What follows are selected turns for some of the active party members. --Rich Branham You have this strange feeling of being out of your body and watching yourself. You see Branham all through the centuries as he walked and breathed in Zhalindor. You see the criminal guild Branham taught the use of psionics to gain strength through the ages and oppose the thought police of Phineas at every turn. Eventually the organization is taken over by a shrewd and somewhat ethical man who uses the influence of the guild to destroy the slavers trade with the Lands of the Overlord; Branham smiles to himself. Branham finds himself back in Limbo, and well he remembered Percivle’s cruel betrayal of him there. Branham is whisked back through/with/in(?) the Crystal Sphere to his own worlds. His mind comes to rest on a curious scene. This is the scene that started Branham on the journey that ultimately takes him now to the heart of the world. It is the maximum security psychological prison on Zebulon V. Branham is wearing hospital whites lying in a bed and Zor is standing over him wearing an immaculate Naval Intelligence dress uniform. Zor speaks to Branham ``I’m not sure how you’ve managed to pull this one off you psionic mutant scum! But, here the orders are. You’re to find out what is at the cause of this Hiver disturbance and neutralize it or learn how to neutralize it at all costs. This is another guaranteed Galactic Starburst for Extreme Heroism. You watch out psionic boy! I’m going to be on your heels like stink on shit, and shit you are. The second you fuck up, your ass is mine!’’ Branham turns his head wearily away and says ``Zor, sorry I’m not your type; so, I guess I just better do it according to the book. I didn’t ask to be psionic, but I am. I’ve always used it for the good of the Imperium, and this won’t be any exception. You need to get a life though. Perchance I could talk to my uncle, Fleet Admiral Sutter; I’m sure he could get a nice assignment for you.’’ Branham smiled to himself as Zor stormed from the room. Branham finds himself back at the Naval Academy on Preht. He is on guard duty, and as he makes his rounds he opens a door and finds Zor in a compromising position with another of the midshipmen. Branham averts his eyes, but he has a duty to report this impropriety to the authorities. Zor is later able to re-enter the Academy, but he never forgave Branham for his adherence to regulations. Huvis Huvis recalls the last several years with joy. ``It was fun’’ he thinks to himself. Huvis recalls some of the more disturbing events. Huvis sees Pahk Chi hunting orphans in Alyrien. Huvis has visions of an evil ogre traveling with the party, supping on the blood of another victim in the ruins of man’s first home. Huvis sees Raem summoning unspeakable evils and delighting in the chaos his creatures caused. Huvis recalls his home, and he remembers the event that started him on the path toward the heart of the world. He was at home with his family. They had just completed the ritual burning of the Nerrian flag on Earth Day/Dark Week/Storm Season. A rap came at the door, and a wizened old man stood outside in the rain. Huvis’ mother ushered the stranger into the family home. The man stooped and said ``I am Hirsalla of the White Order. I have needs to talk with young Huvis.’’ Your mother and father glance at each other nervously, but their internal debate is cut short as Shoulder Patches, one of the village elders, entered the home. Shoulder Patches glances at Hirsalla and then at Huvis’ parents and says ``sorry for my lateness. Is he suitable good friend?’’ Hirsalla replies curtly ``he is the one spoken of in the legend. He must be schooled in the ways of magic; when the time is right, we shall contact him again.’’ Phineas Phineas feels an odd sense of vertigo as he watches a bit more personal of a spin on his centuries. Phineas sees the slavers defeated and the reign of Istalome finished. He smiles to himself. But, the next scene gives Phineas reason to pause. He finds himself standing inside a hobbit hovel on the border with Hemen. A hobbit woman is crying in the middle of floor. She lies in a pool of blood. A male hobbit with a concerned look strides into the scene, smacking his head like a thunderclap on the lintel of the arch. The many scabs on his forehead indicate he has done this before. The female speaks ``another miscarriage Cotton-Ear.’’ As she sobs, Cotton-Ear reaches down tenderly, but slips in the ichor and falls flat on his back. The female looks directly at the place Phineas is standing and spits a noisome gob of saliva and hamasin which passes directly through Phineas. She states ``we must leave this place. It is an evil land, and this is all the doing of that tin plated monarch Phineas the Black!’’ Cotton-Ear lies back and moans while the female attends to his self inflicted wounds oblivious to her own pain. The scene shifts to Phineas in his tower. Phineas is standing directly in front of a strange, glowing artifact. The inscriptions of fertility and death are clearly etched on its slightly glowing surface. Across the table from him stands a human female wearing a scarlet surcoat bearing an upturned axe. Phineas says ``So Rose, what does the divination reveal this year?’’ Rose replies ``Kemer-Lexi tells me this is a good year for the hobbits of Nerria. There will be much rejoicing from the many births occurring this year.’’ Rose curtsies and leaves while Phineas waves his hands in a complex pattern over the artifact which flares. Phineas states to no one but himself ``too bad that we had a poor wheat harvest this year. Better that the population remains constant till we can solve the transportation problem.’’ The Phineas watching mumbles through a scowl ``she never told me how it worked! She never told me!’’ Phineas finds himself back at the Tower of Death watching as Nigilranthrib is imprisoned in the Nexus. He sees the blight lifted from Zhalindor, and his heart rejoices. Phineas feels the crown of Nerria slide down on his head once more, and he remembers with joy his wedding to Anna. Phineas sees the prideful look of friendship in Tremir’s eyes through the many years. Phineas remembers why he began adventuring and what started him ultimately on the path that would take him now to the heart of the world. He is standing on a cow path back in the eastern reaches of Eldenvaan. Aunt Hattie is sitting on her porch holding a well used pipe between stained teeth. A rider from the estate of Baron Borgbad is trotting away. Hewey, Dewey and Lewey, Phineas’ cousins, stand in the road tossing a fresh horse apple back and forth. Dewey cries out ``Hey Phineas, are you sure you won’t come out here. It’s lots a fun!’’ The young Phineas shakes his head in the negative as he watches Lewey wipe his sweaty brow leaving a streak of manure across his forehead. The young Phineas mutters ``I’ve got to get out of this place!’’ ``You will and how!’’ a voice answers Phineas. Phineas whirls to see a figure dressed in white, holding a staff with a glowing green orb. ``Who are you mister?’’ asks Phineas. ``I’ve been called many things, but you can call me Tien. First, let’s see what it takes to get your aunt here to let me take you along and introduce you to some ranger friends of mine.’’ answered the Tien. Granth Granth remembers the years at the place of magic and all the good he did. He remembers his younger days of play with Tremir. He could not have asked for a happier family growing up. Granth recalls the event that ultimately led him down the path that takes him even now to the heart of the world. There was a traveling circus, the Three Bean Circus. The circus put on a magic show that evening. A mage put on a show of illusion and wonder that left the young Granth agape, wanting to see more. That evening, Granth snuck out to go see the magic user. He didn’t come home for five years. Magic is like a burning fire that consumes all else in one’s life, and once you’ve tasted its allure, there is no turning back. The greatest magic of all lies ahead. The power to destroy is the power to create. Balinor The last few centuries are a blur, but Balinor picks out the moment that started him down the path which ultimately leads him to the heart of the world. Balinor is looking over the ruins of the cottage he once lived in. He turns away and sheds a tear as he recognizes the burned arm of his departed mother. Balinor turns to the sky and yells at the top of his lungs ``this will not happen again! I will discover what I must, because this will not happen again!!!’’ Tremir Tremir thinks back in pleasure on the last few centuries. He recalls the fun times with Phineas, and Tremir remembers with pride his rebuilding of Gebnick Glade and the reconstruction of the shattered Nerria. Tremir smiles as he reminisces about the 200 foot fall and being saved by Phineas who stabs him with the Lifesword. Tremir thinks back to his childhood and the event which led him down the path which took him ultimately to the heart of the world. Tremir is in the woods. Suddenly a chill whips through the trees, and the foul smell of orc begins to cling to the fresh scent of pines. Tremir and his friends turn to run back to the tree fort of the village, but too late, the orc warband is upon them. The captain of the orc band captures Tremir easily. He ties Tremir to a tree and forces him to listen as the orc band makes a quick snack of his playmates. Tremir has no doubt he is being saved as a meal for later when the thrum of an elf-bow sends wave after wave of arrows into the heaving chests of the warband. A tall figure leaps into the clearing, sheaths the bow, removes a sword and cuts Tremir’s bonds all in one fluid motion. ``Call me Thurilla’’ he says to Tremir. ``What are you?’’ asks Tremir. ``I am a gardener, a chosen one of Aldrya.’’ ``I wanna be a gardener too’’ says Tremir. For a moment, Thurilla’s eyes fill with knowledge and sadness. His shoulders slump forward as the seeming weigh of the world caves in on him. Thurilla kneels beside Tremir and says ``oh, you will sprout; too soon, you will.’’ Trahk Chi Trahk thinks back over the past few years and the many battles fought and food eaten (and food fought for that matter). He grunts with satisfaction to himself. He thinks for a moment about his lost brother Pahk Chi, but Trahk sees Pahk has fathered many and eaten some Trollkin. Pahk has killed many a beetle and summoned many a howling demon. What troll could ask for more? Trahk thinks back over the long centuries he and his brother were imprisoned in the stone. So much changed! Those early days, fighting the Slith, those were some really good times! Trahk regrets for a moment he never started a family. His tribe would be large now! He would be a veritable king in the underworld!