Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Therol’s Ice Bridge

Dollano 13, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

Therol’s Ice Bridge

It was only one day’s travel, but a long one. We walked down the mountain to get to the coast, and lo and behold there was a road going along the coastline just up from the beach. I learned again not to underestimate Donnessling. That guy knows his geography.

The road hadn’t been tended in a long time, so the walking could be a bit rough at times, and there were several points where the forest had overrun it, but it was a lot better than trying to make our way through the up-and-down in the mountains. I was glad of that and so were my legs.

Therol’s Ice Bridge

We reached the bridge about an hour before sunset. I was just shocked at the structure. It was beautiful, and, like the name says, it’s made out of ice. I don’t know how that can be done, but it looks like it can. Donnessling and his folk took no particular notice. They’d clearly been here before, so I was the only one ogling the structure. When I asked, the nossring told me that the bridge was old, very old. They said it was, “before the Third Era”. Since this is the year SP~4,909, it means that it’s five thousand years old, or probably a lot older.

I was in mid-ogle when Donnessling came over and stood next to me. I let him stand there for a minute. Yeah, it was a bit rude, but I wasn’t in the mood for what he was going to tell me, and I didn’t really care if he got a few ruffled feathers, though, it’s pretty hard to ruffle that guys feathers.

Note to Self: Picture Donnessling in my mind with a head full of feathers and a long feathery tale. I guess that’s the kind of mood I’m in right now.

He let me start for a while. I think he wasn’t going to give in to my petulance, but, to be honest, I think he knew that the bridge was a pretty damn magnificent thing to set eyes on.

After a minute he leaned down to me, but before he could say anything, I turned on him and told him that there was no way he was getting rid of me at this point and, unless he tied me to a rock, I was going to follow him and his folk. I think I said that kind of loud, because when I was done, I noticed that everybody was looking at us.

Donnessling sighed and looked away. I started to say some more, but he put up his hand. He did that pretty forcefully, like he understood my point (or he’d had enough of my point).

“I can’t slow down, Rhonda, for you, or anybody.” He stuck his finger at me on the second half to make his point, as if he needed that extra bit of flourish. “I won’t put anyone in danger looking after a human, not even you.”

I admit I was flattered when he said ‘even you’.

“If I fall behind, then leave me behind!” I wasn’t having any of it. “I know how to fight. Not like your folk, but I can fend for myself.”

When I saw him unmoved, I added, “And, I can write the story and get it published.”

Still unmoved. He was about to do something, like tie me up or the like, when it suddenly hit me.

“I know the Queen of the Isselt’s”

That got his attention.

“Yup, she’s a relative of mine.” Well, a pretty distant relative, but still family is family. “And, the Isselt’s live on the mainland near the part of Begkragks’ folk on that side of the water. And, they trade with those dwarves and know how we could get into their mountain.”

I’d made the best point I could, and it seemed to be good enough. Donnessling turned and walked away, and with his back to me he said, “If you fall behind, we’ll leave you behind!”

I call that a successful negotiation. Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to do all that stuff I said I could.

Ethem’s Solar System: Introduction

A Primer on Ethem’s Fexofamilial Community

By Galggado Gaffroto, Ishiri, First Scientist

Guild Energetic Research Collective’s

Division for the Study of Fexofamilial Communities and Geneology (DSFCG)

Oma Rages in the Skies above Ethem


This document is a brief description of what scholars would call the Local Fekxtah Group System of Order (LFGSO). It is the Fekxtah Family of which Ethem is but one member. Others call it Oma’s Family which means that it is focused, and rightly so, on the sun Fekxtah which is at the center. Most folk know it as the Solar System, though in scholarly work that is a less than accurate name.

What is a Fekxtah?

There are some who do not have a clear or accurate (or any) definition of what a Fekxtah is. Simply put Fekxtah are the gigantic entities, beings, that make up the cosmos. They come in many forms. There are, of course, sun Fektah, also known as stars. These are the Fekxtah of fire that often form around themselves a community of other, smaller Fektah such as planets and moons.

But, why do we call them Fekxtah and not simply suns, planets, or moons? That is because these great bodies of the heavens are living beings. Albeit, they are not living in the sense we usually think of, as in the way that I or the readers of this treatise are living. Nor the way in which the creatures in Imbelnhi’s Bestiary are living. Even so, they are indeed living things, but of a kind of life that it is difficult, if not impossible, for us to understand.

The Fekxtah were born during the Second Age of the world. The only thing in the universe that preceded the Fekxtah of the great world were the Four True Elements; namely, Air, Fire, Earth, and Water that were the first things to ever exist, and so comprise the First Age of the World. It was out of these Four True Elements that the Fekxtah were formed. Of the First Age itself, nothing still exists; however, it is accurate to consider ourselves and the worlds in which, and on which, we live to be the direct descendants of the First Age. For context we now live in the Fifth Age of the World, and, within that , our current time period is the Third Era of that Age.

Sadly, I can say no more on this topic here, or I will have said far too much and still not enough. For those who are curious to learn more, the best text to start with is the great book, The History of the Created World.

What is a Fexofamilial Community?

A Fexofamilial Community is quite simple to understand. It is our planet Fekxtah, Ethem, and our sun, named Oma, and all of the other planets and moons that surround Oma and circle it. This is how our Fexofamilial Community, which we shall also refer to as our Solar System is described in the book, The History of the Created World:

Now the Fekxtah were true to themselves and Emptiness pushed them apart.  The Fekxtah became many forms as the Emptiness pushed them away from each other.  The Fekxtah became forms that continue now in the World.  The Fekxtah became the Planets and the Moons and the Stars and the Travelers in the World, and the Emptiness made the void that separates them all.

We in the Guild who study these matters believe that the world is made up of many, perhaps innumerable, Fexofamilial Communities, and quite possibly other things that are beyond our imaginations.

The purpose of this document is intentionally limited. Here we seek only to describe our own Fexofamilial Community, in other words, we will discuss Oma and all of her children.

How to Read this Book

To read this book it will be helpful to understand some of the concepts that we use throughout.


As one might expect, distances within a Fexofamilial Community are far greater than the distance from, say, here in Naldrin City to Tarnath.  While that journey across Tamarra can be measured in hundreds of miles, it would be foolish, and unwieldy, to measure distances between Fekxtah in the same way.  We have therefore created a system of measurement that can be applied to the vast distances among the Fekxtah.

Distances between Fekxtah are measured in units called a “Walker’s Ankle”*, abbreviated as a WA and pronounced WAY.  Each WA is 1 million miles.  As you can see this system is highly useful in describing very large distances.

The Fekxtah planets that comprise our own Fexofamilial Community circle the Fekxtah sun Oma.  They move around Oma in roughly concentric circles, or ellipses, so that each Fekxtah sustains an orbit around Oma at a constant distance.

The distance of each Fekxtah from Oma is outlined in the course of this document in the section that provides the basic information for that Fekxtah.

Fekxtah Stations

Finally, I will mention one of the more fantastic notions included in the ancient books from the heola mayamar. The notion is of a thing called a Fekxtah Station, or often simply as a Fekxstation. These are buildings of some kind that, according to these ancient texts, were built by the Elzheni, and were places to which they could travel from Ethem. They were supposedly used to more closely study each of the Fekxtah on which a station had been constructed. The claim within the ancient pages of the Elzheni books is that the Fekxstations are constructions on the surface of each Fekxtah and allow travel from one Fekxstation to another, and, therefore, from one Fekxtah to another.

There are few scholars who take this seriously, since the idea of traveling such great distances to actually stand on the surface of another of Oma’s Fekxtah is simply too incredible for belief. However, the Elzheni texts make mention of them frequently and so I have decided to include them here to provide the reader with an accurate sense of what these ancient tomes contain. I make no claim as to their actual existence. Most scholars, myself included, consider these Fekxstations to be little more than a “plot device”, a way to titillate the senses and provide a compelling, though fictional, basis for the descriptions of the various Fekxtah included in this work.

With these stipulations now made, we hope the Reader will find this work useful and a good first step in exploring the wondrous world of Oma and her Fexofamilial Family.

*  The Walker’s Ankle is a name derived from the mythical creatures that were said to have lived during the first days of the world, who could travel the vast distances between Fekxtah and even among Fexofamilial Communities in a single stride.  They are known, in common parlance, as simply Walkers.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Shawmancer Island (entry 18)

Dollano 12, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam


For two days now we’ve been searching for Begkragk and his dwarves and we’ve come up empty-handed.

Yesterday morning, before we started, Donnessling called out in some loud bird-like sounds, and soon after a very large whooshenawa landed at the western end of the shelf where we were camped. He proceeded to have a conversation with this creature, who occasionally would look over at the rest of us, and, in particular, at me.

The conversation lasted less than ten minutes. Then the whooshenawa bounded off the ledge and darted down the side of the mountain to turn at the last moment and then skim the ocean waters below us. Not bad flying!

Donnessling told us that Begkragk and his companions had been spotted heading for a cave west of us. We’ve been trying to find it ever since. Donnessling found it. He knew exactly where it was hidden. Good directions from the bird. Finding it, though, does not get us in. We couldn’t open it. We tried quite a few things, but in the end we had to admit that it was not going to happen.

We stayed the night there, and then the next day, today, we headed to another place where Donnessling thought we could find another entrance higher up in the peaks. By mid-day we did find it, and we even got the door open. We were making good progress, when we reached a turn in the tunnel and Donnessling stopped us. He had a couple of his stone experts check out a section of the wall, and they confirmed to Donnessling that there was a hidden door, but they could tell (I don’t know how) that the tunnel on the other side had collapsed. Another dead end!

Donnessling looked a bit dispirited, which is saying a lot for this guy. After a short break for food, we made our way through a different set of tunnels and, now, here we are outside the mountain, again, just further east of where we were the day before.

We must be up a few thousand feet. I still see the ocean below us, but to the west is something very strange. It looks like a long, thin line of some kind of shimmering white substance just above the horizon. Mossessling noticed what I was looking at and came over. He pointed at it and said, “That is Therol’s Ice Bridge, a wide bridge made of ice that leads from Shawmancer Island to the mainland. No one knows when it was built, though we know it was long ago, perhaps not even during this Era of the world. And, we do not know who built it. However, that is our destination. You see, the Begkragk Dwarf Kingdom lies under the mountains on both sides of the sea below us, and under that sea as well.”

Then, I heard Donnessling come up. “Yes,” he said, “That is our path, Rhonda, but you will not cross the bridge. A ship awaits you on this side of the bridge. It will take you home.”

I tried arguing, but that lasted about two minutes. We were all tired and nobody was their best (I’ll say it that way). To be honest, I was pretty cranky.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings, and where the days after that take us.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Shawmancer Island (entry 17)

Dollano 10, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam


I woke this morning to chaos. Donnessling was gone and so were Begkragk and his dwarves.

Mossessling and Donnessling’s chief lieutenant, Allalling, were in a heated debate. They were unnerved about Donnessling’s absence, but, more than that, they were distressed because he had said nothing to either of them. And, of course, the dwarves were gone. They are notoriously silent when walking over stone, especially stone they knew so well, and they are not always to be trusted, even when they are your ally.

Allalling had sent the other nossring out to search the hallways and tunnels for Donnessling, but none had yet returned.

I approached the two to ask when they had last seen Donnessling. They were surprised at the question, but Mossessling quickly responded that she had been up early and had noticed that his sleeping space was empty and his belongings were undisturbed.

I told them of my exploit the night before. As I finished the story we heard a shout from behind. It came from the direction where Donnessling and Begkragk, and I, had walked only hours before. One of the searchers was making their way back to us, holding up another nossring, helping them walk. It was Donnessling. He had a good deal of blood caked to one side of his head and a bloodied arm. When he saw us he pushed away his help and walked unsteadily toward us.

“Begkragk has betrayed us,” he said between clenched teeth. Allalling sounded a small horn he carried at his side. The sound filled the halls and echoed back to us, as the other nossring came running back to our location.

As everyone returned, Donnessling told his story. When Allalling told him what they had already heard from me, I could see that Donnessling was impressed. I was pleased with that, though, personally, it didn’t matter whether he approved or not. It’s my job, and he should know that by now. In fact, I think he does.

Mossessling tended Donnessling‘s wounds and provided him with a small cake from her supplies. The food and stitches revived him considerably.

By that time everyone had returned from the search and Donnessling gave the word to Allalling that we were leaving, immediately.

I have to say, these guys are amazingly quick, and they packed up in a minute. I was the only one who was still trying to get my things packed, but I quickly got some “help” to speed things up.

Then off we went. We didn’t go back the way we had come from, nor did we head down the corridor that Begkragk and Donnessling took the night before. Allalling led us to a passageway that was mostly hidden among sharp, rough rocks. It contained a rough floor of broken stone, and it was narrow, so progress was slow, but it soon led us in an upward direction.

We began the journey this morning, and at the end of a long march, we came out of the darkness and onto a shelf high in the mountains overlooking the sea. Daylight was well-gone when we arrived here, but it was a cloudless night. I am writing now under that welcoming sky and will tell more of the tale of Begkragk’s betrayal and the Eye of Zanyr tomorrow.

Is a Killer Moraktatha on the Loose?

By Lusa Lockless, Travel Editor and Reporter-at-Large, the Tarnath Times


Kogu 17, SP~5,022

Are the rumors true? Is there a killer moraktatha slithering through the streets and the dark stone steps of our beloved city devouring folk at will? And, what are our local officials doing to stop it? Unless I’m mistaken, it is their duty to protect us, is it not?

Friends, please don’t panic. Even if those who have sworn to protect our community are failing at their job, you can count on Lusa Lockless to keep you informed!

The first mysterious event was reported almost three weeks ago. Perdy Fellfether, father of five, failed to find his way home. His husband immediately told the constables of the Western District (one of Tarnath’s most peaceful and clean neighborhoods), pressing upon them the constancy of his husband’s punctuality. “He’s never late!” Perdy told me he told them. But, it would seem they had better things to do, and Fellfether is still missing with no explanation, or comment, from the Western District’s officials. I’m sure you agree with me that we all send our thoughts and prayers (each to our own gods of course) to Perdy’s family.

The next attack occurred just a few days later. Thalmo Podwall, owner of Podwall’s Perfumery on Hethgeg Street, was on his way home when he saw a human-like figure following him. Actually, he “felt” that he was being followed by a human-like figure. His emotions were telling him one thing, but his eyes, when he could get past his feelings, told him another. He stopped to challenge his stalker. His description resembled that of Mr. Fellfether; however, Mr. Podwall said that the human he talked to seemed to have trouble responding. It hesitated in answering and then seemed to use several words out of context. Of course, Thalmo was worried about their mental state. When he flourished a cudgel that he carries for security, the creature backed away. As Mr. Podwall walked away he swears that the creature seemed to fade from his heart. It then appeared as a long, thick snake slithering into a nearby alleyway. Strange indeed, Friends!

Since then there have been a number of other assaults. Some folk have been reported missing under strange circumstances and others have told of similarly strange encounters.

My contacts at the Charismatic Guild have assured me that this has all the signs of a moraktatha, and likely a large one, and old. These creatures, in their natural form, resemble snakes with many eyes. They can be quite large, as much as ten feet in length or more. What is truly unique about a moraktatha is expressed perfectly by Imblenhi in his famous Bestiary: “In addition to the physical nourishment, moraktatha get knowledge from their prey; they actually live out the entirety of their meal’s life as they digest it, experiencing every thought and emotion it did. After digesting something or someone, a moraktatha knows everything that creature knew, remembers that creature’s life with the same fondnesses and petty hatreds that the creature itself held”.

I will leave you with this warning, my Friends — beware of strangers after sunset and, when you can, travel in groups, until this thing is found and destroyed.

Until then, you can count on your Lusa Lockless to keep you informed about the latest events, so remember to read my column every day.

Until next time, stay safe!

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Shawmancer Island (entry 16)

Later that night

Rhonda Floam

Midnight conversation

I’m writing again today, or maybe it’s early tomorrow.

I’d been asleep, but I sleep lightly. Good for me!

I heard a soft movement, like someone trying to sneak away, and, of course, I was right. Begkragk and Donnessling were stealing away from where we were all sleeping, and I decided to follow. The lessons I got from my good friend Elinor about walking silently really paid off (kamari can make no sound at all when walking in the woods through brambles!). I was able to follow, at a distance, but not be heard or seen. I think I was a bit lucky, too, that the two of them seemed to be deeply in conversation and not paying much attention to anything else.

Begkragk knew where he was going and took them down a narrow corridor that seemed like no one had walked in for a long time. He found a door hidden along the wall and took Donnessling in with him. I got myself close enough to hear them.

“It’s mine!” I could hear Begkragk say.

“It belongs to no one,” Donnessling replied. “It’s too powerful for any one …”

That’s when I heard a snapping sound like a hand slapped on stone.

The rest of the conversation, more like an argument actually, was more of the same. Donnessling argued that the stone, which he called “one of the Eyes from the Crown of Drawnwyn”, should be reunited with the “other Eyes”.

Begkragk wasn’t having any of it. His folk found it, and they found it in the mountains of their kingdom, so it belonged to them!

There was something Donnessling said about where the Eye had been in centuries before. I didn’t pick up on all of it, but it seemed to have traveled quite a bit.

The two of them must have gone on for an hour or more before Donnessling finally gave up. I remember the last thing he said. “We will do all in our power to protect Zanyr and to protect you and your folk, but beware, Begkragk, this Eye has powers you know not of.”

Begkragk responded with something about how he could control the stone and would use it to bring order to the northern regions of the continent.

After that there was silence, and then I could hear them in the hallway just outside of the room, and not far from the alcove where I was hiding. Somehow they passed me by without seeing me. I think they were each so focused on not hammering the other that they weren’t paying attention.

I waited a while for them to be well gone, and then I headed back to write this down and to find another hour or two of sleep before the next day began.