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The official home of Hârn, HârnMaster, and HârnWorld.

Latest news

We are getting personal...

But don't worry -- it's for your benefit :). kelestia.com has been updated to give you more options for personalisation and self-portrayal.

The new features are:

  1. A couple of optional fields in your member profile -- allowing you to tell other Hârniacs a bit about yourself and your (Hârnic) interests; you can access them by clicking on My account, then on the Edit tab, then on Additional Information.
  2. A user list showing you all registered members of kelestia.com; it can be sorted by certain profile data, possibly helping you to find fellow role-players (or friends) in your area.

Last but not least, a new poll is online -- this time about character creation in role-playing groups.

Welcome to kelestia.com mark um...

It's not that we've been off admiring our electronic navels (well not all of us, some of us, in fact went off to contemplate our actual navels) but kelestia.com has been a bit quiet lately. So what could be better than a complete reorganisation and redesign?

It's good for what ails us. Not that anything much is ailing us a whole lot, but there were problems with the old site.

The problems with the old site were well, not leigion, but several. One was that we had do disable registration and commenting to prevent spam. Now we have email registration, profiling and even avatars, so you can comment and even post to our new fora!

We have built a new eShop, and you need to register to use it, but registration is ridiculously easy and we are keeping the (pittance of) information we collect confidential. Also, the download system should make it a lot easier for you to download your files. "User Friendly" are two of our middle names...

We have created a new fanon licence. It is part of our updated FAQ. There's lots of information in there now.

More Lore (a new category that somehow always existed)... more Penny Arcane and more blogs... for some reason, people tell us they want to read our blogs (but oh my... how I hate that word).

Overall, the site should be a happier, friendlier place, and a lot more community oriented. Just to make sure this is so, we have created a chat room called the Tavern. There you can talk to us online in realime, or to each other, for that matter... you can even create a chat room for 'play by chat' gaming if you want to.

Naturally, the fact that we have eliminated a bunch of problems from the old site, doesn't mean we haven't created a slew of new problems. This is where you can help... point out our flaws!

And welcome to kelestia.com mark III ? IV ? well... welcome to whatever version it is... it's definitely the newest and best. Enjoy.

En Yârensynen: The Járind Stones of Chélemby

En Yârensynen al Chélemby
The Járind Stones of Chélemby

The Yârensynen (or Járind Stones), which stood in what is now the north bailey of Ânstrad Kîkè (Parliament Castle), were a three-ring henge. It was the first structure known to have stood on the site of the City of Chélemby.

The site was contemporary with several other (now lost or subterranean) structural formations scattered about the City. The name Yârensynen post-dates the Yârynè period, and may date from as late as the eighth century BT. Some scholars have speculated that the site was of pre-Járind origin and that it was the presence of the Yârensynen that first attracted Járind settlers to Chélemby. If this were true, then the stones would be well over 2,000 years old.

It is still recalled that, through the Yârynè period, the site was used for religious or arcane ceremonies and was controlled by a secretive, cloistered order of ‘monks’. The mysteries surrounding the order have kept even their object(s) of worship in considerable doubt. They themselves have been called by many names, and it is even possible that there were different organisations in place, but the most common name was Sêrisis Viánys (Serpent Brotherhood).

Sometimes the Yârensynen were called the Sêrisis Sýnen (Serpent Stones).

Stories surrounding the stones are vague, fragmentary and often contradictory. Here are some attempts to explain the stones:

  • The stones were some kind of Earthmaster portal and may have been used to bring various creatures to Kèthîra..
  • Together, the stones formed a mighty (Earthmaster or Airmaster?) machine, most likely a weapon..
  • The stones were placed to mark where a divine chariot fell from the sky..
  • Yârensynen formed a nexus that led to another world wherein dwelt a great serpent who demanded human sacrifice. The stones were broken up to seal the opening and stop the sacrifices..
  • The stones were the bones (tombstones?) of defeated Pradeyálkri. This is sometimes combined with the otherworldly serpent hypothesis..
  • The stones have been ascribed with various attributes.

  • Each stone possessed some kind of special power (possibly luck). This is one reason why they were eventually broken up and used for foundation stones by locals needing more luck..
  • The Stones were used to study the passage of the stars in the sky and possibly to predict the future. One tale suggests that they were broken up because they foretold the sack of Vúldenâr. Of course, no one is sure exactly when Yârensynen was finally broken..
  • Combining the stones in different ways produces different effects, some of them very powerful and dangerous. Putting them all together might open a portal or cause some other great disaster. There is a prophecy that this will happen..
  • When the henge was ‘broken’ the Sêrisis Viánys were not killed, but were scattered to the ‘four winds’. They have been ‘out there’ all these years, but mean one day to return and do something horrible or wonderful.
    Lately there are increasing rumours that the Sêrisis Viánys, who may or may not (now) be followers of Ilvîr, are once more gathering in Chélemby.

If they plan to gather up the stones of the Yârensynen, it will be quite a task finding them all, but it may be possible to achieve a dramatic effect with just some of them. (Or maybe they plan to dig something up.) In any event, if they are here, they know (or think they know) something interesting that has been lost to the rest of the world for many, many years.

This piece of lore (and several others) may be found in the upcoming Keléstia Productions publications City of Chélemby .

N. Robin Crossby

Miscellaneous Content: 

Intercessionary Prayer and Plenty of Tea

"Things are darkest before the dawn", I've heard it said, but I think things are darkest when, with or without eyelashes, you close your eyes..

The essence of 21st century life in Anzaeuromerica is fatigue. When people asked me how I was, even though I knew it was a wossname... rhetorical question, I would answer 'tired'. Sometimes my interlocutor would take pause at this, and ask why. I would reply that I have three daughters and three dogs and I am, therefore, entitled to feel tired. This was my standard 'greeting' for decades (ever since I've had daughters and dogs). Some time back there, I discovered another reason for being tired when a friend told me I had sleep apnoea. 'What's that?' I wondered, and several doctors and a couple of sleep studies later I got another excuse for being tired, and an excuse for allegedly snoring. Never mind all that... everyone is tired these days. It turns out we need about ten hours of sleep a night, most of us only get six or eight. This means we have something called chronic sleep deprivation.

What's that you say? As you get older you need less sleep? Not so! It turns out that the reason old people sleep less is that they (we?) have so much stuff wrong with us that it keeps waking them (us?) up... it isn't that old people don't need sleep, it's that they (we?) can't sleep. How much sleep is it possible to do without?

We all know that sleep deprivation causes a drop in IQ, and lack of delta sleep will eventually cause us to go as nutty as a, well... a pure nut without any contaminants... as nutty as the quintessential essence of nuttiness. We've all seen the episode of ST:NG when Data had to take over because everyone else was off their nuts... well... that nutty.

So for years and years when people asked how I was, I would say 'tired'. It was true. I was tired. So was everyone else, but most of us were too tired to think much of it.

Six months of chemotherapy was, not to put too fine a point on it, hard to cope with. No eyelashes, and not much hope. When people asked me how tired I was, I didn't answer 'tired', I didn't answer at all. I was too tired. After six months I had, apparently, earned a 'break'. I certainly wanted one and the nurses wanted me to have one, and the chemotherapy had sort of stopped working in that my oncs were now shrinking only a little bit instead of a lot. The law of diminishing returns was applying itself to my chemo. So... time for a break. After my break, maybe more chemotherapy or maybe surgery and radiation or maybe good night, sweet prince (I used to have a dog named Prince).

This was one reason for the break, the other was that I wanted to go to HârnCon, and I had enough miles to fly there with my wife in business class. Apart from anything else, I have been trying to get them to hold the thing in York or Oldenburg for some time now; finally they are having it in Leeds... which is close to York, so being there seems de rigeur.

Of course, I have to wait for clearance from my oncologist. Who knows what kind of dastardly plans she might have for me? Finally, she tells me I can have my break. Woo hoo. So I call my airline's frequent flier line and book the flights (four of us are going). Oops. The flights are not available to Manchester (which is the nearest airport). I try for London. No good. Since there are four of us going, and since the other three have gone to great pains to book off a particular window of opportunity, it's time to consult.

It turns out that, my wife has been trying to find accommodations in the UK (we are going for three weeks) and she is almost apoplectic at the prices. When the rest of us find out, we drift in the general direction of apoplexy as well. I don't understand how the Brits can afford to live in Britain...

So plan B: We plan this lovely 'loop' through Europe (which is much cheaper than the UK) with only a week in the UK to go to the con and visit my old stomping grounds in London. Gone are the plans to visit my wife's ancestral homeland on the isle of Skye, down the drain is the hope to go to the land of my mother in Wales. Cornwall is off the agenda, and so on. On the positive side: we get to visit Berlin, Prague, Venice, Vienna, and a lot of other places where they have perfectly good beer. This trip is designed as a 'loop' through Europe with a 'side trip' to the UK. It's a bit of an 'if this is Tuesday' sort of thing, but we work it out carefully and it will work. Everyone is enthusiastic about plan B.

So I call back to make the bookings. Can I get to and from Amsterdam? No? No problem. Because the trip is a 'loop' we can start at any of the air hubs en route (we can even modify the loop a bit here and there to take in extra places). What about Paris? Berlin? Frankfurt? Venice? Vienna? No? What about places that weren't on our loop but could be? What about Copenhagen? Madrid? What? Not even Warsaw? Not Stockholm? What do you mean, 'we can't get there from here?'. What if we buy extra points to get special seats? How much? $5000? Each? Because I think I may still be suffering from 'chemo brain' I get someone else to do the math: it adds up to $20,000 for a trip to Europe + accommodations.

I should clarify: I could have arranged a trip just to go to the convention. Three nights in Leeds, but since this was also supposed to be a family trip, and since my lovely wife has had a lot with witch to put up lately. Plan B is cancelled. Everyone is disappointed. I wanted to get some nice castle photos and whatnot.

I go to work on Plan C.

It's off-season downunder. I've never been to New Zealand and I love Australia. Our dollar is worth more than theirs... plan C forms rapidly and efficiently. Everything comes together nicely.

And this is the story of why, while everyone else was hunched over gaming tables at the Royal Armoury in Leeds, I was snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. It's not that I would rather have gone snorkelling on the planet's greatest natural wonder it's just that one was possible and the other was not. Sigh. As for my trip downunder… Well, that probably deserves a blog or maybe a gallery of its own. I'll get to that as soon as I'm not tired any more.

Oh, by the way (this is where I remind you of the title of this piece): when I got back from my 'second choice' trip, I got another CT scan and went to see my oncologist. This was when I was to find whether the oncs had grown or stayed the same and whether I would be getting surgery, radiation or (shudder) more chemotherapy.

It turns out that, in the five months since I stopped chemotherapy (on my birthday in May), my oncs have continued to shrink. At this point in the story most people say "why didn't you tell us that first?". I just shrug and look evil (which is much easier to do with short hair by the way).

This is in the order of a miracle, my oncologist was astounded and had no explanation. I gather this simply does not happen. So why did it happen? No one knows, but some of us have theories:

It may be the intercessionary prayer and good will out there, although I sometimes suspect that this sort of thing may have caused the problem in the first place.

My lovely wife asserts it must be the vitamin regime she has designed specifically for me, and I would never argue with this sort of thing.

Secretly, I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that I'm able to drink a lot more tea.

Oh and by the way, another way that I am somewhat unusual... most chemo patients take about six months to grow back delicate fuzz on their heads. I, on the other hand, have hair... not a lot of hair, not as much as I had in the sixties, my ears are cold and I have to wear a hat in the sun, but more hair than I should have. So maybe I will live forever after all. Oh, and hey! I got eyelashes!

I know... Leeds is the other way

The plan was to go to Leeds, but the airlines wouldn't let us. So we had to go downunder and suffer though antarcticy winter. Sure, the snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef wasn't that cold... but some of the rest was. I actually had to put my sweatshirt on a couple of times.