Publication Date: 35th Novtimber, Y1, 6A. (21st November 2015)

Raiders Escalate Threat of Asgarnian Famine

On 29 Novtumber, a cart of grain sacks destined for the Kingdom of Falador was attacked by unidentified raiders and looters, of whom proceeded to steal the entire contents of the cart.

Last week, unnamed raiders attacked a farming village north of Falador. Workmen were loading up a cart with grain, of which was destined for transport towards the ‘white city’ after food stocks were pillaged during the Siege of Falador conducted by the infamous Black Knights.

One boy, who has requested to remain unnamed, told The ‘Times he saw the flickering of torchlight upon the horizon shortly after the cart had been loaded with grain. Billy, a workmate of the latter, says “we saw the riders on their horses just after my friend pointed out the torches. They were riding fast, and we saw their weapons. We knew they weren’t here for pleasantries, so we fled.”

The bodies of the raiders were found later that day by Asgarnian troops that had been sent out to track down the raiders and, if possible, reobtain the grain. Officials say that the bodies were found dismembered: that “human-sized” mouths had eaten parts of the fallen raiders. They also say that a large amount of grain had been stolen, with what was left being “hardly salvageable”.

The Times have learned that The Order of the Band, an Asgarnian-approved freelance military organisation, are not only investigating the raiders but also those who engaged combat with them.

Little is currently known about the raiders, however a Sergeant of the regiment that found the raiders claims “it could have been the undead”, due to the close proximity of the event and the Wilderness wall. However, he has assured The ‘Times alongside villagers that the raiders no longer pose a threat.

Combined with the raiding of food stocks during the Siege of Falador, this now means that the Empire of Asgarnia are edging ever closer to a famine. Reports suggest that the Asgarnian treasury has suffered losses of roughly 22%, with currently no foreign trade partners to help improve the situation.

The Asgarnian government has made no official comment regarding the situation, other than asking their citizens to remain calm in this difficult time.

By Sarah Alpeski, Asgarnian Correspondent for The Gielinor Times.

A Dream of Jackals in the Sand

It is the opinion of this columnist, ignorant though I may be on matters of cosmological and historical significance, that the Kharidian desert is the finest example we have of mortal perseverance in the face of immortal belligerence.

Walking the bazaars of Al Kharid, and taking in the gilded minarets and sandstone mega-structures wrought by ancient hands, a northern visitor might get a sense that the best is yet to come. Al Kharid is the gateway to the world beyond as we all know; and though we know that about 95% of the landmass beyond is nought but desert, we expect the remainder to be of such splendour and grandeur that Al Kharid is put to shame.

The explorers among us know this is not the case. Pollnivneach is a criminal's paradise, rife with thievery and seemingly home to half of the rest of Gielinor's most wanted. Nardah, proclaimed the world over as a major spiritual hub, is little more than a few shacks around a fountain. Sophanem is a disease-ridden relic with an attitude problem. The ruins are impressive, no question, but they're shut up tighter than a miser's purse.

But all have one thing in common: despite the best efforts of gods and sycophants, they have not just survived, but thrived. Even today, Nardah has to fend off threats from the outside world but does so stoically, and without violence. Pollnivneach is bustling and busy with laughter and (mostly) legitimate commerce. Sophanem is on the mend, carefully administered and tentatively putting out feelers to the outside world.

The strength of the Kharid lies in its spirit. Legends say it was once bountiful and fertile, before being ravaged to fend off invaders. That beauty and strength is found now in the hearts of the Kharidians themselves. Its dunes and corners may hide all manner of wonders; but there is no greater wonder than the Kharidians themselves. For in them, we see the true quality of mortals: perseverance.

By Tame Locke, Columnist for The Gielinor Times.

A Queen's Madness, Rebellion Flares

On 34 Novtumber, a protest in Varrock Square turned violent, leaving several wounded.

Previous to her disappearance several weeks ago, the Queen of Misthalin was said to have spiraled into madness. She was reported to have sentenced minor criminals and even children to the fullest extent of punishment for their crimes, including but not limited to time in the stocks, labor in Misthalin's mines and even mutilation. Citizens also reported the Queen's disinterest in caring for her people or their lands, ignoring the fires set to the Ptolemy Dean Public Library. It has been said that the Queen's madness also contributed to the severing of alliance ties to Asgarnia.

In the wake of the Queen's madness and subsequent disappearance, the people of Varrock have begun to rise up against the Royals. On 34 Novtumber, a protest was held in the city square. During the heated outcry a fight began and several citizens were wounded, four reported dead. These events have enraged the people, leaving many expecting more violence to follow.

It is unclear what caused the maddness of Queen Lavinia. What is clear, however, is the distaste the peoples of the Kingdom have had for their leaders ever since. The Queen's heir, Lucrezia Lansing, has been named temporary Regent. It is unlikely the fires of rebellion will be soon quenched.

By Lia Blake, Freelance Journalist.

New Leaders Appointed to Lands in Misthalin

Shortly after the sudden disappearance of the Duchess and family of Lumbridge-Draynor, new leadership has been appointed in Draynor and Edgeville.

It was recently announced that the Village of Draynor had been appointed a new Count, one Ivaylo Bardokva. It was likewise announced that Duke Abel Lansing would assume control of the the Edge March. While the village of Draynor had previously been well cared for by the nobility of Lumbridge, these changes have greatly effected the Edge March, whose citizens were under the care and control of Varrock's administration. Duke Abel has formed the Order of the Sentinels, knights tasked with watching the Wilderness wall and protecting Edgeville and all of Misthalin from threats from the North.

The appointment of Count Ivaylo to Draynor comes after the unexpected disappearance of Duchess Kya Vernet and her family from Lumbridge. While rumors of the cause of this disappearance float, an official statement cannot be given at this time. With this announcment, the village of Draynor has removed itself from the merging of the two southern territories.

Rumors have spread concerning the future of Lumbridge without its Duchess, however none have been validated. Until a leader is named, Lumbridge remains under the watchful eye of Varrock's administration.

By Lia Blake, Freelance Journalist.

Demons Within

‘So this is it,’ Marc* thought to himself as he approached a shack nestled into the middle of Lumbridge's swamplands. His son had told him about this place, the creature who called it home and the request it had made of him. His heart sank into the pit of his stomach.

“I have come,* he called, “to speak with the Lady of the Swamp. I hoped you might answer some questions.”

The door swung open to him with an aching creak. As he moved inside it slammed and he felt cold, boney fingers curl around his shoulder.

Marco spun, coming face to face with the swamp witch. She was as pale as death and emaciated. Her clothing was ratty and she wore a thin scrap of cloth to veil her eyes and head. When she grinned at him, her teeth were black with rot.

"Well? Don’t keep an old woman waiting,” she cackled, extending her boney hand out to him.

Marco forced his mind from her despicable appearance with great difficulty and spoke. “I know you came to my son and requested a piece of jewelry.”

“It does not belong to him,” she hissed, emphasizing her statement by snatching up a silver knife and spinning around to point it at him. “It does not belong to you, either.”

Marco slipped his fingers into the collar of his shirt. He curled them around a silver chain and pulled the ring into view. The hag lurched forward, extending her empty hand to grasp at the ring.

“This ring belonged to someone very dear to me. I won’t let you take it.” Marco lifted an arm across his front to block her from getting close enough to take the ring.

The witch stepped back and raised the knife, carving into her own palm. As blood poured out of her hand and pooled on the floor, Marco stepped forward. Tendrils of blood rose and snapped around his ankles, dragging him down into a black void.

“If you will not give,” the witch’s voice echoed in his ears as the nothingness swallowed him up, “then I will take.”

By S.P. Scriven, Fiction Writer for The Gielinor Times.

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