This is part II of our Santharian Members Voices page we've made 5 years ago when Santharia turned 5: The Santharian Dream would be nothing without its members, the developers and contributers, the Admins and Moderators of the Development and Role Playing Message Boards, but also the players and people interested in Santharia. We've accumulated some voices of Santharian members below especially for this anniversary to give you an idea on how people found a second home here on the web and why they enjoy what they are doing here so much.

Gean Firefeet
  GEAN FIREFEET (Netherlands)

Gean Firefeet is official member of the Santharian Dream since December 29th 2000, one of the very early members that still is around at this very day. He is of course one of our local bards providing great medieval music for Santharia, but also enjoys writing People and Places entries, poems and various other things.

How I found Santharia and why I plan to stay here...

Gean Firefeet

Our accordeon virtuoso Niek aka Gean Firefeet in Santharia

Once upon a time, not too long ago, there were PCs with no internet access, and all you could play was Digger and PacMan, not really the greatgrandfathers of Santharia. On the other hand, when I found the new apparatus we had at home too boring, I’d rather listen to our tape-recordings of fairy tales or just read a book. These combined with the earlier mentioned PC, formed a fertile ground for Santharia to grow in.

When I got my first PC on my room when I was in highschool and an internet connection was set up as well, I was bound to the world wide web almost immediately. Friends from school invited me to my first online game and I had no idea what they meant when they asked whether or not I visited “the boards”. The boards? Was that some of boardgame played online? When I found out that behind the strategy game I played was a whole message board system located where people participated in something called roleplaying, I was soon hooked up as well. It was here, at the messageboards of Monarchy, that I learned how to roleplay and I greatly admired some of the writers there.

One of these writers would show me the way to Santharia. Ormelor Avaesthencis he was called at Santharia and he was writing a roleplaying guide, which he posted as Cool.One for the boards at Monarchy. Through his humorous writing about roleplaying I found the universe of Santharia. Though Monarchy had been my online home for years, slowly my attention shifted to creation instead of playing… and so Gean Firefeet found his way to the southern parts of the Santharian Kingdom, which at that point were barely developed at all.

A lot of happened over the years since I officially joined the Developer’s Forum at the final days of 2000. Back then there was, above all, vast emptiness, which we had as our own playground. We could simply pick a spot and start. Stories? Well, our Housedragon Dala had started on the Katya saga, but it was far from finished. Pictures? Koldar made heraldic shields and Faugar the occasional portrait. Maps? Yes, of course Artimidor had created continental maps, but something like the Manthrian map was not even close to become real. We were really only at the very basics of what is now a vast compendium. Admittedly, there are still empty spaces, but now you have to look for it, find it and tie it together with everything that exists already. Not necessarily more difficult, nor easier, but most certainly different.

Can you imagine? Bard Judith and Talia Sturmwind still had to find Santharia, and like them many others came to join the Dream, too many to mention, too many we’ve forgotten already. But with everyone of those, we shared in the Dream of Santharia, a dream of free creativity, high fantasy and often true friendship. The moment I shared with all of them both online and in real life have made a lasting impression, and I’m still glad to come here and share this dream with you. I hope to find you all and many more here at the next anniversary.

Miés'Efér Lytherá

Miés'Efér Lytherá has discovered Santharia only recently, but shares the fascincation of many other contributers. Like many others he is also full of ideas he plans to realize soon in our world.

What fascinates me of Santharia...

I am an avid fantasy fan, and more especially an avid fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, the Santharian Dream is in turn my dream. It's magical world is in fact more than I could have dreamed up all alone in my simple mind. The people, the places, the history, the myths etc.. the list goes on and on, and it's all found in one amazing world, the World of Caelereth. Even more exciting is the fact that I have the opportunity to participate in the continual expansion and growth of this great fantasy.

As mentioned earlier I am a big fan of fantasy, and I have spent countless hours reading the many books that fill the fantasy genre. I've read the "Lord of the Rings" and its prequel, "The Hobbit", many times over. The same is true of almost all of the quality fantasy books written (at least all those i can find in the library). I could never tire of reading fantasy, even the same books over and over again, but I decided to look for something new, and what did I find, the wonderful world of Caelereth, that's what.

In truth the way I found this land is in no way interesting. Google: "online fantasy world" - The Santharian Dream! That's it, but for me the adventure has been in the discovery of something new every day I have been on this wonderful site. A very good newbie guide, accompanied by kind and warm Santharian members have made the discovery of this world a very pleasurable transition from written word, to virtual world. I am proud to be affiliated with these lands, and hope for many years of exciting discovery and development.

Tharoc Wargrider

Tharoc Wargrider has been around only for half a year or so yet in Santharia, but his er... charming... orcish ways have left a considerable impression on the boards. Always available for some fun the inventor of Santharian bawdy verse and mighty wargrider has made the Sarvonian North his home by now. How he got to be a developer for the Compendium you ask? Well, this is the story of Tharoc Wargrider, an orc who boldly went where no orc has ever gone before. Except Grunok maybe. Anyway, let's not tarry, let's hear that story!

A remarkable Discovery...

Tharoc Wargrider

Orcish celebrity Tharoc Wargrider hiding his true identity by wearing these sunglasses... Cool, eh?

“Bugger,” thought the half-orc as, not for the first time that day, he sank shin-deep into a cold puddle, more mud than water. Leaning one hand against a nearby tree he lifted his foot and wrenched off his filth-caked boot. Raising it to eye-level and tipping it slowly, he watched as the brown sludge drained out and splashed onto the ground at his feet. Pushing his huge green hand down into the boot, he wiggled his fingers around in search of his scrunched-up, sodden sock. Looking up into the gloomy sky and poking his tongue out of the side of his mouth seemed to help, as he was soon pulling the dirty grey article from its hiding place in the toe of his Wison-hide Ranger boot (A snip at only 19Erg 99San, from Max & Spankers Emporium, functional footwear for discerning adventurers). Dragging the sock wearily onto his blistered and bloody foot, he wasn’t in the least surprised when his toes ripped straight through the end.

As he stood up after wrestling his boot back on, he heard the mournful “Caw!” of a solitary Corbie a time-tick before he felt the unmistakable ‘Splat!’ on the top of his head. He sighed. “Bugger,” he thought to himself again, and his already drooped shoulders seemed to sag even more.

Just then, his travelling companion emerged from the undergrowth beneath the trees beside him, her rain-drenched fur hanging in tattered clumps and knotted with weeks-worth of grime, leaves, twigs and some small, suspicious looking things with far too many legs. The large, black warg glared accusingly at Tharoc, rain running in rivulets down her snout and dripping slowly from the end of her nose.

“”Whaaaat?” asked Tharoc, his shoulders hunched and his arms outstretched.

Valkree continued to stand, squelch, and glare.

“Ok, ok, I admit it. A’hm lost, alright? There, I said it. You ‘appy now?”

The Warg half snorted, half sneezed, shook herself vigorously (showering Tharoc with yet more dirty water), and turned back into the undergrowth.

“OI! A’hm talkin’ t’ you, y’igrant lummox……..” He left the path and began pushing his way, cursing, through the bushes and brambles.

As he followed after Valkree, Tharoc’s mind began to guiltily wander back a few weeks, to when he had decided that he had had enough of rising each morning at stupid-of-the-hour to spend all day toiling in the local blacksmith’s forge. He craved adventure. He craved excitement, but most of all, he craved a nice comfy chair to sit in whilst he was doing it!

He began to search the dusty tomes in the library of the local monastery, and eavesdropping on whispered conversations in the town’s less-fashionable inns and taverns, hoping to garner some clue as to where an enthusiastic amateur adventurer could find a place to… well, adventure.

For weeks they had tramped across the region, looking for someone, anyone, who would show them the way. Many times he thought he had found the ideal starting-point, only to discover at the last moment that a hefty up-front fee was required if he was to join this party, and being the frugal chap his Mother had raised him to be, that would never do.

And that was how he came to be here, cold, wet, filthy, hungry and very, very lost. He had heard rumours of a strange land to the south where adventure and excitement awaited anyone who cared to visit. Many wondrous races, creatures and plants were to be found there, and much of the land remained unexplored. Apparently, they were always in need of eager volunteers, the food was good, the ale strong, and the company comfortable. And all for the princely sum of absolutely nothing!

So, Tharoc and Valkree had set-off in search of this wondrous land, not knowing exactly where it was, nor what it was called, but happy and confident that they would soon be tracking down some rare blood-sucking insect, or forging new paths across uncharted wastes in this amazing new place.

“Oh, we found plenty o’ blood-suckin’ insec’s, alright,” he thought, scratching at the numerous red bite-marks on his arms, “an’ as fer forgin’ new paths, well, a’hd give anyfin fer a paved road right now. Or even a stony one. A’hd even settle fer a dirt track, s’long as it weren’t muddy.”

Just then, as he dragged himself painfully through a particularly thorny bush, Tharoc spotted Valkree. She was stood at the edge of a high cliff just beyond the fringe of the forest. She seemed to be transfixed by something below.

“Whats’it girl? What’ve y’found?” The Warg turned to look up at the Orc and flicked her tail briefly from side to side before turning back to look over the cliff.

When Tharoc reached the cliff’s edge and saw what it was that had his friend so transfixed, his mouth fell open and he raised a finger to point silently at the sight before him. There below them was the place they’d spent the past weeks searching for! There were the wide expanses of well-tended fields, lush with fruit and vegetables. Beyond that, in a secluded orchard were the sinister-looking greenhouses he had heard so much about. And here, at the head of a large town square, surrounded by neat cottages, shops and ale-houses, stood the widest, tallest, most important looking building he had ever seen.

Built from huge blocks of stone which seemed to reflect the light back on the viewer a thousandfold, it’s many towers and turrets topped by rich, red tiles, and two massive, carved wooden doors stood as silent guardians of the knowledge contained within. As he watched, a steady stream of people, many of them carrying huge bundles of parchment under their arms, scurried in and out of the doors, moments later to re-appear in one of the multitude of elaborate windows which peppered every wall of the structure. This was the fabled University Library of Lorehaven, repository of all knowledge in the land of Caelereth!

His awe-struck reverie was interrupted by Valkree, who had begun to make her way down the steep cliff towards the town below and had barked up to him to follow her.

“See, ah told yer ah’d find it, di’nt ah? Stick wi’ me kid, an’ yer won’ go far wrong,” said Tharoc, enthusiastically.

Valkree shook her head, growled to herself, and carried on picking her way between the massive boulders littering the steep slope.

Less than a half-candle later, they arrived at the edge of the town, and began to walk, as casually as an orc and a warg can, towards the square they had seen earlier. As they walked, Tharoc smiled at everyone and greeted them with a cheery “’Allo, there,” or “’Ow d’ya do?” Most of them, turning to respond in kind then seeing just what it was, hurriedly darted into the nearest doorway and slammed it shut behind them. Shawled women ran out of houses and dragged curious children back indoors. Shopkeepers put up ‘CLOSED’ signs as he walked past.

“S’funny,” he said to Valkree, “ Ah wonder wot’s up wiv ‘em? “

Valkree stopped, looked wearily at the Orc beside her, at his mud-caked and torn clothes, his face, bloodied from the savage thorns of the bushes in the forest, but most of all, at his size. At nearly two peds, one palmspan tall, and two and a half pygges in weight, Tharoc was an imposing figure in any language. Looking like he was fresh from the battlefield did little to soften his image. Neither did the row of throwing-knives strapped across his broad back. And, to be fair, thought Valkree, neither did the fact that he had a very big, very hungry warg at his side.

As they walked along the now deserted streets, the University loomed ever larger before them, and soon they entered the square facing the huge portal to this place of learning.

As he stood looking up at the building, Tharoc heard the sounds of talking and drinking, and smelt the unmistakable aroma of roasting meat! He turned to whistle for Valkree to follow him, but too late, she was already padding her way across to the far corner of the square, where a small group of people were gathered around a crackling fire.

As Tharoc neared the group their conversation slowly petered out, until the only sound was the crack and pop of the burning logs. Every member of the group was looking at Tharoc with an uneasy interest. Fingers toyed warily with the hilts of swords whilst both parties eyed each other nervously. Suddenly, a figure began to push its way through the group of adventurers, and the orc picked up the familiar aroma of hot kragghi broth, an orcen dish usually too spicy for the likes of these folks, and something he hadn’t tasted since leaving his home in the Prominent Mountains, all those months ago.

A friendly but serious-looking woman appeared from between two of the figures before him, carrying a tray containing a huge bowl full of the broth, a fresh-baked loaf of golden rain bread, and numerous chocolate-covered sweets, the like of which he had not seen before, but which looked, and smelt, delicious. Under her arm, she carried a bladder of strong dwarven ale.

“Welcome, traveller,” said the woman, her voluminous skirts billowing around her legs as she fussed about, clearing a space at the table. “You must be hungry? And thirsty, too, no doubt? Well, come on, tuck in! Oh, I’m Judith, by the way, from Bardavos. I’m the Masterbard around here, and chief cook and bottle-washer, as well, it seems”. She looked witheringly over the top of her closer-up lenses at the others. “So, tell us about yourself, and your travels. How did you happen upon our little gathering here? Erm, and is your warg safe? I mean, does she bite?”

Tharoc looked down at Valkree and ruffled the fur atop her head, “Nah, she’s alright, ain’t ya girl?” The warg just sat and stared at the whole woolly boar which was roasting over the fire, grease dripping in sizzling droplets into the flames. “Oh, my, where are my manners!” gasped the woman, and cutting a whole rear leg from the boar, she threw it to Valkree, who caught it smartly, her tail wagging furiously.

Tharoc sat down on a spare stool and began to hungrily slurp his broth, tearing large chunks from the loaf and mixing them into the hot, spicy liquid. A sudden gust of wind, accompanied by strange squawking made the orc turn in his seat. “What the…… Ye Gods….” The sudden commotion was caused by the arrival of another traveller, this one sat astride an enormous gryph. The rider jumped easily to the ground, stroked the neck of his mount and whispered some strange sounds into its ear. The gryph squawked and settled down by the fire, eyeing Valkree and the half-eaten haunch in front of her. Valkree growled softly and threw a massive forepaw across the meat.

“Greetings, all. Sorry I’m late, we hit a little rough weather over the mountains. Who’s the green fellow?”

Tharoc offered a greasy hand, “Tharoc. Tharoc Wargrider, of the Ashz-oc tribe. Pleased t’meet yer, ah’m sure.”

Nsiki took the proffered hand, or rather, he put his hand inside the Orcs huge fist and hoped he wouldn’t squeeze too hard. “So, what brings you to these parts, eh?” The assembled group turned as one and looked at Tharoc, expectantly.

Now, many months later, Tharoc sat at his desk in the tiny attic of mistress Azhira’s lodgings, putting the finishing touches to his latest Compendium entry. His mind had begun to wander, and his thought’s had turned back to that first meeting with the folk who were to become his good friends, and the many adventures he had shared with them.

There was Masterbard Judith of Bardavos, who first took him in hand and guided him gently through the do’s and don’ts of researching for the Compendium. It was she who had given him his first position, as apprentice in the greenhouses, although he sometimes wondered whether he had done the right thing in accepting, especially since he met Mira and his ‘experiments.’ Ah, Mira. What can one say about Mira? Well, quite a lot, actually, but most of it is unprintable here! However, in fairness, he had proved himself to be a patient and inspirational teacher, and his theories on experimental herbology were fascinating.

Then there were the Mistresses Alysse and Azhira, who had taken him on his first real expedition, a trip into the far northern territories. It was the place he felt happiest, being of northern descent, and he had decided to remain up there as a roving researcher for his two tutors, both of whom he admired and respected very much.

Nsiki, he of the strange tongues and flying lion-type things, now there was a character! He actually thought he could talk to the animals! Imagine that. Mind you, that Garrett was nearly as bad. He/she thought he/she was ‘at one with the wolves’. Well, loopy he/she may be, but Tharoc liked him/her, and had just spent several weeks in the frozen wastes of the Icelands Peninsula, and the Peninsula of Iol, researching, for their joint project, the White Warg, or Eanian Warg, as he had discovered it had been re-named. In fact, that was the very report he was preparing now, but he didn’t think he/she would mind if it was another day delayed.

There was Irid, who never seemed to tire of slapping people around the head with large, wet fish. He had never found out why she did that. Or why she carried large, wet fish with her at all times… All he knew was, it hurt! And he couldn’t think of Irid without also bringing to mind the infuriatingly cheerful Rookie the Brownie. She was a feisty one, that. Valkree had taken an instant liking to her, which was the cause of much amusement to him as Rookie herself was less than impressed by the warg's constant attention. Tharoc himself had grown very fond of Rookie, and he always saved his biggest smiles for his littlest friend.

Someone else Tharoc was always glad to see was the dwarf Mannix, because he was in possession of culinary skills which were the equal of Judith’s, and he always carried a tray of some new delicacy with him!

Then there were Coren, Deci and Gean. Tharoc was always hesitant to join in conversation with these fellows, not only because they always seemed to be measuring him up for a hole, but because they used long words and talked about things which made his head hurt. Still, Gean was quite handy to have around when you needed a tune to lift the spirits. And he wrote good limericks, too.

And who could forget the enigmatic Talia, whose knowledge of this world and its peoples seems to know no bounds. Oh, and the elusive Dru, who was once a seemingly permanent fixture around the forums, but who has, sadly, been distracted by other-wordly events of late, as has Arch-commenter Smee, last heard of doing battle with the Daemons of IT and their fiendish Firewall spells.

And finally, there was the Great Sage himself, our Lord Artimidor, may the blessings of the Twelve be upon him, and may he ever have ink in his quill (pauses momentarily to bow reverently in the direction of Lorehaven). Never had he met any single person with as much knowledge jammed into such a tiny head. Well, it was tiny compared to his own, leastways.

These were his friends. Each one of them the foremost expert in their chosen field, and each one, to a man (or woman), ready to share that expertise with even the lowliest of researchers, and he would gladly stand beside any one of them in battle. They had laughed together, broken bread together, wept together, and suffered hardships all, but one thing remained constant throughout. Their help and support, whatever may come, and he was pleased by that, and grateful beyond measure.

All this thinking of his friends had led him to recall the many mis-/adventures he had had since he arrived in Santharia. He had seen things he would never have imagined possible, met strange people, fascinating creatures, and vicious man-eating plants. Usually in Mira’s greenhouses. And usually when he wasn’t expecting it.

He had held discourse with the dread Assassins of Marmarra upon the merits (or otherwise!) of their “fluid” battle tactics. Tharoc thought fluid to be a too-generous description, and preferred instead “fully-adjustable”.

He had revealed the hitherto unknown intricacies of orcen duelling, ancient rules set down by the great General Ch’oan herself before she relinquished her command and became a reclusive healer and carer of the sick and needy.

Risking life and/or limb, he had travelled to the very edge of the sinister Mists of Osthemangar to observe the wretched existence of the undead Cha’Morta-oc, scoured the midden walls of Sarvonia’s less salubrious inns and cully-houses to find amusing and insulting odes, attended inauguration parties for barbarians, Kyranians and Brownies, he’d even been invited to the magnificently impressive Brownie Council Tree. Shocking his fellow researchers with the contents of the Bawdy Bard’s Songbook had amused him no-end, as had his stint as Navigation Officer aboard the good ship Santh Trek… Ah, good times, good times.

All these things and more he had experienced in the half-year since he arrived here. What, he wondered excitedly to himself, lies await for me in the next half?

 Date of last edit 14th Dead Tree 1668 a.S.

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