
Come and try thy skills, if ye feelst lucky.
Such endless talk will wear me thin.
I shall sleep now, and return to my Inn.
Rebecca Cabbageleaf, The New Thicket Inn