Felim collapsed into the snow, exhausted. It felt like it would be the last fall this time, his limbs stiffening and flesh numb. The adventurer had heard of natives that thrived out here, men who slew bears and made coats of seal fur. But who could build anything out here...?
Just as he felt light start to fade, Felim cast his gaze up to see the sky one last time. He was startled - or would have been, if his body had the energy - to see a furred hood and a leathery face with a toothless grin. "Ho there, brother!" it spoke. "You came to just the right place."
"Bristlebane ale. Tall."
Mathus looked up. He didn't recognize the man ordering, but he seemed the type: muscles beneath a layer of fat, a snarling expression with most of his teeth missing, fists like summer hams. "You want it in a bottle?"
"From the tap."
Mathus nodded. "This way," he said, stepping from behind the bar and into the back room, the "customer" following.
A fresh-faced young man sitting at the bar looked around, confused. "Bristlebane? Sounds adventurous."
"You couldn't handle it, son," an older man said from across the plank bar with a hint of derision. "It'd right kick your ass."
One of the Cosmic Era's most populous and vibrant cities, Novo São Paulo also has one of the widest economic gaps with an underside illustrating its crushing poverty.
"O Divine Broker, merchant of souls, bless our transaction, make it holy and righteous in Your sight. May those that profit from it be ever prosperous, and earn our reward in Your Sacred Market. Release us from our debts, and grant us lucrative exchange now and forever."
- Prayer before a trade, from Bashad the Spectacular's "The Handbook of Divine Wealth"
Any number of clergymen might be accused of putting their demands for secular wealth over their spiritual needs. Even these, however, would never claim to worship their prosperity. Yet such is the case with the followers of the Way of Divine Wealth, a religion of uncertain history and unabashed cupidity.
"Ve'laan rust!" - Sailor slang, meaning "nonsense"
A metal with unique properties, ve'laan is prized by seafaring folk and admired by jewelers.
"Anyone can draw a map, boy - there's no more difficulty in that than laying brick. What makes maps useful is when they are so proper, so precise, that they are living images of the places they represent. Encompassing knowledge of the geography, and mastery of the very space itself - that, child, is cartogramancy."
- Sage Pakpao Sasithorn, Chief Lecturer, the Ezagun-Darkbolt College of Cartogramancy
"You shall find my body beneath the steep cliff, where the larch grove grows. Take my skull, and hang it from the old larch tree. And then you shall make of me an instrument: my skull for the box, the tree for the neck, my tail for the strings and bow. Whenever you play it, I shall be with you, for At-Beyi is inseparable."
- The Legend of At-Beyi
"From his strange raft, the bizarre man stood, shell armor glistening in the sun. Bringing his stingray-barbed spear aloft, he howled: 'Be wary, trespasser! This reef is under my guard, and I her patronage! Bring not your boats near my shoal, lest you suffer the wrath of the Reef Knights!'"
- The logs Cpt. Creos Althea, Boshail Coast, 6 Ventôse 986.
"Is it just me, or is this cave moving?"
- Obin the Spelunker’s last words
"Their so-called god, it is claimed, loves, and thus love is their virtue. Foolishness! Love is only fear of loss, and fear is among the keenest of weapons in our arsenal. Let us turn their virtue onto itself, and draw more souls into the Devouring Maw."
- The Paragon, address to his Overlords, in the second year of the Sectarian Wars
Most know the love that goblins have for mushrooms. Few know the lengths they will go to obtain their delicacy.
"Why’s she want the rings? Heh, ye ain’t the first ta ask. Well, why’s the wind blow? Why’s the shark bite? Trust me, lad, you don’ want ta question her nature, jus’ as ye wouldn’ question mother nature. I say she’s lookin fer somethin’ - gods save me when she finds it."
- Ben "The Biter" Yardrin, sailor
The whales of the Epoan skies…
"O Victorious Maul, send down your fury!
O Hammer of Justice, bring Dalraaen’s law!
O Weapon of Righteousness, cast out the unlawful!"
- Magistrate Archivinus Kelstori, Ode to the Gavel
With the patronage of Dalraaen, this heavenly mace is the focus of the Magisterium’s strongest order. Its darker roots, however, are hidden even to its wielders, and its very existance threatens the world.
Few even know of the existence of the DarnunÃƒÂ©.
"...and thus it was said that Adaleer the Blest could reflect the true nature of any soul. Now some of his followers believed that his ranger gear, as much a part of him as his faith, was also so blest."
- Dauneth, Lore Chronicles
The powerful wizard Sumuho styled himself as a god and was worshipped far and wide. After his fall, his vast temple sank into the desert long ago. What secrets lie in the Sanctuary of Sumuho?
There is more than meets the eye to these nightmarish insects…