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News of the 319th Day of the 40th Year of the Reign of Her Magnificent Highness, Adara the Glorious

INVASION!

Four days ago, the Black Company staggered into Shalazar to confirm day old news rumbling around the gossip network: Malikam, Steward of Harbad, had stormed Elmiyah, capturing the city from Alia al Ruchbah, granddaughter to Emira Takiyah al Ruchbah. Following hours behind them came the first of the refugees, bringing stories of destruction, plunder, and devastation--though how much was true and how much the exaggeration common to the streets is difficult to ascertain.

Throughout the city, an electric tension has sprung up. Jerezad and Ruchbah speak abruptly, if at all, on the streets, with the exception of Johanz al Ruchbah, the powerful Sorcerer, who is rarely seen outside these days without escort...

Malikam's army, supposedly grown strong fighting bandits, descended upon the city at dawn and by dusk had seized control of most of the city, though fighting carried on in certain quarters for a few days. Neither of the houses has made any official pronouncements yet, although it is believed that the Ruchbah will complain to the Calipha and demand reparations from the Jerezad.

Bizarre Robberies amongst the Ash-Kenz

Everybody knows that the Ash-Kenz area is the safest part of the city. It is full of scholars, and printers, and artists, and that sort of chap, generally not worth robbing. But I heard that there has been a whole lot of little thefts about the place. It ain\'t no ordinary robber, either. They don\'t seem that interested in gold, though they did get away with a good bit from Halmas the Engravers strongbox. They mostly steal trinkets, and experimental devices and a couple of odd curios from foreign parts. And I heard that something went missing from the Ashkenz palace as well.

Rat Tail Bounty (Posted on Notice Boards in the Fesk Territory)

Let it be known that Emira Najwa of the Fesk wishes to see an end to the plague of rats that infest her lands, and that therefore she offers a bounty of 10 shekels to any citizen who brings 10 rat tails to the any of the offices of the Fesk.

By the hand of Halek al'Fesk, in the name of Emira Najwa.

Obsidian artifacts everywhere in the bazaars

The bazaars throughout Shalazar have been filling with goods of Obsidian, supposedly brought by the Obsidian General himself. The reappearance of such an august figure has prompted interest in goods from this normally neglected territory, although what Abdul-Assir al Karenz thinks about the theft of his city's artifacts remains to be seen. Of course, one reason he might be so blase about these "artifacts" is that many of them come from no further than a hundred miles from Shalazar, and some are merely black-painted glass.

Among the purveyors of quality merchandise, Sousserah has become quite famous for her stock of charms, amulets, bracelets, and trinkets made from True Obsidian--enough that her hobby has attracted some note

Jerazad planning major expedition?

Palace sources have indicated this week that the Jerezad are more disturbed by the loss of shipping than they let on. A second major Caravan has apparently just secured funding to launch an expedition into the Desert. An unnamed Jerazad insider has also suggested that in attempt to futher their power they intend to marry their eldest daughter to the Calipha's son and so bring their family into power.

Healing the weak

The charity that Sedr al Ash-Kenz has showed to the dwellers of the Fesk plagued by rat-bourne diseases reminds us of the infinite generousity of the Calipha. The frequent trips of the Calipha's chief physician into the homes (and the slums) of the Fesk have been the cure or succor of many, a fact that reflects well upon her family, and all other Ash-Kenz, at court or no...

Marinia rebellion stews

"You're kidding me!"

"No, honestly, there's a gang of them up in Marinia, and they're doing everything they can to make trouble for Quitab after the sacking. According to my cousin, who's a street cleaner in the city, they've already attacked the house of several city officials, beaten a couple of town criers, and scrawled anti-Hadar slogans everywhere. Apparently the city's turning into a right state."

"Yeah, I'd heard somthing like that, but I didn't think it was that bad..."

"Well, if you ask me, it's gonna get worse. How long do they honestly think Quitab's gonna put up with it? I tell you, when he decides he's had enough, he'll crush them like bugs... Shaliq help them all, the fools."

Strange goings on at the Palace?

Palace workers have been heard to mumble about strange stenches coming from certain sections of the Calipha's palace recently:

"Really, I can't stand that smell. Why can't the Royal Alchemists stay outside the city like the rest of their brethren"

"They wouldn't be very royal then, would they? But I know what you mean--that building smells like it's been used to store camel dung for a year. Why, Sachya yesterday said the smell made her so ill she lay in bed with faint."

"Faint? Is that what she's callin' that young man these days..."

Death of Ratcatcher

It was horrible, poor man. He was a ratcatcher, been one for years, and that Fesk, Halek, hired him to sort out their rats. Well he found some holes under a warehouse, and he must have gone down into the cellar to try and find the nest, and the trapdoor must have fallen shut behind him. Some of the guards heard the screams, and they rushed over and unbolted the trapdoor, but when they looked in there was... nothing left except bones.

Obsidian General man of the hour...

The Obsidian General has attracted crowds whenever he travels about the city. Recently, he took a trip to the Temple, to kneel before it and speak his prayers unto Shaliq. While doing this, he has been accompanied by a number of priestesses...

The rumours which swim around him are innumerable. Some say that this man is not truly the Obsidian General, because that man was cursed by Shaliq herself, and none might reverse such power. On the other hand, more people than that are willing to keep an open mind, and in the coffee shops and souks he is a subject of considerable interest to other patrons, who listen to his stories with rapt attention. Some wonder if he would not make a suitable husband for Safiya bint Adara, daughter of the Calipha...

Jerezad family takes advantage of trade

"...Ooh, you've got a job then? At last! I thought you were going to sit around drinking sherbert forever. What is it? Caravan guard... good money in that. You pay for it though - you better come back. Who's going to pay for the kids to go to the Visible College if you go and get yourself killed?"

"Oh, you will be careful, won't you, Ahmed? Where's this caravan headed then? Punt...nasty foreign place. Lot of that about though. There's that massive Jerezad expedition set off last week - I heard it's funded with Zaniah money, well, I suppose it would be. They've been awfully paranoid about it though, took more guards than usual. I suppose that's how you got a job with this other caravan, nobody left to hire! All right, all right, I take it back. Who're you working for? More Jerezad! They're all over the place - which one's this then? Bookwallah?! I ask you - what kind of a name is Bookwallah..?"