Frequently Asked Questions
in the Thurfel Quest
updated 12/19/02


This little sheet of questions and answers is intended as a sort of OOC "primer" to help people understand The Thurfel Quest. It is not intended to be comprehensive or detailed. At various points logs on the site are referenced and a link provided for more such comprehensive or detailed information on the subject matter, though such extra info can be obtained in other logs on the site than just the ones specifically listed and linked.
The sheet is not intended as a full summary of all events in the quest. Just remember, this quest was long and very varied. To quote a staff post to the Official Gemstone Message Boards in this regard:
"As far as the type of story this is - Krash and I have stated before and I'll do so again for those who are new to the events. This is similar to your old time serial movie like Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers (the original, not the TV version) or the Green Hornet - each story stands on its own merits, but it also leads into others (the old will soandso survive? will the bad guy triumph? stay tuned for the next episode...), some of which branch off, some of which are intertwined, and still others that do both. Particular episodes may be of interest to some of you, others to others of you, but everyone is welcome to be involved to the extent they wish. In addition, there are stories branching all over the place that may not have anything to do with Thurfel at all after the initial character introduction - you never know what you're going to see next. As Esserae surmised, perhaps those inconsistencies aren't"
-- GM Kennesaw



Question: Who was/is Thurfel?
Answer: Thurfel was/is an extraordinarily powerful halfling wizard who is part of the Council of Ten, all mages on said Council being amongst the "founders" of IceMule (this is in IC sense, not OOC sense, as I mean the actual founding, not the discovery in game). In brief, the Ten are all mages who worshiped seemingly Luukos and were involved in a cult of Amasalen.

Initially they were actually a "healthy" political force in town, but that changed when power was whiffed under their noses by the serpent messenger. (Read more about the Council of Ten and what happened to them in the Prologue log.) Thurfel, it should be understood from the git-go, was always the most powerful of the Ten.

Technical Note: Thurfel was/is a GM-run NPC.

Question: Who is Amasalen?
Answer: Amasalen is an immortal listed among the Elanthian pantheon of deities. No one knows how he became immortal and no one knows why. There are many rumors about who he serves, but the general consensus is Luukos. His titles include "The Executioner" and "Lord of Blood", and he is also rumored to have long figured in the history of IceMule. Some say that, while yet in mortal form, he funded the building of the Abbey outside the East Gate of IceMule. Some also say that it was his avatar which appeared as the serpent messenger. (Read more about who Amasalen is in Elanthian culture in the official gods document for Gemstone III.)

Technical Note: Amasalen appeared in this quest in the form of several avatars. All such manifestations of Amasalen are strictly GM-run.

Question: When and under what circumstances was Thurfel first encountered?
Answer: Two answers here, since the Ten were "founders" of IceMule, their tale was originally told in game by the merchant Uxbri. (Again this story can be found in the Prologue log.)

Thurfel was first physically encountered in March of 1999 when he arrived in one of the then-open workshops in IceMule and asked those gathered to "leave his house". They didn't. He got mad. He wound up firestorming most of Mule and meteor-storming many citizens. (Thus his nickname, firemage.) The fires were put out by resourceful IceMulers with endless cups of tea from the Thirsty Penguin Inn.

Thurfel at that time tried to open the tomb to rescue the other nine of the Council. He managed only to break the physical seals of the tomb and couldn't budge the magical ones, so he went back into hiding. Presumably to study the magic to learn best how to defeat the seals.

In February 2000, he reappeared in town. He again made assault on the tomb. But then his interests changed...

Technical Note: Timeline for these early-on events is contained in the Prologue log.

Question: Can you explain a little bit about the structuring of the quest?
Answer: The quest was in chapters and, though no official force declared any chapter done, the "ending" could be pretty much traced after the fact to certain events. There were five main chapters, though each chapter also had "sub-chapters". The table below provides a loose structural diagram.

CHAPTER START END SUB-CHAPTERS HIGHLIGHTS
1. In the Beginning... May 1997

starting with the discovery of the relic, though that story is only tenuously attached to the quest
March 1999

ending with the burning of IceMule and Thurfel's subsequent return into hiding
The Relic

The Revelation of the History of the Council of Ten
The discovery and subsequent destruction of the relic (see Prologue log)

The telling by Uxbri of the story of the Council of Ten (see Prologue log)

The first appearance of Thurfel (see Prologue log)

The burning of IceMule (see Prologue log)
2. Lone Assaults... October 1999

starting with the messenger who spoke of the relic and the "dark gate"
June 2000

ending with the failure of the acid glyph on the tomb
The Messengers/Dreams Ilvane's Dream (see Prologue log)

Thurfel creates a fissure in the tomb (see Fissure Creation log)

Thurfel reveals a "symbiosis" with Amasalen (see In Sanctuary log)

Thurfel admits the failure of the acid glyph (see In Caverns log)
3. Thurfel's Domain... June 2000

starting with the revealing of Thurfel's Island
December 2000

ending with the truce between Thurfel and the Northern Fury Guard
The Apprentice Halfberry

Thurfel's "Change of Heart"

Thurfel's Plans for IceMule

Fullberry
The revelation of Thurfel's Island (see Island Opening log)

Halfberry's loss of the teal crocodile pin (see Commune to Ronan log)

The revelation of "Thurfel's army" (see The Castellan log)

The death of Halfberry (see Cataclysm! log)

Thurfel's search for a new apprentice (see Witlass Grawg log)

The divining sphere (see Divining Sphere log)

Thurfel's personal interest in Iscikella (see Dinner at Eight log)

The assault upon Thurfel's Keep (see Keep Attack! log)

Thurfel's assault upon the Juggernaut and taking of the tomb (see Juggernaut Attack! log)

The truce with the Fury (see Fury Truce log)
4. Touch of Amasalen... January 2001

starting with the revelation to Iscikella by Thurfel of what was "imprisoned" in the divining sphere
November 2001

ending with the taking of the ninth possessed
The Possessions

Thurfel's Entrapment

Yfa
The revelation by Thurfel about the divining sphere (see Little Secrets log)

The revelation of Thurfel's general distrust of sorcerers (see Stargazing log)

The shattering of the divining sphere and the release of its "prisoner" (see Entity Release log)

The attempt by Thurfel to "defeat" the essence in Iscikella and Rills' sudden hysteria (see Desperate Measures log)

The first manifestations at the mist in the keep (see Thurfel in the Mist log)

Yfa's revelation of her own and Thurfel's service to Amasalen and her current mission to kill the firemage for his failure to release the Nine (see Taint of Blood log)

The physical manifestations of Amasalen's influence about IceMule (see A Mule of Blood log)

Yfa's revelations about the artifact now called The Staff of Amasalen (see Amasalen's Staff log)

The ominous predictions of Mehlah (see Mehlah log)

The horrific invasion of IceMule (see "Respite" log)

The arrival of Tiaza, the monk of Voln (see Lobs & Volleys log)

The revelation by Yfa of what Amasalen truly wants with IceMule (see Crossed Purposes log)

Tiaza's attempted freeing of Iscikella from the essence (see Bewilderment log)

The resealing of the tomb, the death of Yfa and the "release" of Thurfel from the mist (see Tombs & Bones log)

Thurfel fights on the side of the town during an invasion (see Reactions -- Third log)

Amasalen rises from the Penguin Pond (see Amasalen in Pond log)

Elendr is possessed by a female most assume (wrongly) to be Yfa (see Jealous Possession log)

The Staff of Amasalen is found by Xeldria (see Ruthless Fates - 1 log)

The ninth possessed, in the person of Tianni, is claimed by the entombed Nine (see Ninth Taken log)
5. One Against Nine November 2001

starting with Thurfel's revelations about the nature of the Nine
December 2002

ending with Thurfel's fulfilling of his bargain with Amasalen and The Executioner's subsequent "reclaim" of the firemage
The Staff of Amasalen

Relationships of Lich to Possessed

The "Construct"

The Tales of the Liches
Thurfel reveals the nature of the "vulnerability" of the Nine and the truth regarding the possessed and the staff (see Rallying against 9 log)

The Nine entombed begin the process of "summoning" themselves forth, using the possessed to call out their names (see Eight Names log)

The Nine begin to shatter the last seal and commence draining the spirit of the possessed (see Bars & Threads log)

The Nine release themselves from the tomb (see Entombed No More log)

Gavrail's cajolement of Elendr (see Symbiosis log)

Elymir's "lessons" to Iscikella (see The Teacher log)

Trianvar's "blackmail" of Opalina (see Grasping Hold log)

Thurfel's "Construct" (see Of Barren Chambers and Shifting Sands and Crash logs)

The Stonecutter (see The StoneCutter Arrives and White Serpent logs)

The revelation of three of the nine as "brothers" (see Three of Nine log)

The revealing of Thurfel's "construct" (see Commissioning a New Stonecutter log)

The finding of Aslakian's vessel and the subsequent freeing of Blizzerdd from possession by said lich (see Vessel One log)

Thulevier's persuasion of Vonka (see Of Temples and Caverns log)

The finding of Thulevier's vessel (see Vessel Two log)

The finding of the third lich vessel, though to which lich it belonged is still unknown (see Vessel Three log)

The finding of the fourth lich vessel, and the appearance "in the flesh" of the previously unseen ninth lich Thalaes (see Vessel Four log)

The finding of Thalaes' vessel and the subsequent freeing of Atoyoz from possession by said lich (see Vessel Five log)

The finding of Trianvar's vessel and the subsequent freeing of Opalina from possession by said lich (see Vessel Six log)

The finding of Cheritz's vessel and the subsequent freeing of Tianni from possession by said lich (see Vessel Seven log)

Thurfel's successful summoning of the Navigators and his reclaim of the Staff of Amasalen (see The Summoning log)

Thurfel's revelation of a final day to vanquish the liches with a festival upon his island (see Isle Fest? and Whimsical Ways logs

Thurfel announces that the staff has led him to the remaining four orbs and announces the date for the festival (see Tick... Tick... Tick.. log

Thurfel fulfills his bargain to Amasalen by handing over the Nine for punishment, but fails to understand the wording of his own "contract" with the Blood Lord (see And Nothing Is Ever as It Seems log



Question: What and where is Thurfel's Island?
Answer: Thurfel's Island is located in a subterranean lake under the "rat well" inside the town boundaries of IceMule Trace.

The Island is what Thurfel considered his "domain". He said he created the island from solid material in the bottom of the lake, a lake much older than the glacier. It is but one of the islands in that lake, but it is only one able to be reached. The Firemage did his experimentation on animals on the island, and the creatures there are the result of such. Thurfel's Island was deeded to Witlass upon Thurfel's demise, and from Witlass to the town of IceMule Trace.

Question: What was his purpose? What did Thurfel wish to accomplish?
Answer: It is a good thing to remember about the Thurfel Quest that the theme of the quest was a line Thurfel spoke more than once to Iscikella, and which his minions repeated in various forms. That line? "Nothing is ever as it seems."

Thurfel was witty and charming. He was also devious as all get out. Originally he did seek to free the Nine. But then he wanted something that was "beyond the tomb". Thurfel was in every sense "Machiavellian". He did good as well as bad, as long as it suited his own purpose.

He did once say he would "bring Amasalen to full power" and that, by so doing, gain infinite power himself. It is certain that Thurfel did serve Amasalen. Yfa confirmed that when she came into the picture. But Thurfel imagined himself capable of bargaining with The Executioner. In the end Thurfel's ego was his downfall.

The Firemage also did have a love for IceMule, a love he initially tried to deny. But he did help found it, and an attachment to it stayed with him. Thus he began to talk about making IceMule a "force in the world", though Thurfel's ideas about such things were surely secretly bloody. And he did know how to manipulate trust. Yet it was all part and parcel of his own ambition for himself. As he would put it in the end, "I will not be a part of history, I will be history itself."

And his thirst for knowledge was unquestionable and seemingly unquenchable. This was one halfling who literally wanted to know all there is to know. And that was his attraction for the Lumnisian Iscikella, ...and maybe what initiated his attraction to her as well.

Question: Who were "Thurfel's minions"?
Answer: "Thurfel's minions" was the term used to describe those characters "in service" to Thurfel. Their attitudes toward him ran the gambit from slavish devotion to outright fear, but all of the them were exceedingly dependent on him. What follows is a list of known "minions".

Halfberry
Halfling wizard, apprentice to Thurfel
Introduced when Thurfel's Island was revealed, Halfberry's outward attitude toward Thurfel was one of fear. He appeared much oppressed by Thurfel, which caused him to rebel and steal the golden crystal orb. In the end his rebellion cost him his life as Thurfel ordered him killed for the "betrayal".
Rills
Halfling warrior, Castellan of Thurfel's Keep and Captain to Thurfel's troops
Introduced during Halfberry's flight from Thurfel's retribution because of the loss of the teal crocodile pin, Rills' outward attitude toward Thurfel was that of a no-nonsense military officer toward his liege lord. Rills would brook no harm done to Thurfel. His manner was abrupt, generally unfriendly, and strict on matters of discipline with those beneath him. However, in March 2002 Rills "ran off" after an argument with Thurfel. If, in fact, he was murdered by the firemage at this point was never clarified.
Witlass
Giantkin warrior, one of Thurfel's troops
Introduced during Thurfel's final confrontation with Halfberry, Witlass' outward attitude toward Thurfel was one of unquestioning trust. Enamored of "candee" and subject to confusion on what to call things (a cat was a cow for instance) while referring to himself by his lastname of "Grawg", he was open, friendly and rather innocent. He believed himself a halfling cause "Toifel", his pronunciation of Thurfel, told him he was. He believed that to kill someone is but to "bonk" them and put them to sleep. It was his blow, ordered by Rills through Thurfel's command, which killed Halfberry. After Thurfel's demise, Witlass was left with the island and keep as his property. Wishing to find his own family, the soldier bequeath those properties to the people of IceMule Trace and headed "west".
Trentas
Halfling wizard, Thurfel's Secretary
Introduced during Thurfel's search for a new apprentice, Trentas' outward attitude toward Thurfel was one of steady devotion to one with more magical abilities than himself. Trentas was superbly efficient as a secretary, keeping lists of all sorts of unexpected things. His manner was obsessive, orderly and polite. In December 2002, Trentas followed Thurfel into death -- or undeath -- at Amasalen's hand.
Flindyl
Halfling bard, Chamberlain of Thurfel's Keep
Introduced during Thurfel's private dinner with Iscikella, Flindyl's outward attitude toward Thurfel was one of affectionate servitude. Of all of Thurfel's minions, only Flindyl appeared to truly have an uncluttered friendship with Thurfel. Flindyl was efficient without Trentas' obsessiveness. His manner was open and friendly. He was somewhat easily embarrassed by compliments, even though he was very sweetly pleased by them. There was, however, deception within the personality of Flindyl. And it appeared he imitated his master in more things that anyone realized. In December 2002, Flindyl followed Thurfel into death -- or undeath -- at Amasalen's hand.
Natalita
Dark Elf sorceress, Thurfel's "researcher"
Introduced during Thurfel's tour of the keep with Iscikella, Natalita's outward attitude toward Thurfel was one of bemused respect. She and Thurfel seemed to enjoy each other's deviousness. With a penchant for "creating" explosives and casting unfocused implosions, Natalita was a force to be reckoned with.
Jarthel
Giantkin warrioress, one of Thurfel's troops
Introduced during Thurfel's tour of the keep with Iscikella, Jarthel's outward attitude toward Thurfel was one of obedience. That night she served as Thurfel's bodyguard, though she died rather quickly during the assault.
Ghashath
Halfling warrior, one of Thurfel's recruits
Introduced during Thurfel's search for a new apprentice, Ghashath's outward attitude toward Thurfel was one of awe. He marched into Thurfel's cabana during the initial interviews being held by Trentas, Rills and Witlass of apprentice candidates and asked to serve under Thurfel. Trentas accepted him and used him as an efficient bouncer and slayer during the interviews.
Erzak
Halfling warrior, one of Thurfel's troops
Introduced during Thurfel's search for a new apprentice, Erzak's outward attitude toward Thurfel was one of obedience. He was one of the "slayers" on the island the night of the finalists interviews.
Perano
Halfling wizard, Thurfel's assistant
Introduced during Thurfel's "release", Perano's outward attitude toward Thurfel was one of servitude with perhaps some unspoken resentment. Thurfel explained Perano's position as "finishing off the creation" of creatures he himself started. Ah, but Perano seemed to like to work on creatures without Thurfel's knowledge as well. It was his creations, many of them unknown to Thurfel, which escaped the mist and the cellar the night Thurfel and Yfa had their final showdown.
Technical Notes: All the "minions" were GM-run NPCs. Only the top six appeared more than once.

Question: Who were Fullberry, Madcap, and the Grahnke?
Answer: These were various "folk" who, for expressed personal vendettas against Thurfel, assisted the Northern Fury Guard in the assault on Thurfel's Keep.

Fullberry
Halfling warrior, claimed brother of Halfberry
Fullberry contacted members of the Northern Fury Guard and proposed to help them attack the keep in vengeance for the death of Halfberry. But it is most unclear if he was who he said he was. It seems much more likely he was a "creation" of Thurfel sent to set a "war" in motion.
Madcap
Halfling warrior, friend and companion-at-arms to Fullberry
Not much else to say about him. He participated with Fullberry in the assault upon Thurfel's Keep.
the Grahnke
Troll/Ogre mix created by Thurfel
The Grahnke was one of Thurfel's experiments which went bad. He escaped his bonds in the keep and wandered the island for a goodly while before, for some reason -- which seems more than likely that he recognized Fullberry as actually another of Thurfel's creations, he assisted Fullberry in the assault on the keep. The original Grahnke died in that assault, but lesser versions were later created by the Firemage and roam the cellar of the keep to this day.
Technical Notes: All those listed above were GM-run NPCs.

Question: Who were/are Talbot, Yfa and the Nine?
Answer: These were/are various folk "against" Thurfel.

Talbot
Halfling warrior, the hero whose spirit the halflings trust to protect IceMule
The little halfling hero who saved Wehnimeir's Landing from the krolvin in Elanthian history, Talbot's spirit is accredited the protector of IceMule. It was said it stood guard over the Council when entombed.
Yfa
Dark Elf bardess, servant of Amasalen and associate of the Council of Ten
Yfa's mission from Amasalen: to kill Thurfel and release the Nine. She failed miserably in both. She said she once loved Thurfel, but doesn't anymore and only sought his death. The revelation by Thurfel of Yfa as a "corrupted bard" with "a voice that could light candles" was particularly intriguing, since the lady does tend to make males "sweat", so to speak. Quite the seductive one, this former "torchsinger". Apparently jealous of Thurfel's affection for Iscikella, she herself sought out Iscikella's husband Blizzerdd. She was first tricked regarding the tomb and then herself killed and "removed" by Thurfel. Ah, but Amasalen insured the lady could come back and come back she did, forwarding the cause of the Nine and more determined than ever to kill Thurfel once and for all. Yet she was imprisoned by Thurfel in his obsidian altar until, in December 2002, during the fulfillment of Thurfel's bargain with Amasalen, the Blood Lord released her from the altar. She alone escaped unscathed that night from the vault, and likely will return to IceMule to fulfill Amasalen's will with regard to the Nexus.
the Nine
Halfling mages, the remainder of the Council of Ten
The Nine are undead liches who all felt "betrayed" by Thurfel for his failure to release them for more than a century. Each possessed a living being, the connection to such being allowing them access to the living one's body and voice.
Gavrail
Female, Titular Leader of the Nine, connected by possession to Elendr
Gavrail's personality was actually nurturing to Elendr in most cases, but she would get angry and rail at him when he didn't accomplish what she wished. To others she was usually strident, but would take a "warning" stance, seemingly portraying herself as "on your side". She manifested in true lich form, as a disembodied voice, as a voice within Elendr's mind, and within "visions". She most often spoke in a throaty, rasping, voice. Her signature was the scent of perfume and a blue flame.
NOTE: On the 19th of November in 2002, Thurfel announced that the staff had led him to the hiding places of the remaining four orbs and that they all now resided upon the obsidian altar. Gavrail's orb was amongst these. On the 1st of December in 2002, Gavrail's orb -- and thus Gavrail -- was destroyed with that of all of the Nine.
Elymir
Male, The Teacher, forwarded a connection by possession to Iscikella, though likely his connection was in reality to Mehlah
Elymir's personality was that of a stern instructor. He referred to Iscikella as "child" and insisted his lessons would aid, if she would but learn them fully. He was an extremely cruel "disciplinarian", and enjoyed using the full breadth of his lichly powers more than any other of the liches. He manifested in true lich form, as a disembodied voice, as a voice within the mind of Iscikella or those he took as "thralls", within inanimate objects most particularly the statue of the Council of Ten, and through the bodies of living beings. He spoke usually in a low, gruff voice and he had a penchant for speaking of putting heads or full dead bodies on pikes (Vlad the Impaler of Elanthia). His signature was tendrils of black energy.
NOTE: On the 19th of November in 2002, Thurfel announced that the staff had led him to the hiding places of the remaining four orbs and that they all now resided upon the obsidian altar. Elymir's orb was amongst these. On the 1st of December in 2002, Elymir's orb -- and thus Elymir -- was destroyed with that of all of the Nine.
Thulevier
Male, The Superior One, connected by possession to Vonka
Thulevier's personality was rather superior and condescending. His "hobby" was collecting dead bodies and animating them. He was self-assured in manner and rather... methodical and businesslike. He manifested in true lich form, as a disembodied voice, within inanimate objects and through the bodies of the dead. He spoke most often in a deep, often resonating, voice. His signature was shivering dark shadows.
NOTE: Thulevier's orb was found on the 5th of May in 2002 by Achillea and given by her to the lich. Vonka subsequently was asked by lich to "bond" with him, since his power had increased. However, on the 11th of August in 2002, during Thurfel's summoning of the Navigators to retrieve the Staff of Amasalen from them, Vonka was strangely freed from possession, leaving the question as to whether Thulevier was actually the lich in possession of her, or whether the orb Thulevier held was in reality his own and not that of another lich entirely. In any case, on the 19th of November in 2002, Thurfel announced that the staff had led him to the hiding places of the remaining four orbs and that they all now resided upon the obsidian altar. Thulevier's orb was amongst these. On the 1st of December in 2002, Thulevier's orb -- and thus Thulevier -- was destroyed with that of all of the Nine.
Trianvar
Male, The Blackmailer, connected by possession to Opalina
Trianvar's personality was harsh and demanding. He wanted what he wanted and would brook no dispute. He used the "blackmail" method to try and force Opalina to aid him in getting the staff, by telling her, if she did not, he would kill her loved ones off one by one. Though all the liches hated Thurfel, his hatred of the firemage seemed the most acute. He manifested in true lich form, as a disembodied voice and as a voice within the mind of Opalina. His signature was black mist and black smoke.
NOTE: Trianvar's orb was found on the 20th of June in 2002 by Tesserah and given by her to Thurfel. Subsequently Opalina was freed of possession by this lich. On the 1st of December in 2002, Trianvar's orb -- and thus Trianvar -- was destroyed with that of all of the Nine.
Aslakian
Male, The Ever Enraged, connected by possession to Blizzerdd
Aslakian's personality was constantly angry and full of malice. He said flatly he would make "no deals". There was nothing of the cajoler in him at all. He killed often and indiscriminately. He really was not a conversationalist, the frame of any discussion with him being the realm of insults. He manifested in true lich form most usually, though occasionally as a disembodied voice and as a voice in the mind of those he chose to contact. His signature was crackling energy.
NOTE: Aslakian's orb was found on the 19th of April in 2002 by Adimiron and placed on the altar by Thurfel. Subsequently Blizzerdd was freed of possession by this lich. On the 1st of December in 2002, Aslakian's orb -- and thus Aslakian -- was destroyed with that of all of the Nine.
Cheritz
Female, The Leering Lich, connected by possession to Tianni
Cheritz's personality was a bit of leerer and cackler, perhaps in the vein of RL descriptions of Halloween witches. She manifested in true lich and as a disembodied voice. She had no signature.
NOTE: Cheritz's orb was found on the 7th of July in 2002 by Perigourd and placed on the altar by Thurfel. Subsequently Tianni was freed of possession by this lich. On the 1st of December in 2002, Cheritz's orb -- and thus Cheritz -- was destroyed with that of all of the Nine.
Prangar
Male, The Hesitant One, to which possessed he was connected is unknown
Prangar's personality was largely speculation since he was only seen the one night the tomb opened. He appeared a bit hesitant, quieter than the others, perhaps less sure of himself or perhaps just more thoughtful about what he did. He only manifested in true lich. He had no signature.
NOTE: On the 19th of November in 2002, Thurfel announced that the staff had led him to the hiding places of the remaining four orbs and that they all now resided upon the obsidian altar. Prangar's orb was amongst these. On the 1st of December in 2002, Prangar's orb -- and thus Prangar -- was destroyed with that of all of the Nine.
Zeban
Male, The Headstrong Loner, to which possessed he was connected is unknown
Zeban's personality was largely speculation since he was only seen the one night the tomb opened. He appeared a bit headstrong, something of a loner. He kept leaving Gavrail's group and going off on his own. Thurfel did call him the most dangerous because he was "quiet and calculating". He only manifested in true lich form. He had no signature.
NOTE: On the 19th of November in 2002, Thurfel announced that the staff had led him to the hiding places of the remaining four orbs and that they all now resided upon the obsidian altar. Zeban's orb was amongst these. On the 1st of December in 2002, Zeban's orb -- and thus Zeban -- was destroyed with that of all of the Nine.
Thalaes
Male, The Unknown One, connected by possession to Atoyoz
The Ninth's personality was circumspect. This lich watched very much in secret, commenting but rarely. It appeared the other eight respected this one more than any other. Why remained unclear. He manifested for the first time in in true lich form to claim an orb, but it was not his own. (His was found later.) Prior to this, he had only manifested as a disembodied voice, as a shadow, from within inanimate objects and possibly through living beings. He spoke usually in a faint voice. His signature was darting shadows and black clouds.
NOTE: Thalaes' orb was found on the 31st of May in 2002 by Iscikella and placed on the altar by Thurfel. Subsequently Atoyoz was freed of possession by this lich. On the 1st of December in 2002, Thalaes' orb -- and thus Thalaes -- was destroyed with that of all of the Nine.
Technical Notes: Yfa and the Nine were/are all GM-run NPCs. The seeming manifestation of Talbot in the removal of the acid glyph on the tomb was also GM-run.

Question: Where is the tomb?
Answer: The tomb of Talbot Dabbings, in which the Council of Ten were buried alive, is once again in Pioneer's Cemetary outside the South Gate of IceMule. I say once again because Thurfel spirited the tomb away in November 2000, using the attack on the Juggernaut as a cover for this act. The tomb was then apparently hidden in the cellar behind the mist in Thurfel's Keep. In August 2001, Yfa returned the tomb to the cemetary and broke the outer seal. But lo and behold Thurfel had himself added seals to the inside of the tomb, thus thwarting her plans to release the Nine. The Nine subsequently finally broke through the seals in January 2002.

Question: What and where was/is the mist?
Answer: The mist was/is a kind of "portal" through which Thurfel was sent by the essence -- using the hand of Iscikella -- and seemingly sealed. Located in Thurfel's Keep, it was the focal point of many and varied manifestations. In August 2001, the mist was "opened" during Thurfel's battle with Yfa to reveal it led to the cellar in the keep.

Question: What was the essence?
Answer: Originally referred to as "the entity", the essence was what was housed within the crystal divining sphere. What it turned out to be was the "essence" of Thurfel himself.

Trying to pinpoint the "essence" is very difficult. All of the Council, since all were liches, had orbs which contained their "essence", a distillation of spirit and energy. But the initial sphere, containing Thurfel's essence, apparently opened a channel, most simply put, which allowed those favored of Amasalen -- Thurfel, the Nine and Yfa -- as well as Amasalen himself, to use Iscikella's body and voice and mind against her will. But as well opening the channel prepared the way for the Nine to themselves free their own "essences" and possess others of their own accord, as they shared of Thurfel's magic and knowledge. And thus then the bodies, voices and minds of all the possessed could be so used against their wills.

The connection between the undead members of the Council was apparently very deep, likely having to do with the rituals performed first to make them liches and then to free one of their number from the tomb (the one being Thurfel). And the "essence" really came to speak more of the channel that was opened in each of the possessed than of the actual distillation of spirit and energy of each separate lich.

Question: Who were the possessed?
Answer: The possessed were various citizens of Elanthia (most of IceMule) whose bodies were entered by the essence. There are ten possessed, the full nine Amasalen spoke of there eventually being... and one more. A listing of the possessed follows.
THE NINE SPOKEN OF BY AMASALEN:

Iscikella
Sylvan empath, follower of Lumnis, possessed seemingly by Elymir but in actuality by Thurfel
The first and, therefore, longest possessed, the essence in Iscikella manifested much more actively and more frequently than in any other. Her possession came about through the shattering of the crystal divining sphere and a grey mist visibly entering her body (see Entity Release log). Tiaza, the monk of Voln, performed a ritual in August 2001 which she claimed freed Iscikella of the essence. As turned out, despite Tiaza's conviction of its success, the ritual was a failure.
NOTE: Iscikella, however, believed Elymir was the lich in possession of her, and Elymir promoted this belief. She did not find out that it was, in fact, Thurfel who had possessed her until the very end of the quest in December 2002. Whether Iscikella was truly ever freed seems unlikely.
Vonka
Elf rogue, follower of Lumnis, possessed by Thulevier
Vonka's possession came about through the absorption through the skin of her foot of a tendril of "unholy ooze", which was flowing up from the stucco well (see Unholy Ooze log).
NOTE: On the 5th of May in 2002, Thulevier's orb was found by Achillea and given by her to the lich. Vonka was subsequently asked by lich to "bond" with him, since his power had increased. However, on the 11th of August in 2002, during Thurfel's summoning of the Navigators to retrieve the Staff of Amasalen from them, Vonka was strangely freed from possession, leaving the question as to whether Thulevier was actually the lich in possession of her, or whether the orb Thulevier held was in reality his own and not that of another lich entirely.
Atoyoz
Half-Elf rogue, follower of no particular deity. possessed by Thalaes
Atoyoz's possession came about through the scratch of a serpent-eyed cat in Town Center (see Visions & Signs log).
NOTE: On May 31st in 2002, Thalaes' orb was found by Iscikella and placed on the altar by Thurfel. Subsequently, Atoyoz was freed of her possession by this lich.
Blizzerdd
Half-Elf ranger, follower of Mularos, possessed by Aslakian
Blizzerdd's possession came about through the bite of a segmented black serpent within Thurfel's Keep (see The Fourth log).
NOTE: On April 19th in 2002, Aslakian's orb was found by Adimiron and placed on the altar by Thurfel. Subsequently, Blizzerdd was freed of his possession by this lich.
Opalina
Half-Elf rogue, follower of Koar, possessed by Trianvar
Opalina's possession came about through a series of lightning strikes and then the lightning twining around her (see Lightning & Light log).
NOTE: On June 20th in 2002, Trianvar's orb was found by Tesserah and placed on the altar by Thurfel. Subsequently, Opalina was freed of his possession by this lich.
Arliquin
Sylvan cleric, follower of Andelas, possessed by which lich is unknown
Arliquin's possession came about through his offering of aid in answer to the request of a skeletal cat in Town Center.
NOTE: Arliquin was freed of possession when all the lich orbs were destroyed by Amasalen at the end of the quest in December 2002.
Elendr
Elf rogue, follower of no particular deity, possessed by Gavrail
Elendr's possession came about through his cheek being pierced by the pincer of the crab on Alyxandrah's cloak (the cloak had been burned with the image of a crab by Thurfel), as the image of the crustacean came to "life" (see Jealous Possession log). NOTE: Elendr was freed of possession when all the lich orbs were destroyed by Amasalen at the end of the quest in December 2002.
Xeldria
Half-elf cleric, follower of Phoen, possessed by which lich is unknown
Xeldria's possession was a bit unusual in that seemed more "partial". It came about after her finding of the legended Staff of Amasalen upon the Ebon Gate's festival grounds (see Ruthless Fates - 1 log).
NOTE: On August 6th in 2002, Xeldria was "relieved" of the staff by the Navigators. If she was not freed prior, she definitely was freed of possession when all the lich orbs were destroyed by Amasalen at the end of the quest in December 2002.
Tianni
Sylvan empath, follower of no particular deity, possessed by Cheritz
Tianni's possession came about through her anklet summoning to her a skeletal cat, whose presence apparently connected her to the Nine (see Ninth Taken log). With the possession of Tianni, the Nine separated into discrete personalities, one to one within the possessed, and it became apparent they are not as united a formerly thought. It also seems likely they were assigned hosts "strongest to weakest" over the course of time, with one in Iscikella the most powerful and one in Tianni the least powerful magically. Since in the end Iscikella turned out to be possessed by Thurfel himself, the "strongest to weakest" scenario does seem accurate.
NOTE: On July 7th in 2002, Cheritz's orb was found by Perigourd and placed on the altar by Thurfel. Subsequently, Tianni was freed of his possession by this lich.

THE TENTH:

Mehlah
Halfling of unknown profession (though now seems likely a cleric), affiliation unknown, seems likely was possessed by Elymir
Mehlah wandered into town one day with a sign saying all must repent. The source of his "disquiet" -- from his own words -- seemed to have been him being forced to drink the dregs of his family's blood after Amasalen used his body to slay them (see Mehlah log). Mehlah was never seen "unpossessed" so to speak. Thurfel himself said he had never heard of Mehlah, and did not think him possessed by the essence, but something surely did possess Mehlah. A voice spoke from outside him, there is no doubt of that. He also spoke of the Council, asking people to swear to them before the fires come, and he asked Iscikella if she had yet sworn to Thurfel, insisting she must. Mehlah was an enigma who was destroyed in the end the day before the opening of the tomb (see Fires of Anger log). Yet the probability that he was indeed possessed by Elymir will forever remain.

Technical Notes: All of the possessed were player-run PCs, except for Mehlah, who was a GM-run NPC. The manifestations of the essence in any of the possessed, however, were all GM-run incidents.

Question: Who was Tiaza?
Answer: Tiaza was a monk of Voln who came to IceMule to aid the townsfolk in the "great battle" against Amasalen, Luukos and the Nine (see Lobs & Volleys log). She fought valiantly beside the townsfolk during the invasion of town of Perano's escaped creatures in August 2001, but it is believed the battle she came initially to fight has yet to begin and likely is that Yfa will one day initiate.

Question: What are the "artifacts" of the quest?
Answer: A list follows. Please note that many of these things are merely nice roleplay items.

a fist-sized purple stone
The "relic", the "Heart of Amasalen"
The relic was found by Iscikella on an altarstone in the caverns (see Prologue log). It was placed by her back on the altarstone and the room in which it was located imploded upon itself. It's connection to the Thurfel Quest is ambiguous.
a black steel serpent talisman
Talisman used to make the first crack in the tomb
Supposedly blessed by Amasalen himself (see Prologue log), the talisman was given by Thurfel to Arianiss after the firemage had completed his own task with it.
a tiny teal crocodile hanging from a crimson spidersilk thread
"Pin" (actually more of a pendant) which Halfberry called "god's eye"
Dropped by Halfberry in the Hall of Mind while he invisibly watched the commune which was performed to Ronan there (see Commune to Ronan log), the pin was one of the objects which started Thurfel on an intense manhunt for the missing Halfberry and ultimately resulted in the killing of the apprentice. Arimantis initially had possession of the teal crocodile, but the pin was later passed by him into the hands of Ilvane.
a golden crystal orb
Orb stolen from Thurfel by Halfberry
This orb was the main focus of the intense manhunt Thurfel ordered on Halfberry, ending in the killing of the apprentice (see Cataclysm! log). The orb was rumored to have great powers and was known to work as a visual window to other places. After Halfberry's death, the orb returned to Thurfel's hands.
a crystal divining sphere
Sphere which originally housed "the essence"
The divining sphere originally started in Thurfel's hands, but became an object in the quest once it went in trade from Witlass' hands to those of Chortel (see Divining Sphere log). Eventually it wound up in the possession of Iscikella. It contained a "presence" which wound up being the essence, and it functioned as a scrying sphere. The divining sphere shattered when the essence was released.
a tiny coral starfish pendant/a tiny crimson crab pendant
Pendant used by Thurfel to make contact
Thurfel's gift to Alyxandrah started out as a starfish pendant and was later metaphorized into a crimson crab pendant (see Of Crimson Crabs log). Thurfel used this pendant to communicate with Alyxandrah on occasion.
a fiery red crystal rose
Crystal rose with "a fire within"
Given by Thurfel to Iscikella during their private dinner (see Dinner at Eight log), the crystal rose holds major fire within its fragile petals. It is also the object on which Iscikella made her pledge to Thurfel when he became trapped in the mist.
a small steel serpent
Talisman given by Thurfel to Nanna
Was extended as a sort of "peace offering" by Thurfel to Nanna (see Juggernaut Tour log).
a small onyx serpent talisman
Talisman both ancient and cracked
Left with the barkeep in the Penguin seemingly by Yfa for Tianni, this talisman was referred to as an "eye" (see Visions & Signs log) by the serpent-eyed cat whose scratch eventually caused the possession of Atoyoz by the essence. During her own possession, Tianni was made to put on the talisman by the lich in her and was unable to remove it (see Ninth Taken log).
a huge charred skull
Skull which rolled out from the mist
Likely the skull of some beast, perhaps even a Grahnke, this skull rolled on from the mist and into Sheka's possession during the night of tainted blood (see Taint of Blood log) in Thurfel's Keep.
a piece of blood red jade
Jade which rolled out from the mist
This jade has a skull carved into it and was picked up by Armaxis as it rolled out from mist (see Visions & Signs log) on the night when Iscikella received the vision of Thurfel lying injured in the cellar of the keep. This jade was also the focal point in the "ascension ritual" Armaxis subsequently performed on Iscikella.
a twisted serpentine staff
Staff which belongs to Amasalen himself
The Staff of Amasalen was a very powerful artifact that Thurfel, Yfa and the Nine all wanted very badly (see Amasalen's Staff log). Thurfel spoke of the staff as being needed to defeat the Nine. The Nine wanted the staff to kill Thurfel, as did Yfa. The staff was found by Xeldria (see Ruthless Fates - 1 log), but later came once more into the possession of Thurfel. The staff, as it turned out, contained part of the essence of Thurfel and was used by him as his "orb" after he purposely broke the divining sphere.
Full description of the staff is as follows: "Carved from a single piece of obsidian, the stone of the staff is cut to resemble a pair of great vipers entwined about each other. Their forms are twisted in a tight spiral from the base of the staff to its tip. At the top, the heads of the two serpents peer in opposite directions, both of the snakes slightly coiled as if ready to strike. You also notice a small enchanter's mark."
NOTE: On August 6th in 2002, possession of the staff passed to the Navigators, who stole it from Xeldria as they do gold rings. On August 11th in 2002, Thurfel successfully summoned the Navigators and retrieved the staff from their possession. On December 1st in 2002, the staff was destroyed during the finale of the quest.
a jagged blood-red blade
Blade which once belonged to Yfa
This weapon of the handmaiden of Amasalen passed into Armaxis' hands upon her death and "removal" by Thurfel (see Tombs & Bones log).
a faceted garnet shield
Shield which once belonged to Yfa
This shield of the handmaiden of Amasalen passed into Ryever's hands upon her death and "removal" by Thurfel (see Tombs & Bones log).
a twisted crimson toy serpent/a twisted black toy serpent
Toy made by Chortel for Iscikella
This toy serpent was originally made by Chortel for Iscikella at the "insistence" of someone the toymaker would not name but apparently feared. It "came alive", crawling out of Iscikella's satchel, and then crawling back into that satchel a different color (see Dark Forces log) with a most odd change in description as well: "The scales of the serpent are black, although crimson flecks can be seen scattered about its sinuous body. There is something malevolent about the toy, the fangs and eyes of the serpent all too real. There is crude stitching on the underside of the snake, the repair evidently done in haste."
The toy, as it turned out, was used by Thurfel (who was the someone Chortel feared who had insisted on it being made for Iscikella) to scry on Iscikella.
a faceted blood red sphere
Aslakian's vessel
This orb was found by Adimiron under some crates in the windmill in IceMule Trace. It was given to Thurfel and placed on the altar in Thurfel's vault. It was destroyed by Amasalen on December 1st in 2002 during the finale of the quest.
a cloudy amber sphere
Thulevier's vessel
This orb was found by Achillea in a pile of bones in the Ossuary in the Abbey. It was given to Thulevier but wound up placed on the altar in Thurfel's vault.
SPECIAL NOTE: On the 11th of August in 2002, during Thurfel's summoning of the Navigators to retrieve the Staff of Amasalen from them, Vonka was strangely freed from possession, leaving the question as to whether Thulevier was actually the lich in possession of her, or whether the orb Thulevier held was in reality his own and not that of another lich entirely. The orb found its way to Thurfel's altar via detection by the Staff of Amasalen. It was destroyed by Amasalen on December 1st in 2002 during the finale of the quest.
a small faceted ruby red sphere
Lich vessel, but which remains unknown
This orb was found by Skyfawn behind Luukos altar in the Temple of IceMule. It was given to Thurfel and was placed on the altar in Thurfel's vault. It was destroyed by Amasalen on December 1st in 2002 during the finale of the quest.
a chipped black glass sphere
Lich vessel, but which is yet unknown
This orb was found by Dajamar in Bonespear Tower in Solhaven. It was given to Thalaes but wound up placed on the altar in Thurfel's vault. It was destroyed by Amasalen on December 1st in 2002 during the finale of the quest.
a blackened metallic sphere
Thalaes' vessel
This orb was found by Iscikella in the Mine on Mine Road in Wehnimiers Landing. It was given to Thurfel and was placed on the altar in Thurfel's vault. It was destroyed by Amasalen on December 1st in 2002 during the finale of the quest.
a tiny emerald serpent
"Gift" given to Femereff by an "unknown voice"
This small talisman was given to Femereff by someone who described it as a "small gift". Speculation is that the talisman was either given to Femereff by Thurfel or perhaps by the lich Thalaes because of her connection to Dajamar.
Full description of the talisman is: "Crafted from black silver, the serpent bears two faceted ruby eyes. There is a tiny rune on the underbelly of the piece, but it is unrecognizeable. The serpent is bound upon a braided leather thong knotted at odd intervals."
a flickering mist-filled orb
Trianvar's vessel
This orb was found by Tesserah in the mausoleum of Talbot Dabbings in Pioneer Cemetery in IceMule. It was given to Thurfel and was placed on the altar in Thurfel's vault. It was destroyed by Amasalen on December 1st in 2002 during the finale of the quest.
an opalescent grey glass orb
Cheritz's vessel
This orb was found by Perigourd in the Penguin Pond in Icemule, where it had been polluting the water supply of the town. It was given to Thurfel and was placed on the altar in Thurfel's vault. It was destroyed by Amasalen on December 1st in 2002 during the finale of the quest.
a staff shard
First of three pieces remaining of the shattered Staff of Amasalen
These pieces were gathered by Nanna after the explosion of the altar and staff when the avatar of Amasalen appeared at the end of the quest in December 2002.
Upon examination of this shard you see: You see nothing special.
a staff shard
Second of three pieces remaining of the shattered Staff of Amasalen
These pieces were gathered by Nanna after the explosion of the altar and staff when the avatar of Amasalen appeared at the end of the quest in December 2002.
Upon examination of this shard you see: The cylindrical obsidian shard most likely belonged to a staff or pole of some sort. Parts of the glassy stone look fused, as if exposed to extreme heat.
a staff shard
Third of three pieces remaining of the shattered Staff of Amasalen
These pieces were gathered by Nanna after the explosion of the altar and staff when the avatar of Amasalen appeared at the end of the quest in December 2002.
Upon examination of this shard you see: The cylindrical piece of obsidian is distorted and badly damaged. It appears to have been exposed to extreme heat.
SPECIAL NOTE: When this shard was first taken from the satchel it was in, this happened -- You feel the power from the shard begin to pulse. The vibrations pulse over and over rhythmically. As it pulses, so does your heart in tune to the pulses. They beat stronger and stronger, finally bursting your heart from the stress.
That process killed the holder, but has not been repeated since. From my standpoint is very interesting because what the shard did (with regard to the beating of the heart in tune to the pulses from it) is very similar to what happened long ago to Iscikella when she held the "relic" (a fist-sized purple stone) which became known as the "Heart of Amasalen". However, that relic did not kill her as she dropped it at that point.



Question: What is the current situation?
Answer: The quest reached its finale on December 1st in 2002 and is now complete.

For an IC summary of the quest as a whole, read "FIRE in ICE".



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