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  1. The history of the colonisation of Terra Nova has so far been dominated by nations of the Madrice Peninsular who sail southeast from their homelands into the resource rich archipelagos of the new world. As the Mardician nations push ever eastward into the New Haven Sea, however; it has become clear that they are not the only the only nations to be exploring and colonising the new world. The nation of Carno was a latecomer to colonisation and Carnite planners felt they missed the prime locations in both the Sea of Thieves and Prio Sea. Thus Carno has pioneered Mardician exploration of the New Haven Sea area. From the first Carnite settlement of Neustadt on the island known to colonial planners as number eleven, Carnite presence has expanded onto the large island known as El Oleonda on which it is rumoured huge riches can be found. It wasn't long before Carnite pioneers realised they weren't the only ones with their eyes on El Oleondas wealth. Skirmishes broke out in the jungles between Carnite settlers and a strange people who appeared to be southern Halosian in appearance. Large ocean-going junks began to raid Carnite shipping and settlements. It was soon revealed these newcomers were from the Kingdom of the Lotus. Not much is known about the large southern Halosian empire and it is thought that Lotii explorers discovered the New Haven sea area by travelling northeast of their homelands. Soon El Oleonda and its surrounds were in a state of all out war. Even the nearby Corlander settlement of Spudkirk was raided by the Lotii! The hard pressed Carnites have called for their Madrician neighbours to assist them in their struggle driving the southerners out of the New Haven Sea. Will you answer their call? Political Map of the New Haven Sea: It is rumoured that Carno has at least two settlements on the western side of El Oleonda and the Lotii have at least three; one quite large, on the Eastern side of the island. This challenge consists of 5 categories: A. The Kingdom of the Lotus B. The Mysteries of El Oleonda C. First Encounter with the Tyree’De D. Action on the High Seas E. Mercenaries Needed Note that category D has an optional t-MRCA component, resulting in twice as many prizes. See below for category descriptions and deadlines. All entries must be linked in this thread. Clearly identify what category an entry is for. Scoring Criteria: Judges will score each entry on the following criteria: Build (score out of 10) - emphasis on quality. Doesn't necessary have to be complex, but higher scoring builds will show obvious effort. Story (score out of 5) - does the build fit the challenge story requirements? High scoring builds will have a well written and interesting story. Presentation (score out of 5) - Considerations include: photography, colour palette, base/borders Individual prizes awarded for each category as follows: - 1st Place individual: x1 free large property license (micro build required for activation, usable only in New Haven Sea) OR x1 free Class 5 ship license (micro build required for activation) - 2nd Place individual: x1 free medium property license (micro build required for activation, usable only in New Haven Sea) OR x1 free Class 4 ship license (micro build required for activation) - 3rd Place individual: x1 free small property license (micro build required for activation, usable only in New Haven Sea) OR x1 free Class 3 ship license (micro build required for activation) Faction prizes will be based on a calculation that includes participation and quality of builds from each category and individual category wins: - 1st Place faction: First choice of a New Haven Sea island for a settlement. (at the end of the challenge, a choice of islands will be set by the court). The settlement will start with the following properties: x3 small residences, x3 small artisans, x3 small commerce and x3 small factories (microbuilds needed to activate each). - 2nd Place faction: Second choice of a New Haven Sea island for a settlement. The settlement will start with the following properties: x2 small residences, x2 small artisans, x2 small commerce and x2 small factories (microbuilds needed to activate each). - 3rd Place faction: Third choice of a New Haven Sea island for a settlement. The settlement will start with the following properties: x1 small residence, x1 small artisan, x1 small commerce and x1 small factory (microbuilds needed to activate each). - 4th Place faction: Fourth choice of a New Haven Sea island for a settlement. The settlement will start with 1 small property (microbuild needed to activate). FINAL RESULTS HERE Category A: The Kingdom of the Lotus Not much is known in Northern Halos of the Kingdom of the Lotus, but they are one of the major empires of Southern Halos. By land, one must pass through the Mokolei Empire and the Forbidden Kingdoms. By sea, not only does the great expanse of the Drolitic Ocean separate the nations of Northern Halos from the southern part of the continent, but one must travel around the horn to the great Southern Ocean before encountering their kingdom. So what is the Kingdom of the Lotus like? Builders should show a scene depicting some aspect of Lotii culture (architecture, dress, customs, social interaction, etc.). Builds should be located within the Kingdom of the Lotus and may be based on rumours your characters in the Brick Seas have heard. The Kingdom of the Lotus is roughly based on real-word East Asian cultures and previous depictions have taken inspiration from both China and Japan. Size: 32 x 32 max Due Date: Sunday 22nd March 2020 Cat A Results Category B: The Mysteries of El Oleonda The New Haven Sea has not revealed many of her secrets yet. With four large islands and 17 smaller ones, there is much to explore. But what have Carno and Lotus found on El Oleonda that is worth fighting for? The fountain of youth? Gold or other mineral wealth? Gardens resplendent with fruit and other foodstuffs? Perhaps knowledge left behind by a lost civilization? Myths of a once great native civilization ruling over multiple islands are common amongst natives in the Brick Seas, and indeed ruins have been found in many locations hinting at some truth to these legends. Or is El Oleonda’s value in something else entirely? Builders should show a feature of the island worth fighting for by the combatants. Size: 32x32 max Due Date: Sunday 12th April Tuesday 14th April Friday 17 April 2020 Index of Cat B Builds Category C: First Encounter with the Tyree’De Ever since the Halosian nations began to explore the seas, they have encountered many indigenous peoples, and similar encounters have occurred in the New Haven Sea. Reports from both Carno and The Kingdom of the Lotus describe visitors in large canoes and even ships of curious design arriving at El Oleonda to trade with the Carnovians and the Lotii. These native traders are not Halosian of origin and, although they share similarities with some of the native peoples known so far, their culture appears very different. They trade in many exotic goods and wares, seemingly flush with silver and unwilling to part with their wares for mere trinkets. Instead, they are showing interest in manufactured goods, including milling equipment, metalworking and production tooling, and weapons. While they seem keen to learn Halosian ways and customs, they are much more circumspect when speaking about themselves. They refer to themselves as the Tyree’De and, when pushed about where they come from, they reply with vague answers “to the south.” Builders should show their faction’s peaceful first encounter with the Tyree’De, either in the form of Tyree’De people visiting a settlement on El Oleonda or another island in the New Haven Sea, or as an encounter with a Tyree’De vessel on the water in the New Haven Sea. Size: 24x24 max Due Date: Sunday 26th April 2020 Index of Cat C Builds Category D: Action on the High Seas With open warfare between Carno and the Kingdom of the Lotus, there is plenty of opportunity for normally law-abiding sailors to turn to privateering as a means of legal piracy to earn a handsome payday. Carno is practically giving away Letters of Marque to anyone who will help them combat the Kingdom of the Lotus in the New Haven Sea and protect their supply lines. Rumor has it the Lotii are also willing, if you can make contact with them, to authorize privateers to harass Carno shipping. Builders should show some aspect of a naval encounter in the New Haven Sea. There are two different types of entries for this category: Cat D(1) MOC only, and Cat D(2) t-MRCA result builds. 'MOC Only' entries should depict a naval encounter between Carnite and Lotii forces or their allies. 'tMRCA' entries. A tMRCA will be run in which players may accept a letter of Marque from Carno to hunt Lotii vessels. So that players may get their ships into the action quickly, ships will be allowed to be moved from their most recent destination to a new starting point in the New Haven Sea for free. Players wishing to enter in the category should submit a PM to the MRCA officials declaring their intention of entering this category and nominating their starting point. A tMRCA (potentially two) will then be run and players should MOC their tMRCA results as their entry. Rewards will be handed out for both types of entries and players may enter both sub-categories Size: unlimited (mirco builds also allowed) Due Date: Sunday 31st May 2020 28 June 2020 Note: Individual 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes awarded in both the “MOC only” and “t-MRCA result” classes. Category E: Mercenaries Needed Carno isn't just calling for help on the high seas; they also need troops on the ground on El Oleonda. Thus Carno is hiring Madrician mercenary units to help them on El Oleonda. The battlegrounds on El Oleonda cover a vast array of environments from thick verdant jungle to rolling plains and mountain highlands. Builders should depict a land battle/skirmish on the island or El Oleonda between Carno and/or their mercenary units and Lotii forces. Due Date: Sunday 31st May 2020 Size: 32x32 max
  2. Excerpts from the journal of Thaddeus Calvo, Eslandian explorer: Day 1 Location: town of Interlagos, on the island of Maldria, New Haven Sea Captain Janszen has ordered me and my men to proceed upriver as far as the Esmerelda can carry us. The Esmerelda has a small draft and is excellent in shallow waters. Once forced to leave the river, we are to proceed overland southwest to one of the rivers on the south side of the island; Captain Marino will then take the Esmerelda back down river and around the coast to meet us at the mouth of those rivers. Day 2 We have begun the slow trek up river. Captain Marino has a deft hand and has controlled the ship confidently. The river is lined with white-barked birch trees, and the surrounding terrain is light woods or open fields. Small wildlife is abundant. Hunting and fishing should be easy. Day 3 We are not alone! As we sailed around a bend, a canoe with two natives rowed toward us. This is our first contact with native Maldrians. When the canoe reached our ship, they held up some small animal pelts in a manner that suggested they wanted to trade. We invited them onto our ship, and they were very curious about our attire. They were dressed lightly in deer skins, and their hair was matted together in a fashion so that it would stand straight up like the ridge of one of our helmets. My attempts at verbal communication had limited effect, but I was able to learn some simple vocabulary, for things like boat, river, otter, and hat. We traded a few items of clothing for some animal pelts, and then they departed. The natives seemed happy with the trade, but I noticed that they continued to watch us from the woods for some time as we sailed upriver. Day 7 Travel by river has become too difficult, so we disembarked to continue southwest over the hills on foot. Captain Marino has set sail back down river. We are now on our own. Day 14 It has been a hard trek over the hills, but we crossed at what appears to be the lowest spot in the ridge that runs the length of Maldria. There are signs of the spring thaw, and we have found the headwaters of a stream that should take us to one of the rivers we seek. I have tasked the men with building two rafts for our journey downstream. Day 16 We have again encountered natives! They seem surprised to discover us coming from upriver, as their expressions and hand motions suggest we should have come from downriver. Nonetheless, after their initial surprise wore off, they seemed interested in trading, as did their brethren two weeks ago. I write “brethren” because these natives do not appear to be of the same tribe; their attire is styled differently, as is their hair, long and decorated with feathers. Most significantly, the language is different! It is similar, but I am certain the difference is more than my limited exposure to it. One word I did recognize from before was “Tyree’De”; I think it might mean visitor. We traded similar items as before. We are making camp here to spend more time with these natives. Day 17 The natives have treated us well, as if welcomed albeit unexpected guests. I have learned a handful of useful vocabulary words, and confirmed that the words I learned from the first tribe are, for the most part, similar to but different from the ones this tribe uses. I must conclude that these are two related but separate tribes! Day 20 Travel down river has been quick. We have reached the southwestern coast of the island. We have made camp and set a signal fire so that Captain Marino might see that we have arrived. Day 21 Captain Marino has found us, and we have resupplied from the stocks aboard the Esmerelda. We will stay here for another day to rest, and then we will proceed east. My men and I will travel on foot, but Captain Marino has agreed to shadow us off coast, and we are to signal him if he is needed. Day 24 We have encountered natives for a third time! These fellows were not initially as friendly as the previous ones, and again had differences in their attire and appearance, but my new vocabulary helped us break the ice, even though they too (or should I say “they three”!) spoke a language different from but similar to the other natives. So we have discovered a third tribe on Maldria! When I used the word “Tyree’De”, they all nodded in recognition and brought forth small crafted items, skillfully made. They were clearly familiar with the concept of trading with strangers, and I am thinking now that the word “Tyree’De” may mean “traders” rather than “visitors.” We offered them some clothing items as well as some wine fresh from the Esmerelda’s hold, and this led to a friendly evening as we each were interested in the others’ appearance, equipment, and language. I spent as much time in conversation as I could. I learned a lot of new vocabulary, and I am getting a better handle on the similarities and differences with the other native Maldrian languages. Day 25 Many of my men and several of the natives are hung over this morning, but things are still friendly. I do not want us to wear out our welcome, so we are breaking camp and moving on before it can become an issue. Day 28 We have encountered more natives, and for the first time they appear to be from the same tribe as the last group we met! We appear to have stumbled onto one of their villages, which began our encounter with alarm, but my limited language skills calmed things quickly. Their homes are rounded on top, made with a frame of sturdy bent branches and then thatched or covered with hides. There was a field of some plant that I surmise to be a crop field, as they have tools that look like they could be farmers’ tools. This is significant, as the previous tribes we have encountered appeared to be hunter/gatherers. I believe this tribe calls themselves “Mo-eeks”. I again used the word “Tyree’De” and it immediately put them into a trading posture. It is clearly a word known to all the tribes we have met. We again traded items of interest, and I was able to practice my language skills. I was able to communicate better — I am getting a better idea of their syntax — but my skills are still at a very rudimentary level. They seemed interested in where we came from, When, after several failed attempts at conveying our journey, I finally pointed out to sea toward where I presumed the Esmerelda should be, this seemed to satisfy their curiosity on that matter. Day 63 It has been slow going, although broken up by occasional meetings with the Mo-eeks, which have enabled me to work on my language skills. But we have finally crossed out of their territory and into the land of a fourth Maldrian tribe. We are now in the southeastern part of the island, having covered a few hundred miles cross-country! Perhaps I should have signaled the Esmerelda to take a load off our feet, but we have learned much by staying inland. Our encounter with this fourth tribe has begun in similar fashion as our other meetings. But my mention of “Tyree’De” has had a somewhat different effect this time. Rather than immediately offering to trade with us, this tribe has offered to take us somewhere. I am intrigued by the new reaction, and we have cautiously taken them up on their offer. Day 67 We have arrived at our guides’ destination: a point on the southeast coast of the island. It is marked by a stone structure unlike anything else we have seen on the island. It looks to be part pyramid, part watch tower. All other structures we have seen before now have typically been made of wood, hides, clay, or sod. The natives seem excited that we have arrived at this time; I get the impression we are in time for some significant event, but what that might be I have no idea. We have been invited to make camp, and I have accepted. I have had the men make camp a short distance from the stone structure, but out of immediate sight. Day 68 The men and the “Quoy” (as this tribe seems to call itself) have been interacting without incident. I have continued to work on my language skills, and although I sometimes use a hodgepodge of vocabulary from the different tribes we have encountered, the similarities in syntax have allowed me to build on my knowledge, and I can be understood when attempting to discuss more abstract thoughts. I have pieced together that there are at least five major tribes on Maldria, some more cohesive than others. Some are farmers, some hunter/gatherers, some very territorial and some not, some more aggressive than others. How the various tribes get along varies, and alliances are fluid. I get the impression that the tribes are kind of like brothers who may fight from time to time, but generally get along. We seem to have chosen a good time to explore the island, at least the southern half, as we have not encountered any disputes or war parties. Day 71 Today is apparently the day we have been waiting for. The Quoy began the day alert and appear more formal in their behavior. When the scout atop the stone tower shouted an alert, all attention turned to the sea. Looking south I could see three large catamarans approaching. From one of the catamarans came a canoe with three people. One man took care of the canoe while the others approached. The visitors were surprised at our presence, but once they were ashore the Quoy seemed to assure them that we were friendly. When the Quoy introduced us to them, it was then that I learned that “Tyree’De” was not a word, but a name! A name for these visitors. The Tyree’De leader spoke the language of the Quoy, but it was not his own language, as he spoke in another completely different tongue when addressing his own men. And then I learned the third purpose of the stone structure: it is a trading post, apparently built by the Tyree’De! As best I can understand, the Tyree’De visit here once a year to see what the Quoy have to trade. It is not clear to me how often they visit other points on Maldria, as I have seen no other stone structures, but the other tribes were all familiar with them, and clearly expect them to approach by sea rather than land. The Tyree’De gave the Quoy a selection of silver nuggets and semi-precious stones that I have not seen on Maldria. Whereas the eastern Maldrian tribes had traded raw furs and simple trinkets with us, the Mo-eeks had presented us with crafted items, and the same was true of the Quoy for the Tyree’De: the Quoy offered intricate leatherwork, small tools made from animal bones, and other examples of their craftmanship. But the Quoy also acted as if the introduction of us to the Tyree’De was a trade item! I communicated wth the Tyree’De trade leader as best I could, and we displayed items we each had on our person. The Tyree’De trader was clearly interested in crafted items, not raw materials, and I was glad I had instructed the man that had accompanied me to the meet to leave his weapons in camp. The reason had been to not appear threatening, but I now believe that the Tyree’De trader would have coveted such items, and I do not wish to trade weapons. He was amused by my hat, and the morion helmet of my unarmed guard, but the Tyree’De trader was particularly interested in my compass. So, in the interest of good relations, I agreed to trade my compass to the Tyree’De trader. In exchange, however, I did not want his silver nuggets or common gemstones; I was more interested in his gold ring. It was of exquisite craftmanship and was engraved. Significantly, he agreed to this trade. His interest in the compass was far more than in anything the Quoy had to offer. As for the ring, I think my men thought I was just interested in the gold, but I was really interested in what I could learn about their culture or language from the engraving. The Quoy and the Tyree’De talked a little longer, and soon the Tyree’De handed over some more silver and gemstones, apparently as a reward for our introduction. Then the Tyree’De got some fresh water, got back in their canoe, and returned to their flotilla of catamarans. The Quoy seemed quite pleased and treated us to dinner in celebration. Day 72 The party is over, so to speak. It is time for us to head back to Interlagos. We built a signal fire and Captain Marino brought the Esmerelda in close to shore. He sent out the launch and we bid the Quoy thanks and farewell. After we return to Interlagos, I look forward to venturing out to visit the western tribes again and using my newfound language skills to learn more about them and the other tribes of Maldria. But the Tyree’De are a revelation, and we will need a different expedition entirely to learn more about these traders and where they come from. ------------------ The full build: More views: All C&C welcome!
  3. The Shogun's Tribute Not much is know about the solitary Kingdom of the Lotus in the far reaches of Southern Halos. However, one element of their society which would surely be laughed to scorn by the major constituents of the New World is the system of governing. The complex feudal system is only upheld by a select few nations who persist in following this way of life. Weaponsmith 1 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr While the Emperor rules the land, the Shogun manages the land by way of his nobles. Weaponsmith 2 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr Each noble is given a parcel of land to govern and protect. Weaponsmith 3 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr The citizens must then pay a tribute to the noble in return for protection in the event of conflict. Weaponsmith 4 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr This way of life is not embraced by all, but it is how the Loti society has been structed and rebellion from this system is not taken too kindly by the Shogun and his nobles. -------------------------------------- My entry for category A! As the Loti are supposed to be a mash up of Chinese and Japanese (who held on to the feudal system until the late 1870), I decided to go with a brief intro to the feudal system to hopefully help flesh them out some more. C&C are welcome and appreciated and thanks for looking! Some more pics of the build are in the spoiler below!
  4. Pagoda by the Lake Previously: All in good Order - Prelude Next: -- Dramatis Personae: To Halosians, the Kingdom of the Lotus was still largely an enigma. That far to the South, few travellers had ever made it there - and fewer even managed their way back to tell the tale. Rumour had it Lotii tended to sudden extreme outbursts of violence when offended. Others claimed there was a quota of foreigners that were eaten alive. He was relaxed though, bathing in the peaceful atmosphere here around the capital city's lake district, knowing that in fact His own agents were responsible for the spread of misleading information about the Lotii back home. And looking at the tall structure in front of Him the faint idea of a smile appeared on His face - as in Oleon decisions of importance were taken in temples. Common ground was established, everything was going as planned... My entry for category A; finished way to close to the deadline - some things just never change About: As usual, all can be built. Besides that... not that much to say here, except fortunately, there were no height restrictions. Not sure though what the Lotii seem to compensate for ---------- Thanks for watching, C&C welcome. Vive le Roi!
  5. As tensions had risen in Historica, the people of Mophet and its surroundings had grown increasingly nervous. Although accustomed to hardships for generations, the recent inflow of money and resources to the region had meant that the standard of living had risen dramatically. This had led to many of the inhabitants changing their rugged nomad lifestyles into a more “civilized” way of life. Thus, they no longer felt safe as rumors had spread throughout Kali that bands of robbers and thugs roamed freely, taking whatever they desired. There was also a widespread notion that merchants and armies from the north would try to use the current instability to attack and destroy some of the more important cities and settlements along the oil road, in an attempt to establish new trade-routes, thus endangering the position that Mophet now had acquired. Now a central hub along the oil road, the leaders as well as the common folk, realized they had to take steps to ensure they would not be attacked. The city had, until recently, been somewhat unprotected against attack in terms of fortifications and instead relied on good relationships with local tribe-leaders. With the city growing and more of the markets and small farms that made up the outskirts of it being exposed, a decision had to be made. Tabib D’Odo discussed the matter with a good friend of him, a half-elf that went by the name of sir Gideon. Tabib had met him a few times on his travels to Barqa and the two had gotten along very well. Gideon, being a seasoned fighter and now the leader of the neighboring city of Barqa, advised Tabib to immediately start to reinforce Mophet against what might come. “If nothing else, strong walls and towers usually cast some doubts in the hearts of any potential attacker” said Gideon. Being a city that basically had consisted of several smaller settlements slowly merging together, there were already some walls and fortifications in place from times passed. This however provided protection mostly to the inner parts of Mophet, and did little to ensure the safety of the many people working the markets and gardens/farms on the outskirts of the city. Given the good relationship with Barqa, and the income that had been generated through trade, Tabib was able to quickly muster a large number of builders to help the local carpenters and masons already hard at work. They began raising and strengthening some of the larger sections that still remained intact in the outer parts of the city, as well as building entire new sections to make sure the city would be well protected in case of any attack. Towers were built and an increased number of guards also started to patrol the walls as well as the surroundings to make sure none tried to enter without permission. So this is my entry to challenge III (fortifications). Had a blast building this and I hope you all like it :)
  6. The Desert King meets with an impressive group of individuals in a grand audience chamber. "You all know why we're here. Individually we have each caused Historica to tremble, but ultimately have always been thwarted by the united might of the guilds. However with our collective strength we would be unstoppable!" The Algus snarled in reply: "And what conditions do you propose, oh king of the deserts? Though together we can undoubtedly conquer the whole of Historica, will all our efforts only serve to enrich you?" "Indeed, what reason have we to offer you our armies?" added the Drow representative. "Oh it's all very straightforward. As you see there are five of us, and five guilds. After all resistance is crushed each of us will have an entire guild of our own. Commander Basil will naturally have Varlyrio, the Algus Mitgardia, Raavage Nocturnus, and you Drow will finally be able to claim Avalonia." Will these villains accept the Desert King's plan? What hope has Historica in the face of such foes? And is the Desert King really the one behind all of this? Since the Desert King’s return there have been many rumors in Kaliphlin about what or who he really is. The latest juicy gossip reveals what the true nature of the ancient pharaoh is… Merely a puppet for one of the most powerful blackguards ever to rise in Historica: Victor Revolword. Rumor has it he’s been putting together clandestine meetings with the most dangerous of Historica baddies – even those reported as long dead! Here's my entry for category A of Challenge III. I’ve been wanting to do another build for Kaliphlin, and this challenge provided the perfect opportunity. I’ve also been itching to do some floor mosaics after getting a large PaB cup full of tan cheese – which led to me looking for potential designs I could use in this build. After a little bit of searching, I came across this pattern by the Queen of Cheese, Katie Walker. I thought it would fit quite well, and so replicated it, just tweaking the colors to suit our piece collection better. More pictures: Mosaic And there are more images on Brickbuilt. Thanks for looking, C&C welcome
  7. Throughout Kaliphlin a rumor is quickly spreading that an Anubian lich is raising an army of undead, from ancient necropoles hidden in the vast deserts of the Siccus Badlands. An ancient necropolis, silent for millennia, has suddenly been disturbed... An Anubian lich, with necromantic powers... The heavy stone slabs covering the sarcofagi are no match for the power unleashed within... A new threat to Kaliphlin and Historica? Hieroglyph panels on the left side of the back wall are sloping panels, which was a bit tricky to angle into vertical walls. But that made some room for a battery box at least! Lighting made with LifeLites; green ModuLites in the sarcofagi and a prototype UV LED pointed upwards behind the central sarcofagus to make the staff glow. Long exposure for the LifeLites + flash to illuminate the rest.
  8. After a hard day, it's good to take a rest in the local tavern, with your friends. Deerhill was a known hunting place, now only the name reminds the locals what was this place. The fields around the small hill are now full of orchids and gardens. The animals already moved away, deeper in the forest, only small rodents give troubles to the local farmers. Three friends having a good time and cold beer together at the Tipsy-Owl tavern. Talking about their trade, the weather and about the women. The Sun almost got behind the horizons, when another band of refugees arrived from Noctornus... Ravaage was stopped long ago, but the country was still in peril, and not everyone was prepared for that. This is why the Avalonian High Council, allows them to take refuge here, while the things turn good. And the new king, De Gothia, won't reject them. Only the locals arguing... - Another band of those... - said Icke, the blacksmith, while he raised his eyebrow. - I can't believe they allowed them to came here. - Relax mate! - David the farmer tried to calm his friend down. - They have their problems, don't give them more. They are escaping from war, it's isn't their fault. - We can't trust them! Nothing good came from Noctornus! - answered Icke, but lowering his voice, when the next traveler passed away near him. - I like the Nocturnian pumpkin pie! - the third man shared his opinion. His name is Tom, and he works as a tailor. - Like I said. - Icke turned to Tom with a cold gaze. - Nothing good came from Noctornus. Who eats pumpkin pie? The Nocturnians are barbarians! - Why you hate these folk? Did any of them harm you? - David tried to calm his friends once more. - Didn't you hear about them? - the two others shook their heads. Icke took a long sip from his drink, and continued his story: - I heard a rumor, about a race of lizardmen, they are shapeshifters! They can take anyone look, and can infiltrate to anywhere. They were spying for Ravaage, they are evil I say! They are kidnaping folks from all over Historica. Drag them to their underground caves, and took their look, and blend in, and continue their life like they are the same person. No one knows, what they want, but they are spying for a new overlord, or just preparing for an invasion. I'm sure some of our rulers are already replaced by them! The two others were listening to their friends' conspiracy theory. - I don't believe in this nonsense, I'm sure they are friendly and don't want any trouble. Right, Tom? - and with that, he patted Tom's shoulder so hard, he dropped his drink. - Oh sorry mate, I spilled your drink. Here let me get you a new one! - offered David. - Ah, don't bother about that. It's already late for me. My... wife and... kids... are waiting for me. - rejecting Davids offers Tom, and with that, he waved goodbye to his friends and went home. Just a minute passed. David and Icke suddenly looked at each other: - When did Tom get married?
  9. The Henri had dropped anchor in Pontelli some time before - plenty of time for Alberto da Pontelli, at least to have some rather noticeable experiments which quite justified de Chauncourtois' opinion to most of the crew - when Myles and Dirk (the second mate) discovered that a printer had set up shop in the town, and went in to take a look. They found that enterprising worthy working away furiously at his press - so much so, in fact, that his two apprentices found it rather difficult to keep up with him - and muttering a heap of things about fountains and journals and gold and fortune, about fortune and gold and journals and fountains - and so on. Dirk winked at the first mate with a grin and laughed, and Myles went down to see what was up with the eccentric printer. "My dear sir!" began the printer on seeing Myles in front of him, lifting up the sheet he had just removed from his press and trying to catch his breath, "Look at this! All of Nova Terra will soon be scrambling! Not to mention that it will be the making of my own fortune in selling all of these!" "Ha ha!" he went on, handing a sheet to Myles, "I knew that Rhys Thompson would be the making of me!" Myles glanced down at the paper. "The journal of Father Tholeau, and the Quest for the Fountain of Youth" ... A few more shots: The last part of the collab, but not of the storyline! Stay tuned for more soon! Thanks for viewing, C&C are welcome!
  10. Challenge Three – The quest for the Fountain of Youth It has been rumored that on Cato Calrelli’s second voyage in 599 to Nelisa he took along with him a Oleander priest who paid handsomely to join the expedition. On the 15th night of the journey, the priest of Zeus, Father Tholeau, snuck inside the captain’s boat and lowered her to the sea. Once detached from the fleet he set sail in the small skiff. The crew had no idea what had happened to the priest, but Calrelli pushed on to discover more of Eslandola’s new home “beyond the line.” After Calrelli encircled Nelisa, he began to make his way home, but before land was out of sight, a small sail was seen on the horizon. Fearing foreign explorers had found Eslandola’s secret, Calrelli boldly set to engage the vessel. What he found was his captain’s boat, empty except some clothing and a journal. There was no sign of Tholeau. Calrelli read the journal, and discovered that the priest had been obsessed with an ancient manuscript that stated that the Fountain of Youth lay on an island to the East of Halos. The journal detailed Tholeau's recent escapade and his discovery of three islands. On the third of those islands he found what he was looking for – the Fountain of Youth. Knowing he did not have enough supplies to try to follow Tholeau's poorly noted nautical directions, Calrelli decided to restock. Unfortunately, he was caught by hurricane that wrecked him and his fleet on the shores of Terraversa, and since then, he has been unable to get permission for another expedition. The journal was eventually taken to Arlington, and stored in the Cartography Academy. But somehow a copy of it slipped through the Academy's hands and through a series of accidents made its way to an enterprising printer. Now, adventurers from all corners of the Brick Seas are making their way to New Terra to try and follow the cryptic clues left by Tholeau. Category A: Finding the Fountain In this category you will show the discovery of the Fountain of Youth by your sig-fig or one of his/her associates. This can be almost any setting you wish, on the beaches of an island, in the dense jungles, on a desert island, in the ruins of a lost civilization, or maybe within an active civilization’s town! Maximum size 32x32, with minimal overhang. Deadline: July 1st. Extended deadline: July 10th However, those who submit entries by the original deadline will have a bonus applied to the judges' scores. [*]Post your entry in it's own thread, but be sure to provide a link below. Category B: What happened to Tholeau? Build 2 – 5 MOCs that tell the story of Father Tholeau after he left Calrelli’s fleet. You can represent the good priest in any way that you like. The MOCs and accompanying narrative should tell the story of Tholeau leaving the ships, finding the islands (he mentioned three in his journal), making his way to the fountain of youth, and disappearing. You must build between 2 and 5 MOCs. One of your MOCs is subject to a maximum of 12x12. No other size restrictions. You may not use your Category A MOC in your story. Deadline: July 1st. Post your entry in it's own thread, but be sure to provide a link below. Prizes As with the previous challenges, all players participating in the Economic Game System will be awarded with in-game DBs. Winning players will receive more DBs. In addition, Winner of Category A receives the right to style his/herself Discoverer of the Fountain of Youth. Winner of Category A picks an island on the new map (not yet released) for the fountain's location. That island will belong to the winner's faction, and the winner has the right to set up a settlement at that location and appoint his/her own mayor. Winner of Category B receives the right to style his/herself Revealer of Tholeau's Secret. The winning faction will choose three islands off the new map. All the other factions will choose two islands in the order in which they have placed.
  11. My entry into the Guilds of Historica Book II Challenge III Category B - Deceiving Elves For the Dwarves! The elves worked diligently and efficiently to help stop a dwarven invasion on Avalonia and the Drow, to prevent war and promote peace. They sent out scouts on their newly tamed wargs and built towers to detect any sign of dwarves, and to stop them. Unfortunately, despite their efforts, it all came to nothing. The dwarves secretly mined underneath their very nose, and gained entry into Avalonia, ready to take war on the Drow..." Overview: Phew! I can't believe I finished it in time! Thanks to the extension of the deadline and a canceled family gathering, I had enough time to finish my second entry into the GoH Challenge. Once again I experimented in one of Grant Davis's techniques that he created in his creation "Undermining." (If you have not checked out Grant's creation yet, what are you waiting for!? Go give it a look! ;) ) Tons of fun to build, making all the little sections of rock pieces fit together was so much fun (although very delicate)! The details on the top were also fun to add, I finally got to use my wargs! :D Even though wars in LOTR are evil, I always though they were kinda cool, so if you could tame them...they could be quite lethal and well worth the effort. ;) All in all, a decent build, there are a few more things I would have liked to try if I had more time, but deadlines are deadlines. ;) Thanks for viewing, and enjoy! Soli Deo Gloria! ~Matthew~
  12. My Category B build for Challenge III. This is my first build using this wall design. I think this method gives an interesting field stone effect. About 80-90% of the pieces are actually attached, the others are wedged in tightly and the build is actually pretty sturdy. See previous installment in the story here: link. Glorfindel was able to reach the Great Hall in Fjollum, just as the Dwarven and Elven representatives arrived. Once everyone was inside the hall, Glorfindel announced the reason for the meeting: "This council has been called to try and prevent a war between Mitgardia and Avalonia, and more specifically to stop the dwarven invasion of Avalonia before it is too late." The dwarven representatives gave a start at this news, as they hadn't realized their plans were known. "And what proof do you have that we were planning such a thing?" One of the older dwarves asked. "Your plans have been leaked, and some of your forces captured," Glorfindel replied. An elven lord questioned: "And how do we know that the government of Mitgardia isn't behind this plan of attack? This council could simply be a ploy to distract us and take us off our guard." "I assure you, that Valholl and Elon had no part in this scheme. If we were behind this, would we tell you our plans?" Glorfindel answered. "Besides, we both know that a war between our guilds would be disastrous for all of us, with the Black Spire still controlling Nocturnus and ready to take advantage of any signs of weakness in our guilds." Turning to the dwarves, he continued: "Now back to the point at hand, you need to call your troops back immediately. The elves now know of your plans and continuing would be suicide." "Only because of you!" A dwarf growled, "You're a traitor to Mitgardia! You talk about the threat of the Black Spire yet you aid their allies, the elves." "We are sworn enemies of the Black Spire," An elf snapped back, "Unlike you we have fought the enemy in our homeland and are only concerned with protecting our people, not conquering new lands." "Calm down," Glorfindel interrupted before the argument became violent, "Dwarves, you have no positive proof that the elves are working with the Spire, and even if they were, challenging them in their preferred environment would be foolish, it would be much wiser to simply fortify Mitgardia. The point is, both of our guilds need to work together to be able to defeat the Spire." Though it took a long time of negotiating, eventually Glorfindel convinced the dwarves to call off the invasion, and agree not to cross the border into Avalonia without express permission from the Avalonian government and therefore the Mitgardian government as well. But the crisis wasn't over yet, messengers were dispatched to call back the dwarven invasion forces, but would they deliver their message in time? First floor, with kitchen: Dragon shield mosaic: Hope you enjoy, the conclusion to my entry is at the end of my Category C thread C&C appreciated
  13. Here is my entry to Category C of Challenge III. Hope you enjoy the builds, especially Slowbelly Keep which was my big project of the year. And I tried some new stuff with it, including SNOT walled buildings with interiors. The events here take place just after my Category A build: link. Several dwarven clans had been given the mission of invading Avalonia from above ground while others advanced through tunnels. So far everything was going as planned for the dwarves. The groups on the surface used tents to set up temporary camps as they journeyed to the border: Thanks to Jonathan, Glorfindel now had a good idea of what the dwarves' plans were, but he still needed more specific information so that he could stop the dwarves before they crossed the border. Therefore he payed a visit to Kenan, the candlemaker in Hradheim, and one of the best sources of information in Mitardia: Hradheim was located just south of Amortug, which made it easy for Kenan or his apprentices to pick up bits of information about the dwarven invasion from dwarves traveling through the town. Kenan was able to supply Glorfindel with the routes several dwarven clans were taking to infiltrate Avalonia, and which clans were most in favor of the attack and which were just going along with the others. Realizing that quick action was called for, Glorfindel dispatched messengers to arrange a meeting involving Elves, Dwarves, and Men at the great hall in Fjollum, a city located almost on top of the Mitgardia/Avalonia border and often used for diplomatic meetings. Then Glorfindel himself led a group of calvary to capture the Anarfell clan leader, one of the staunchest supporters of the invasion: Surrounded and outnumbered, even the stubborn dwarves realized that surrender was the only option. After disarming the group, Glorfindel and his men escorted the dwarves to deserted Slowbelly Keep (rumoured to have been the cage of Slowbelly the dragon in ages past), which would serve as their temporary prison. After securing the prisoners and mounting a fresh horse, Glorfindel rode for Fjollum... See here for continuation of story. A section of the dwarven army had already reached Avalonia and moved into place to besiege Myrr Castle, a strategically placed stronghold vital to the success of the invasion. The dwarven siege engines were in place and they had already made good progress on a tunnel under the castle, when a dwarven messenger mounted on a warg charged in to deliver news. Fortunately the message arrived in time to prevent bloodshed. The catapult and ballista work, watch here: And you can see a video of the build process as well: And that concludes my Challenge III builds. C&C appreciated
  14. Book II - Challenge III - Category A - Ancestors and Heroes For the Dwarves! "The young dwarf kneeled in front of the memorial of his father, honoring and paying respect to him. He prayed for guidance, courage, and protection in the coming war." My entry into the Guilds of Historica Book II Challenge III - Category A. - Ancestors and Heroes. I had tons of fun making this entry, I experimented with the wall technique that Grant Davis made up in his "Free Fish" creation. I loved the wall design, and recreated it with a few differences/added things to make it unique. The floor in front of the statue also lights up, unfortunately I wasn't able to capture it to well in the picture. But hopefully you get the gist of it. :) Edit: Here is a better picture of the lighting so I can claim the UoP credits I have another entry in the works, hopefully I can finish it in time for the contest (ends on the 11th, 2 days!)! BTW, it also uses another one of Grant Davis's techniques, they are so good! :D Enjoy! P.S. Today (or yesterday, depending on your time zones) also marks my 2 year Anniversary on EB :) Soli Deo Gloria! ~Matthew~
  15. "Bring over those barrels of ale and place them with the rest!" "And after that, sir?" "After that, fetch the bottles." "Yes, sir!" "I have the bottles of ale, sir, now what?" "Place those two with the barrels, and pour that one over everything." "But, sir, why would we waste ale like that?" "Ah, you'll see. Once the torch runner ignites the barrels, the fire will devour the wood and alcohol and grow rapidly. Speaking of which, where's that torch bearer?" "Here, sir!" "Ah, there you are! Now's the big moment, light the fuse!" "Yes, sir!" "Now, run!" "Did you hear that rumbling?" "Nay, I bet it's just your stomach, what'd you eat..." "No, the ground grows hot and unstable, something is not right, we must evacuate the tunnel." "Yes, sir, I'll give the word." "Quickly, quickly now. We must evacuate the tunnels!" Hurry, hurry!" "We're running as fast as we can! It's rather hard with such short legs." "We're almost... ahhh!!!! "Someone, help me! Somebody, help me!" "Ah, settle down, you'll be aright. I'm coming for you." And so, Sir Gareth's plan to build a tunnel beneath the dwarves' own tunnel was a success. When the support beams burned down, they brought the dwarves tunnel tumbling down with them, leaving not only the tunnel, but the dwarves' plan in utter pieces. Thanks to Sir Gareth's cunning, and help from his good friend Edward von Graystar, peace in not just Mitgardia, but all of Historica, has been upheld.
  16. Here's my Category A entry for the Men's side. Glorfindel needed definite proof that the dwarves were planning to march into Avalonia, and he needed details about their plans. Already he had been brought messages confirming that the dwarves were readying for war, but he still needed specific information about when, where, and which of the dwarven clans would move out. To gain this information he turned to Jonathan, a trustworthy boy who served as a page under Glorfindel's command. Jonathan disguised himself as a dwarve and then infiltrated some of their meetings: Then he reported back to Glorfindel: C&C welcome
  17. Some years ago . . . "I still don't see why you couldn't have apprenticed with one of our own stonemasons. Dwarves are famous for their sculpture! Famous!" grumbled Hafþór Stronghammer as they strode through the Contemplative Gardens. Ráðgeir kept silent. He'd heard this rant before, more than once. Hafþór continued, "I don't like it! I know, you spent your year in the cold, and so I have no say in the matter, but I don't like it! And I won't have you living among these greedy thieving merchants, worshipping no gods but the gold coin, with no thought of the spirits of your ancestors! No son of Stronghammer will be corrupted! No, you must have your own spirits, proper Dwarven heroes, even in this heathen land." "Yes, Da," mumbled Ráðgeir. They reached their goal: a just-completed Dwarven shrine, carved by Ruadh's finest sculptors to Hafþór's exacting specifications: an icon of the All-Fathers, embodiment of all the warriors that came before. Ráðgeir noticed a few small, scrubby-looking flowers planted at the base. "Edelblau, Da? Really? Surely the All-Fathers deserve something more regal! I know it's the desert, but I'll be here to maintain things!" Hafþór stopped and gazed intently at his son. Ráðgeir was confused by the look of sadness that crossed his father's face, before the old man scrubbed his hands against his face and down his beard. Quietly, he said, "Son. The All-Fathers will always be here for you, even when our people are farthest from your thoughts." Hafþór abruptly turned away and stalked back to the inn, leaving his son to scramble behind him. Present Day . . . The clan had issued a call to war, and Ráðgeir knew he must answer it. Just before he began his journey, he paid a visit to the Shrine of the All-Fathers. As Ráðgeir approached the shrine, he noticed the the small edelblau flowers stretching out from the statue, glistening in the sun, and felt guilty. It had been over four years since Ráðgeir came to Ruadh, and over four years since he had visited the shrine. His father had been right to plant the humble, hardy flowers; they'd thrived on their own, without Ráðgeir's attentions. The icon of the Great All-Fathers, with his piercing lapis-lazuli eyes, loomed over him. As Ráðgeir approached, he noticed the bare feet. Embarrassment flashed in his mind -- Bare feet! How uncouth! -- and then he was instantly shamed. The traditions of his people were old, and worthy, and not deserving of scorn. One felt the call of the mountains, the stone, the mines, through the feet; it was an experience Ráðgeir hadn't felt in a long time, and suddenly he longed for it. He trudged onward, and then stopped abruptly. Ráðgeir stared at the stone statues clustered at the base of the shrine. In the tradition of his clan, he had carved an orante figure to pray in his stead, while he went back to Mitgardia and battle. He'd always thought of this shrine as his own, patiently and beneficently watching over him from afar. This cluster of stone statues brought the abrupt realization that while he had been carousing with fellow Ruadhi students for the past several years, other dwarves had been properly venerating the ancestors, properly attending the shrine he'd pushed out of his mind. These orante figures were a harsh reminder of his neglect to his faith, his traditions, and his people. Ráðgeir didn't look forward to war, but he had grudgingly answered the call. Now, as he gazed upon the shrine, he realized it was past time to return home to his people, to his clan. Notes: The concept of the orante figures is borrowed from ancient Sumer. A few of my favorite Sumerian orante figures are at the Menil in Houston and the Louvre.
  18. Somewhere in Mitgardia, near the grand city of Amortug, a Leander enters a tavern and orders a goblet of wine. Clad in dark, earthly colours atypical of his people, he leans discreetly on the halfwall to a booth inhabited by two dwarves, wetting their tongues with wine, and falls silent. His thoughts linger on his own kind, who, with Royal traditions in their blood and myths, are now shattered throughout the Guilds of Historica, living lives far from the lordly stations of their past. Yet, still they maintain a creed of royalty to preserve and uphold peace in the lands of Historica, once said to have been ruled by a mythical line of Leander kings, before Man, Elf, and Dwarf arrived. It is but a few weeks past his Duke called him in and warned him of the risk of war between Mitgardia and Avalonia. A war that was likely to spread, and bring death and destruction upon all free people. A war that should be avoided at all costs... At the clash of two cups, he is brought out of his musings and back to present reality and the task at hand. Through the bustling sound of a seacaptain boasting his provess to the barmaid, and the general commotion of the inn, the burly voice of the younger dwarf becomes clear to his feral ears. Younger dwarf: "Cheers to victory and success of our ruse! When our miners break through to Avalo...." The older dwarf sends a harsh glance and interrupts. Older dwarf: "Hush, you fool - Would you have the whole world hear of our plans?" He lowers his voice and smiles. "Yet, I agree with your sentiment, good fellow..." The younger dwarf follows suit and lowers his voice, after looking over his shoulder. Younger dwarf: "None be listening here, and there aren't a single elf amongst the patrons... Anyway, the tunnels are almost done - none will be able to stop us now." Older dwarf: "Ah, you are right in that - let us raise our cups once more. To victory over the Drow in Avalonia. We shall show them underground elves how true tunneling is done. He raises his cup in a toast. Younger dwarf: "When we emerge upon their lands, the Drow will fall and the Avalonians will tremble before our might!" Spying isn't necessarily a complicated process. Sometimes, the combination of a keen ear and a slip of the tongue is all that is needed. And as anybody will know, no ears are keener than those of a Leander, and no tongues slippier than a dwarf in his drinks.... _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Overview picture:
  19. Dwarves Side. Far beneath the Dwarven realm, a war council has begun. Soon the Dwarves will be leaving their ornate cities, for a time of war is upon them. They must first plan... So the Dwarven generals meet with their supporters... Raagam, who would lead the attack, lead the council. The council seemed to be going nowhere for Sir Infernum, who had been a key supported of the Dwarves. The Drow threat had been treated too lightly by the Guilds, and if the Dwarves wanted to take matters into their own hands, he thought, then good for them! Then an older gentleman, who was wearing ornate green and red armor, stepped forward. In his hand he held a model of a weapon, which he put on the war table. "This weapon will revolutionize attacks everywhere! With this, we can smash straight through the Drow's fortresses!" Two days later the dwarves emerged from their stone halls. Thousands of heavily armored, well trained Dwarves marched toward Avalonia. A Dwarven host like this had not been seen in Mitgardia in an age. And so, two weeks later... The sun rose as the Dwarves climbed over the hill. Their journey was over. With one last push, the ballistae reached the top of the hill. "We made it!" yelled a dwarf. "Our mission is not complete yet... Load and fire the ballistae! Quickly, we have not yet been spotted!" Said Raagam. Suddenly a cry rose out over the hill. It was a shrill shriek, the cry of Drow. "We have little time, hurry!" yelled Raagam to the soldiers, "Prepare to defend the ballistae!" Soon the Drow were upon them... The Ballistae fired, and flew across the battlefield. It hit its target, and produced the crumbling sound of rock against rock as the fortress began to collapse. The Drow scrambled as the fortress began to collapse upon them... But not all were able to escape. As the dust settled, and the Dwarves picked off the last few Drow, the battle was won. The Dwarves were now able to strike into the heart of the Drow threat. With dwarven reinforcements on the way, the war effort was looking bright.`
  20. Here is my entry for Challenge III Category A: Talking at the Inn. You should always be careful about who are close to you when you spoke at the tavern... Enjoy!
  21. A message to the moderators, something went wrong with the title when I pressed post, it was meant to be- Bk II Ch III: Mens Quest: Category C: The Diplomats of Anrarr Could you fix this please? Hassius Meduseld, a cartographer from Barqa returning from Mitgardia to Durok lighthouse where a meeting of diplomats and advisers to the lord of Anrarr await the detailed maps of the Mitgardian coast. Meanwhile, the messengers of Anrarr are engaged in a heated conversation with the dwarf lord Andrix. Messenger- My lord I bring you an invitation to a meeting in Kaliphlin concerning the possibility of a war with the Avalonian Elves. Lord Andrix- Very well I will attend, I hope the dwarfs of Mitgardia may gain valuable allies through this. Where does the meeting take place? Messenger- The meeting takes place at Durok Lighthouse near the northern border of Kaliphlin. Lord Andrix- Very well, now return to Kaliphlin bearing word of acceptance. Messenger- As you wish my lord. (He departs). Little does the dwarf lord know that one of Glorfindels spies, a high ranking elf captain had overheard the entire conversation and was made plans to also be at Durok Lighthouse at the time of the meeting. The dwarf lord Andrix arrives at Durok lighthouse, to his surprise he finds one of Glorfindels captains already at the meeting. Lord Andrix- Why is one of Glorfindels Servants, an enemy of the dwarves present at this meeting! Lord Parimere- This meeting was called to discuss the prospects of the dwarves starting a war with the Avalonian Elves, Not to volunteer our services to the dwarves in the war you have made so clear is coming! Lord Andrix- So what if a war is coming, I refuse to have anything to do with Avalonian elves. Elf Captain- You have the influence to calm the dwarves and stop this war. Lord Andrix- So what if I do! Hassius Meduseld- The elves of Avalonia have detailed maps made by me of all the war preparations made by the dwarf clans. Lord Andrix- Then the dwarf clans will make new plans. Lord Parimere- You know as well as we do that the dwarves have made the best possible plans for tunnels, secret tracks, tricks and attacks, and that those plans are in our hands. And all the forces of Anrarr will be with the elves to defend their lands. For the defeat of the dwarves you will be held responsible when you could have easily been known as a peacemaker by the dwarf clans. Lord Andrix- Very well I consent, your plans have been well made. I will make the dwarf council see reason. Elf Captain- It is better for both our races my friend. Lord Andrix- True, it is. I thank you lord Parimere for making me see reason. (He leaves) Lord Parimere- Let us hope that the peace will remain long unbroken. I hope the story is up to scratch, I have had nothing to compare it to since no other category C entries have been posted. On another note I am currently exhibiting the lighthouse at an expo in Williamstown and have had little kids running there hands through the water and "borrowing" 1 x 1 round plates.