Category Archives: Bayle

The Varsoon Collection, Volume 5 – The War of Plagues

This book is titled “The Varsoon Collection, Volume 5 – The War of Plagues.” It is a complete volume that details the War of Plagues and the return of Varsoon.
The following compilation is a brief presentation of the legends and myths of the mage, Valdoartus Varsoon, known to many simply as Varsoon. Much work was done to separate the facts from the fiction in order to bring this work to you, the reader. The final volume in the series, this book speculates about the rumors of his return from death.

The story of Varsoon does not end simply with his death many hundreds of years ago. During the War of Plagues, there were many reported rumors of a mysterious mage that led the Bloodsabers, a group of cultists devoted to the worship of the god of disease, Bertoxxulous. The cult is reported to have existed for many hundreds of years, but one day came out of hiding to lay waste to Qeynos during the time of King Antonius Bayle V.

The War of Plagues raged across the land for a number of years, with neither side gaining ground. Using tactics reserved for only the depraved, the Bloodsabers, under orders of their leader, contaminated the city’s water supply. Thousands of innocent people died during the war, and most of the atrocities were blamed on a mage the Bloodsabers called “The Undying.”

“The Undying” was seen at the head of their armies, raining down upon the soldiers of Qeynos all manner of blights. From locusts to oozing miasmas, the Undying was a formidable mage. It didn’t take too long for some people to claim that this mage was Varsoon returned to life.

Using the fear that came with the name Varsoon, the mage began calling himself Varsoon the Undying. His demands against Qeynos were for them to hand over every second child that lived in the city. It seems there was some type of dissension among the Bloodsabers over this demand, which allowed Qeynosian soldiers to gain the upperhand. Soon enough, after a massive battle, Qeynos defeated the Bloodsabers once and for all. Unfortunately, they were never able to find Varsoon the Undying after the battle.

There are hidden records, however, that we had the privilege of reading. These records tell of a mage’s body being found on the battlefield. The mage’s body was covered in scar tissue from horrible burns to his entire body. The cause of death was not from fire, however. He had died from nothing more than a simple arrow piercing his heart. Or so they thought, until they noticed that he was still breathing.

A priest of the Temple of Life was with the party that discovered the body. Being a high-ranking exarch, he knew this man was no ordinary undead soldier. The priest summoned several of his brethren to the body and began to perform a very intricate ritual over the body.

After several hours, the priests had completed their spells and proceeded to burn the body of the mage until it was nothing than ashes. Rather than letting the ashes be scattered to the four winds, they gathered them into a special container and carried them to a special crypt in the Qeynos Hills. When asked what the ceremony was all about, they explained that it is the only way to prevent a lich from returning to life.

To this day that crypt remains locked, so we have no way of confirming whether or not the lich those priests destroyed was the same Varsoon from centuries earlier. Were this the case, it would appear that Varsoon actually did achieve immortality after all. But it does not explain why the word “lich” was never attributed to him until that final account.

We thank you for reading this series. As the reader can tell, there are not many solid facts about the real history of Varsoon. Perhaps if the House of Varsoon had not been burned to the ground so many centuries ago we might have been able to find more facts there. Whether more information comes to light in the future, the fact remains that Varsoon no longer walks among the living. Norrath has been safe from his predations for hundreds of years, so we may at least take comfort in that as we lay down to sleep at night.

The Rat Queen of Vermin’s Snye

“My Life,” by Ayamia the Unfortunate, together with “An Examination of the Rat Queen,” by the Scholars’ Institute for Change, a non-profit organization. Quotations are liberally taken from Ayamia’s own volume, interspersed with logical explanations where necessary.
“Chapter One — How I Came to Live in the Vermin’s Snye.” I’ve heard what some people say about me, and let me tell you straight away that it is not true. My husband abandoned me and I had no choice to but to find a place to live with my children. Our landlord, wretched human scum, turned us onto the streets! I am not as young as I once was, but I am resourceful. By living below, my children and I would be out of the elements. We could find a cozy place to call our own.

“Analysis of Chapter One.” Clearly, the subject is in denial of her current status. Her husband is recorded as “Lord Selien” so obviously, the subject was a woman who lived in comfort. Her reference to being turned out of her home is correct, but only to the extent that her increasing madness led her to bring to her husband’s home all manner of vile creatures, referring to them as her “children.” Upon her husband’s death in battle, his family shunned the subject, which further isolated her, causing her to seek shelter elsewhere.

“Chapter Two — My Children.” I am blessed with seven sons, all in the peak of their strength and youth. The eldest is Varion. He looks remarkably like his dear, departed father. I wished to name all my sons in such a way that their names began with the same letter, but my husband forbade me. He relented when I became ill at the birth of our youngest, Voland. I am so blessed by Tunare! Seven sons! My only regret is that I have no daughters, but I am not complaining, for my sons will carry on the name of their father’s house.

“Analysis of Chapter Two.” Again, the subject tells some of the truth. She did indeed bear seven sons, the first and last of which are named as indicated. And, she did fall ill upon the birth of her final son, rendering her unable to have other children. The subject lay ill for nearly a year, during which time her sons were raised by her sister. When she regained her health, the subject had her sister arrested and executed for treason before she resumed her motherly duties.

“Chapter Three — A Time of Hardship.” Our move to the catacombs was not without its troubles, of course. My children needed me more than ever, clinging to me in the seemingly perpetual darkness beneath the city streets. We found that the crews who maintained the drains kept piles of fuel to use in the sconces set into the walls. I learned to borrow a bit of their fire to start my own. My eldest found the place I now call home by turning down a little-used side passage. The way is patrolled by roving gangs of thugs, but they left me alone. After all, I am guarded by my seven strong sons!

“Analysis of Chapter Three.” Again, the subject shows her inability to separate fact from fiction. Her eldest son would not have been able to find her living area as he, together with all his brothers, perished at sea. This occurred during the Shattering, when many travellers perished. In this case, the subject had sent her sons on an errand, the nature of which has never been determined. It is generally believed that the magnitude of the loss, both personally and throughout Norrath, coupled with the knowledge that she sent them on this journey, unhinged her mind.

“Chapter Four — The Days Grow Long.” We are comfortable here, for the most part. I find that the days are sometimes long, but one of the boys will entertain me. Asrey, my middle boy, will recite tales of the distant past. I believe he will grow up to be a bard! His voice is clear and true. He loves to stand in the chambers where the ceilings are highest and sing, listening to his own voice echo. He is a good lad, as are all my sons, and I am grateful for their company.

“Analysis of Chapter Four.” The subject’s thrid son, Asrey, did have a legendary voice, even in his youth. He was often called upon to sing before the Bayle family. At the conclusion of one of these events, Lady Larinna Bayle presented him with an engraved flute. The flute was lost at sea with Asrey and his brothers. It is interesting to note that the subject retains excellent memories of the details of her children’s lives, but has blocked out the single largest event that befell them — their own deaths.

“Chapter Five — A New Beginning.” I’ve given up some of the fancy work I used to do before. Now that I must scrape by, I can no longer spend time weaving lace or painting miniatures. I have painted several portraits of my sons, however, that I am quite proud of. They are endlessly fascinating to me. I know it is sometimes difficult for them to live in this place, yet they do not complain. When they wander too far, I miss them terribly. Is that so wrong for a mother? After all, nothing is stronger than a mother’s love.

“Analysis of Chapter Five.” We were unable to determine where the subject’s portraits have gone, if indeed she painted any at all. There is no record of her having been interested in miniature painting prior to her exile to the Vermin’s Snye. Some of the lace she created was, however, on display at the Museum of Fine Arts until it was stolen by vandals that tied the bits to some of the rats the subject called “her children” before setting them afire. The subject became agitated and defended the rats, thus earning her title of “Rat Queen.”

The Nightblood

Some of my students are less inclined to take their research seriously. What follows is an example of the most poorly written report I have ever seen in my years as an instructor. Miss Mellosius is not only a half-elf but evidently a half-wit. Please consider this more of a paper on how not to write an in-depth study.
“The Nightblood,” by Trinni Mellosius. My teacher told me to write a research paper about Nightbloods, as if I’ve ever seen one! Anyway, this is my research into the nightblood.

Nightbloods are really very unfortunate and misunderstood. A lot of people think they are manifestations of evil and get very scared thinking about them, but I like to think of your average nightblood as a big, overgrown bull. That kind of breathes flames, but not really. There! Doesn’t that make you think of them differently all ready?

Well, all right, maybe that was a bit much. Nightbloods are pretty creepy. They aren’t from our world at all, so that makes them doubly creepy! It’s as if somewhere, there’s a something that we can’t see, but the nightbloods can and they are taking advantage of this to travel around. If that doesn’t give you the creeps, I don’t know what will!

The first confirmed sighting of a nightblood was only about fifty or three hundred years ago or so, give or take. These paladins were locked in battle with some kind of elemental when suddenly, poof! Right out of the air came these big, broad-shouldered beasts with horns curving around the tops of their heads. It must have been a pretty scary sight!

Anyway, so one paladin turns to one of the others and says, “Lo! Run to Lord Bayle and tell him of this fell beast we have awoken from its foul sleep!” I guess they talked like that a lot back then. The other paladins didn’t want to run, they wanted to stay and fight! They could feel what the only survivor later said was something like waves of heat and evil from this creature.

These paladins had with them a squire, or a knight, or something else and so they told him to get away and tell Lord Bayle while they stayed to fight this thing. So the squire or whatever took off running. He stopped at the top of a hill, or the end of a bridge (depending on where you’ve heard the story), only to see the beast totally wipe out the paladins with a pretty awesome incantation.

The squire ran and ran back to Qeynos and did not stop till he got to tell his story directly to Lord Bayle. In fact, this kind of long distance run turned into a big annual event across Karana to commemorate this event, so that means this had to have happened a very long time ago. Anyway, Lord Bayle sent out fifty of his bravest warriors, who found the beast and slew it before it could regain its strength and cast anymore spells.

If you ask me, that’s putting a lot of weight to that one story, but that’s what I learned as the origin of the nightblood. Only it’s not really about the nightblood, is it? Let me see, I’m sure there’s more. Oh! Did I mention it’s evil?

Since that first nightblood however many years ago, there have certainly been a lot more of them in Norrath. No one knows if this is because of all the unrest after the Shattering that made more of these hidden paths that the nightbloods travel through, or if there is something else that’s stirring them up. These things apparently aren’t afraid of anything and will attack whatever they find in their way.

If you are unfortunate enough to get close to one, listen to its voice. It has a really odd way of speaking, almost as though it doesn’t know how to talk at all. Now, that means to me that it’s stupid, but my teacher says that it means instead that we simply do not know what language it is using. Whatever. In any case, some of these things do learn to speak properly and carry on a good conversation before they rip the person they’re speaking with to shreds.

So, that’s all there is to know about nightbloods. I guess the main thing to remember is, you don’t want to meet up with one! If you see one, don’t stop to talk with it! Run! The End. — Teacher’s note: Trinni, come see me immediately about this paper!

The Commander’s Wife

This autobiography sketches the life of Araminda Bayle, the wife of Kane Bayle, the Commander of the Qeynos’ City Guard who was executed for his treasonous association with the Bloodsabers during the War of Plagues.
Days pass, stretching before me like an abyss. That it should come to this: my husband Kane, the Commander of the Qeynos City Guard regiment, is sentenced to death. I look back, now on the eve of his execution, and wonder whether I could have saved him. I know his mother feels the same. She is old now and frail; the look in her eyes haunts me. Yet, I look into the mirror and see the same expression. Sorrow, guilt and remorse.

Our marriage was as happy as might be expected. Our parents linked our names from my birth and Kane, a lad of thirteen at the time, took the news of our betrothal poorly. I do not blame him; he was young and vigorous while I was still toddling around my mother’s knee. Still, in time he grew to love me in his own fashion. Our wedding was truly the happiest day of my life. We wed on my twentieth birthday.

Our great sorrow occurred within a year of our wedding. I gave birth to Kane’s first son, but within hours the babe sickened and died. For many days I lay abed, unable to speak or care for myself. Kane’s sorrow was surely as great as mine. We cried together over our son’s death. But then, with me so ill, it seemed prudent for Kane to take up rooms elsewhere in our home. He did not move back into my room, even after I recovered.

Kane’s military career progressed quickly, and not only because he was a member of the Bayle family. He distinguished himself in arranging the City Guard into smaller subunits that could respond to danger more quickly than they had been able to in the old days. We entertained the other officers in the evenings and during the day, I did charity work with the other wives.

It was during one of my scheduled visits to the infirmary that I first heard rumors of my husband’s infidelities. The other wives were afraid to speak of it for fear of retaliation, but my special friend Greda pulled me aside and told me that everyone knew how things stood between he and I. “How does anyone know where a man stands with his wife but his wife alone?” I replied. I stayed until the end of my shift; I am not one to shirk my public duties.

Now that the trial is over, I know how many women claimed that my husband was unfaithful to me. My husband was…is not a perfect man, but he is respectful of my position. My father is Lord Mrallon, who has long been a friend to the Bayle family. Kane could not disgrace my family as well as his by sinking to the levels some of these women claim. They lie, though it appears their lies are more persuasive than mine.

Do we not all lie to ourselves at some point? How many nights had I sat beside this window wishing Kane would come to me, and instead seeing him slip down the street in the dark? I told myself then it was an emergency, the Guard needed him. And so, of all the truths and lies told about my husband, what do I want to believe now? That he was seeing other women or that he was using his strategic skills to aid our enemies?

The questions twist in my mind like knives. When I think of my husband, I see the young man on our wedding day, handsome and proud. I see him trying to comfort me after the death of our only child. I see him in his dress uniform, smiling at me as we dance at the head of a regimental function. Who is the Kane Bayle that tonight breathes the last breaths of this life? Where has my husband gone?

This at least the gods grant me: we have no children. I could not bear to leave a helpless being without his parents. It will be no easier to leave one’s parents behind; I see my parents’ faces as they were through the trial, struggling between sympathy for me and hatred for my husband. I see his parents’ faces: his father, stoic and his mother unable to tear her eyes from Kane’s face. How her cries torment me; she is crying yet and no one can comfort her. No one can comfort me.

The sun rises. I see the shining city of Qeynos below. The sparrows fly from their nest beneath my window sill. The war has brought death and uncertainty to many lives but oh, so much more to mine. I cannot bear knowing what they think of Kane. This day, they execute my husband but through their words, they have already condemned and executed me. May my parents forgive me. May my flight prove swiftly fatal.

Sovereignties of Qeynos

Sovereignities of Qeynos

Penned by Randyle Brinn,

Historian and Scholar

On this, the first anniversary of Antonia Bayle?s crowning

Antonius Bayle (the first) ? The Great Unifier

Time of Rule: The Age of Enlightenment

Antonius Bayle, son of Vallius Bayle, brought order to the Plains of Karana, unifying the nomadic clans of the plains with the village of Oceangreen, and thus established the city of Qeynos. Havign renounced the title of king, he required all to simply call him by his name, Antonius.

Antonius Bayle II ? The Great Defender

Time of Rule: The Age of Reclamation & Age of Turmoil

Antonius Bayle II had studied under the fearless Knights of Thunder, as well as the Rangers of Surefall Glade. His mind for battle was instrumental in keeping the city unified despite the upheavals and unrest that plagued his reign, including the Erudite exodus from the city, and their subsequent uprising within Erudin. Under the rule of this militaristic leader, the Qeynos Guard grew and expanded divisions beyond the city walls.

Antonius Bayle III ? The Great Diplomat

Time of Rule: The Age of Turmoil

Antonius Bayle III, noted for his foreign diplomacy, is lauded for forging alliances between Qeynos and Erudin, northmen clans, and the halflings of Rivervale, during an overwise notably tumultuous time, which witnessed the erection of Paineel, and the dawn of Sir Lucan D?lere rule of Freeport. His intentions for establishing diplomatic ties with such hated enemies of the state were cut short by assassination, but not before he had fathered three notable sons; Kyle, Antonius IV, and Kane (the traitor)

His first son, Kyle, born before Antonius Bayle III had inherited the Qeynos Throne, disappeared mysteriously. From this point, the Bayle line would never again be direct, as Antonius IV, his second son and namesake, would henceforth be the most direct descendant of Antonius Bayle the first.

Antonius Bayle IV ? The Great Avenger

Time of Rule: The Age of Turmoil

By far, one of the most loved and celebrated rulers since Antonius Bayle the first, Antonius IV fought numerous battles against not only the foes of the kingdom, but the enemies of his allies. He has been noted as the single ruler that stretched the benevolent belief of Qeynos further beyond the borders than ever before. He proved his great skills of leadership and battle during the War of Plagues and established a council of representatives and advisory, known as the Circle of Ten.

Growing concerned, due to Antonius IV?s bachelorhood, the Circle of Ten implored him to wed, and sire children in order to further the Bayle lineage, and secure the Qeynos throne. Agreeing (perhaps relucantly), he accepted and arranged marriage, and soon sired twins, Anton and Antea, before his untimely death at sea.

Only upon Antonia Bayle?s emergence have historians come to learn of Antonius IV?s greatest secrets ? his love for Lady Shae of Felwithe, and his true first born, Shaonia, (Antonia?s great-great-great-grandmother), and of his true death. Antonius IV had faked his death at sea in order to be reunited with his true love, and live out his remaining life with her and their daughter.

Anton and Antea Bayle ? The Twin Monarchs

Time of Rule: The Age of War

Rather malicious folk, Antonius IV?s twin heirs squandered the riches of the throne, and demanded fealty from all citizens, ushering a dark period for the city of Qeynos. Strongly bonded, the twins often seemed more like king and queen rather than sibling rulers. After Antea was slain, by a raiding band of Rallosians, Anton was plunged into a pit of depression. His eccentric behavior became increasingly erratic and violent, ending with his suicide.

Antonius Bayle V ? The Great Sage

Time of Rule: The Age of War & The Age of Cataclysms

The child of Anton Bayle and one of Antea Bayle?s hand maidens, Antonius V was the most scholarly and wise ruler of Qeynos. He also was the youngest, having been crowned at the age of fifteen, after the death of his father. Due to his youth, he sought the unparalleled guidance of the Circle of Five in many decisions of stage. Thankfully, he had been tutored in history, art and arcane sciences during most of his youth, for without his wisdom Qeynos would ahve certainly met its destruction during the Rending.

Antonius Bayle VI ? The Great Healer

Time of Rule: The Age of Cataclysms

A disciple of the Temple of Life since his youth, Antonius VI rose to become one of the greatest priests to walk the streets of Qeynos, a power that he used benevolently when the Shattering occurred. The Great Healer aided in the healing of thousand of Qeynosians, and their allies. He found strength in the Circle of Five, and treasured their advise and guidance.

Antonius Bayle VII ? The Great Dreamer

Time of Rule: The Age of Cataclysms

During Antonius VII?s rule, the art of survival became a priority. During this time of great tragedy, he would often comfort the masses by relaying his prophetic dreams of safety, prosperity and cooperation for Qeynos. During the Great Dreamer?s reign the first steps to abandoning the animosity between the kingdom and many of its foes began.

Unfortunately, he was unable to see his dreams of harmony to their end. He, and his fellow Bayle family members, drowned when their royal vessel was swallowed by the Coldwind Sea, after being churned and torn asunder due to a great meteor shower.

The Circle of Five

Time of Rule: The Age of Cataclysms

The council of city representatives and advisers had increasingly assisted in the decisions of the crown, since their official inception as the Council of Ten during Antonius IV?s reign. They reluctantly took up rule of the kingdom themselves while a search for a royal successor was carried out. When the violent cataclysms began to calm during the reign, The Circle of Five oversaw the rebuilding of the kingdom.

Many of the current Qeynosian organizations were established under their rule, and many of the alliances started by Antonius VII were formed. The Pact of Tserrin was signed with Freeport and the Far Seas Trading Company began to run goods, services and survivors to and from the ravaged land for both cities. Their necessary reign would last only until their search for a successor of the Bayle bloodline proved fruitful!

Antonia Bayle

Time of Rule: The Age of Destiny

Born Shirrana of the Sisterhood, she is the first female to sit upon the kingdom?s throne by herself, and the first to have been bestowed the title of Antonia. She is Antonius IV?s great-great-great-granddaughter, as her mother was Taylania, the daughter of Marinya, who was the daughter of Baylisia, the daughter of Shaonia, daughter of Lady Shae of Felwithe and Antonius Bayle IV.

She took the throne with much fanfare, and brought with it hope and prosperity to the citizens of our rebuilt kingdom of Qeynos. Her current reign will undoubtedly meet many a challenge. Let us pray to the gods that she leads with dedication, conviction, grace and wisdom, as her ancestors before her.

Long live Her Highness!

Ignatia Cellus’ Family History Book

I am trying to compile the Cellus’ family stories into remembrances of what was and how it has changed over time. If you bought this volume and its covers were removed, know that the seller is probably keeping out the good bits for him or herself!
I am sure that some of my family’s writings still exist elsewhere in Norrath. Unless they were destroyed in the Shattering or as mentioned before, held back by unscrupulous vendors. Whatever portion of this tome you have, cherish it and remember the Cellus family of Qeynos.

My name is Ignatia Cellus and my story is nothing like my grandmother’s Isabella Cellus’ tale. She lived in a time of relative peace, while I am in a world besieged by terrors unimaginable. The undead rise up outside Qeynos and we all fear for our —

— lives. Thank the gods for Kane Bayle, commander of the Guard. His guidance will surely lead Qeynos through this dark time! He has ordered the Guard to watch every possible entry to Qeynos, which means longer shifts and journeys far from home. I am in the Guard and and fortunately, patrol —

— inside the catacombs near the Guild Halls. There is a strange odor in the air; it is the smell of death. The dead are piled high and cannot be buried, for there is no one to stand guard over the mourners and keep them safe. The undead appear —

— in waves that we cannot repel easily, as there are so many of them and so few of us. With the Guard trying to keep Qeynos’ entrances safe, there are not enough to do other tasks. I do not remember the last time I slept at home. This is exhausting.

Alas! Finally, I was able to return to my home in South Qeynos, only to find such sorrow. The block of homes on my street were filled with the dead. The patrol in that quadrant had not reported in a fortnight, so I was sent to check on them. My mother —

— is one who died of this horrible plague that seems to rise from beneath us. Captain Keldrane has been sent to investigate the deepest areas of the Catacombs. Commander Bayle asked me personally to escort the unarmed to safety in Qeynos Hills. Some have said this will —

— spread the Guard too thinly, but Commander Bayle doubtless knows more than the general populace. I trust his judgment. He would never betray Qeynos, never! Meanwhile, I am happy to leave the city; being here reminds me too much of —

— the family and friends I have lost. I am accompanying a group of non-combatants out of the city to a secret place known only to my family until now. I hope we will be safe there. I did not tell the commander of this place, but I know our family’s stronghold will not remain secret or hidden for long.

Guide to Collecting Crypt Plates

“A Beginner’s Guide to Crypt Plates,” by Poola Thackery. Poola has been a crypt plate collector for many years and currently owns the finest collection of these funerary relics in all Antonica.
You may be asking yourself why bother collecting crypt plates since I, Poola Thackery, have already got the largest collection in Norrath. First of all, it’s an excellent way to learn about history and genealogy. Second, if you find a rare plate, I might trade you several of mine for a single rarity! That’s a great incentive, I think.

What is crypt plate collecting? It is the collecting of the plates used to identify the tombs, coffins or sarcophagi of the deceased. These plates are made of metal, usually something soft like tin or brass, and provided some basic information, such as name and lineage of that person. In the most ancient of times, these plates were only used by the wealthy. With so many modern conveniences in Norrath, however, many folks are making and using them.

The most valuable of all crypt plates dates back to the Age of Turmoil. In those days, only the titled and the wealthy could afford ornate plates. Normal folk (like you and I) would have thin wooden tablets which, of course, disintegrate over time. The oldest plate in my collection is for Amalia Keinaira Bayle, who married Melton Bayle who was a cousin of Antonius Bayle the Third. Amalia did not have a coffin; her plate was hung from a copper chain off one of the urns in the Crypt of Betrayal. Second shelf, third from the right IF you must know.

This is not grave-robbing, the removal of the crypt plate. I want that to be plain and clear. In the old days, the families of the deceased were offered the plate before the interment. If they chose not to take the plate, then it falls into the “finders keepers” category of collecting. I am a staunch advocate of such.

The walls of urns in the Crypt of Betrayal are quite beautifully arranged. This is in contrast to the way most of this level of the catacombs is maintained. In some parts, I’ve seen coffins broken and bits scattered across the ground. There’s one place, I have no idea who it belongs to (the plate was already gone), but the doors were nearly completely destroyed. While I do not pay for the crypt plates I obtain myself, I deplore the use of force to wrest a plate from a crypt.

I arrange my collection by family name although many collectors use other methods such as in order of the deceased’s rank, or by a date on the plates, or even by the plate’s material. Since my collection is so extensive, I have found that keeping them by family name allows me to quickly locate any single plate quickly. My current collection is well over two thousand individual plates.

You can display your crypt plates any number of ways. In my house, I recreated the funerary urn walls of the Crypt of Betrayal, then placed a plate into each niche. Obviously, as I have so many more plates than there are urns in the real Crypt, my display case is scaled down some. I keep all the Bayle family plates on their own wall.

Cleaning your crypt plates will obviously depend upon their material. If it is a metal plate, be careful not to scratch the surface or you might rub off the very words that give the plate its value. Plates carved from marble or granite are somewhat sturdier, but you would not want to drop them. I dropped the plate from the tomb of Linnea Feilanna Bayle (sixth urn from the left, two rows from the bottom) and it split in half. Luckily for me, the front remained mostly intact.

You will only want to sell your crypt plates with other reputable folk. In the past couple of seasons there has been an increase in the vile practice of pretending to give the seller a bag of coin in exchange for the plate, but the seller finds she has a bag of stone chips only instead! I have noticed that this wicked behavior is much more pronounced when trading or selling relics of the Bayle family, particularly the Bayles who lived during the War of Plagues.

I truly hope this guide interests you in the fascinating practice of collecting crypt plates. There are still some out there, and as I mentioned before, I would be interested in trading for some of the rarer old pieces. Good luck on your new hobby!

From the Trial of Kane Bayle

The questions of the inquisitors are not given in the transcript, however it is possible to follow the course of the trial through these witnesses’ eyes. There is nothing like eyewitness testimony to bring history to life.
I am Marghetta Landon, a member of the Qeynos City Guard. I served as Captain Bayle’s Chief of Intelligence before and during the War of Plagues. Before the War, my office was directly across from his and I updated him directly when circumstances required. As the War became inevitable, however, Captain Bayle moved my office somewhat further down the corridor. That does not mean that he did not have access to me or to the information gathered by our scouts immediately upon request. He just…stopped asking for it. I couldn’t…he didn’t want to know.

Captain Bayle and I trained together in our youth, but obviously his station in life allowed him greater — what’s that? Oh! My apologies! I am Jenner Wenbie, of the Qeynos City Guard. My family has a long tradition of service to the city. And I tell you — all of you! — Captain Bayle is no traitor! Someone, obviously a Bloodsaber spy, is trying to bring down and sully the name of one of the greatest leaders the Guard has ever known! No, I will not sit down! Someone is trying to murder my Captain, my friend! Get your hands off me!

I am Milea Clothspinner, a lieutenant in the Qeynos’ City Guard. Captain Bayle and I…were friends. He…and Lord Bayle…were very kind to my family and have been for many years. When rumors first began that Captain Bayle was toying with the worship of Bertoxxulous, I did not believe them. And yet, I noticed subtle changes in Kane…that is, Captain Bayle’s behavior. He would disappear for hours and not tell me where he had gone. At first, I thought…it was another woman…

…this is very difficult for me. One night, I followed him and discovered that my rival was not only another woman, but a member of the Bloodsabers! I could not hear their conversation, but later I was able to capture this woman and have her questioned. It was her information that led me to realize the extent of Kane’s…Captain Bayle’s betrayal. Due to his position, not only as Captain of the Guard but as a member of the Bayle family, it was difficult to convince our superiors of his crimes. I was accused of…

…letting my…my feeling for Captain Bayle interfere with my judgment, that I had become enraged upon discovering his liaison with another. My closeness with Captain Bayle I will not deny, but my love for the city of Qeynos is stronger. And then it was confirmed independently, that Captain Bayle ignored a request for reinforcements to the left flank and instead assigned the troops which could have been sent to assist to a detail cleaning the Bayle family crypts! Review the orders issued under his command and the pattern is quite clear…

…when additional troops were requested, sometimes very urgently, Captain Bayle found reason to assign them trivial tasks elsewhere. I implore this court to find Captain — no, I will not call him that, for that is a position of honor and leadership — Kane Bayle guilty of treason, for plotting with the Bloodsabers against the city of Qeynos. By his subtle techniques, he allowed the Bloodsabers to infiltrate and occupy the catacombs in preparation for an assault on the weakened Guard forces. He is guilty of violating our most sacred vows, and made “Might for Right” into “Might for Wrong.”

My name is Eizek Elron and I am a member of the Qeynos City Guard. I reported to Captain Vegalys Keldrane, who in turn reported to Captain Bayle. During the War, our unit was assigned to patrol the catacombs to prevent the undead from rising beneath the city and taking us unawares. This assignment clearly shows that Captain Bayle was trying to protect us at all costs. Uh…could you repeat the question? Oh, yes, I remember. Our scouts reported an increased undead activity…

…beneath the city, and Captain Keldrane devised a plan to stop them. There’s some tunnels down there that you can use to cut off your enemy’s escape routes. Our plan was to use these routes to our advantage. Captain Bayle approved of the plan — so you can’t say he was trying to hurt the city! We were not successful, though. Most of the unit, including all the officers, were outflanked by the same maneuver we had planned to use. When we got to the tunnels, they were already full of the Bloodsabers. But you can’t blame that on Captain Bayle!

I am Linnet Bayle, the mother of Kane Bayle. I beg this court to spare my son’s life! You cannot know the truth, not with so many of our youth slain and unburied on the battlefield. How can you use the testimony of a handful of simpletons to condemn the Captain of the Guard to death? Was his judgment flawed? Perhaps. You cannot say that all your own actions are without fault, when reviewed after the need for quick decisions is past. Do not let your desire for vengeance…

…cause you to place the blame and hurt of all our losses on the shoulders of a few. You say he secretly planned with the Bloodsabers, our enemies, yet can offer no clear evidence beyond the word of a jilted lover. Do not send my son to the executioner’s block for a failed romance! I beseech you, remember all that he has done for Qeynos and let the family of Kane Bayle decide his fate, not an impersonal court of law. Please. Oh, please!

Cleaning with the Cryptkeeper

I am the current Cryptkeeper Maglus, but there’s been one of our family working down here for generation upon generation. The job hands down to the second child in the family, whether male or female. Lucky for Qeynos, there’s been a second Maglus child since the beginning, because I don’t think any of the tombs would look even this good without us.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But Maglus, this place is an absolute DUMP!” It is and it isn’t. While maybe my housekeeping skills aren’t the best, I still follow the traditional methods used in the past. I mean — look at your own place! If your home had lasted through chaos and disease and moons exploding in the air, not to mention the grounds heaving and hurling things everywhere — it probably wouldn’t look any better than the Crypt!

First thing you need to do is get a good, sturdy broom and dustpan. I have a custom-made broom with an extra-long handle so I can clear cobwebs and dust from higher ledges. As a dwarf, my own reach is a bit limited, but I manage. To keep your broom good as new, wrap the bristles with a soft old cloth before swinging it at cobwebs. Lucky for me, folks come down and clear out those nasty undead creatures, leaving behind an abundance of soft old cloths!

Most of the Bayles were buried above-ground, but there’s Bayle down here whose crypt I keep. In the days of Antonius Bayle the Third, the Cryptkeeper Maglus then used to have to chase the boys out of the crypts. Except for that Kane Bayle. Now, I know he grew up to be a villain and all, but apparently he was a real thoughful as a boy. Always stopped to chat with the Maglus of his day, bringing in some of his friends to keep her company. He may have ended up wrong, but he was a good boy.

The stones of this area of the crypt are really showing their age, despite all the Maglus’ family efforts. That granite shows up every stain unless we can get to it right away. What I do is first give the area a good scrubbing with a handful of sea salt. Then I pour a bit of vinegar mixed with little bit of water on the area, let it soak for a minute or so, then wipe it off with — you guessed it! A soft old cloth! After that, rinse the area with water, or the vinegar will chew on the mortar.

To pass the time, I’ve been studying some of those old magic arts, potions and things. There’s always a lot to do down here, but it can get tedius. I recollect my father (who was Cryptkeeper before me) telling me how one day, he’d taken down all the burial urns from their shelves and dusted each one individually before putting it back, just to pass the time. I’d rather do something as will improve my mind. Those urns do get on my nerves, I don’t mind confessing.

A long time ago, of course, folks were dressed in their finest duds, then laid out to rest in a proper coffin. When things got a bit hectic, around the War of Plagues, there were lots of dead folk, and some had no kin to bury them. That and with the diseases running rampant through Qeynos, the Cryptkeeper of that time decided it would be safer to burn up the bodies and put the ashes in little urns. It was a good idea, I just wish so many folk hadn’t taken up the concept.

I’m sure you’ve seen them big statues in some of the rooms? We didn’t put them there, meaning the Bayles or the Maglus’ family. They were built up by someone else, possibly them Bloodsabers that started hanging around down here. At first, I thought they were mighty nice and I really enjoyed dusting them. Then I happened to one day look at the fires these statues are facing, and what do you know? There’s a skull in them! That sure gave me a turn!

We went through that long stretch where nobody knew if there’d be another Antonius Bayle. That kind of put the Maglus family at loose ends, being keepers of the city’s crypts and all. As you know everything turned out fine, with that pretty Antonia Bayle coming home. I met her once and told her about the family’s job and she says, “I’m glad to meet you, Maglus!” I hope when she dies, she gets buried above ground. Not that I want her to die during my watch, that’s for sure.

If there’s one thing the Maglus family is used to, it’s change. The world’s changed quite a bit since my forebears first took on the job as keepers of the Qeynos crypts. Things change, there’s a lot of weird critters down here that I don’t mind saying scare me. Still, it’s a steady job and in this economy, that’s a good thing to have.

A Martyr’s Tale

“A Martyr’s Tale,” by an anonymous martyr of the Bloodsabers, who was put to death by the wretched Qeynosians in a show of might at the end of the War of Plagues.
In the darkness, I light a candle to my god Bertoxxolous. See the flame shimmer? See how it wavers as though fending off blows? When I crush the candlewick in my fingers, the light offers no resistance but a mere sting. This is, then, how the Qeynosians are to those of us who know the truth — they are the wick and we will extinguish them, one by one.

They are foolish, believing that they can win in the end. Though I languish in their prison cell where they fling me the rotted flesh from the battlefield as meat, I know that my faith in Bertoxxulous will be rewarded. Perhaps not now, not in this lifespan…but a reward I shall receive nonetheless. I look to no promise to make me whole, no misguided agreements shackle me.

We nearly had won that day. With the help our leader, Kane Bayle, we were positioned beneath the city. He gave us advance warning of battle plans and suggested routes we might take to ease our passage through the city’s armies. The city acclaimed his leadership; little did they know then where his allegiance lay.

I was a singer at a local eatery and dallied with the men of the Guard. They pretend to be so righteous, such devoted husbands and Guardsmen. Their wives, the mistress in the marriage of a Guardsman to Qeynos, believing all the while that their men were working diligently. But I knew otherwise. I knew the truth about many of those faithless so-called heroes.

One day, I met Kane and we began our affair. He, who had suffered such slighting at the hands of his family, needed my encouragement. I forsook all others to woo him to our side, to the cause of Bertoxxulous. The conquest was easy; he was already intrigued by our god and eager to learn more. I fed him as much as I could, then took him to my mistress, who helped him learn more.

My Kane is not the blind fool his trial makes him out to be — oh, no! Even while he toyed with me, he already knew what he wanted. He soon cast me aside for larger prey amongst our ranks, but I am not a jealous cat. We needed his strength, his knowledge, his connections. At that time, we had need of him more than he of us. I am grateful to have known him so intimately for so long.

Yes, for so long — for Kane was one of us for much, much longer than the foolish Bayle family realizes. While they mocked his achievements, cast him aside in order to fawn over Antonius…Kane was with us. He steeped himself in our lore while he covered himself in the mantle that Qeynos wanted to see in him. They thought his work was on their behalf, but it was for us. It was for Bertoxxulous.

They have put up the gallows where we can see it from the barred windows of the prison. They think it will intimidate us, make us squirm before our deaths. I stand beside the window, my spine straight and my head up. I am not ashamed to die for my beliefs. What frightens the “good” people of Qeynos is nothing to a Bloodsaber. I have slain my own family, murdered without a care those who crossed me. No, I am not afraid to die.

How quaint. The guard who watches me was one of my patrons from my old singing days. He offered to release me in exchange for my favor! My gaze weakened him and I let him stay with me. I am not interested in bargaining with a fool. Still, I will miss some of the pleasures of this life…such as keeping the guard intrigued long enough for us to be discovered. He is now sitting in the cell across from mine, crying. The fool.

I will return to finish my work here in Qeynos. This, I already know: I will be assigned to the catacombs below, to the Bayle family’s tombs. Though they despise him, they will bury Kane there…and I will follow. Death will grant me more power than I have as a minion in life. I will remain true to our cause and fight against the weak with renewed vigor.