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News of the 333th Day of the 40th Year of the Reign of Her Magnificent Highness, Adara the Glorious

TOURNAMENT!

[Town Crier:] For the glory of our Calipha, Adara the Glorious, the Jewel of Shalazar, Salim al Hadeera announces his invitation to the swordsmen of the city: may they gather in the Palaces of the Izar, there to demonstrate their prowess in martial combat. May the people of Shalazar see the mighty from all lands, that they may fight for the glory of the Calipha, and her servant Emira Baseemah al Izar. Skill and prowess are required: old enmities are not. Blades will be blunted, but spirits shall not be.

[GM Note: The opening ceremonies for the three-day tournament will be the setting for the next session. Any warrior is welcome to step forward after Salim opens the tournament and announce their intention to participate. Combat is "non-lethal", which means participants are not expected to kill each other--but mistakes happen.

Additionally, any character who would like to offer a prize for the tournament may do so--this is a perfectly acceptable custom, and Salim does
not have to give permission before a prize may be offered. Prizes must be offered publicly, and offers of prizes should occur after most of the contestants have declared their intention to compete. For high-ranking members of families, offering some prize should be de rigueur, as prize-giving is a way of showing off status and wealth...]

Tales of Valour, Glory, and Abject Failure

"Dragonslayers, my foot!"

"Muna's still standing, right?"

"Yeah, but really, that's about all you can say. Hear Po's great expeditionary force got sent back with its tail between its legs."

"Worse than that. Of course, they might have stood a better chance if that Zaniah magesmith had woven a steel net worth a damn. I have cobwebs that might have been more effective."

"And ten men drowned, and Po's boat destroyed--such a shame..."

"Worse than that--these 'brave' men had to be saved by a slip of a girl..."

Rukbah paying off Jerezad

Rumour has it that the Rukbah are running scared after the loss of Elmyah according, to rumours eminating from the Palace. Many an official has been heard saying that the once proud family are prepared to pay the Jerezad a lot of money for the return of the Emira's daughter, Alia.

Rukbah to storm Elmiyah

These days, where the Ruchbah go, an air of tension goes with them. Family members have seemed on the edge ever since the fall of Elmyah, and many are openly talking of revenge around the markets and shops of Shalazaar. They hotly deny any possibility of a payoff, claiming that the Jerezad will pay in blood for their arrogance and impudence.

[GM Note : Yes, the two stories above flatly contradict each other. That's the Shalazar rumour mill.]

To the End of the World

"I keep hearing that somebody's searching for The Sword Over the Edge of the World." [OOC: See Legends]

"Yeah. Nice wonder, that, if someone finds it..."

Bad Vintage? Poor Taste?

[Picked up from the pillow-talk of some anonymous Palace staff, supposedly] "When I say that Johanz al Ruchbah can't hold his drink, I mean it. Bit of a social kerfuffel when the Grand Vizier served him some wine the other day--he spit it up all over the table. Had nothing but water the rest of the meal. The pair of them always used to drink wine..."

Izar repay debt

Announced by a Ruchbah Emissary: "Let it be here known by all that the Great House of the Ruchbah, and the great Emira Takiyah, hereby acknowledges the payment of a debt by the House of the Izar, by the Emira Baseemah. The House of Ruchbah are satisfied that the House of Izar has hereby fulfilled their oath of repayment, and hence release them from the bind of their oath and debt. Praise be to Shaliq."

Bookwala hunts beatles

"Did you hear about Old Man Bookwala? Apparently he's finally gone senile."

" What's he done now?"

"He's gotten really paranoid about beetles. He thinks they're planning something, and he claims that they've been scuttling from city to city in huge hordes, studying random objects and then moving on."

"Oh dear..."

"Yep. And, that's not all: rumour has it he's been seen going round trying to talk to cats. He's even gotten himself a pet cat that he talks to as well."

"That's not a sign of senility, lots of people talk to cats. And besides, I heard about the beetles too, from Fat Achmed..."

"Fat Achmed? Isn't he the one who-"

"Can't tell a lie ever since that djinn cursed him, yep. Well you see, he's never had a problem with beetles before, but he recently did some building work on his house - I think a balcony and a new roof, and he said since then he'e noticed beetles all over the place. He reckons the builders must've disturbed a nest or something. apparently they're all over Shalazar these days."

"Really?! Ewww...."

"Yeah. Hey, look, there's a beetle now..."

"Eeek! Where?" (Stamps on beetle.)

Hadar under guard

Abdul al Hadar has gone nowhere without a heavy bodyguard in the last week, fuelling rumours that the Grand Vizier's chamberlain thinks his life is in danger. The Hadar official has been accompanied by four warriors, causing much comment around the markets.

Intrepid Scholars Venture Beneath the World

"Have you heard? Yamala just flew back from the edge of the world. Pretty nice carpet she's got there, eh? And that's not all. My 2nd cousin's wife's sister works as a carpet driver herself, and she heard that Yamala went there to fetch some people who had jumped off the edge in some sort of balloon. She reckoned they were after treasure, but apparently one of them was an Ash-Kenz, so I reckon they were scholars. They must have been lucky to avoid the giant moon-demons my great uncle says lives down there!"

"Oooo, so thats what happened. My neighbour's brother works as a masseur for the Hadar, and he overheard that Omar bin Jabbar al'Hadar was missing after he went off with Yamala on a mystery expedition. He must have been eaten by the huge snakes that live in the sun!"

The Silence of Elmiyah

There has still been no word from the populace of Elmiyah, no messages are getting out and no one has left. The Jerezad speak on behalf of the city and declare that the people are happy and going about their daily business.

Watch out for your brass keys

"There's a plague of keys going missing, you know."

"What are you talking about?"

"It's true, and not just any old keys neither - brass ones only. The plague is very particular. It's a sign from Shaliq."

"Are you sure?"

"What?"

"Well, everything's a sign from Shaliq, with you. Your big toe's hurting - it's a sign from Shaliq. The milk curdles, it's a sign from Shaliq..."

"Oh, shut up. (Mutter) It is, it is, it's her punishment upon us..."

Braggin' Dragon

Even before the Company of the Black Serpent's humiliation up in Muna, there were stories making the rounds of how terrible this Sea Dragon was. It's said that the Skeletal Dragon of the Northern Wastes, the Black Dragon of Undersea, and Milipardines the Magnificent are terrified of his might....

[OOC: See Stories]

Rat Tail Bounty Beginning to Make its Mark

"You should go take a look. They got them all in one of the Fesk warehouses; 100,043 rat tails, all in a huge pile. Cost 'em a pretty penny that has. Ole Halek won't go near the place, he starts twitching when he gets within a mile of it. He's off in his palace outside the city, with a guard of elite ratcatchers, getting reports. I heard one of the Fesk guards say he sent a message to Emira Najwa, saying he had sorted out the problem."

"Sorted out the problem! Don't make me laugh. I don't care how many rat tails he's got in a pile, theres still plenty of tails attached to rats scuttling the streets. Four of them jumped onto my table, bold as brass, and ran off with me tea!"

Captain Jabbar Romancing Scion of the Jerezad

"Did you see that. That was Cap'n Jabbar, Hero of the Western Oceans! Why, I heard he once..."

"Who was the lady 'e was with?"

"I dunno, let's take a look."

"Nice dress an' all, but I don't know the face"

"I do, that's Yamha Bookwala, the Old Man's niece."

"What's a noble like her doing with his sort?"

"Well, he's a real charmer and all, so I guess she's infatuated with him. Wonder if her family know who she's walking out with?"

"Didn't look that way to me. Looked more like he was the infatuated one."

Jade Emissary arives unexpectedly

...All the way from the Jade Empire they say. ...Well, I know that's not very unusual, but they didn't come with a caravan, they came on a ship. Yes, all the way round the edge of the world! Well, how should I know - mad if you ask me. Must have a damn good weather-worker, or something else special to make it this far though and in only two months...

The Great Cosmological Compendium

Scholar and adventurer Al-Ouph al'Ashkenz is reputed to be engaged in a mighty composition, nothing short of a compendium of all the features of Shaliq's creation. Already a renown expert on the phenomena of the heavens, his recent trip beneath the world, escorted by the pious and heroic Waleed al'Din, has no doubt gained him much heretofore unknown wisdom. Other scholars are eagerly awaiting his new work.

Elmyah in flames?

Travelers returning to the city have brought stories with them of more fighting in Elmyah, which was apparently attacked a week ago by a company of horsemen under the cover of a sandstorm. At the same time, madmen have been heard to talk, a rain of fire swept down, engulfing many a building and causing havoc and dismay. Little more is known, but some say that this was an attempt by the Ruchbah to rescue princess Alia, who has, however, not been seen in Shalazaar. In an attempt to quash these rumours, the Jerezad have issued the following statement:

Announcement by a Jerezad emmisary: "Let it hereby be known that a week ago, a cowardly attack was attempted upon our fair city of Elmyah. The attacking forces were scattered by our brave warriors, and no permanent damage has been done, praise be to Shaliq."

Debt of Honour? No, Just Debt

The Emira Baseemah of the Izar has officially sworn a debt to Qutaybah of the Zaniah, payable in installments and with interest, to cover the cost of their last poor harvest. Despite various mumblings from the Yildun, the oath was sworn in the Great Temple, and everything is formally in order.

Returns Policy?

"One would have thought that, with a tournament imminent, Majid al Zaniah's weapon shop would be buzzing with activity, with everyone wanting an edge in the tourney."

"You'd think that... but everyone's been hearing about the quality problems that bedeviled that trip to Muna... and so people are shopping elsewhere. Why take the risk?"