Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=554
Ardry reclined on his bedroll by the fire, sipping from a mug of tea. He sighed contentedly and looked up to count the stars of Dereth's night sky. They'd established this camp on one of the high ridges outside the town of Al Jalima. They were, as far as Ardry could see, all alone out here in the desert. With no dungeons to explore, no monstrous threats to battle, Ardry was more relaxed than he'd been in at least a year.
Ardry's contemplation was interrupted by a clinking noise nearby, on the other side of the camp fire. His uncle, Aliester the Loquacious, was fooling around with some arcane piece of glassware and awkwardly scribbling notes into a thick journal by the flickering light of the fire.
"The daily temperature variance is fascinating! What could explain it? Do you notice how cold it is, Ardry? Considerably more cold than one would expect. After all, when one thinks of the desert, one thinks of heat and sand, dehydration and burning thurst, the merciless heat of the sun and no refuge under foliage…"
Ardry shook his head. "Uncle, I told you before we left the cottage that the desert gets cold at night."
"You could have spoken a little louder, or with greater urgency, nephew," Aliester the Loquacious huffed. "I don't understand why we couldn't just spend our time at the cottage, finishing my experiments on those glands from the warped Olthoi…"
"Because then that wouldn't be a vacation, Uncle. You and I have both earned some time off from the demands of the council. Remember how long it took for you to start eating food with bones in it, after your ordeal in the graveyard?"
Aliester was unable to resist glancing at the small pile of chicken bones by the fire, remnants of the dinner they'd shared. The mere sight of a chicken bone brought back vivid and awful memories of being ambushed and overwhelmed by the spectral retainers of the undead Lady Tairla. He shuddered and looked away.
"Well, you may be right, my boy, but this is an awfully curious location for a vacation. We could have chosen to visit cousin Ulgrim in Ayan Baqur, for example. Or sampled the local brews in Cragstone, or visited the wonderful archive just outside of Hebian To…"
"I wanted some peace and quiet on this vacation, Uncle. The big towns are too hectic for me. Especially now, with the festivals going on… And the last time I visited cousin Ulgrim, he tried to stuff some kind of mashed-up herb into my mouth, muttering nonsense about that Virindi archmage in Ayan Baqur. I managed to get away from him, but I think he was trying to push me into a hallucinatory state or something. He said he wanted to observe me."
Aliester chuckled. "I'm still not sure I believe that story, my boy. Usually Ulgrim has a consistent and predictable route to his hallucinations."
Ardry paused to take another sip of tea. "I like it here on the ridges. We're near enough to town to get supplies easily, but up here we can almost pretend like there's nothing else out there… No squabbling scholars waving papers at us, no queens or lords or assassins sending us off to painful deaths… Do you realize, Uncle, that we've been here on Dereth for almost eight years and we've been scouting or researching threats to the realm with almost no breaks in the entire time?"
Aliester shrugged. He was well aware that his role of research and experimentation had been considerably less rigorous over the years than Ardry's role of advance scout… "If you say so, nephew. Do you suppose I could prevail upon you to stoke the fire a little higher, though? I can barely see what I'm writing here."
Ardry thought about trying to argue with his uncle. To convince him to put away the book and just enjoy a quiet night free of the demands of the realm. The anniversary of their arrival on Dereth always put him in a contemplative mood.
Finishing the last of the tea in his mug, he stood up. "The firewood's running low. I'll head into town to get some more. Shouldn't take more than a few minutes." He stooped to pick up his pack.
Unexpectedly, Aliester stood up as well. "I'll accompany you, my boy! I'd relish a chance to stretch my legs, and perhaps the physical activity will help warm me."
Ardry nodded as he shouldered his pack, pleased by the offer of company. "As you say, Uncle."
"Besides," Aliester muttered, just low enough that Ardry couldn't hear, "I don't want to be left alone in the dark with those… bones." He spared a baleful glance at the pile of chicken bones and followed his nephew down off the ridge.
The two of them began walking, in contemplative silence, back towards town. As they neared the road, the twinkling lights of the small town of Al Jalima became visible. Ardry, sharp-eyed as he was, first noticed the crowd of townsfolk on the road just outside of town, barely visible at the edge of the town's lights.
"Strange to see such a large group of people out at this time of night…" he said.
Once Ardry pointed them out, Aliester was able to see them too. "Yes, quite a crowd. Oh, they've noticed us. And they're coming this way…" He squinted to get a better look at the approaching crowd.
"Pwyll's bubbling blood! Run, Ardry! Tairla's found me again!" Aliester howled with terror, reversed direction and ran away, faster than Ardry had ever seen him move.
Looking back up the road at the approaching crowd, he could see that they weren't townsfolk at all. Nor were they the ghostly retainers of the undead lady of the graveyard. But they were definitely undead…
Cursing his luck, Ardry turned and ran, hot on his uncle's footsteps.
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=556
October 2007 Rollout Ficition
The messenger strode swiftly through the halls of the royal palace, headed for the map room. He stopped in front of a pair of thick oaken doors, flanked by two guardsmen in the royal livery of the House of Strathelar.
"Message for General Tharnoch," the messenger announced to the guards. He showed them a roll of parchment sealed with black wax. One of the guards pounded the butt of his spear against the door, and shortly afterward the doors swung slowly open to reveal the fierce, craggy face of the aged Aluvian warrior.
"What have you got for us?" Tharnoch asked.
The messenger clicked his heels together and bowed quickly. "Undead unrest in Al Jalima, General." He offered up his message scroll.
"My thanks, soldier," Tharnoch muttered as he took the scroll. "Go to the armory about your boots, though, the heels click too much." He snorted, gave the soldier a dismissive nod, and closed the doors again.
There was a soft laugh from the center of the room. Tharnoch turned away from the doors as he broke the seal off the scroll and looked to the source of the sound.
"That was an unkind comment to that poor messenger, General," Queen Elysa said. She sat at the head of the great map table. Her son Prince Borelean sat at her right side and a huge leather map of the realm of Dereth was on the table before them. The map was dotted with colored pins and scraps of paper bearing annotations. So far there were nine pins on the map, scattered all around without any apparent pattern. To the side of the map, in front of the unoccupied chair to the queen's left, was a small wooden box that emitted a faint glow.
"I should not be so flippant with these youngsters, I know," Tharnoch conceded as he walked to the table, scanning the contents of the note. He sat in the chair to the Queen's left and handed her the note. "It's been a while since I had to deal with soldiers who actually cared enough about such trivialities as to click their boot-heels together. That's all."
"Is this incident of particular interest to us, General?" the Queen asked as she took the note, glancing significantly at the annotated map in front of them. "If undead are rising in Al Jalima, has our enemy perhaps found a way to corrupt one of those into a… Prodigal?"
Surprising both of the older people in the room, Prince Borelean spoke up. "I highly doubt that the undead would fall prey to the crude manipulations of the other Prodigals," he said. "They seem to keep their own kingdom well in line. Even if it's a kingdom long extinct, that exists only in the memories of walking corpses."
Queen Elysa stared at her son. "I had no idea you were so well-versed in the politics of Dericost, my son."
"I know a great many things that may surprise you, mother," Borelean said through a thin smile.
Tharnoch cleared his throat before things could get any more tense between the royal mother and son. "Majesty, I too doubt that this undead uprising is related to the Aerbax problem. This does seem to be the season for such unrest. These attacks always seem to come around this time of year. Remember the reports we've been getting out of Glenden Wood, as well. While undead assaulting Al Jalima is indeed a matter that requires our attention, it is not the reason we are gathered in this room."
Queen Elysa turned away from her son to look at the general. "As you say, General. Let us discuss the items your scouts brought back from the laboratory on the Singularity Caul."
The general nodded in agreement and turned his attention to the small wooden box on the table in front of him. "Let me show you something interesting, Your Majesty."
He flipped open the clasp on the box and lifted the lid. As soon as he lifted the lid, his face was bathed in purple light. There was also a noticeable smell coming from the box, the pungent smell of dried herbs. The old soldier put an uncharacteristically sly expression on his face as he paused to make eye contact with both Elysa and Borelean. "Before we discuss this," he said to the Queen, "I must ask what we know about that archmage in Ayan Baqur…"
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=553
October 2007 Release Notes
Hello and welcome the Release Notes for the October event, Masked Memories! This month we see the return of the Festival season. Once again it is a time of tricks and treats as we begin the journey into the cold winter months. But let's not forget that there is still much going on around Dereth that has yet to be explained. Let's see what else is going this month in the world of Asheron's Call.
New Functionality and Content
We are on the cusp of celebrating the eighth anniversary of Asheron's Call. This is a huge event and we want to celebrate in grand style. This year when players log in after the October event goes live they will find they now have one more character slot available to them. This is just a small way for us to say thank you to everyone who is playing the game we all love.
Colosseum Currency has been added to the game this month. Players will be rewarded for completing certain stages of the Colosseum, see the table below for details. Players will receive Colosseum currency from the Colosseum NPC on completion
The rewards break down as follows:
1 Colosseum Coin
1 Colosseum Coin
2 Colosseum Coins
3 Colosseum Coins
4 Colosseum Coins
4 Colosseum Coins
You get flagged for completing a stage by using the door to the next stage. For example, if you are in stage 13 you kill everything and then portal out, you will not receive the reward of 1 coin for completing the stage. You must use the door to the next stage in order to get credit for completing it. Please note that you receive only the reward for the last stage that you have completed. If you complete stage 14 and leave, you will receive 1 coin. Once you have collected some coins you will be able to purchase special items from a vendor placed in the Colosseum staging area.
Following tradition, new masks have been added for the Festival season, collect them all! Don't forget the Majestic Pumpkin and the Festival vendors will also be making their return along with the seasonal creatures we all know and love.
Players will want to start collecting Small Olthoi Venom Sacs from the Olthoi North area. A vendor has moved in to the area who has a keen interest in these items, and will reward players who take the time to collect them.
Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements
For some time now, players have had the ability to lock another player's corpse. Thanks to some great work by the team, we are confident that this has been fixed and players should no longer be able to lock a corpse. That being said, we will continue to watch this situation closely.
The all elusive behavior which would cause some creatures to return back to home with full health mid combat has been fixed. We will continue to watch this closely, but it appears we have finally tracked this one down.
The War Spell Proc on the Paradox-touched Olthoi Weapons Quest was causing some unintended balance issues in PvP. In extreme cases, the weapons would proc twice in a row and kill a player in two hits. We have reduced the level of the spell that the weapons can cast on strike from 7 to 4 and increased the proc rate of the spell to ensure that the weapon damage remains the same, but the weapon loses the ability to generate the massive burst damage that was unbalancing PvP.
A bug with Issk in Old Yanshi that would allow players to repeatedly hand in an item for the reward has been fixed and Issk should be returning to his post in October.
An issue with the portal that would send you in to fight the Prodigal Olthoi Queen has been fixed and players once again should be able to go in and fight the queen.
The Penumbral Shadow Mages were using Healthbolts (Hectacombs) and causing more player deaths than intended. We have removed this spell from them and raised the chance for a normal war spell to fire in order to keep the area at a high difficulty.
A typo in the text that Collectors use in regards to Drudge Cabalists has been fixed.
Based on player feedback we have changed the amount of XP a player can receive from completing the Death Tail Fang quest. Players will now receive up to 50% of their level up to 100 million XP.
So there are just some of the things we have in store for Asheron's Call in October. Please remember that along with everything listed here, there are several new quests and exciting things going into the game for the October event.