Another installment in Bryony's adventures in Achaea, one of the IRE MUD games.
There's a player-run festival in Bryony's home city this in-game year, with lots of events and contests. Pretty fun, and a nice way to promote city life. Bryony isn't in a position yet to participate in most of these contests, but she has enrolled in one: an exploration contest!
In Achaea, you get an "explorer ranking" based on what percentage of the rooms in the world you've visited. The in-game world is really, really huge, much larger than any of the other MUDs I've every played. And many areas require you to find secret exits, or puzzle out some special command, to get to every spot, and there are also islands accessible only if you buy or borrow a ship and sail across the ocean to reach them. So getting a high explorer ranking is quite an admirable feat.
I'm being careful not to take advantage of my own knowledge, as a long-time player, in the exploring contest. I know how to get to a lot of places, but Bryony doesn't, and I want to stay in-character. So she will only be venturing out to explore a few places recommended for novices, that she has the resources to tell her how to find.
Still, this does give Bryony an excuse to visit some areas that I have never properly explored before, and it's been quite fun! So far, she's visited....
Caer Witrin, a snowy village in the mountains, created by Scarlatti, God of the Arts, as a lover's gift to Selene, Goddess of Love and Beauty. Bryony bought some flowers to put in her hair, explored Scarlatti's temple, and admired the wares on display in its many artistic shops.
A section of the Aalen Forest
The Aalen Forest, a peaceful redwood forest home to various species of animals. It is also the ancestral home of the tsol'aa race. The tsol'aa live in the treetops, in harmony with nature.
Taking the ferry to Polyargos
And Polyargos, a volcanic island accessible only by taking a ferry. It's home to a colony of lepers who live in a cave, a flock of disgusting harpies which make popular hunting targets, and the great red dragon Yudhishthira. (Bryony is a cautious young dwarf and chose to stay far away from Yudhishthira's cave.)