From the past . . . Reprisal speaks for the UC
What follows is the official UC response to the Wanderer's message. I believe this will count as another "sending" across Toril and Oerth.
The United Commonwealth of Toril Responds:
Using the 20th Century capabilities of her people, the
Right Honourable Erika Lesage, Prime Minister of the
United Commonwealth of Toril settles herself at a
stately looking desk and regards the cameras in front
"It has come to the attention of the United
Commonwealth that through the magical capabilities of
the being known as the Wanderer, slanderous and
distorted material has been spread throughout your
world. Though the images seen are indeed quite
truthful, it is not that which is untrue, for it is
the interpretation by the Wanderer himself that is not
the truth. This information the Wanderer has given you
through his own voice, as convincing as it seems, is
full of distortions, omissions and blatant lies."
The image of that land appears. There are the mountain
ranges, snow capped and mighty. There are the fields,
castles tall amongst them, manor homes and peasant
homes sprinkled throughout. There are the forests,
green and verdent, from the tall boreal forests of
Luruar to the lush tropical rainforests of Chult.
There are the cities: mighty Waterdeep, noble
Silverymoon, proud Zhentil Keep, menacing Mulmaster,
Calimport in all it’s sprawl, Candlekeep with it’s
endless libraries, and many more. Like the Flanaess,
there are the scars of wars and magic ... the High
Moor is bleak and barren, the desert of Anarouch
shimmers in the heat. Like the Flanaess, there are
places of mystery and wonder. The Halls of
Eveningstar, the Star Mounds, Ironfang Keep, the
mysterious magehalls of Nimbral, the buried wonders of
Like the Flanaess, there are places of great beauty:
Evermeet, a green and shining island of wonder in the
middle of the blue sea, the stately grace of the
islands of the Moonshaes, rising in green covered
cliffs out of the froth, the grandeur of the Great
Rift, the glittering caverns of Mithril Hall.
The elves of this land are like the elves of Oerth,
pretty much; some are blue and some are gold, and some
are even green, but they are all elves. The dwarves
are like those of Oerth, noble and strong and stout.
The gnomes are the same, short and clever and darkly
humorous. The halflings are similar; some are peaceful
gardeners, and some are lonely foresters, but all are
reasonably non-violent. Except for the altered
geography, and the fact that there are more mages in
this land, and they are slightly stronger than the
mages of Oerth, this might well be the Flanaess.
(The people of this land, choose to walk a path that
diverged from wisdom and the Light.)
"The Wisdom and the Light, as the Wanderer puts it,
has not been as pure and good as he might have hoped.
As with the history preceeding our own Rebirth, I am
quite aware of the devastating wars, wasting famine,
terrible diseases, and horrendous evils of human and
demihuman alike that the Wanderer's Utopia has brought
about. And I might note, that while evil is still
known to rest in the hearts of a distinct minority of
our people, we have all but done away with disease,
famine and domestic warfare. The only thing
threatening the harmony of Toril are foreign
aggressors, such as those forces allied with the
Images appear, in order, one by one.
A stately old inn is seen, probably over a hundred
years old. It is made of wood, it is aesthetically
beautiful, the price is fair, the service excellent,
and the food superb.
But now a large number of people are converging on the
inn, and with picks and axes they are chopping it
down, reducing it to kindling, and hauling off the
And with the inn goes all the trees and shrugs around
it, all hewed down and carted away.
An ugly building, 3 stories high, made out of dinghy
stone, is put up in it’s place.
The new owner, a gnome, looks it up and down, smiles
and nods: ‘This is progress. We will make much more
A pleasant country village is seen, with a scattering
of homes, churches to various dieities, the general
store, the blacksmith, the cobbler, the bakery,
But they are tearing it all down, and people are being
evicted from their homes by force.
Again, all the buildings are demolished, and all the
trees and shrugs hewed away, and everything carted
In the place of the town rises a set of what look like
tall stone block buildings (apartment tenements), and
a new industrial center rises at the center of town,
ugly and black, filled with odd and nonsensical
looking pipes, beams, wheels, and long tall stacks.
The people are made to live in these stone buildings.
They do not look happy.
Now, smoke begins to rise out of the tall stacks at an
incredible rate. It very quickly changes the color of
the sky to a murky blue, and the fumes cause people to
gag, to cough, to hold their hands over their mouths
as they hurry to and fro.
(They chose to walk a crooked path, a path that went
wrong, terribly wrong.)
The same town, but now it is a city.
There is not a tree or bush in sight.
There are endless rows of tenements, hundreds of them,
filling the entire vision, no countryside to be seen
Gigantic buildings tower over the tenements, but these
are not churches; they are great buildings of iron and
stone, and an awful sound comes from them.
The sound of bellows, of steam, of hammers, of chains,
of some unholy uproar, as if all the demons were loose
and on the warpath.
The people in the narrow, grimy streets are rushing to
and fro like a hoard of demons were coming for them;
pushing through each other in an incredible jam,
beggars and the destitute and the homeless evident at
every corner, being splashed by the filthy slime
thrown from the streets as the passerbys step in the
From the great tall cyclindrical towers are coming
multiple plumes of smoke - so much smoke it seems like
a forest fire is in progress. No amount of wood could
produce that much smoke unless whole forests ARE being
cleared to produce it.
The sky is a sickly yellow brown color, and the
sunlight coming through the smoke is weak and reddish.
(The people of Faerun went wrong. As they continued
walking their new path, reason and care were discarded
on the grass.)
"Once again, we see the selective eye of the Wanderer.
He, if I may presume gender, has shown you in several
seconds what it took our people years to accomplish.
Yes, it was painful, but it was growth and as all
should know, with growth, comes great pain. That pain,
however, is temporary, and the benefits of such
progress is many times that of remaining static and
stagnant... Reason and care were not 'thrown on the
grass,' as the Wanderer would have you believe. It is
Reason that has allowed us to rise above what we once
were to become what we are."
A large gathering of gnomes, bald men and women in red
robes, men and women wearing black garments adorned
with the symbols of a skull or other ghastly markings,
and many others are congregated around a table.
A conversation is in progress:
‘We have perfected Permanency, and now it can be cast
without any penalty to the wielder’
‘Yes, but will it take on items?’
‘Indeed, for we have modified it so that it will cover
most spells, and most items.’
‘We can create magical items on an assembly line.’
‘Show us some of these items.’
‘Here is an arquebus (the device) that fires three
times as fast as a normal arquebus, it never misfires,
and it is twice as accurate.’
‘Here is a cannon (the device is shown) that loads
itself, and we are working on making Bolts of Holding
for the ammunition.’
‘Here is a device that will propel a ship through
water without sails, employing steam, and its steel
blades won’t break from any normal cause’
But now one of the gnomes steps forward, and presents
a flask of greek fire.
‘When this is thrown, it will burst with 10 fold
effect, and nothing will put out the fire until the
oil itself has burned out!’
- - -
(Walking their path, they abandoned the care and
caution of magecraft. They abandoned the
responsibility of power. They chose to turn a blind
eye to consequences. Only power mattered, and that was
"Indeed, the United Commonwealth of Toril commands a
great many powerful devices in the defense of its
people and way of life. The images you are seeing, are
not how the UC operates today, or even decades ago. At
the same time, the mere creation of powerful weapons
does not automatically mean that they will be used for
good nor evil for tools are without morality, as the
Wanderer clearly does not understand."
The forests are being hacked down, trees falling,
crashing, thundering to the ground.
The new and horrible sound, the sound of chainsaws, is
heard, and the forest is being destroyed at an
appalling rate, an incredible rate.
Two iron or steel rails have been laid through the
cleared area, and a gigantic machine is sitting on the
rails, or a series of gigantic machines. The logs are
being laid upon them, piled high, until thousands of
trees are laid on the train, for train it is, and the
engine roars to life, and with black puffs slowly
accelerates, pulling the massive assemblage of logs
and steel vehicles away, with a noise like steadily
Some of the trees that were cut are not hewed apart,
but instead stripped in mills - strange mills filled
with the deafening scream of magical saws, and then
placed straight up.
Long rows of these naked posts are set up, then wires
- made of some unknown substance - are hung from them,
again and again, and more and more posts go up, and
more wires, until they seem to block out the sky.
A bird lands on one of the wires, then contacts a
second wire. With a flash like lightning, the bird is
incinerated. Grumbling gnomes are seen climbing up and
working on the wires with devices that are
They kick the corpse of the bird into the nearby
river, which is murky and has a strange sickly smell
The view pulls back, and it can be seen that the
devastation to the forests is far and wide, and
everywhere these steel beams have been placed over the
ground, and the poles and wires are everywhere.
All the quaintly old towns and villages are vanishing,
and vast cities are springing up.
Cities where the air is so toxic men and women and
children die from breathing it, people are made to
live stacked up 10 stories high, 5 to a room, where
beggars and the destitute rot in the narrow streets,
and where endless vast factories, forbiddening, black,
pour endless amounts of smoke into the atmosphere,
filling the whole sky with a black pall.
The rivers are poisoned, and those who fall in come
out sick, and they die, or must be magically healed
... but magical healing is still as rare as ever, and
the clergy are raking in the money more than the new
bankers or stock brokers are, shouting and yelling and
brandishing slips of paper in a meaningless (and
endless) cacophony of sound.
"Once again, I feel compelled to reiterate the fact
that the UC does not act in this way anymore! This was
in our past, a past I'd not like to remember. As you
can now see, our lands are as full of life, as clean
and pure, as yours are."
(Some among them had never chosen to walk the crooked
path, and had retained wisdom and reason. They gave
battle to the gnomes and technomancers, fought to keep
them from making Faerun over as they pleased.)
- - -
The druids are gathered in conclave in the sacred
Next, they are seen in the blackish pits of the
machines, the factories, throwing their magic,
wrecking the machines, stopping the smoke from
billowing out into the sky, stopping the poisons from
flowing into the rivers.
The sacred grove appears again. Into said grove march
figures sheathed in armor, head to toe. The armor is
strange; the figures look like they are covered in
giant shells. Each figure is carrying a long tube that
spits fire: fire that melts rock, and devours trees
and shrubs, burning them quickly to cinders.
The grove burns, wails of protest by the dryads as
they die unavailing them, for those who are attacking
are without pity or remorse.
The image of a court appears. The gnomes are the
judges, and the jury.
And the executioners, and the druids, men and women,
are taken out and hung, by the hundreds, their bodies
left to rot in the poisoned sunlight.
Wizards with red robes shoot blazing beams of light,
whether magic or technology is unknown, and those
beams cut down trees in a flash, like they’d been
struck by lightning.
Mile after mile of forest is destroyed, then fireballs
and thousands of the new greek oil explosives are
thrown in, incinerating all.
The screams of the dying druids are matched by the
screams of dying animals, birds, and the Faerie,
trapped and unable to flee the firestorm.
The scene of a dungeon. Druid women hang in rows. With
great glee, the men and women who are their jailors,
wearing the hideous skull symbol seen earlier, begin
their work of torture, ultimately multilating the
victims beyond recognition.
"If one was to look at the correct chronology of
events, it would be obvious that it was not the
technocratic powers that attacked the druids, it was
the druids and their allies that attacked the
technocratic powers. It has long been the belief of
the UC that the inhabitants of a land are the sole
executors of its destiny. The Druids and their allies
did not believe this, and decided to impinge upon the
sovereign right of the technocratic powers to do as it
may in its own territory. The attacks by the Druids
were nothing less than an act of war, a ruthless
attack on innocent and unarmed factory workers and
loggers that left women widowed and children
fatherless. It is little wonder that the people rose
up against the oppressive druidics."
(Drunk with power, victorious over the peoples and
forces of reason, they chose to willfully abuse the
very magic that had made them strong, and to hand the
secrets of its power over to those who should never
have been allowed to even know of such things.)
- - -
A man and a gnome are sitting, facing the hideous
visage of a great orc, and a small grinning kobold.
The man speaks:
‘This is the new gatling gun, with Permanency and
Haste, and with bullets augmented with explosive
‘Here is the secret of mass producing the new rifle.
With this weapon, you can kill your opponents at
thousands of yards, and their arrows cannot touch
‘Here is how you build a factory to mass produce
weapons of war ...’
He hands the weapons to the orc and kobold, and shows
them extensive schematics.
‘Here is how to make Permanency effective over and
over, without cost to yourself.’
‘Here are the secrets of magic, which have been
wrongfully withheld from you.’
‘Here is how to cast high powered spells.’
‘Here is how to combine magic with science.’
A new image appears. It is like a Nibelungen cavern,
for it is full of the den and uproar those dwarves
But it is kobolds who are making this den, as they
work in the hellish uproar of a great underground war
factory. Magical blades, magical bullets, magic
firearms, magical armor, and a number of
unrecognizable oddities are all being made, while
kobolds gloat over them, grin over them, and peer over
The scene shifts, and now an orcish city is seen. It
is worse than the human cities ... they didn’t even
bother to build tenements for their workers, and most
live in huts.
But their factories tower into the sky, unleashing
ungodly torrents of smoke, and from those factories
come great vehicles mounted on the twin rails, and
huge versions of the arquebus, over 10 feet long, are
sitting on them. The orcs jump and howl with glee as
their first magical artillery rolls out the door.
"My, my, our dear friend the Wanderer sure enjoys his
repetition does he not? These images occured in our
past! This is not the way the UC operates! It will
never be, ever again. Might I, once again, reiterate
the fact that the humanoids came to the aid of the
Technocracy with nothing but honourable intentions?
Yes, I believe I shall: The Humanoid Alliance never,
ever, raised a hand in the direction of their
technocratic allies. It was a time of great war, a
hegemonic war, a war that would result in the entire
world of Toril taking one of two paths:
"That of Progress, of Modernity, of Mutual Prosperity;
and that of Stagnation, of Inequality, of Mutual
(Those that should have stopped them, failed in their
duties. And when the illithid, aroused by the turmoil
Above, choose to make themselves masters of the
Underdark, nobody even bothered to look for the danger
until it was upon them, and they were slaughtered.)
- - -
The Chosen of Mystra sits in her dressing room,
peering at herself in the mirror. She looks gaunt and
sad, and is holding a sheath of papers.
On those papers, is a long list, the list of druids
and elves slain by the gnomes and humans of the
Technomancy, as it now calls itself, and by the new
and greatly feared Humanoid Alliance.
She shakes her head, and says: ‘We must not interfere.
We must allow the world to make it’s own choices, for
good or evil. We shall not stop this thing.’
The scene flashes to a drow city 2 miles below her.
The drow are being slaughtered, the mind flayers
(illithid) are blasting them, incinerating them,
blowing their brains out, devouring those they can
Soon all the drow city is in ruins, and the last
survivors are rounded up by the illithid, and march
off as mindless automatons under illithid mental
The great House of Baenre falls, and Narbondel breaks
in half and falls, shattering, shards flying
everywhere. Menzoberranzan is whelmed by the illithid.
Blingdenstone, the home of the Svirfneblin, lays
silent and empty, no remaining life in the ruins,
every last gnome carried off to the illithid cities.
The priestesses of Ghaunadaur fall to illithid mental
power, and their servants, the puddings and oozes,
halt, and acknowledge the overlordship of their new
masters, the illithid, supreme rulers of the
"Those that died are honoured for their courage to
stand for what they believed in... This is a
universality in the UC. If one was to bother to put
things into perspective, the evil Illithid acted on
their own volition and were destroyed by Technocracy
and the Humanoid Alliance, saving all of Toril in the
(Their path led to the ruin and multilation of Faerun.
In that ruin, even those peoples of reason and lore
were pulled down into folly and darkness. Amongst the
technomancers who had perpetrated this wreckage, no
act of madness was now beyond their scope of thought.)
- - -
The dwarf king roars in anger: ‘The elves started this
trouble. I want Queen Amlaruil of Evermeet and all her
mages brought here so they can be tried, properly
found guilty, then drawn and quartered! Do you hear
The elven emissary gasps, and states: ‘That is not
reasonable, m’lord. The elves are victims of this war
The king glares. ‘Bring me the Queen, or face the
wrath of the dwarves!’
The elven emissary looks offended, and says ‘I shall
depart now, and come back when you will be courteous
and have thought upon the matter, and realized that
what you ask is impossible and unjust.’
The dwarven king jumps to his feet in anger, points at
the emissary, and states ‘I want him taken, chained
up, and given 50 lashes. I want it done now.’
The elven emissary looks horrified and shocked. ‘I am
a diplomat. Have the dwarves chosen to throw aside all
The dwarven king roars ‘Make it a hundred lashes, and
to the bone. If he starts to die, heal him! Then throw
him out the front gate to rot!’
The flogging is carried out, the dwarves grim and
strangely eager to the task, and the screams are
deafening. What is left of the elf is tossed outside
the Gates, which then slam shut.
"It should be known that though the elves of this era
believed themselves to be victims, it is the belief of
many scholars, elven scholars included, that the elves
did not act out of the goodness of their hearts. Their
invocation of Karsus' Avatar ((?)) led to the death
and injury of millions of men, women, and children, of
all known races, across the world. It was after that
act did the dwarves demand that the elves be held
responsible for the deaths of so many dwarves for it
was the elves that did do these things. For good or
ill, justice needed to be served, and it was..."
When the battle is over, they doff their helmets, and
the hideous visages of orcs, bugbears, kobolds,
gnolls, every kind of humanoid in some unholy harmony,
"At the time, the Technocracy had nothing to do with
the annihilation of the elves of Evereska et al. We
did not condone the action at all, but of course, the
wise and all-knowing Wanderer once again failed to
show you that..."
The Faerie. But they are leaving. Pearly gates open,
the Faerie step through, and the Gates close behind
them ... forever.
By the hundreds, by the thousands, the Faerie, many
mourning and weeping, are leaving.
The very lifeblood of the world is stricken, the Weave
falters, the forests are permanently less verdant and
green, the power of life is forever diminished.
The elves of Evermeet ... but now they are in
underground caverns, cavorting and dancing and
feasting as elves do ... with their new friends the
orcs, gnolls, bugbears, kobolds, and all the others.
The daughter of Queen Amlaruil, beautiful and radiant,
kneels before the great orc king, and kisses him on
the feet. Then he sweeps her up in his arms and kisses
her deeply, his body pressed to hers.
With a cheer and a roar, dozens of others do the same.
Bugbears sweep up elven women in their arms, elven
women clasp kobolds lovingly, elven and humanoid faces
stare at each other lovingly, and there is comradery
and merriment ... and many children.
Half elf half orc. Half elf half bugbear. Half elf
half kobold. One third elf one third orc one third
kobold. One quarter orc one quarter goblin one quarter
flind one quarter ogre.
A great dance begins, as elves and humanoids swing
their partners around in glee, and the orc king sits
with his elven concubine in his arms (she is totally
naked, along with three quarters of the crowd),
fondling her, while she grins and giggles.
Over all are two statues. One is of Father Grumsh, the
Wise Old Sage, venerated by all elves and humanoids,
and Mother Sehanine, the Mysterious, who all humanoids
and elves venerate for magic and psionics.
Well, actually - only a few venerate these two. Most
of the elves and humanoids abandoned their respective
religions long ago.
The temples of the Seldarine lay silent and empty.
They were not laid to rest with care, but were looted
and ransacked, and the sacred shrines defiled.
More importantly, it was the elves who did this.
Elven swords hacked down the statue of Corellon, even
arrows are embedded in the great murals, and elven
swear words and curses are written on the walls and
the shattered altars.
"By the Gods, how racist this Wanderer fellow is! Had
the idea that the Humanoids and the Elves, after a
lengthy period of peace-making, become great friends
and allies ever cross his narrow mind? If the growth
of two peoples for the good of the entire world is to
be hated on your world, then perhaps the UC should
have nothing to do with it. But, unlike the Wanderer,
the United Commonwealth has more sense then that, we
are fully aware of the great potential all peoples, be
they elf, human, dwarf or humanoid, have deep within
them. I can only hope that their advances will serve
as an example for all like-minded peoples."
(In the new world the gnomes and technomancers had
created, depravity became the norm)
A great cathedral, complete with stained glass
windows, looms all about.
The sunlight shines down upon the congregation.
The congregation, is having an orgy.
But this is not just any orgy; this is an orgy of the
Church of Toril.
Mind flayers are using their tentacles to pleasure
women. Beholders are being stroked along the eyestalks
by loving dwarven hands, even as the Beholders kiss
each other and those on the floor, licking with their
Kender giggle in the background, stealing everything
as they move through the crowd, pointing out (as if it
needed pointing out) in eloquent detail each new scene
Several ogres are present, wearing girdles of giant
strength. They are quite popular.
Even more popular are the half reptilian Yuan-Tin,
with their long snake-like tongues that give a new
definition to the words french kissing.
An aboleth is present, and is serving as a carpet for
two lovers, who are busy with each other even as the
aboleth fondles them with it’s many tentacles.
It would appear several undead are present - their
cold embrace is a novelty to the living, and spectral
figures merge with the warm, living ones.
Even a few skeletons are present, drawing their long
bony hands up and down the backs of those present,
sending delicious tingles up and down the spines of
men and women.
Meanwhile, the high priests and priestesses are having
a private romp of their own.
A human woman wraps herself in magically altered Grey
Ooze, and as it pours into her mouth and other places
she convulses with pleasure (breathing apparently is
optional), and it would seem the Ooze itself is
radiating a sense of delight of it’s own.
The halfling woman prefers the Black Pudding. Its
thousands of tiny microscopic mouths are giving her
thousands of tiny nibbles, from head to toe, like a
thousand kisses on her flesh, and she croons with the
joy of it.
The elven woman yonder prefers the classic, high style
version: the Ochre Jelly. As it pours into her every
orifice, she cries out in delight, trying to wrap her
arms around it as it encases her in it’s gooey
Men, women, slimes, jellies, and oozes all meld with
each other, merge with each other in joyous passion.
Of course, the succubi and even a few erinye are
present, with all that entails, and they are a
definite hit with the men ... and the women.
Cries of passion and cries of pain compete with each
other for dominance in the air, which is thick with
reddish incense; powerful aphrodasiacs working upon
the lungs and minds of all in the room.
Particularly angered by these descriptions, the Prime
Minister stands up quickly and bangs her fist on the
table. Tears welling up in her eyes, she draws in a
deep breath. Panning out, the cameras pick up a giant
orc moving to reassure her. The Prime Minister raises
her hand in his direction and smiles meekly, "No
friend, I am fine."
Exhaling deeply, she opens her eyes and peers deeply
into the cameras, sitting down. "How dare you
trivialize our most sacred beliefs, Wanderer. Would I
make fun of the rituals of your religions? Have I
ridiculed your beliefs in all their ignorance and
arrogance?!" Settling down, she continues, "If I were
to choose between a society that venerates killing,
destruction and inequality; and a society that
worships life, passion, equality, and most importantly
love, there would be no choice in the matter.
"None at all."
The gnome is standing at a pupit, giving a speech, in
which he is explaining the basics of ... well, it is
gibberish really (quantum physics).
An audience of learned sages, illithid, a number of
phaerimm with beholder servants, humanoids, githyanki,
and other assorted beings are present, listening.
When the diminuitive gnome is finished, they all stand
and applaud him, even the phaerimm.
Now, you are inside the gnome’s head, hearing his
thoughts, as he watches them applaud, and he is
thinking ‘We have shown that we are superior to all of
them, we gnomes, and they appreciate this now. About
You are now inside the head of one of the phaerimm,
whose magic and genius is legendary. And it is
thinking ‘It is a privilege to learn at the feet of he
who holds the Seat of Academia. If only I could
actually get to meet the distinguished professor, that
would be very nice.’
"Unlike the ignorance of the Wanderer, it has become
obvious that the only thing in the way of true
knowledge are other people, and the culture of those
people. I find nothing at all wrong with a gnome more
voiced than a Phaerimm in the ways of the physical
sciences, and I applaud the gentle Phaerimm for his
will to learn."
(WAKE UP AND PAY ATTENTION. IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT FOR
OERTH? IS IT? IS IT??!!
FOR EVEN NOW, THEY SECRETLY TRAIN THE GNOMES AND
DWARVES OF THE LORTMILS IN THEIR WAYS, AND THOSE
PEOPLE EAGERLY FOLLOW THEM.
"I only urge those that this message reaches to use a
critical eye when viewing any and all mass broadcasts
such as this... The capability to speak does not
necessarily mean that nothing but truth will result,
the same holds true for the Wanderer, and myself. It
is the sincere hope that any and all of those wishing
to know the truth will strive to discover it on their
own. Do not rely on others to tell you the truth for
it is far too easy to get lost in the rhetoric and
biases of such people.
"It should be known that any attacks on the United
Commonwealth and its allies will be considered an Act
of War. Though we are not a warmongering people and as
such, are more than willing to involve ourselves in a
discource with anyone willing to sit down and talk...
"In the future, I will return to you all with
questions, ideas and propositions. It is my hope that
you will keep an open mind in these matters. Believe
what can be proved, not what is said...