Heroes' Ascent Permanent Change

Some weeks ago, the Priests of Balthazar conducted an experiment to finally settle the smoldering debate: Instead of traditional teams of eight, could six-member teams actually appease the spirits of the Rifts? The experiment proved fruitful, for this week the Priests declared six-person teams as permanent law when entering the sacred battleground. The transfiguration has been active for approximately one week now, and the Priests report overwhelmingly positive reactions from the masses.

Many of those brave souls who enter the Rifts have also noticed that one of the old battlegrounds is no longer accessible, and several others have been altered. It seems the fallen heroes within the misty underworld have decided that it is amusing to change the rules from time to time. The updated rituals of combat here have brought with them a widespread change in general stratagems, revitalizing Heroes' Ascent with the variety many feel it has needed for months.

Overall, everyone seems very pleased. According to the Priests of Balthazar, the spirits appear more entertained now than they have been for some time—due to the infusion of unique and abstract team configurations within their resting place. Those who have competed in the combat also radiate pleasure when discussing the change, saying it is slowly but surely eliminating the stale, repetitive strategies they encountered in the past.

If you have not had a chance, enlist your five most trusted soldiers and make your way to Heroes' Ascent to test your might against the thousands of combatants already waging war within the mists. If your heart is true, and your blade is swift, perhaps you will one day claim the Hall of Heroes for yourself, and earn the fame associated with that noble feat.

Rise in Rarities

As of late, I've come under a deluge of reports about a vast increase in valuable items found amongst the leaders and champions of our most hated enemies in Cantha. These mystical weapons, originally created for generals or leaders as prized tools of war—hence their designation as "Unique Items"—have been reproduced in much higher numbers than ever before and distributed widely throughout the hordes of villains that plague our lands.

Brave heroes have begun forming hunting parties with one cause: to seek out and destroy the owners of such weapons. As these weapons generally are clutched in the hands, claws, and tentacles of mighty assailants, any would-be treasure seekers should be prepared to test the limits of their strength. Proceed with caution if you desire these treasured artifacts, as those who wield them will not hand them over without a struggle to the death.

The information at my disposal contains conflicting statements as to what has caused the sudden influx of these powerful weapons, but many sources forecast that the temporarily inflated supply will dwindle to normal within the next few days, so act quickly if you wish to seize these prestigious spoils of war.

Festival Games to Return to Shing Jea Monastery

I have received word of the most exciting news! If you were in attendance at the Dragon Festival—the annual celebration commemorating the survival of the Empire of the Dragon after the devastating Jade Wind—you will no doubt remember the extremely popular festival games that were held just outside the Shing Jea Monastery. According to my superiors at the monastery, those games will soon return for a short time, opening to the public in a little more than a week.

This is especially exciting for those who have been seeking the "Lucky" title, as well as those confused individuals who wish to earn the infamous "Unlucky" title, despite the cost and shame associated with it. Many have desired these titles for months and, without any games-of-chance to play, have been unable to make progress. This pleasant surprise is certain to be well received among title seekers.

Along with the return of the carnival games comes the reopening of the Dragon Arena. This competitive venue was extremely popular during the Dragon Festival, and fondly remembered in the following months. Offering atypical combat that forgoes the normal weapons and spells of war, the Dragon Arena appeals to the extremely competitive as well as to those simply seeking a good time.

When the games and arena open just over a week from now, they'll be available for a few days, so be sure and set aside some time to visit the Shing Jea Monastery and check out the festivities before they're gone again. Perhaps we will run into each other while enjoying the fun!

Random Acts of Kindness

Once again, I have traveled our fine lands and brought you a list of altruistic citizens who have touched the lives of others with their kindness.

Over in Senji's Corner, I witnessed Sinister Healer giving away a Major Absorption Rune to an aspiring Warrior. Even though the Rune served no purpose to that good Monk, it might have been sold for profit. Instead, he provided that Rune to another citizen, which will no doubt help protect that brave Warrior in combat.

In the ruins of Ascalon City, a war-hardened Necromancer named Hell Spawn Minions gave away three weapons to less-experienced adventurers. He donated an axe, bow, and staff, revealing a generous spirit under that weary veteran veneer.

From the window of my humble abode, I overheard another generous Necromancer named Not Touch Me offering escort and aid to any students who felt they needed protection outside the safety of the Shing Jea Monastery. Such mentoring of novices extends their life spans while showing them how to fight so they won't be so helpless in the future. I thank you for your efforts to promote battlefield awareness.

A wise Monk known only as The Bluest Midget brought a delightful trivia game to town, entertaining a large group of citizens with obscure queries. Those who answered the questions correctly were given a valuable item as a special prize for their knowledge.

I offer appreciation to all of those, listed or not, who make our world brighter with their fine displays of selflessness and generosity.