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May 28 2024 -

Herbal Madness

ernardo has a large head, prominent ears, and narrow shoulders. His black hair is styled with pomade in a side parting. His pants are always pulled up too far, exposing his shins, which are damaged by many careless bumps. He wears shabby, brown leather shoes and moves around slowly and uncertainly - not someone you want by your side in one of Tibia's many battles.

But here at the Edron Academy he is of importance. Bernardo and his companion Gunther are scholars. In their field of expertise, the oceans of Tibia, their word typically holds significant influence. This time at the weekly academy meeting, however, their warnings are ignored...

Bernardo tries again: "I can guarantee that this anomaly is not a figment of imagination. The shark population has declined sharply, and in an alarming state. Vibrations of the seabed were also regularly recorded, coming from the east. No seaquake, or tectonic shift can trigger such values. The duration and regularity are completely unprecedented."

"And what do you think is responsible for this 'anomaly', as you call it?" interjects a grey dignitary with a bored expression on his face.

"It sounds like something is walking... I think it's something organic."

"You think it's a living thing? Maybe a two-hundred-metre-long goldfish with legs, heading for a walk along the seabed?" The group roars. "Stick to your job and keep an eye on important stuff like water quality and the mating rituals of manta rays."

Too much. In perfect sync, the two scientists pop up from their seats. "Our findings are alarming and we believe an urgent investigation is necessary. But there is an icy ignorance in this round."

They leave the room and head straight towards the harbour, where Captain Seahorse already seems to be waiting. His suntanned face winks at them. "Hello, my two favourite eggheads. There's something you should see."

Down in the ship's cabin, he points meaningfully to a bundle lying on a wooden table. "I got this from a disturbed native who fantasised about impending doom and the end of all land creatures. You know, at first I could only laugh about it, but when I saw this thing, the laughter caught in my throat."

He carefully removes the rags in which the object is wrapped. A brown-green, oddly shaped creature emerges. With one movement, he pulls part of the drenched mass upwards and thus opens the mouth of this abominable corpse.

"It's a big mouth. And you can still see parts of its arms and legs. I've been sailing all the world's oceans for aeons, but I've never seen anything like this. This is not an animal. It's more like a plant. Now, for the big, messy question: What is this, my dear bookworms?"

Bernardo's expression is filled with horror. "For mercy's sake! I... I... don't know. This must be a completely new form of life. But it makes sense. It makes terrible sense. The pieces fall into place. The puppet master gradually reveals himself. We must get to the source of these creatures, or we will be doomed."

Upcoming next: This year's convenience round might save some time, space, and eyesight!

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