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News of the 1st Day of the 2nd Year of the Reign of Her Most Faithful Magnificence, Adara the Pious

It's been a year already?

Throughout the city, great feasts are planned to celebrate the first anniversary of the reign of Amlatta the Pious. For most of the month, Shalazar is abuzz with preparations, from feasts to special ceremonies at the Great Temple. The First Anniversary is considered to be an auspicious time, and an occasion for celebration and rejoicing.

Watch your tongue-wagging!

...on the other hand, not every voice within Shalazar is joyous.

Fourteen days before the celebrations begin, Old Abbersha, an aged and respected eunuch known as a personal aide to some of the Council of Elders, enters the Hall of Many Tongues, where he begins a parable. As is tradition and the law of the Calipha, none stop him until he finishes. The parable involves an Emira of the Hakesh, one of the former and now almost forgotten great families. Emira Lakan was a woman of great chrity and kindness, who on one occasion forbade her husband from turning his concubine out into the cold merely because she had sneezed on him one morning. Indeed, upon examination she chastised her husband for wearing such strong scents, and became good friends with the concubine. The parable ends with the concubine (who became one of the great midwives of the age) helping Lakan through her last, and most difficult, childbirth, that of twins who became the greatest leaders the Hakash had ever known.

The parable is widely interpreted as criticism of Amlatta's stricter punishments of late, particularly the husband and wife who were flogged because their girl accidentally splashed mud on the Calipha. Abbersha leaves the Hall of Many Tongues unmolested largely due to the respect he is shown and the tradition regarding the Hall, but he has not been seen since. He is rumoured to be studying in the Temple itself, away from the eyes of men. Whether this is his will or not is unknown.

General's congrats bash

'Thash ri' He's a grea' man - a really grea' man... I love you, Sashan. General Ghazi Al'Altair is a grea' leader, a won'ful man. Grea'est party - um - ceremony, I've ever bin to. I'll be the grea'est sarge he's ever seen... We'll march 'til we drop, won't we, Sashan? Sashan? Ge' up, thash ri' Pass the beer, willya?'

North by Northeast

It appears that one of the Calipha's armies, commanded by the newly appointed General Ghazi Al'Altair, has camped in the city of Abib. The exact purpose of this maneuvre is as yet unknown, but those one the ground say that the charismatic general is attempting to investigate firsthand the recent Horse Barbarian incursions that have plagued the area...

A crier from the palace:

'Hear ye! Hear ye! Let it hereby be known that the great Ghazi Al'Altair, General of the Realm, with the blessing of our glorious Calipha, announces a competition for the design of a flying carpet which can carry 20 men or more at altitude no slower than a horse's gallop. There will be a great prize on offer to the best entry!.Glory be to Shaliq!

'I laughed so hard I nearly wet myself! Did you hear? The Alchemist's Guild has been experimenting with them there impossible to blow up liquids, I reckon. Put it this way, the bar blew up a bit anyway. Fat Ali had such a shock when his chair blew up seconds after he got out of it to get another drink that he's sworn off beer for life. That'll last to a week on Thursday, I reckon!'

Liquor Lecture

'Cor, who thought boring old alchemy could be so modern and progressive?

That lecture on the unfeasibility of beverage based explosives really opened my eyes to some of the more... more...'

'Dangerous applications?'

'No, no! Just the more... interesting uses you could use alchemy for. I had no idea...'

'For goodness sake, don't let the Order hear you talk about exploding things. You know little sense of humour they have...'

'Did you hear? Prince Erasmus only got carried into the harbour by that giant wave 'cos he'd made a deal with the Water Djinn to give them a year's supply of wine in return for his life, and then instead of the promised wine the Hadar went and poured a whole load of salt into the harbour instead! Some people claim that a page must've got the message mixed up, but our Waleed reckons it was a plot by an agent of one of the other Families to try and discredit the Hadar and get the Prince killed...'

'I've heard that one of those foreign infidels from the Jade Empire visited the Calipha's Court the other week claiming to be a representative of a dragon! Maybe she could tell us where Prince Waleed al Din's legendary sword is, or even get it back for us.'

'Gossip in the market the other day was that some of the old Calipha's bodyguard have been muttering about the Order of the Blazing Sword what've taken over their jobs. They don't reckon the new lot're up to much without them alchemical potions what made the old lot such a force to be reckoned with. Course, none of that lot would ever come to blows about it, would they? Still, a duel between one of the Order and one of the old bodyguard would certainly be a sight to see! That'd be a grudge match for yer!'

'You know those caravans what have been vanishing after leaving Abib? Well, my sister's cousin heard that it's all down to those heretics what worship that there mysterious Grey Tower. In league with the barabarians they are, trying to nobble the caravans to give anyone thinking of taking up the Yilden's offer something else to worry about instead.'

Crown Jewels of the Grand Vizier Stolen

A very high pitched man's voice is heard over the walls of the calipha's palace:

'Alas, woe, alas! I am undone!'

From the street outside:

'Oy there, what's up?'

'My treasures, my precious parts, gone, gone, gone forever!'

'Yer what's?'

'My balls, you buffoon!'

'Someone stole your balls? That must of hurt!'

'No, I am a Eunuch, in service to the Calipha herself. I have been this way for many years, but I always knew that when I died I could be buried whole. But some fiend has broken into the palace, and stolen all the balls. Even the Grand vizier himself is bereft of his balls!'

Tides of uproarious laughter from outside the walls.

'You varlet! Guards, guards!'

Running, struggles and shouts.

'Oh please, I didn't do nothing.'

'Insulting a member of the Calipha's Court is not nothing! Guards, take him away and flog him.'

'Yes, Sir!'

A Cruel Calipha?!

'Not that I'm questioning the Calipha's judgement, mind you, but I hear that I'm in a minority. Apparently not a few people have been complaining about it. I suppose the punishment was quite harsh- but fair, of course. The fuss will no doubt die down soon, I am sure.'

'You shouldn't be talking like that, mate; it can only lead to trouble.'

What, no wine?

'I hear tell the water-folk are short on wine. Or at least, that was the first thing they asked for once they had the Hadar in their debt. But apparently the Hadar tried to double-cross them.'

'Yeep! I know I wouldn't want to go defying power like that.'

Who's That Man?

'Oi, you see 'im? Yeah, the one with the black head-scarf. He's that sinister chap around court I told you about. Won't show his face to anyone, likes to go around whispering in people's ears. Reminds me of that Salim, him with the legendary claws. And we all know what happened to him, eh?'

'Oh, him; from what I heard he's good to go to if you've got a problem. I take your point though, he does look a little weird.'

Eat at Jolem's

[You receive a letter delivered by a court servant]

'Honourable friend, in Honour of the first year of Calipha Amlatta's most fruitful reign, Jolem al Kazak, the Honourable Keeper of the Vineyards of the Calipha and purveyor of many fine a vintage and grape, invites you to attend a gathering at his residence in fourteen days. Feel free to bring a guest, though entourages must be restricted to no more than three. Come and enjoy the finest wines of the Caliphate, our host extends you his fullest hopsitality. Glory be to Shaliq.'

[This will be the venue for the Turn 2 Meeting]

Messenger Maliciously Mugged

'Cor, you alright, lad?'

'Ow!... aaargh.... get a healer, please...'

'What on earth happened?'

'I saw it; this young lad swooped his carpet down to this guy who was hailing him with a scroll, next thing you know the guy's got him with a club! He's down on the ground, and the guys hitting him and hitting him, then he throws oil onto the carpet, sets it alight and runs off. I chased him, but he ducked down a side-street before I could catch him.'


influence chart

Standing is a measure of the relative strength of the Great Families of Shalazar. The Standing of a great family determines how useful it is to spend points of Influence on your actions each turn.