A New Order Rising

Wolves, Dragons, Spiders, and Teleportation
How my life became so interesting

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The day started off like any other in my life now; I woke up. I went to meet someone. I was whisked away on an adventure. Had it not been for my stout constitution the teleportation would have been most unpleasant.
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Gerid’s mother cast some spell and sent us off to this forest. We are tasked with finding a Silver Dragon, Fulon, who can change his shape into a man. As if looking for a dragon wasn’t hard enough in this forest. Now I have to find a dragon who might be shaped as a man. The group is taking note of the surroundings and seem to have found a totem to Kelden. Maybe this wont be so bad after all.

“Nature’s wrath to the deserving. Nature’s bounty to those who can find it.”
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Highwood is a nice enough forest I suppose. Its over grown, lush, and has shrines scattered about it. Almost crossed paths with a Owlbear again. I’m quote glad Belian found him unaware. We have been following this path for some time but when we came to a fork there was another set of shrines. One had a motif of a Dragon, the other of an Aspect. Some advice would have been nice.
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One of the most interesting things that has happened to me since I took my oath was that I have learned that I CAN SPEAK WITH ANIMALS! Magic is amazing! I happened upon this opportunity, and thank Kelden we did because a pack of wolves was ready to pounce on us. While we may have survived I doubt it would have been without major wounds. I was able to speak with the alpha of the pack, they were hungry not nefarious. I made a deal with them. We would trade rations for passage as well as Gerid’s life. Apparently they had him pegged as the weak link. If they knew what I knew they would have realized he’s the most dangerous.
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Damn spiders! I have never liked the bugs. They are evil and are a blight on everything! We found a massive spider that was slain (I appreciate the traveler who did the work for us.) with a greatsword left in the body. I tried to remove it, repeatedly. Everytime I did though my hand would pass through it like it wasnt really there. Enchantments!
On we go! To our death? No one knows!

- From the journal of Abel Salinger

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Note from Abel
I need to learn to SMITE

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Today has been a day of exhausting triumph.

First I gained Malpheus back and then I almost get killed by a giant lizard. I thought for certain I was going to meet the Creator.

Bless his Aspects, I was spared.

Well, best not to dwell on the sadness. No, I choose to look for the good and there is good to celebrate. I have a friend returned from the darkness to me and a feast of crocodile if I can hurry back.

I look forward to Guard Captain Clive Helborne allowing me access to the armory. I should hope I find some useful things available.

Time for beer!

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Abel's Letter to the Sandofiir's
Before Abel knew Mal wasnt dead.

Written on tear stained paper

Mr. and Mrs. Sandofiir –
I write you this letter with a heavy heart. I felt it best you read it from my hand as I am currently unable to stand before you and share your grief. Malpheous has been lost to us. The circumstances are fantastic and horrific so I will spare you the worst of details. We were sent on a mission from the King so know that the circumstances that led to this were noble and heroic to begin with. While on this mission we were overcome by an evil and forced into a horrible situation. While making an escape from capture Mal was lost to us. He gave us an opportunity to get away. My heart is heavy as I feel responsible for actions that led to him joining me on this quest. He was set to retire from service and had spoken to me on numerous occasions when we would find ourselves at the same forts. He was a commited soldier, a loving son, and a quality friend. My prayer is that Kelden give grace to your family in this time of mourning and that the Creator hold accountable those who stole him from us. If you find fault with me I will accept your hatred and wrath. Your family has been a second family to me and deserved better from me.
The night before I joined the Army Josiah made me promise to watch over Malpehous. I have failed you. I will forever bare that mark of shame.

Regretfully,
Abel Salinger

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Another Day in the Sewers
Or That Time I Didn't Get a Gatorskin Coat

Exert from the prideful journal of Volker Richter.

You know, it was pretty odd coming out of the sewers. Mostly because the exit wasn’t by choice, but rather being drug out by the cities finest. Took a minute for them to be convinced that we were on Ole’ Clive’s orders, but after a moment of fresh thought they seemed to accept it. Think they were just made that we ruined their magic trap.

Seemingly enough the detour came as a bit of a boon! Apparently Sconce had lost a friend( or 15) down under ground. Apparently his buddy Mal, a nice enough fellow(a little “stout” if you know what I mean), just walked himself out of the Aspects-forsaken land below, all the while Sconce’s other compatriots were picked off by the terrors of the night. Spooky business._ Note to self: never let him pick directions_. Oh well, the Traveler has seemingly put me on this journey with them so hopefully he wont set me up to foolhardily die from his unfortunate choices. Maybe I’m here to keep him alive?

OH WAIT THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I DID!
But more on that later.

I made a quick trip to the market to see my favorite fletcher; Burcham. Great guy, came from Red Harbour too. I’ve got him making me some finer wares for my bow(which he says is “a piece of shit with a string”) and, well, another bow. Should be some top quality work with a reel just like we make back at home. He may come off gruff, but he and I both speak the same language. Anyway, I sold off those cockatrice feathers to him with the idea to market them in his “Premier Line” for higher quality noblemen. He has such a talent, but I don’t think the old man is putting himself out there enough… back to the story,

Now in greater numbers, and slightly renewed strength, we entered back into the delectable corridors of the cities most prominent “streets”. Very upscale, real refined. The shit on the walls adds a nice ambiance. (I think I used that word right, heard the Captain use it a few times, but it was always very sarcastic.) Trudging through the mire we went downstream this time. Upstream had that dark copycat tax collector and the cockatrices. Cockatrixes? Cockatrikes, cocka-… devil chickens, so downstream should be pleasant, right?

No. No that is not how it is.
Everything in the sewer is terrible.

We found an intersection that had dead end leading to some deep water. After much planning we settled on a great one. Leave it the hell alone. Wisdom, such wisdom.

We scurried around through the corridors til I heard something. So what did luck deal us this time? Crabs, or at least thats what I thought they were. Nope. Metal eating mites. Chew right through your sword and your armor. I was fortunate to only lose a little sharpness on my scimitar, poor Sconce lost half his long sword. Little Gerid thinks we believe he is an adult) keep a pretty good barrage of magic malice, shame every time he shot fire from his fingers he screamed like a waif. They threw some coins at the buggers before Belian sounded the retreat.

Upon our exit we found our fire breathing, rat handed, alligator man. Sans rat hands, or the capability to breath fire. But he was a big bastard regardless. Our frontliners charged while we 3 ranged folks unloaded three or four volleys into the beast before it disappeared into the roof. I got caught on some grime and made it out last.

Now, I’m not entirely sure what happened in the few seconds before I relieved myself through the porthole, but I can get a pretty good gauge of it. CrocoNAW! had entered the market, mad as the March hare, began unloading its own healthy dose of hatred on the towns residents and my compatriots. At least 6 or 7 bodies. Somewhere in the foray(I’m guessing Gerid’s work) a fire had started around the beast and was slowly cooking it. Seemed to have the boiled frog mentality because it wasn’t leaving it’s spot without hell to pay.

Thinking about my own safety and how I could best help this situation I took to the high ground dashing to the top of the nearest shop. Hanging out a window I unloaded my first shot into the beasts hide. While I readied my next shot I saw it swing around and takes it’s tail broadside into Sconce’s chest and blast him through a cart into a stall some 15ft away from where his boots were still planted. CrocoNAW then set himself onto to wee Gerid biting through his clothes before the poor boy disappeared out his mouth like he forgot to put his clothes on. I, with sound mind, tried to remind him that summoning his pet unicorn in this moment would lean a great tactical advantage, but he must have been too scared. I knocked my arrow, breathed in deep, and drew my shot just as I saw Malpheus in fit of revenge come barreling straight at the creature( who was so ready for him he had already opened his mouth wide enough for him to sprint right into his gullet). Knowing nothing else would save him from his inevitable misfortune I did what had to be done.

Breath out.
Eye Closed.
Draw back.
Peep it.
Release.
Kill.

Just like Dad taught me. Shot with customary Red Harbour aplomb.

The arrow caught the wind itself, spun hard until a slight tornado formed around the head, pacing Malpheus’ suicide attempt, passing him and planting itself snugly into this monstrosities’ left eye and out the back of it’s skull. It crashed down like the oldest tree in the wood, a cloudless thunder that rocked the very foundations of the market. Modestly I hung my head out of the window. The slow forming crowd raised their eyes to me, and I gave them a slight bow, an acknowledgment that I was simple doing my humble duty to these citizens. I cast off any focus on myself and belayed it to the creator of my exquisite munitions. I called for a cheer for Burcham and his fine wares. I then set my foot down to the street to join my compatriots. Gerid needed a reminder that what we had done was truly noble and that it shant be forgotten how we helped the common folk as well as all who set foot in Belgard.
Ser Bratford himself came down to shake our hands personally before inviting cordially to join him for tea in the castle before he could give us a new inspiring quest to help protect the land.

Even met Gerid’s mom. Apparently she works as a court wizard. how about that? Best to keep the young man out of the castle, too stuffy for a lad with adventure in his heart.

Helborne thanked us personally with gratitude and admiration. Gave us a bounty of whatever we wanted of his own collection. Humbly, we refused and accepted a simple trip to the city garrison’s armaments and wares. He has called us to meet back in a weeks time. Should have some inspiring work of Brucham’s to try out and some time to teach the kid how to swing a sword. His arms… they’re just… so scrawny

As the Traveler Guides Me,
  • Volker Richter
    Boatswain, Monk, Survivor, Slayer, Hero.
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This is it!

I finally have my chance, my opportunity to prove to my family that I am no “curse” or “screw-up”, but that I am in fact a worthy magic user and successor to the Killian name! In deference to father’s wishes for me to attain “manhood” and mother’s simple desire that I find my place in the world, I have made a decision; I will become an adventurer!

Defending hapless farmers from magical creatures, rescuing beautiful damsels from the claws of kobolds, bringing brigands to justice; becoming a hero! Everyone loves and respects a hero, and with my knowledge of magic I should be a veritable shoe-in for the citizens of Belgard.

Captain Helborne must have read my mind, for the next morning he came to ask for my help in a matter involving a strange monster in the sewers that he had already tasked some adventurers to take care of. They seem like stalwart men: Abel looks as if he is but a typical soldier, yet he has a kiss from the Divine, I paladin if it were my bet; and Volker seems like a bit of a scoundrel and rough around the edges, but a reliable ally nonetheless. Apparently they had another companion, but he wandered off that very morning.

I introduced myself as another heroic adventurer, and they completely bought it! I tried to lay low after introducing myself, just in case any of the citizenry recognised my face and ruined my ruse, so the sooner we leave Belgarde the better. Once I travel with them for a while and prove my merits as a comrade, I am positive that me being a noble youth won’t be of any major consequence. We readied ourselves with supplies and vittles and proceeded down in to the sewers to slay a beast and rescue a kid named Timmy.

We ventured on with little in the way of danger, I thought this was going to be a slice of cake; that is until Abel was shot! By the Aspects, I had never seen a man be shot like that! I thought he was a lost cause, but he healed himself of his wounds with his divine magic, and we turned to face our foe; an over-sized rat! I heroically charged in with my magic to slay this abomination with my magics, but it happened again. The Surge…I felt the magic leave my body as usual and then the feeling of vertigo as my heart doubled in speed for a split second and then there he was; the unicorn. It was so embarassing, but I found a way to spin it that my fellows actually believed that I summoned him deliberately! In any case, the unicorn healed wp. ith his magic and disappeared. The were-rat as it turned out was just a cowardly commoner named Thomas. He had no idea how he got down there in the first place, and had not seen the creature we were after nor the young lad Timmy. Yet we convinced him to travel with us as it was safer, and we were off again.

As we delved deeper into the sewers, they transformed into a cave system that probably ran beneath the whole city! We encountered a strange tentacled creature, but decided to run from it as there seemed like no feasible way to fight it. Fine by me, it was quite frightening…but not as much as what happened next. We came upon a cave room that had a door in it, which was suspicious yet we tried to open it anyway. And that’s when it engulfed Abel. Sweet Eolas, what a nightmare! Thomas was screaming, Volker was ineffectively shooting arrows at it, and Abel’s sword arm was stuck in the creatures jaws. I tried to defeat it with what little magic I had left, yet I felt more Surges rack my body even though I have no idea of the effect…I hope my comrades do not learn of my background, they may reject me to be their companion, just like everyone else…but in the end, we finally took the creature down with the aid of Thomas.

We continued on, slightly shaken by the events, until we came to trapdoor in the ceiling that was protected by magic warding that I couldn’t read. We felt as if it were another trap like we had seen earlier in the sewers, so I used my staff to push it open. It must have let out a magical alarm of some kind, because no sooner had we hoisted ourselves up into the room but a group of guards came bursting into the room to arrest us. This is just what I did NOT need, now I will surely be put out of my facade as I will have to use my namesake if we have any chance to get out of this mess…

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Why I Hate Sewers
Attack of the Petrifying Chickens

Having returned to Belgard my companions chose to part ways with me. In their departure the true weight of loss was on me. I took what little money I had managed to gather and pay for a messenger to travel to Homebrew and deliver the news to the Sandofiir‘s. After that I called in a few favors and managed to stay in the barracks and drink off the generosity of a friend. It’s always nice to see The Stronghart. I believe him being in town was nothing less than Kelden giving me someone to grieve with.
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Guard Captain Clive Helborne summoned me to a meeting where he introduced me to Fletcher and Richter. Apparently, there are some hot rumors that there is an alligator in the sewers with rat arms and a penchant for child snatching. We agreed to this errand and we are off. I am hopeful for the first time in days that this is a chance to do some good and hit something. I think it would help me out of this awful slump. Fletcher has removed the sewer lid, seems we are to venture down below now.
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I feel stiff, like after a week of hard labor. I was bitten by a damn chicken and turned to stone. Now Fletcher and Richter are calling me sconce. Aspects know what else they did to me when I was a statue. What a horrid situation, I was trapped in thought and movement and completely unaware of anything around me. Thank Kelden that spell wore off in a short time. And thanks to Kelden they didn’t knock me over or chip off a finger of mine.
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We have dispatched the cursed chickens. Fletcher says they are called a cockatrice, cockatrips, cockatrix? I dont know. We are continuing our search for this “alligator” that is causing terror. I need to find Timmy, no one needs to be trapped in the dark like this.

From the Journals of Abel Salinger

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The Stakeout

I’m writing this as I sit alone on the border of one of the gigantic corn fields that seem to stretch out in every direction from Dalefire. Throov and the Homebrewers are back in town, probably in the inn. They say they’ll do some investigation among the people of Dalefire while I focus on concealed surveillance. I wish them luck, but I doubt very much they’ll find out much of value. The people of the village either know nothing or are so tight lipped that it would take torture or considerably more guile than I’m capable of to cajole it out of them.

Flax has gone Gods know where. He set out this morning with hardly a word. Somehow I get the feeling that I may not be seeing him in Dalefire ever again.

The investigation methods the others champion don’t, in my most humble opinion, hold much promise. Can’t learn much from talking to the ignorant or striking out in a random direction without so much as a grunt. Or a plan. That’s why I’m now in a dense thicket warmed by a small fire, concealed from view by a hole, as I gaze out upon the tireless farm hands the enterprising Necromancer of Dalefire has put to work amid the numberless cornstalks.

The night is quiet. Only the chirping of crickets and the rhythmic swish of scythes breaks the silence. That stillness, though…

It’s menacing.

I feel as if a garrote is somewhere just out of sight waiting to slip round my throat and strangle me or a Displacer Beast is creeping up on me. All tentacles, teeth, and menace.

So far I’ve not seen any movement from Wulfhert or anyone else for that matter. I suppose it wouldn’t be too terrible if I rested my eyes. Just a bit.


Sounds of battle! A voice roaring in the night! I can only think of one group of people that could be coming from. Mine! I only hope I make it in time!

- The Journal of Calcorin Laughshield

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Small Town Intrigue

All those skeletons seem to do in the fields is, well, farm. They ignored my companions and I as we traipsed down the road to Dalefire. It’s not like we were stealthy. Throov, Abel, and Malpheus see to it that that’s impossible. Flax generally isn’t much better than they, but when he puts effort in even I have trouble catching the patter of his long-leg footfalls.

I write this from a local inn. It’s called the Lustful Human Female Queen Inn or the Black Boar or some silly name. Never have been able to keep them straight. At any rate, upon entering the town, I began peeking in windows surreptitiously. I even went so far as to climb and flip my way up buildings to get a look at the upper floors.

I was certain I would find dead bodies stuffed away or huge pools of dried blood marking the spot where some hapless fool had donated his skeleton. All those grinning laborers had to come from somewhere and the obvious place was from Dalefire itself. Fortunately for the villagers, I was soon proved wrong.

While I was performing my reconnaissance, Throov and the others had apparently bumbled directly into the inn we’re now staying in and began asking bald faced questions. Amateurs. It’s a miracle no one has answered one of their inquiries with a fist or spear before now.

Investigations are delicate things. One must carefully probe for information, not approach the task like a barroom brawl and reach for the nearest axe handle to bludgeon the shit covered peasant who has been eyeing you for the past several minutes into submission. So it goes, I guess.

Eventually we were all satisfied that the fine, upstanding citizens of Dalefire were useless for our purposes and probably the entire kingdom’s as well. If we wanted to know what was what, we’d have to find Lord Lucian.

The holdfast here wasn’t unimpressive. Actually, considering the lack of wealth of its surrounding territory, it’s quite something. Well built. Meant to last. And the tapestries! Some of them were truly exquisite. They could really be worth something if delivered to the right merchant under cover of night.

Putting the holdfast and its tapestries aside, Lucian seemed, how can it be best put? A fool? A simpering idiot? The perfect term escapes me, but those will have to do. Lucian comes from a family of means and like most of his kind obviously never had much opportunity to sharpen his mind. Not beyond the prattle that serves as wit at those ridiculous myriad little social gatherings human aristocrats all aspire to throw.

“Listen to my Iyosefine! Doesn’t she play the harp well? I’ve been paying for the finest private tutor in the kingdom for 5 years and she can already play three chords.”

“Oh yes, Lord Smallberries! Iyosefine is most definitely a prodigy! Have you had a chance to tour my extensive library?”

“Indeed, Baron Humdingus! Those books must have cost you a fortune.”

“Oh yes. Hohohohoho.”

And so on. Gods above, how did they ever manage to construct such a robust realm? Their forbears must have been far more competent as I can only imagine the kingdom their descendants would have produced. Starvation, lice, and dysentery for all!

Horrifying.

Lucian’s assistant and the Necromancer pulling the strings of the alabaster multitudes toiling in the fields on the other hand…

Wulfhert. Something about him was off. He stood up well to all of my and my compatriots’ questions, but I can’t quite shake this feeling of unease. Necromancy is a vile art. Its practitioners don’t usually show much regret when one of their grinning puppets had been clothed in living flesh a few hours previous.

Wulfhert, however, claims to have gotten these particular skeletons from graves. That would still make him guilty of grave robbing, but he says he’s operating under the auspices of the King himself. Moreover, he assures us that he’s no idea why the King hasn’t been receiving any reports from Dalefire.

There’s much to uncover in this town. Several options have been tendered concerning how these secrets can be uncovered, but so far there’s been no agreement.

I myself plan to observe the town from outside, generally the comings and goings of its residents. Wulfhert in particular.

- The Journal of Calcorin Laughshield

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Pixies... and the Undead!

It would seem we had a visitor last night while I slept. Without waking myself or even a single one of my compatriots, including that particularly sharp eared Half-elf, someone or something sneaked into the camp and made a rat king of all our shoes!

I myself am a heavy sleeper, so I understand how it or they may have gotten past me, but Malpheus and Abel? I’ve never known properly trained soldiers of King Eddard’s army to be caught unaware even during sleep.

I think this is the work of no ordinary pranksters and there’s only one possible culprit with the skills necessary that I can think of.

Pixies! It has to be pixies!

Tiny, irritating humanoids with their little translucent dragonfly wings and their little high pitches voices laughing in your face as you try and swat them with a heavy leather belt or stick. Perpetrating their “amusing pranks” and responding only with that irritating titter if you catch them at work. That or with their sharp little teeth and claws.

I can only hope that they decide to move on and torture someone else tonight.

The others are getting up and readying themselves to move out. Salinger is positively chomping at the bit to get back on the road. Wonder who lit a fire under him…


We made good time on the road today. We’re camping in a little copse that should provide a modicum of concealment from what I’m assured passes for a road around here. Something seemed a little off to me, though. So off that I pushed forward a bit after nightfall.

It was sometime around midnight when I made it to the edge of a field of ripe grain and was proved right. Something was very wrong around here.

I could hear farm tools in the gloam! The swish of scythes and rustling of felled stalks drifted into my ears from the field. The crop itself prevented me from seeing into the field so I used a well placed tree to gain a better vantage. Even then I could only make out some generally human figures in the gloom with my Gnomish eyes. Though I couldn’t make out a single detail, I decided to observe them for a while.

The way they moved… I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was wrong. This wasn’t the fluid movement of a human or elf, but something a bit jerkier. Stiff-like.

I’d have to return during daylight to make out anything more than general shapes, so I quietly descended from my lookout and returned to camp where my findings were regarded dubiously by all except for Throov. He simply didn’t care.


It’s happened again! I found my shoes tied along with the others a ways off from where I placed them last night. Smug little bastards and their fool ideas about fun. Maybe I could set some sort of trap for them tonight…

It probably wouldn’t work. I only know noose or loop type rope traps activated by pressure and I doubt that would do. I might could do something with a net, but it would take days to make one from scratch if I could even find the right fibrous plants or tree bark. Same thing goes for poison.

I suppose I’ll just have to deal with it.

Returning to the field where I saw the shadowy figures last night, I quickly scaled the tree I used the night before and found that the field was still being worked. By skeletons!

They looked to have once been human and were tirelessly cutting and transporting bushel after bushel of grain. Some of them were obviously new, pearly white and bright in the sun while others were various shades of gray or clothed partially in moss. While I could imagine how convenient this arrangement might be for whomever was pulling the strings, I couldn’t help but shiver with revulsion. And fear.

Necromancy is nothing more than a whisper of a rumor, but it’s said that those who use these forbidden arts had no compunctions about using any sort of body they could find to do their unholy bidding. Even the ones still living. The corpses and remains of the dead raised up and strung together by ribbons of magical power like a grotesque marionette. Unthinking and unfeeling. The perfect farm hand… or cannon fodder.

How do you kill something that doesn’t have arteries? Kidneys? No neck to garrote and no susceptibility to poison? Throov could likely crush them with his hands if necessary and I’m certain the humans and the Half-elf could figure something out, but I’ll have to come up with something creative should I ever be cornered by these creatures.

Somewhere there’s doubtless a dark robed, cowled and mustachioed villain pulling the strings, but there’s no sign of him anywhere out here in the fields. There was nothing else to do here so all I could do was return to camp and share my findings.

Making certain not to draw any attention, I double timed it back to the camp where, once again, my reports were met with incredulity. Do these long legs think I’ve got wool for brains and marbles for eyes? What good is a gnome of my cunning and stealth if my reports aren’t trusted? Frankly, I fear for the future of our party if they should make this a habit.

- The Journal of Calcorin Laughshield

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Road to Dalefire
From the journal of Throov.

Figured I’d be gone for awhile, thought I might stop by for my blueberries. Saw a beggar kid when I was searching Jarryn’s for pipe. Seems the local scamps are selling pipes as their newest scheme. Had 2 different whelps sell me 1 separately. Gave one a silver and a threat to share, and the other some food. When I saw his disappointment I knew word had spread between them. Good. Maybe it’ll make the older one share the coin.

Dipped in the ‘ Horseshoe for some weed, odd stuff Tarrin is selling. Minty. Not my preference but it’ll do.

Before we set out I had us give the usual toast. Didn’t think the old man or the Galish’ would hold it down so well, BUT THE SOLDIER! HAHAHAHA! Told me he was used to drinking BEER, not liquor! What a milk-drinker…

Road is fair enough. Krink kept it damp enough, a good omen if any. Haven’t seen any hand prints either.

A few days in I heard a rattle. Some merchant got a raw deal. Saw the dame lose her crown, ugly sight. Waited to see them leave, nothing left behind. Tried to track the trail but it was usless. Didn’t seem like a normal stake out. Picked up some burlap off the cart as it might make for some good camouflage in the future.

Flax hasn’t stopped talking about some town up ahead. Says they have the best bread a man can make, and follows this up with how great Elven bread is. As funny as he is, I might clock him a solid one if he doesn’t shut up about it.

Bread was pretty damn good.

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