Q: Do you need any help putting that cooking pot together?

A: No, I think I can handle it.

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“You are not satisfied by General Lodii’s answer,” said Zaldi.

“She’s hiding something. Even Roir could see that,” said Myn, spitting an apple seed onto the ground. “I’m not going back home with my tail between my legs just because they threatened to kill me. I owe Eyon more than that.”

“Are you sure this is about the Legion and Lord Eyon?” said Zaldi. “You have asked about this Liat Raligaia at every turn.”

“Yes, who is Liat Raligaia?” said Tinain. “That’s a name from Pexate, isn’t it?”

“He stole something from me,” said Myn. “Something very precious. I intend to inquire about it in person, and I would have done it already if the Legion hadn’t taken him.”

“Lodii said he was a mercenary, working for financial gain, which that big orc didn’t like,” Zaldi added. “You don’t believe that either?”

“Let’s just say that if General Lodii told me the sky was blue, I’d still want to look up to see for myself.” Myn said.

“Tell me about this Goblin Legion,” Tinain said. “We have heard so many rumors here, for years, I scarcely know what’s true and what’s lies.”

“Lord Eyon came to control Pexate after the Battle of Huxton’s Bend,” said Zaldi. “I was there, and so was Myn, and Lodii. Half of Lord Eyon’s army was goblins when he defeated and captured King Uxbridge and the barons who were tugging on his puppet strings.”

“Yeah, so Eyon wanted things to be better for the gobs than they had been,” said Myn. “He’s tried a lot of stuff, like saying that the gobs can have names based on their town, and saying that they’re actually citizens of Pexate, which the barons were kind of wishy-washy on. The Legion was another one of his ideas.”

“Arming and training gobs to give them opportunities to better themselves, after they’d helped him win that battle?” Tinain said.

“And names,” said Zaldi. “Don’t forget the names. To most gobs, names are everything. And each of the 10,000 in the Goblin Legion has a name. When they fall, another gob may step in and claim their name by right.”

“It was a big risk,” said Myn. “everybody expected Eyon to name himself king, to add a token gob or two to his retinue, and then abandon them to their fate. The gobs expected that. But he insisted that their lot had to improve, and he fought hard against all sorts of people to create the Goblin Legion.”

“I do think he missed an opportunity to call it the Goblegion,” Zaldi laughed.

“Agreed,” said Tinain, joining her merriment.

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We here at Macrosoft appreciate your business, and your commitment to our ecosystem! We know that if you had a choice you’d probably use a Gaggle cloud OS or a sleek silver Pear iSeed desktop, so we’re glad that you have enough old legacy data that you’re forced to stock with us!

There have been a lot of questions about our new, mandatory upgrade to MacrOS 10. In the interest of open and honest communication, which has always been our policy for everyone but the FTC, here is an official FAQ:

Q: What if my copy of MarcOS 7 works just fine?

A: We realize that you think so, but trust us, MarcOS 10 is way better. To help you see this, we have discontinued support for all previous MarcOS systems.

Q: What if I don’t upgrade by the July 23 deadline?

A: A kill code will be transmitted at 11:59:59 PM on July 23 that will brick all machines running these redacted OSes. All data and hard drive partitions will be lost.

Q: My old computer doesn’t have enough RAM or hard drive space to install MarcOS 10 and/or run it efficiently. What do?

A: Buy a new computer. Macrosoft has a number of attractive licensing deals with manufacturers like Düll and Hackard-Pewlett that will provide you with a free copy of MacrOS 10 along with a full-price purchase.

Q: What if I can’t afford a new computer?

A: Try a library. Your data wasn’t that important anyway.

Q: Help! An old program won’t run under MacrOS 10!

A: MacrOS 10 uses a 128-bit system architecture that will not work with programs or files created for previous, primitive 32- or 64-bit systems. Really, that’s like trying to load a machine gun with rocks. Why would you do that?

Q: I’ve heard that MarcOS 10 does not have CD/DVD playing program or the ability to play MP3s. Is this true?

A: Physical media is dead, aside from the disc that MarcOS 10 came on. Why own a platter when you can stream? MarcOS 10 is fully committed to an ownerless future where all content is rented at best, and as a result no CD/DVD/MP3 application will ever be produced for it. All local media files will also be deleted.

Q: I have a phone running MacrOS Mobile. Will I also be able to upgrade to MacrOS 10?

A: Wow, somebody bought one of those? We’ll call Steve and see what he can do for you.

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The name for this item comes from the Rome Codex, a compilation of artifacts offered for sale in 1799 to pay for war debts. The name has stuck despite its inaccuracy–as a metal shield made in Pisa it is neither Florentine nor an escutcheon (which is strictly reserved for heraldry).

From an engraving prepared by one of his students in 1410, it appears that the Florentine Escutcheon was fashioned by master craftsman Gaetano Vitelli (fl. 1367-1409) of Pisa. Records indicate that he presented it to Giancarlo Peruzzi, the Florentine Gonfaloniere of Justice, in 1409. Peruzzi was one of the most powerful men in the Republic of Florence, and had been a key architect of Pisa’s conquest at their hands.

The 1410 engraving shows that the Florentine Escutcheon has a smooth surface. A 1420 painting shows it with five figures embossed in the metal, mounted on a wall behind its then-owner, the Podestà of Florence Luigi Ranieri (another high-ranking Florentine official). By 1430, when the item was sketched by Guido Nobili of the University of Pisa, it had a total of eight figures.

It is worth noting that, in the period 1409-1430, the Florentine Escutcheon appears to have had exactly eight owners aside fom Vitelli himself.

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Myn and her cohorts were hustled through offices and richly decorated rooms, each of which was dark and barely occupied due to the suspension of trade and the blockade. The Lord Mayor’s office was directly behind a large stained glass window, broken into four planels that each represented a quarter of the city. When the watchmen opened the door, a heated discussion was already underway.

“…sheer madness! You know as well as I do that they won’t surrender a single prisoner, for they take none!” A tall elf with a full blonde beard was shouting, bent over the Lord Mayor’s desk.

“Pem Hsuabel from the Elf Quarter,” whispered Tinain.

“And this one reminds you, Pem, that any pause in the hostilities for parley can only benefit us!” Behind the massive, ornate desk of the Lord Mayor, the goblin holder of that office–Niynx Gavelpound, Tinain had called him–was seated. He looked well-fed compared to the denizens of the quarter, but had a lean face and a keen eye all the same.

“And what if it’s merely a ploy to lure us out to capture us?” A dwarf, dressed in an extremely fine gown, said from a nearby setee. “Those savage greenskins will use any advantage they can take, as we’ve plainly seen so far!” Her accent was thick and haughty enough to spread on fine toast.

“Who’s that?” Myn whispered.

“Dwarf Quarter council member,” Tinain said. “I forget her name.”

“Orza Callandelve,” said Zaldi. “Originally of the Layyain Callandelves, hence the accent.”

Myn looked at her companion. “How in the world did you know that?”

“She enjoys the Mud Pits,” said Zaldi. “Quite a bit.”

Ninyx the Lord Mayor was still talking: “What say you, Galba? This one can be overidden by a vote of three to one on such matters, and none knows the state of our city’s supplies better than House Barleyfurrow.

The fourth council member, an ill-looking human woman who was quite bald, sat quietly in the corner. “Gaiza has always relied on control of the sea, by those willing to trade with us, to withstand seiges,” she said in a voice hardly above a whisper. “With the new ships that the Goblin Legion has brought, not one ship in ten reaches our quays. Even with the Goblin Quarter sealed off, and the starvation rations I insisted upon at our last meeting, we wil not be able to feed our troops within a month.”

At this point, the Lord Mayor noticed Myn and the others. “Oh, this one sees that our official envoy has arrived,” he said. Rising from his chair he walked over to greet Myn, his fine outfit’s metal bits clanking together as he did so. “This one is dreadfully sorry that the mercenaries at the dock saw fit to place you in the Goblin Quarter and not bring you directly to this one’s office.”

Myn visibly swelled up pridefully at this talk. “Well, it’s a good thing you realized your mistake,” she said. “Myn the Mule is resourceful but the wild goblins of the Quarter still nearly had her killed.”

“You see?” cried Pem, the elf councilman. “I told you that the Gob Quarter is seething with synpathy for the Legion! It’s our soft underbelly!”

“Well, from what I saw, about as many goblins blame the Legion for what’s happened to them,” Myn said. “If you keep them starving like animals, though, that’s probably going to change sooner rather than later.”

“You impudent whelp!” Pem snapped. “Speaking that way to me! Do you think we did not fully consider all the ramifications of sealing the Gob Quarter in detail? That we wouldn’t have done so if we had any other choice?”

“Calm yourself, Pem,” said Orza, the dwarf councilwoman. “You needn’t treat every disagreement as a personal attack, you’ll wear yourself out.”

Ninyx waved them both aside. “So, Lady Myn Toansdottir, what news from Pexate? How soon can we expect reinforcements, and supplies?”

“Um…what?” said Myn.

“Reinforcements and supplies,” said the Lord Mayor. “How soon will they be arriving? We assumed you arrived in response to our request for aid.”

“Uhh…” Myn racked her brain trying to think about whether Lord Eyon had said anything about Gaiza asking for aid. “We…we never got any such message.”

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Donovan Slough
Undead (Human) Mage
25HP, 9 STR, 14 DEX, 0 CON, 19 INT, 13 WIS, 2 CHA
Revolve 1d6 (6 shots), dagger 1d4, animate dead (x5), drain (x5)

A clever bandit who was unsatisifed with his lot, Donovan Slough took up the study of necromancy from forbidden tomes captured while banditing. He used enough of his life force to die in these experiments, but promptly rose from the grave to continue them all the same. His first victims (beside himself) were his own gang, who he drained of life force and reduced to lifeless, subservient husks.

Donovan continues his crime spree to capture new victims to drain life force from and to procure the reagents he needs for his experiments. He talks animatedly to the mindless drained husks he uses as sevants, and has been known to become quite upset if one of his undead “friends” are destroyed. In addition to the ability to raise any dead and bind them as thralls, Donovan has perfected the ability to drain energy from his foes and use it to heal himself–treat as a reverse Magic Missile for this purpose.

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There was nothing but a mass of scar tissue where Chanterelle’s eyes had been. She would smear it with a bright color by touch, so that the area looked like a bright splotch of paint, a dribbling of wax, that a good clean might sweep away.

It wouldn’t.

Suid’s antique shop had a steady clientele, but the Ravage was steadily consuming him. In the dim light of his shop, the bristles and furrows were smoothed over, making his twisted form seem strong, even intimidating.

It wasn’t.

You’d think that two such lost souls, when they finally met over an antique vase, would have been a perfect match.

They weren’t.

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