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I'll also direct you over to The Spoony Experiment for a video of "Richard Garriott's art gallery and ass-ugly Akalabeth pictures" and provide some text from the latest story sneak peek below:
Before you depart, I would like to talk about a land you are likely to encounter on your way to Novia.
The Hidden Vale has been a land apart from Novia for generations now. The Oracle still seems to be aware of events there, as much as anyone can tell, but the people there hold no love for her. Most have migrated to the lands of the Vale because of their status outside the Oracle's dominion over the years, and the affirmation chambers, so much a part of Brittany's landscape, are absent here, though you still might be able to find a ruined one from the last time the Oracle's servants attempted to build such. The people of the Vale believe themselves to be free, and they are quietly proud of this.
Until recently, trade ships from Brittany and Port Graff sailed the route to the Vale's town of Kingsport regularly, if fairly infrequently. But within the past year, they have stopped completely, and no one can say why. Was it the Oracle, asserting control over her wayward flock once again? Or does it have to do with the prophecies, drawing ever closer to their appointed hour? It is the time of portents, after all, and this portent specifically bears ill for the people of the Vale. As little as they would care to admit, they became dependent on the goods from the trading ships, and Kingsport especially has fallen upon hard times. Bandits can be found in dark alleys plotting the disposition of what little wealth remains, and good people have fled.
Most of those refugees eventually find themselves in the bustling town of Owl's Head. Owl's Head has no King or Baron; the people have not nearly the patience for that. If anyone could be said to rule Owl's Head, it is the captain of the local guard, Lord Delbart Enmar (the Lord in this case being more of an honorific, and a signifier that Enmar's family has been guard-commanders for generations). Enmar has many concerns of late; the chaos beginning to consume Kingsport not least among them. But outside the walls of Owl's Head there lie many dangers. Wolves prowl the farmlands in packs, threatening what little of the economy remains, and to the south past Kingsport the walking dead have just within the past few weeks emerged from a hidden fortress, to what end no one can say. And some even say a dragon is loose in the hills.
The Vale values its freedom, traveller, but its challenges are many, and its survival is uncertain. And your imminent arrival is not unknown to forces that mean you harm, traveller. For they know the prophecy as well as I, and your place in it. And they are not as concerned with your welfare as I.