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News of the 347th Day of the 40th Year of the Reign of Her Magnificent Highness, Adara the Glorious

Grand Vizier wakes up

HEAR YE HEAR YE! The Palace wishes all of Shalazar to celebrate the lifting of the curse which has afflicted our Grand Vizier these past few days, and to pray for his continued health...

Abdul is a poisoner!

'Didya hear about that bloke in the palace, Abdul wossname...Abdul al Hadar, yeah that's it? I hear he poisoned his own general in Marinia!'

'Yeah, an' I hear he framed that Draquim bloke by poisoning his blade! Dirty bastard that one!'

'I hope they make an example of him. Filthy pig!'

'Psst. The Grand visier's spirit was being hidden in that silver box the Yildun gave to the Invisible College. Pass it on...'

Ishiguru's Auction: The Finest Slaves, straight from the Empire of Jade

The slaves of the Empire of Jade are known throughout the lands of the Caliphate. The are loyal, trustworthy, responsible and well trained, and have never been known to attempt to escape from their new masters. This may be because they are immediately identifiable, on account of the yellow dyed hands. Ishiguru, the Trade Factor of the great Master Merchant Jiuan-tse, is going to be holding an auction at which the finest specimens Shalazar has ever seen will be placed upon the blocks. Its is rumoured that the Grand-Vizier himself will be turning up, to purchase slaves for the Calipha.

Inaccessible College Thwarts Justice

The trial of Nabeeha, whose pledge of responsiblity for the viscious criminal leader of the Black Serpent company has left her tarred with his crimes, has been indefinitely postponed. As a member of the Invisible College, she cannot be tried by any other body, and hence no motion can be made to punish her until the college is returned. The Great Temple, especially in the Yilden areas, is furious with the situation, but has been unable to do any more to rectify the situation than to assign her a bodyguard of warriors from the Order of Khal'Nyak, to 'protect her from the common people's righteous wrath'.

Al Daquar Called to Temple for Interview

'I saw that wizard Al-Daquar yesterday. He was coming out of the Great Temple Courthouse, and he looked like someone had been hitting him with a shovel'

'Yeah, I heard about that, from my cousin's niece what's an acolyte in the Halls of Justice. Seems he was called up to provide assistance in tracking down a necromancer'

'What, him! I heard the Invisible College was so unwilling to let him in they locked the doors and threw away the key!'

Unnatural storm

The harbour of Shalazar was the recipient of a freak burst of unnatural weather yesterday. The sudden vicious wind blew up out of nowhere, causing small boats to be tossed up against the harbour wall, and larger vessels to creak uneasily in their berths. It fell away just as quicky as it came, leaving some to wonder what the omen did portend.

Peculiar Porters!

The city of Shalazar has been witness to some very strange activities in the past couple of weeks. A group of men, wearing very ornate but rather crumpled and unwashed robes, have been seen performing very peculiar rites. They have been seen at major temple doors, at the gates of great palaces, and indeed any door more than 10' feet high seems able to attract their attentions. The gather, and attempt to perform some kind of ritual, however none of them actually seem to know the complete rite, and the ceremony invariably breaks down in wailing and lamentation from the participants.

Further fighting in Elmiyah

'They're all blooming mad in the Ruchbah. I heard there was this huge great sandstorm that blew up near Elmiyah. The Ruchbah army had been threatening and posturing outside the city until the Jerezad general couldn't ignore it and sent out an army to face it - but he knew what he was doing and stuck to the Ruchbah like glue. No fading off into the desert and letting the Jerezad army get lost or fall down a great hole or anything like that. Oh no. It didn't make no bleeding difference though. This ruddy great sandstorm came down anyway and wiped BOTH armies off the face of the land. Ten thousand people dead. I ask you, how long can this keep going on? The Calipha should do something about it...'

Yilden and Fesk in Religeous Dialogue

'Great Shaliq Beyond! I saw it with my own eyes, and I still don't believe it!'

'What's all that then?'

'Halek al'Fesk, as greedy a rogue as ever stole a rusk from a baby, kneeling and begging from penance from a priestess. Not just any priestess either, a Yilden, and a hard line one at that!'

'I heard about that. Apparently some Yilden zealots have been proclaikming that the rats are a waning from Shaliq for them to cease their sinful ways, and I guess Halek took it to heart.'

Hadar poisoner

'You hear about that Chamberlain geezer. The one up on poisoning charges for killing the general wot was in charge in Marinia 'til this 'ere Hadar feller had him offed with a poisonous amulet.'

'Yeah...'

'Well now he's going to be really in sctuck 'cos my sister's cousin's wife works up at the palace as a kitchen maid and she heard that the bottle of poison wot envenomed the blade that poisoned the winner of the tournament, that Salim chappie, was found in his room.'

'Don't make no difference if he did it or didn't. They all stick up for their own up at the palace, it'll just be swept under the rug, you watch...'

Faliq Al'Ashkenz's Myriad Prophecies

'He's wonderful, he is. None of that messing around with exact date of birth, and right acensions, and celestial calender calculations. No you just give him your date of birth, just normally like how anyone remembers it, and he goes of and in hardly a minute he is back with a prophecy for you.'

'That does sound good. I might go and see him myself.'

Emira Takiyah attacks Zaniah

Leading her household guards herself from the back of a fine horse the Emira of the Ruchbah, Takiyah, attacked the townhouse of the Zaniah today, in an unprovoked vicious assault apparantly designed to reveal the whereabouts of the Emira's kidnapped grand-daughter. After breaking furniture and threatening servants and family members, the Ruchbah finally left after having ransacked the place and declaring that this wasn't the end of it. It is a mystery why the Emira has resorted to such strong and unexpected measures.

'Have you heard? The Invisible College has been cursed by Shaliq for unnatural practices and THAT'S why the doors didn't open.'

'I've heard there's a beatiful City of Brass under the world where the people all live in peace and harmony with the djinn forever...'

'Sounds bloody boring to me...'

Mysterious return of stolen weathervane

In a bizarre twist, the stolen weathervane of the Jade Empire has been returned to the sailors of that august ship through the auspices of a lucky trade deal. 'Uncle' Ahmed al Smarmy, trader extraordinaire, had heard of their search for beautiful artworks to take back to the Empire and had just recently had a beatiful bronze horse come into his posession. He naturally thought of the Jade Empire crew and proceeded to present said artwork to them. Imagine his surprise when it turned out that the stolen weathervane was dicovered to reside mysteriously inside!

'I was flabbergasted, shocked and amazed!' he was heard to say to passer's by.

Emira Takiyah under personal protection of the Calipha

Emira Takiyah of the Ruchbah is enjoying the personal protection of the Calipha's own Divine Legion today after the Calipha has intevened in the interests of sparing one of her faithful servants any more personal distress or exertion.

Grand Vizier covering up Treason in Palace

Few will talk of it openly, but whispers are growing that the Grand Vizier is protecting his young protege Abdul al Hadar from the treason charges against him. Some say that the Grand Vizier's judgement has been clouded by his recent illness, while others even accuse him of complicity in the whole affair. Unease is growing amongst the palace staff, who don't know where to stand on the issue, and if the whispers carry on for much longer, this is one scandal that no-one will cover up easily.

Treachery of the Black Serpent company

By announcamant of a Ruchbah crier:

'Let all hear the words of the Ruchbah! But three days ago, outside of Elmyah, a party of our brave men who had rescued the princess Alia from her imprisonment by the Jerezad swine was betrayed by the filthy scum that are the Company of the Black Serpant. These men, hired to protect the princess, kidnapped her and slaughtered our brave warriors, and are now holding her. Let it hereby be known that we pronounce these traitors and their leadear Captain Draquim, curse his name, and that we charge all law-abiding followers of Shaliq to bring us these dogs, should they find them, so that we may have our justice.'

Jerezad/Zaniah mutual defense pact

From an announcement by Jerezad and Zaniah Criers

Be it hereby known that, in appreciation of the mutual and longstand friendship between the Jerezad and the Zaniah...

[a great deal of diplomatic waffle]

...and any of the Families that would threaten the territorial integrity of the domains of either house, save with the direct order of the Calipha herself, will be faced by not the one, but both Families together...

[and a great deal more diplomatic waffle....]

Rumour of Hadar/Rukbah alliance

Heard between two Zaniah

'I'm not happy about this!'

'What do you mean? You're not still complaining! With the Jerezad on board, we're part of the most powerful alliance to ever exist in Shalazar!'

'Well, yeah... but I've heard some nasty rumours that the Hadar are looking about themselves for a little support as well.'

'Support? Ha! After Marinia, who'd support them?'

'Try the Ruchbah.'

'No! You've got to be joking me.'

''Fraid not. It's what I've heard. And it makes sense, I mean who better than our friend's worst enemy to be their ally right now?'

'Oh crap... let's just hope it's only a rumour.'

Jerezad/Zaniah caravan returns with wonder wood

'Welcome home, Tarif! How was your journey?'

'It was amazing! The jungles are fantastic - the vegetation is so lush and green, and the trees, oh by Shaliq, the trees! They're tall as mountains! And you'll never believe this - we found the First Tree! Honestly, the first tree that Shaliq, in her glory and grace, ever created! We were all stunned, we couldn't believe it! And you know how we knew? It glowed! I tell you it glowed with the very glory of Shaliq herself!'

'So what did you do?'

'Uh, we cut out the heart of it, and brought it back...'

'You what?!'

'It seemed like a good idea at the time! Although admittedly less so when it started moaning when we cut it...'

'WHAT?!'

'Um... apparently it doesn't like being cut down. We thought that was pretty wonderous, so we brought it back to present to the Calipha.'

'Wow, you think the First Tree tops the Obsidian General's periapt?'

'Hmmm, I don't know... it might be in the running though...'

Naked street urchin

'What the hell was that?! Was that little boy naked?'

'Yeah, and wet. What was he shouting?'

'I think it was 'I don't want to, and you can't make me!''

'Sometimes, I wonder what this world is coming to...'

Ali in stocks

'Where are you going with all that rotten fruit?'

'To the stocks, there's a new boy in, some young man, Ali or something, I think. He sold this one guy what he said was a beetle made of black marble, but it turned out to be a painted pebble! The guy, quite rightly, starts causing a scene in the market, and a nearby priestess asks what's wrong. He says he's been conned, and he, the priestess and a couple of traders drag him to the temple where he's sentenced to a day and a night in the stocks, and has to refund the guy, and any others who come forward to say he's conned them too.'

'So you're off to pelt him with rotten fruit?'

'Yeah! It's fun! And besides, no-one can stand a lying trader, and their dodgy wares!'

Trip to the Sun and Moon

'You're joking me!'

'Nope, naked as the day they were born, that carpet-driver girl, and that mad old man Bookwala, covered in what looked like some kind of spiders-web. Climbing off her carpet, and looking very much the worse for wear.'

'What on Shalzar were they up to? Sounds just a tad dodgy to me.'

'Well that's the thing, you see. Apparently they weren't on Shalazar - they went to the Sun, and, get this, the Moon as well!'

'They went to the Sun naked?'

'Maybe they thought they'd be warm enough...'

Lady Quotana dies in house fire

The House of Izar mourn the passing today of Lady Quotana, who died during a fire which engulfed her residence. A member of the Council of Elders, Lady Quotana will be missed by many in her family. It can only be hoped that with her passing, some of the enmity that has arisen between Yildun and Izar will gradually fade. Services for the Lady are expected to be held in few days.

There is now speculation regarding who will take the open seat upon the Council of Elders...

'That Ali isn't a trader at all, he's an assassin! That's why he has spring mounted wrist blades! Who's ever heard of spring mounted letter openers?'

'He's not much of an assassin is he though? Not and end up in the stocks like that...'

Hanima Al'Ruhkbah dies

'Let it be known that the House of the Ruchbah wish to express their sorrow at the recent passing of a loyal member of their house, the Lady Hanima al Ruchbah, who died peacefully in her sleep two nights ago. Lady Ruchbah was a prominent figure in the Ruchbah, offering the House's prize to the winner of the recent tournament run by the honourable steward of the Caliphate, Salim, and being a valued speaker for the family at many public events. May Shaliq bless her soul.'

Beetles and Maps

'Sit down, young 'uns, and hear me tell the tale of the Beetles and the World's Map.

Long, long ago, in the jungles of Punt, there lived a reclusive and eccentric sorcerer. This sorcerer never left his tall tower, and soon was discontent with the view from its top, magnificent though it was. 'I shall make myself a map of the world', he said to himself, 'so perfect in its detail that it shall be as if I were Shaliq herself, looking down upon Creation'. To this end he enchanted a local species of beetle to go forth and measure every stone and every mountain, every desert and every ocean, every palace and every crude hut; and he enchanted a model replica of one of these beetles, such that the beetles would know where to return with the information they had gained.

Ah, but men are ever prideful and foolish, and in the end all glory is Shaliq's. The sorcerer, in his pride, did not comprehend how large the world was, and died long before his map was complete, and what happened to him then only Shaliq may know. The beetles, not realising that their master was dead, not even comprehending that they had a master, continued their quest, and the beetle-statue became an idol for a nearby tribe of pygmies.

And then the idol was found by a caravan and brought north, and the beetles came to Shalazar in great number...'s

Calipha Announces She Shall Attend the Festival of Peace

The Calipha's Palace has announced that she will personally attend the Festival of Peace, held annually in the Gardens of Kaleb-Nar byt the Priestesses of the Temple.

Normally attended by Palace dignitaries, it is rare for Calipha Adara to personally appear at such a festival. Many say that she is making a symbolic gesture, appealing to the greatest of her Families to set aside their building animosities before it is too late...