Fort Aspenwood and The Jade Quarry:
The Battles Wage On

Most travelers to Cantha over the past few months know all too well of the war waging between the Luxons and Kurzicks. Multiple battles span the borders of these enemy nations, but two sieges in particular are causing both factions much strife. These battles are potential turning points—for either side—and thus, much concern over them has arisen.

The Kurzicks are desperately attempting to protect Fort Aspenwood—a stronghold that has stood for centuries, acting as a key strategic location for Kurzick raids into Luxon territory. The assailants are their nomadic nemeses, the Luxons. Fort Aspenwood stood long before the Jade Wind swept across Cantha, forever changing our beloved homeland. Its longevity lends it particular importance among the Kurzicks. After 500 years of holding the citadel, the Kurzicks are now presented with a serious threat to their ownership of the fortress. They are desperately calling for anyone who is loyal to the Kurzicks to travel to Fort Aspenwood to defend against the growing threat from the east.

The Luxon Army is also on high alert, simultaneously conducting an assault on Fort Aspenwood while defending The Jade Quarry—their main source for magically infused jade—from increasingly brutal Kurzick raids. While the Jade Wind transformed the entire sea into jade, much of it is non-magical and of low quality, and thus worthless to both factions. The Jade Quarry extends along a seabed that contains the finest jade in the region, making it an attractive target for Kurzick raids.

In response to escalating enemy action split across two fronts, both factions are calling for all able-bodied combatants to aid their cause and take up arms. As extra incentive to summon more forces to these two key locations, Kurzicks and Luxons are offering double faction to all who fight in the battles at either The Jade Quarry or Fort Aspenwood. If you have sworn allegiance to either faction—or now wish to do so—you would be wise to hurry to one of the two battlegrounds and reap the extra benefits. The double faction is reportedly only to be rewarded for the next few days, so time is certainly of the essence.

New Weapons Reported

An old friend who works at the Kaineng Docks shared some thrilling gossip with me. He overheard that a vessel carrying a shipment of weapons—of a type previously unseen on either continent—was en route to Cantha when an unknown force ambushed it. The brutal attack left neither cargo nor survivors behind. The weapons were stolen, along with the rest of the payload, and have apparently been sold to various groups and armies on mainland Cantha.

The information is hazy, but early reports suggest the items were spread across the continent, and some have even made their way into the Underworld and Fissure of Woe. It seems whoever intercepted the shipment has no regard for the citizens of Cantha, for these miscreants have essentially armed some of the most villainous armies with powerful weapons to turn against the innocent.

The Outcasts in the Jade Sea have been bragging about a new weapon they have acquired, though the type is unknown. Also, Wardens of the Echovald Forest were seen transporting what looked to be a large crate, suggesting they have acquired some of the plundered wares as well. Other weapons are apparently being sold off to individuals, rather than in bulk to a particular army, meaning we will find many of these new items in the clutches of random evildoers. Canthan officials thus far have found themselves unable to halt the distribution of these stolen goods.

However, even in the darkest hour, there is always a shred of hope. These weapons could be liberated and turned against the very armies of evil that now wield them. The equipment would no doubt be of great value to both treasure seekers and soldiers. It would be most advantageous for you to hunt the beasts that now possess these items and augment your personal arsenal or sell the loot as you see fit. Canthan officials will not hold you accountable for possession or sale of the stolen artifacts, provided you were not part of the initial plot to steal them.

If you are fond of new and rare equipment, you would be wise to search for these new items soon. They are no doubt being distributed among the ranks of our most hated enemies as we speak, and we most likely will begin seeing them used against us within the next few days. May Dwayna protect you while you wrest the stolen items from these fiends, and may Balthazar strike down those who stand in your way!

Random Acts of Kindness

Once again, I have noted a few kind souls who, in recent days, have brightened our world.

While stepping out for a breath of fresh air in the monastery courtyard, I witnessed Dragon Keen directing a new student to the armorer. With the recent threats on Shing Jea Island, travelers need as much protection as possible, so I thank you, Dragon Keen, for helping a citizen in need.

After receiving another traveling assignment to Ascalon, I garnered passage at Seitung Harbor to the continent of Tyria. It was there I saw Maximus Alrrilius offering to help anyone, free of charge, on any quests or assignments with which they were having trouble. I thank you for taking the time to help those less experienced than yourself, Maximus Alrrilius.

Over in Ascalon City, Necro With A Smile helped equip a fellow Necromancer by giving her his old, uncustomized staff. Even a weapon for which one has no further use can serve another well, so such generosity is worthy of comment.

Blessings to each of you, and may you have long and fruitful lives! I thank you for continuing to help those in need and, in turn, making our world a better place.