PaxLair, Chesapeake (PaxLair Times) – November 22, 2004 – by Winfield –
PaxLair is a player-city on the Felucca Facet, Chesapeake Shard of Ultima Online established on January 19, 1998. PaxLair is one of the original remaining player towns on the shard and continues to move forward today. In early days, PaxLair was enhanced by the gods (Interest Game Masters) as people demonstrated the large formation of this community. PaxLair was affected by the creation of Trammel and now also the creation of Tokuno. But PaxLair does not fade away into dust. It continues to this day to offer opportunities for people to work together in this Realm of intrigue, mystery, and adventure.
This article describes some of the history of PaxLair, particularly focusing on the early years and latest developments which are less described elsewhere. There is still much history of PaxLair that is untold in this article. Such history is known in the hearts and minds of people and in archived libraries throughout the Realm and beyond. We will continue to research and add consolidated history even as new PaxLair history is created.
THE BEGINNING — THE BAND
When the Stranger broke the Gem of Immortality into many shards (1997) [ref 1], a guild called The Band led by Nightfall and Ender quickly appeared on the Atlantic Shard. Within a few months, though, The Band moved to the Chesapeake Shard where it established houses on the guard-protected Prison Island of Yew near the Court of Truth. The Band, being a mixed group of people with a variety of goals, sought to enjoy the Realm to its fullest. People in The Band were builders, fighters, healers, adventurers, craftsmen, and diplomats. Within several months, their protected island estate became too small and restricted for their ambitions. They sought a place that was more open for all to come to, including murderers of the Realm, and needed more facilities for their crafting and fighting ambitions.
So, one day (January 19, 1998) The Band set out with shovel and pickaxe in hand to build a place to expand. They came across a meadow between two forests just northwest of the Compassion Shrine. With mortar, stone, and wood, they soon built a saloon, two large forges, a tower, and several other buildings in that meadow. Key people who placed buildings were Wild Mike (who placed the first forge in the meadow, which still stands today, now claimed by the Orcs and called the Orcs Tavern), and Red (Soulweaver).
Band members and friends came from across the shard to see the new buildings. Several more wealthy people and guilds constructed buildings in the area. Within a few weeks, the once peaceful meadow bustled with activity as people trained, fought, and forged weapons and armour for residents and travelers.
As more people and guilds came along, such as The Sillyhood who established its guild house in the meadow, it was obvious this was becoming a large community. So The Band called the community “PaxLair” meaning “Peace Place” and set the stage for all to follow.
THE GODS COME
A few months passed and the community continued to grow. Dueling, crafting, adventures, rendering of many tales at the saloon, and the incessant daily decorating of the Mage Tower soon captured the attention of one of the gods of the Realm (IGM goatboy, later named Orbeus). When the god visited, he saw many, many people in this once quiet meadow located out in the dangerous lands beyond Lord British’s guards. The god talked to the leaders of The Band and other prominent residents and received a tour of the many houses already built. The god sensed a “hot spot” of activity and decided to assist the community in ways that the community had no powers to do itself.
The god first nailed community-crafted furniture to the floors inside the Mage Tower. After this, the craftsmen did not have to redecorate the tower each day due to thievery. Also on that first visit, the Lady Winmere approached the god with a small piece of waterfall she received from her good friend Callista who found it in a gold box in Deceit Dungeon. Callista was one of the first to visit Deceit via boat. Since the waterfall came from one of the people of the community, the god decided to also anchor this where people could enjoy it. Winmere carefully gave the waterfall to the god.
He placed the waterfall (tile) in front of the Mage Tower and constructed four small walls to contain the water. The god then named the water the Spring of Knowledge. This was the first godly construction of any kind in PaxLair, and it still exists to this day. Yet, this small spring would soon become one of the most famous artifacts on the Shard and the centerpiece of much more to come.
For within a few days time, the Spring of Knowledge turned red with blood by the hand of Mazrim. The PaxLair community was astounded and some were fearful of what might happen. Soon, monsters started to come up out of the ground and attack the people in the town. Reinforcements were called in from across the Realm and PaxLair was launched on a year-long quest to cleanse the Spring. The quest culminated when Seer Daemeon sacrificed his mortal life at the Spring to cleanse it (May 7, 1999). Such a sacrifice took extreme courage. Once free of Mazrim’s Touch, the Spring became known as the Spring of Courage in honor, it is thought, of Daemeon’s courage and sacrifice.
The god experimented with the Second Chance Provisioners (SCP) shop with the shop’s proprietors Thelorn, Steelman, Justin Credible, and Crimson Dragon. SCP became a more secure place to barter over-the-counter to passing travelers. This made the SCP one of the first daily in-person craft shops known in this land; in the days of no secure storage, lockable doors, or vendors. Thelorn also ran the only known (player-run) bank where he stored travelers’ goods for them.
PaxLair continued to grow in the first years and the gods returned several times to construct an arena, benches, outdoor cafe servicing Luigi’s Pizzeria, Bells of PaxLair, a statue, a stable with stable master, a fire monument, a fountain, an old ruin wall, and a blue gate atop the Mage Tower that sent people quickly to the front door. They went further to decorate the Alchemist Shop, PaxLair Saloon, PaxLair Survival Shop, and Ladies of the Lair Tavern. PaxLair citizens soon built a second tower next to the first, thus the two towers becoming known as the Twin Towers. Another god (IGM Twilight) was pleased and connected these two towers’ roofs with special steps and installed a second gate, this time red, to take people to the front door of this new tower.
The PaxLair Saloon, Ladies of the Lair, and Luigi’s Pizzeria became the hot spots in PaxLair during these times. People gathered daily to meet friends and rest a spell. Olag Hai Orcs sometimes came through looking to fight hummies or to blah with the people. The Saloon, led by Kyleria Dawn, Minsk, and Nevilar, became a daily place to meet people and hear stories (circa fall 1999). Today, wizzie owns the PaxLair Saloon and customized it. To his great credit, he kept the first floor nearly identical to what the original Saloon looked like during these earlier years.
Over time, other notable buildings hosted crafts like Sibelius’ Tailor Shop and Eli’s Carpenter shop.
PAXLAIR GOVERNMENT STARTS
During all this construction, the town did not remain idle with respect to government and leadership. On one summer afternoon (June 20, 1998), The Band’s council appointed an old man, longstanding member of The Band and current Guild Master (February 23 – August 23, 1998) Winfield, to establish a government for PaxLair’s residents, guilds, and visitors. This government helped focus PaxLair’s construction projects, events, and quests along with numerous activities in PaxLair and throughout the Realm. Mayor Winfield quickly established three tenets to guide PaxLair. These were Peace, Neutrality, and Role-playing. Later, he added one basic rule for PaxLair–Respect.
In these early days, PaxLair worked with many in the larger community, including Father Time, Sinbad, and later Angelstorm of UO Chesapeake News, and other towns such as Aryslan, Corwyn, Dragon’s Bay, Gehenna, Haven, Humility, Marrach Lir, Oasis Tavern, and Shadowcove. Mayor Winfield appointed Chancellors and Ministers to aid the running of PaxLair. Some of the Chancellors and Ministers in these several years were Green Dragon, Tycho Veg, Ruglug (the first Orc chancellor on December 17, 1999 was even reported in the UO Town Cryers’ news reported by Trysta on March 9, 2000), Rhyssand, Mystarr, Katelynn, Kyleria Dawn, Neo of Lothlore, and Cowmaster. Lady Winmere served a vital role at all times meeting and greeting people and helping everyone around PaxLair.
The government structure was fairly simple and designed to be a ‘working’ and ‘realistic’ government. There was a Mayor with a Mayor’s office of Chancellors and Ministers to handle the daily situations (defense, citizenship, diplomacy, justice, and news) in PaxLair, sort of like an executive branch. There was also a Council to advise and handle the medium-term topics such as housing, commerce, and event plans. Finally, the Mayor personally handled the long-term topics such as vision, alliances, and contact with the gods.
The government along with so many dedicated people, residents, visitors, and cooperation with other towns were so successful that a very, very important dignitary visited PaxLair.
On a windy day (November 11, 1998), more than 60 people gathered at the Mage Tower for the PaxLair Founders and Builders Festival to honor many who endured the year in making PaxLair a notable place in Realm history. Suddenly, a gate opened outside and through it stepped Lord Vargon, Seer Daemeon, and Lord British (confirmed to be Richard Garriott)! They came up to the roof of the Mage Tower and addressed the amazed audience. Lord British met the people, congratulated them, and placed a plaque above the Mage Tower front doors that reads to this day “Proclamation Of Distinction By His Royal Majesty Lord British”.
In the coming few years, PaxLair continued to prosper. The Spring was cleansed, festivals of races and concerts were held, attackers were dealt with by the city guards and over time Earl’s mercenaries, quests were abundant, justice systems were created, commercial ventures filled shop owners’ purses, orcs resident in the Olag Hai orc fort down the road claimed pre-PaxLair occupation in the meadow, vampires lurked in the shadows, woodland elves protected the nearby woods, knights grew in lore and legend, kobolds appeared, the PaxLair library grew to one of the finest thanks to efforts of Tacitus and Dene, academies were built, tavern keepers catered to daily crowds, duels and tournaments happened weekly, the PaxLair Council formed and advised the Mayor, inter-city cooperation was up, news was aplenty, and much, much more.
THE SEERS AND COUNSELORS
Seers Daemeon, Magdalena, Kristos and Sannio appeared in PaxLair often as they did throughout the rest of the Realm. As many know, the Seers used their personal time, skill, creativity, and bravery to add to the enjoyment of all. They brought interactive quests into the lands and became friends of many.
Seer Daemeon (a Seer through May 7, 1999) most certainly became a best friend in PaxLair. He enjoyed sitting in the PaxLair Saloon for hours talking with the people. He never strayed from his special path of spreading lore and legend in the Realm. His relationship with PaxLair was a sponsor of sorts, which was allowed by the gods in those early days. He brought appreciation, respect, and solid value to the Realm. Just before his own sacrifice at the Spring of Knowledge, he gave Mayor Winfield his personal staff–the Staff of Seer Daemeon. Tears welled up in Winfield’s eyes as he knew he would not see his old friend anymore. As time went on, Winfield carried Daemeon’s staff with respect and honor, vowing to help all as Daemeon did. However, Winfield lost the precious staff near Empath Abbey one day when he tripped on a stone while un-equipping it (lag bubble). That day was also a fateful and sorrowful day, not for the loss of the staff, but for the loss of another friend. It was Lead Counselor Rmaggedon’s last day in the Realm.
Seer Magdalena sponsored the Ladies of the Lair for its role as a player establishment within PaxLair. The Ladies Lair tavern, still standing today, is ornately decorated with furnishings beyond belief to include a switch on the wall that carries the person to the back outdoor garden patio. She brought several unique quests to the Realm that only she could.
Seer Kristos created enormous amounts of Chesapeake-resident lore and legends. He lead the discovery of a fallen meteor (which has since disappeared, but the scarred spot remains), he fixed the Moonglow Telescope (Felucca), and crafted the massive quest of Dragar. While unconfirmed, many believe he had a heavy role in the Juo’nar attacks on Trinsic.
Seer Sannio (a Seer from February 1, 2000 to May 9, 2001) served for a long time on Chesapeake and touched PaxLair several times. In Sannio’s departing message to the Realm (May 11, 2001), Sannio said:
“Memorable recent moment: Wixim meeting Harmort (a player’s character), in PaxLair. Harmort is a kindred spirit to Wixim, as he is also quite mad. I was very impressed with the tight concept of Harmort’s madness and how quickly he made it understood. His madness was such genius that I was immediately inspired to have Wixim consider him his only friend, and incorporate some of Harmort’s “teachings” as appropriate. If you see Harmort around, make sure you give him some dragon hides, so he can cover all your roofs and keep the meteors out.”
There were many people around PaxLair like Harmort (always in-character) who were fun to just interact with. One of Sannio’s last achievements was to decorate the Skara Brae-Trammel Counselor hall. Sannio apparently still owns Mazrim’s Tower of Souls near old Aryslan.
Counselors Rmageddon, Mindtrip, Leeland and others regularly visited PaxLair to aid people and at times watch over PaxLair events. PaxLair once hosted a special Appreciation Celebration for the Counselors and advertised throughout the Shard (August 16, 1999). PaxLair is indebted to the Counselors for their years service. Later, PaxLair held an impromptu Appreciation Celebration (May 29, 2000) when word was circulating about the future demise of the Counselor program. Counselors Mindtrip, Myth, Yeran, and Lady Cellista were able to attend on such short notice and received praise from many citizens and visitors.
Senior Lead Counselor Rmageddon was a special friend to PaxLair. He took time from his regular duties of expertly leading the Chesapeake Counselors to visit PaxLair and aid in events and comraderie. On many a late night, one might find Rmageddon in PaxLair taking a load off his feet or inviting other off-duty Counselors to splash in the Spring of Courage. Truly he made much of the PaxLair community and the rest of the shard adventurers feel welcome in the Realm.
THE CULTURE OF PAXLAIR
With much of all this happening in the first two years of PaxLair, Mayor Winfield said at the PaxLair Second Anniversary Celebration (January 19, 2000), “Our culture remains our most vital component in PaxLair. This PaxLair culture is not stagnant, and is only a piece of the culture within the entire shard. The Olag Hai Orc Clan, the Clan of Vampires, the Caitiff, the Woodland Elves, the Xun Verin, the Wraiths, the Death Knights, the PaxLair Knights, the Kobolds, the PaxLair Wizards, the witches of Shadowcove, the Healers of Chesapeake, the Lupars, and many, many more beings bring color not just to PaxLair but to the entire shard. This is what makes Chesapeake the most interesting and robust shard of all shards. We in PaxLair vow to do all we can to help all beings, through our sense of neutrality, in any way we can.” And in solemn and quiet fashion, he also contacted the Seers and Counselors that he could and thanked them for helping bring significant portions to the culture of PaxLair and the Realm.
It is inevitable though that in such a culture, PaxLair dealt occasionally with guilds that declared war on the city. At times, PaxLair’s reaction was simply to attack and defend. Other times when such battles went on for many weeks, extensive diplomacy was attempted.
Early in PaxLair’s second year (1999), a clan of wolves known as the Lupars declared war on PaxLair (February 8, 1999). For several months, Mayor Winfield and Chancellor Tycho Veg worked hard at diplomacy while others defended against attacks. The Ladies of the Lair house was a frequent place of their attack. Lupars demanded human sacrifices, which were against PaxLair’s principles and tenets. Many discussions occurred with the Lupars to negotiate the violence and better understand the meaning of their wolfish attacks. Mayor Winfield hosted King Lupar and his Clan at a more neutral ground in Trinsic (February 26, 1999); however, the Lupars continued to demand a weekly human sacrifice, which PaxLair could not agree to. Therefore, the Lupar’s regular attacks on shopkeepers, guards, and visitors continued. After a few months of this, it became apparent the war situation between the city and the Lupars would not progress beyond a tactical warring state. Eventually, PaxLair and the Lupars went on to other adventures and the war naturally subsided.
Also, the McManus Fiefdom (November 25, 1999) residing just northeast of PaxLair offered more opportunities for cooperation, diplomacy, and meaningful combat. However, full interactions did not take place. In later years, the Fiefdom was gone yet PaxLair still encountered Lord Ed McManus in the area.
TRAMMEL IS CREATED
Something later happened to change PaxLair forever (fall 2000). The facets on the shard suddenly changed in a very drastic way. PaxLair, built on the Felucca facet of the Chesapeake Shard, found itself surrounded by decay and darkness. As this happened, the Trammel facet of the Shard glimmered brightly with green pastures and forests. Trammel, an unscathed landscape, even had room for new construction of dwellings. Many people migrated quickly from Felucca to Trammel leaving old homes and sometimes friends behind. Residency in PaxLair was no different. Immediately, PaxLair population decreased significantly during the migration. For those departing PaxLair, Mayor Winfield thanked many for their long-time devotion and service to PaxLair. He wished them dragonspeed on their new ventures and felt a degree of satisfaction that new towns and opportunities would open up in new places. Yet, back in PaxLair, there was now little protection against attacks by murderers, assassins, and thieves moving into and through PaxLair each day.
In the years that followed, PaxLair on Felucca would become unfortunately known throughout the shard as a ghost town. The government changed hands from Winfield to Don Martin to Minsk in these later years. Winfield reluctantly retired after nearly three years of duty (January 19, 2001) due to many new forces upon him from outside the Realm. He retained a ‘caretaker’ role in PaxLair to assist those needing help with buildings. Don Martin led PaxLair for a few months until he disappeared and the Witches of Cove revealed (July 2001) “Let it be known that the Witches of Cove do hereby notify the cities of Corwyn and PaxLair that the mayors of said towns are in the care of the orcs at an undisclosed location and are safe…at this time.” Mayor Angel Storm of Corwyn was also missing.
After a long period of time without a Mayor resident in PaxLair, former Mayor Winfield returned from his fishing expeditions and officiated the ceremony at PaxLair’s fourth anniversary (January 19, 2002) appointing Lady Minsk as the new Mayor of PaxLair. PaxLair continued for the next seasons with regular meetings and various quests. Knight Emmeril led the Knights in tournaments and lore while a strange entity known as The Gatekeeper started visiting PaxLair more often. PaxLair continued to have weekly meetings and adventure nights that took people to several places in the Realm.
THE CURRENT YEARS (2004)
Skipping now to more recent history, a few years later, PaxLair re-encountered the Army of Thieves, AT, during the summer of PaxLair’s 7th year (June 2004). AT moved into PaxLair and was initially welcomed. However, AT started battle cries to raise havoc in the area and against the city of PaxLair. Old members of the PaxLair Council informed the Mayor of long-ago attacks on PaxLair by these thieves and also the failed attempts to deal with similar situations like the Lupar war. Mayor Minsk decided to pre-emptively sign the Decree of Distrust on the Army of Thieves (June 24, 2004). This basically arranged a policy of avoidance with respect to AT. This led to a dark point in history as propaganda against PaxLair travelled swiftly among the town criers. AT, in their fervour, even went on to declare war on the entire Shard. Tempers flared and people’s reputations were dragged through the mud. These were sad times and are still being mended to this day.
Amidst all this, interest still grew in PaxLair as demonstrated by the town of Dragons Watch on Felucca. Dragons Watch combined with PaxLair (August 19, 2004) and was overseen by the PaxLair government. Dragon Watch’s primary guild of Army of The Dragon, ATD, immediately became citizens in good standing of PaxLair and created additional adventure nights offering more opportunities for all people to gather and explore the lands.
Later, there was a delightful and at times perilous Pilgrimage (September 28 – October 11, 2004) with a group of a dozen wonderful people from different cities and guilds across the Shard, particularly from Concordia, PaxLair, and Falconer’s Inn. From PaxLair, Old Man Winfield and Zog the Necromancer participated along with Angriff, a long time disturber of the peace in PaxLair. A perilous moment happened when V*C and CHAMPS attacked the Pilgrimage members on their one-day visit to PaxLair. All of the members died as the towers ran red with the CHAMPs.
PAXLAIR GOVERNMENT MOVING FORWARD
Mayor Minsk soon decided to enhance her PaxLair government as more attention came once again to PaxLair on Felucca. At a weekly meeting (October 25, 2004), Mayor Minsk appointed Winfield as the Chancellor of PaxLair focused on the Felucca environment. Being such a large job, Winfield quickly appointed a Chancellor staff consisting of Eli, John Duke, KingId, Memnock, Neo of Lothlore, and Snoopy. Specific ministries were established once more with John Duke leading the Ministry of Diplomacy and Neo of Lothlore leading the Ministry of Knowledge. Other ministries are in the makings, such as Ministry of Defense and Housing.
Chancellor Winfield made a step forward in cooperation in Felucca by authorizing temporary co-ownership of the new Arena Tower to Lord Ed McManus for CHAMPS’ Tournament of Champions, Pankration event (started on October 24, 2004). PaxLair caretakers customized the tower specific to Lord McManus’ needs. Observers reported the Tournament was a great event where murderers and craftspeople, such as Eli the Carpenter and John Duke, alike stood side by side watching the battles in the arenas. This cooperation has recently fuelled many ideas for PaxLair to also become a tournament town and one that can engage in cooperative battles between many different people.
TOKUNO IS CREATED
Another historic change in the Realm will change PaxLair forever. Minax discovered a land that apparently was hidden or lost for years [ref: 2]. That land is called the Tokuno Islands. On a day when people of the Realm could travel to this new land (November 3, 2004), people of PaxLair were able to build a few buildings on Homare-jima near the Kitsune woods. There they constructed a tea house, an academy and armoury, and a garden. Lord Exedore of Falconer’s Inn (on Malas) met with Chancellor Winfield and helped furnish the tea house with ornate plants and tables. Soon, many people have travelled to the PaxLair Tea House, even the strange Gatekeeper who already sent adventurers on a few quests.
This new PaxLair construction in Tokuno is known as the PaxLair Outpost, yet it may prove to be of larger importance than a mere outpost. In the continuing vein of community, PaxLair now seeks to know neighbors in the area not to have them join PaxLair, unless they wish, but to help garner a sense of community once more in our war-torn Realm. As such, much inter-town and guild cooperation continues across the shard. PaxLair, which includes Dragons Watch, attempts to maintain and increase contact with at least the towns of Concordia, Gyldenfeld, Mythndale, Nidaros, and Silvervale, and establishments of Red Wolf Cafe and Falconer’s Inn. At present, Minister of Diplomacy John Duke actively seeks out these towns, establishments, and many guilds.
PaxLair on Felucca is not left behind with the new migrations to Tokuno. In fact, emphasis on the old lands of PaxLair should increase as the Outpost on Tokuno offers much history and connections to PaxLair on Felucca and other places. Already, the Tea House has a replica of the Spring of Courage, the Suffering Stone, and the Suicide Gate. And more recently (November 17, 2004), the replica of the Spring of Courage received an “adjustment” similar to the adjustment the evil Mazrim made long ago to the Spring in PaxLair. What this portends, no one knows.
Many founders and people decided long ago that PaxLair should be a permanent part of the Chesapeake Shard; not just the physical features of the city, but also the community. Dedicated people keep this decision alive today through their commitment and sacrifices. PaxLair continues to strive for a working government and a place for all to enjoy. PaxLair is very open to new ideas and welcome many into the community. The feeling today is like the early days … when the Shard was young.
1. “The Dark Facet,” Ultima Online Age of Shadows Fiction, http://www.uo.com/ageofshadows/fiction.html, undated.
2. Ultima Online Samurai Empire game manual, Electronic Arts Inc, Redwood City, CA, 2004.