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After Deicide

Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by Immaculate, Mar 28, 2021.

  1. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
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    7,610
    Which of these points is 'The Hallows'? (main island only please since you don't have a military district that allows ships -yet)

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    Attached Files:

  2. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
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    7,610
    Which of these is 'Titan's fall'?
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    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  3. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    9,052
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale
    Rightmost on the big island.
     
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  4. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    8,110
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth
    Bottom center between the small lake and the big river.
     
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  5. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    7,610
    I edited the formorians a bit to make then associated with storms more. I wanted black clouds to be associated with them.
     
  6. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    11,122
    Location:
    北京皇城
    The Holy Order of the Dominion of Xerconia
    upload_2021-4-9_1-16-19.png
    Starting region name- Xerconia
    Organization- The Holy Order is administered by a Grandkeeper, whose lieutenants are a council consisting of three Keepers of the Flame, a Keeper of the Keys, and a Keeper of the Gospel.

    This organization is relatively new. It is an adaptation of the organization that prevailed in the living days of Mahat, which was just an abbey.

    The Grandkeeper presently is the last former Abbot, a bald man of good age and a long gray beard named Winfor of the Glens.

    The Keepers of the Flame are drawn from the senior ranks of the Hedge Templars of the abbey. They are responsible for administering the rites to the God of Fire, who is considered to be the one God redeemed by Mahat's sacrifice. The others are pretenders. Keepers of the Flame were once great sorcerers of Mahat's magic, but now cultivate pyromancy.

    The Keeper of the Keys is the grand secretary of the Grandkeeper's office. Most of the daily functions of state are administered by the Keeper of the Keys, as delegated by the Grandkeeper. The current Keeper of the Keys is Jhugash the Scribe, who manages business professionally.

    The Keeper of the Gospel is Sister Gillian Stormrow, who is seniormost responsible for guiding rituals and worship. She is a serious woman without qualification.

    Background- The Holy Order was formed by the former administrators of an abbey, which was called The Abbey At Trenoma. This abbey also had an organization of loyal warriors, which did not function like a normal templar order. The pejorative "Hedge Templar" came to describe templars that, for whatever reason, encountered shame and walked away from the illustrious positions that most templar strove for. Some templars, whether out of a sense of defiance or disillusionment, therefore came to the abbey and joined their humble ranks of hedge knights.

    As a result, the abbey of Upper Awharai* astride the small lake settlement of Trenoma grew into a city, and the abbey grew into a formidable institution. In these highlands, it became an authority - not unto itself, of course, but unto Mahat.

    That was until Mahat fell, and the church was thrown into chaos. The abbey was no exception. Had their religion truly fallen?

    Unique among many, perhaps, this abbey determinedly answered that question: "No." The responsibility to keep the faith Mahat had granted them still lay with them, even though Mahat himself is gone. What was the point of the Lawgiver's teachings if law was so fragile as to be shattered the instant his gaze left his flock? Moreover, the abbey - asides from the magic, which of course was a miraculous gift - had never particularly relied on the affirmations of the imperials' country. Now punished with the lack of magic, the abbey reaffirmed its commitment to Mahat, and in the wake of the collapsing world drew up its manifesto of Law under the Holy Order, a Dominion of Xerconia to be a bastion of the faith..

    *a region also called Xerconia (as opposed to the coastal lowland region, Lower Awharai, which is Bakudivia).

    Commanders-

    Danbalor the Brave,
    a Keeper of the Flame, man of square jaw and straw-colored hair. Although a formidable fighter and a passable enough tactician, he naturally fosters camaraderie with those around him and that is his true strength. It must be said he is not particularly bright, but he's not that stupid either.

    Yndolin the Keeper, another Keeper of the Flame, a farmer's daughter who was raised as a man to obscure some indignation. Once a great sorcerer in the service of templars, now cultivates pyromagics. She is perhaps one of the first great pyromancers alive in the world today. Although gifted at magic, she has some enduring illness that saps her energy.

    Starting army names and composition-


    The Axes of Danbalor - A primarily infantry army specializing in ambush and melee weaponry. They are equipped to siege small or exposed fortresses.

    The Holy Banner Army (of Yndolin) - A small army of mixed forces and many former templar. Many light cavalry with horses from the plains also distinguish this unit. This is an army with a lot of heavy armor. Yndolin herself administers the success of the army with pyromagic support.


    Starting military units-

    Holy Zealot -
    A detachment of loyal adherents of the Holy Order, armed generally with blunt instruments or forestry equipment and lightly armored. Many of the officers and more advanced adherents are also drilled in the use of fire magics to augment their offensive capabilities. They are shock troops and generally seek to lead charges.

    Hedge Templar - A detachment of Hedge Templars, former sorcerers who now only study the blade. Well-compensated (ironically) and thus equipped with good quality warhorses and heavy armor and weaponry. Hedge Templars like to decorate their helmets with decorations that lionize humility. Stag horns are very popular.

    Starting priority-
    Let's get our tier 1 Mana district going.
    Additional starting unit(s)- n/a
    Starting spell- Fireball - It's a fireball, baby.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2021
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  7. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,191
    NPC ENTRIES


    Asangjar Tribe

    Description: A vassal tribe of the hereditary king of Ulmar. The Asangjar have cultivated faith in the Mountain and stand at the front line of the ongoing civil war in Ulmar between the royalists and rebel Vaetti tribes. The tribe is well known for its blacksmiths and its seat at Groenwaard in the days of the Empire was a key stopover of trade between Odra and the western provinces.

    Leader: Urs Bohn

    Capital: Groenwaard


    Ishatymes Estate

    Description: A newly independent Avvite estate that has seized control of a portion of Ashdod under its fearsome warlord. The estate retains a large population of slaves under submission to a substantial garrison. While the Avvites have stabilised their control here, their authority is still less than secure.

    Leader: Saknutjer

    Capital: Sepputenu


    Great and Felicitous Armada

    Description: A loose collection of pirate captains united under the leadership of the ‘Pirate Queen’, the armada has of late greatly vexed the shipping route from Patala south to the Fey Lands and had the audacity to claim sovereignty over Lanun. Possesses a significant navy which any foe will need to overcome if they wish to cast down their forces.

    Leader: Pirate Queen Athanasia Grey

    Capital: Innsmouth


    Kingdom of Helheim

    Description: A powerful Vanir state ruling over the south of Phlegra and claiming hegemony over most of the native tribes, Helheim openly aspires to conquer and rule over the entirety of Phlegra and its military might, blasphemous magics and fearsome Hangadrott King are greatly feared across the entire region.

    Leader: Hangadrott Age

    Capital: Helheim


    Kingdom of Fomoria

    Description: The Kingdom of Fomoria rules over the eponymous region uncontested and is the primary hegemon on the high seas across the east of the realms. Embracing faith in their ancestral goddess, their ships pass unmolested across the waves preying on vulnerable coastal settlements and their armies are aided by the mysterious denizens of the deep making Fomoria inaccessible to any foreign invader.

    Leader: King Chananga III

    Capital: Uafafa


    Awhari Tribal Confederacy

    Description: A confederation of Awhari tribes under a hereditary king. The kingdom now suffers instability due to famine and disease with the balance of power between the tribes shifting based on changing circumstances. The King claims hegemony over all Awharai and will undoubtedly seek to rein in, with force if necessary, all threats to his sovereignty.

    Leader: King Ivan IV

    Capital: Svopyeyvysk


    Legation of Machaka

    Description: An imperial successor state formed out of the legation that ruled southwestern Machaka and maintained imperial suzerainty over the whole province in the days of the Empire. The power of the Legate here is maintained by a substantial garrison of the imperial legions, its insulation from the chaos in Emyur and its economic importance. Indeed the food supply in Xerconia and much of Awharai is dependent on trade managed by the Legation and the state is in a good position to take advantage of its position in years ahead.

    Leader: Legate Mahashanazzar

    Capital: Lalikele


    Mani Akkhitha

    Description: Mani Akkhitha is a rump-state, the remains of a formerly much more extensive naga polity that ruled Patala in the days before the Empire and was reduced to vassalage with the imprisonment of the gods. Never quite forsaking faith in their divine mother, the Kingdom now seeks to restore its former greatness and resume its hegemony over the younger inhabitants of the region.

    Leader: Nagaraja Avruykt the Jewelled Serpent

    Capital: Lonnaghar


    The Fey Court

    Description: The Fey Court, also known as the Court of Twilight or the House of Towers is a league of Sidhe lords that controls the majority of Sijosalvar and proclaims the sovereignty of the god Froede over the fey. Formed out of necessity to expiate Froedes divine wrath at the sidhes collaboration with Mahat in the previous age, divisions still remain between various factions of the court regarding foreign policy and regarding the extent to which the Sidhe should adopt theocratic modes of government. All however agree that the Sidhe should suffer no outsiders to rule in fey lands.

    Leader: The Court Council (ostensibly in the name of Froede)

    Capital: Ylanati
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
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  8. Ekolite

    Ekolite Deity

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Messages:
    5,451
    Name: Xaru

    Starting location- Patala

    Starting region name- City of Xaru

    Organization- Xaru is an ancient city, which rose to prominence in Patala late in the third age as a major administrative centre of the Empire. For centuries, during the third Age, it was ruled by a High Priest of Mahat, but after deicide the priest was assassinated and the Imperial Cult overthrown in revolution. A council known as the Council of Knives was established to oversee the city and choose a new ruler. Since then the city has lurched from crisis to crisis as it’s people seek to establish a new order.

    Background- Throughout history many great cities rose and fell across Patala, and historically Xaru was far from one of the greatest. In fact Xaru was largely insignificant until the Third Age. When Patala fell to the Empire, Xaru was chosen to be their regional capital, due mainly to the rich veins of iron ore which surrounded the city to the East and South. This metal was unknown to the Patalians, who traditionally used flint or bronze weapons, but the Empire established great mines and filled them with slaves captured from Patala and beyond. Xaru swelled in size and population, and took on a cosmopolitan culture which fused Imperial and “traditional” practices.

    Commanders-


    1. Legate Orzamandion - Commander of the Imperial Garrison at Xaru. Orzamandion is of mixed Patalian and Imperial descent. Most Imperial forces were withdrawn from Patala in the chaos following Deicide, and since then the Legion has further reduced in power and numbers as native Patalians have deserted en mass. The Legion is a shadow of it’s former self, but still a significant force in Xaru politics. Though Legate Orazamadion was not a participant in the revolution, he stood aside and allowed the Imperial Cult to be deposed, and since then he has been welcomed as a member of the Council of Knives. Orzamandion is known as a cautious and almost secretive man.

    2. Flarah - a princess of the Ruvalah Palace, from the neighbouring city of Renop, who was taken by the Imperials as a hostage following a rebellion of a number of city states subject to Xaru. Flarah was treated as a honoured guest by the Imperials, and as an adult joined the Imperial cult. She was one of the conspirators of the revolution and one of the nine assassins who slew the High Priest. Since then she has been a leading member of the Council of Knives and has publicly renounced her Imperial religion. She now works to restore the old ways to Xaru and Patala.
    Starting army names and composition-

    1. Legio Patalicus - the imperial garrison of Xaru and Patala province. Greatly reduced in number. They are armed with iron weapons, and their soldiers are primarily drawn from the Patala population (the Imperials saw the Legio Patalicus as little more than barbarian turncoats). They do not wear the traditional iron plate armour of the imperials due to the punishing humidity of the Patala rainforests, and are largely light infantry in composition.

    2. Blood Moon Banner - An armed force which was formed to oppose the Imperial cult and fight the revolution. These are street fighting natives of the city of Xaru, known for using the hidden networks of the city to ambush and assassinate their enemies.

    Starting military units- As above. One unit of light infantry specialised in operating in the rainforest and mountains of Patala. The other a city-based recon/espionage unit.

    Starting priority-


    1. Tier 1 Military District- Imperial Fort

    2. Tier 1 Magic District - Moon Temple

    Additional starting unit(s)-


    1. Shadow Adepts - adepts skilled in the magics of illusion.

    Starting spell- “Setango” - a military unit is turned invisible for a short time.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 10, 2021
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  9. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,191
    Update 0 - Empire’s End

    -

    A certain city, a certain kingdom, in a forlorn alley overshadowed by the washing-lines of the poor tenants that made the rickety townhouses that lined the byways of the slums their home, the rats squabbled over a shattered pomegranate left to rot upon the sodden ground, the leftovers of some streetboys ill-gotten feast. Beneath the fluttering rags that wetly slapped overhead in a languid wind, yet still within earshot of the muffled calls of the nearby hawkers peddling their wares upon spicers avenue which between the city gate and the palace cut like a knife through the the cities labyrinthine streets, sat a wan girl bedecked in rags, head in hands.

    If any of the rotund merchants that plied their wares in the market were to pass by (if one so esteemed was to be found in such an unseemly lane) and cared to look upon her with his appraising eye he would spy upon her pallid limbs the marks of shackles and on her face the wicked scars of the lash. A slave. For here was a girl used and broken, tossed aside like bones were tossed to dogs at noble banquets after their masters had had their fill of meat and had no more use for such vulgar morsels as remained to fill their bloated bellies. Yes, she had been cast aside to rot and meet her end awaiting the fate of all worthless goods that had lost their value...

    “Poor thing”

    The girl looked up and saw an old woman, her limbs swaddled with rags, her teeth yellowed with age and reeking of mingled decay and spiced wine as she smiled sympathetically towards the waif who sat before her in the muck.

    “Leave me alone”

    The girl averted her gaze, her nose wrinkling with displeasure at the smell and her own sorry state.

    “Ha, you don’t look like one who should be tossing away the charity of others little girl. Oh how callow are the young, they all say that no one suffers more than they, as if the world revolves around them.”

    “What would you know?” the girl spat.

    “I know what it is like to be a slave dear girl” the woman leaned closer, her voice sharp like a schoolmarm and loaded with the gravitas of age.

    “I know what it is like to suffer and bewail your fate and cry out in anguish, only to know in your soul of souls that no one will hear your cry. But now I am free, we are both free dear child and we have the burden of life that we might make of it what we will. Now what will you do, will you sit in vain and foolish lamentation here in this squalid alley, to die, to achieve nothing? Or will you seize destiny with your own two hands? I know I will live another day and savour this sweet liberty, tell me though, what do you want to do?”

    “I don’t want to die…and I want that man to suffer as I have suffered and as so many thousands of others have suffered! ”

    The girl rose to her feet and cried, perhaps for the first time since she had first been riven from her mothers breast and sold to the master, her voice tinged with the hatred and anguish of a lifetime. Yet perhaps surprised at her own honesty she quickly slumped back against the ground and wrapped her hands around her knees as her weak resolve shattered and she wept.

    “Then live, and you will see your wish fulfilled.”

    The girl looked up and gazed into the kindly eyes of the stranger, and the old woman's compassion seemed to her to flood into her soul like rain falling in a desert.

    “To you, girl, I bestow my gift”

    The old woman touched her head, an old sign of blessing, with her swaddled hand and gave her a gold coin, before she walked along the alley turned the corner and was gone. As the lane returned to its sordid repose amidst the muffled sounds of the nearby market the girl examined the coin and bit it to test for purity. Pure gold, her eyes widened in surprise. The girl pondered the old woman's words and decided after a little while that it was no use to her to sit in the alley doing nothing but wallowing in her misery, the least she could do was buy some half-decent clothes and a little food with the money the stranger had given her. Who knows, perhaps if she looked like a normal commoner girl and was lucky she could get a job in some tavern as a barmaid and make a decent living.

    So it was that she lifted herself up from her vanity putting aside the consolation of regret and walked out of the foetid alley in which she had sat into the brightness of the open day. Here the noise only dimly heard in the slum erupted into a great clamour as the girl took in the bewildering sight of merchants hawking their wares in their technicolor silken robes, of travellers and locals alike perusing with suspicious stares the stalls laid out under a canopy of crimson cloths and all laid about with silks, spices, goldwork and piles of fruit near man high as nearby a coterie of snake charmers and a bright naga shaman resplendent in his beaded golden vest and glimmering emerald scales bewitched a delighted crowd of children with a show of sorcery and skill. Then, as the rats continued anew their quarrelsome dispute behind her, the girl passing through the midst of them went her way.


    -


    The First Year since the Deicide, the Epitaph of the Third Age and Birth-cry of the Fourth.


    God is dead! The cry rang across the realm in an exuberant cacophony of joyous exultation, despairing lamentation and calamitous regret all mingled together in a great heaving groan of terror. For he who was the Most High was slain, and the throne of heaven now lay empty. The collapse of the crystalline spires of His temples in all their sublimely mathematical precision and monolithic beauty was shocking enough to the horrified masses, even before the truth was fully known. The messages sent out of what remained of the imperial government in Emyur after a great many of the hierarchs of the temple perished together with the golden capital in its demise were more traumatic still. The chained gods long ago subdued by Lord Mahat to bring order and peace to the world were free, the age of chaos had come again! But the true comprehension of the reality of what had transpired came with what happened next. Anarchy.

    All throughout the realm as the pure unadulterated shock of what had come to pass faded, the clarion of revolution rang from every hill, with slave rising against master and vassal against liege, blades in hand. With the centre of power now vanished like a ghost from the face of the world and the once fearsome mystical might of the templars now utterly void with the loss of their divine patron, the imperial legations lost the raw power that enabled them to enforce the Temples strictures over the Empire. Thus it came to pass that with no effectual strength to back up their decrees and with the imperial infrastructure gutted in the fall, the authority of the regional magistrates and templar-legates simply collapsed in a heap to be swept away like the dung of a pythian elephant from a market square, lest the stench of its festering mass offend the sensibilities of the noble lords and high merchants who might chance pass thereby. The difference between this market and those stately institutions of Pythium however was that the goods that were available for barter in this new age insolvency sale were nothing less than power and dominion over the lands and the rare, heady drink of liberty that for an age had lain, locked and sealed, in the wine-cellar of the God of Chains out of reach of common folk and bearing a price tag beyond all reckoning. Alas, once a sample had been uncorked at the auction house and the beguiling odour of its draught had wafted through the waiting milieu to tease them and their pocketbooks with its bewitching scent, the prospective buyers simply went quite mad.

    So did the world writhe in the coiling pangs of hope and shudder like a harlot with the cry of “liberty!”. The heart of the empire, a great swathe of land sweeping in a great arc from Emyur to Mavernus descended wholeheartedly into an orgy of violence and social disintegration followed shortly after. Tales soon spread far and wide of templars being rent asunder by angry mobs and priests of Mahat meeting yet worse fates in hidden cellars and lonely thickets, their entrails being left to hung stretched between the lamp posts of ruined towns. Oh how the wretched fools would soon be reminded of the truth that in the absence of order the state of man is nasty, vulgar, brutish and short, for worse was to come. Amidst the shattered husks of the ruined temples and the confused chaos that arose like dust from their fall, the wretched slaves that were the backbone of the imperial system rose up in revolt to seize the prize of freedom from their erstwhile masters. This rebellion amongst the labour supply might have been suppressed along with the general disorder if the hierarchs had not perished in the fall or perhaps if the templars retained some modicum of Mahat’s consecration in their veins, however in the absence of these their loss from the equation of governance precipitated in the anarchy a cataclysmic failure of the the complex systems that supplied the heaving masses with food and maintained key infrastructure both magical and mundane across Emyur. Thus following the red horse of war the spectre of famine came baying at its heels like a rabid dog and this hunger further established a diabolical feedback loop of looting and brigandry as the ravenous people resorted to even the most debased of methods to ensure their survival, futile though such methods were. Emaciated corpses soon lined the waysides sharing space with beggars and wild beasts and forming a fertile seedbed for all manner of pestilence. The downfall of law and order in Emyur was thus nearly total.

    Yet the problem of slave revolts was not confined to the homeland of humanity alone for the neighbouring province of Ashdod too groaned under the weight of those yearning to be free and lit up in the flames of discord, despite the herculean efforts in both sword and sorcery of the Avvite nobility to keep their blood chattel and bondservants in check. Through obscene magical rites best hidden from more sedate sensibilities and other more mundane means, namely the twin instruments of the whip and the sword, the imperial Avvite legates and their noble vassals managed to retain their control over most of the province, at least temporarily. Yet the tired, poor, huddled masses of humanity yearning to breathe free did earn at least some reward, for a novel sect of firebrands led by Goliath, an Anathament ex-officer of the enslaved regiments of the Imperial Army succeeded in cutting out a slice of territory from the Avvites and placing it under revolutionary control. Goliath claimed the gift of prophecy and in the initial days of the anarchy had raised aloft, side by side, the banners of the god of fire and the goddess of metal, casting down a number of estates around the Titan’s Fall (a region so named for an ancient event only dimly remembered) in their name. Bidding the wholesale destruction of the old order that the world might be fashioned anew, the prophet and his crack Anathemant units have struck terror into the Avvite nobles. Ironically this seemed to inspire much amusement in the eyes of Ishat, All-consuming Flame and Father of War. This deity upon release from his long captivity found much to arouse mirth in the cockles of his divine heart, for in a world grown hot in the fires of revolution the god could dip his chalice into the sea of bloodshed and drink deep of the ambrosial essence of sedition and destruction at his leisure. Yet in “The Communion” he found particular delight, and to these willing votaries and their formerly false prophet, he made known his desire.

    Elsewhere in Ashdod however another deity found purchase in the souls of the people. In the Free and Imperial City of Yorvik, a governorate of the Empire nowadays reverted to its old pre-imperial name of the Kingdom of Haversten the sailors and merchants of the wealthy town (which lay with harbour on both sides of the aptly named Isthmus of Haversten and controlled a key trade route) quickly came to the conclusion that if they did not propitiate the newly freed goddess of the seas, Ursula, their merchant marine and accustomed freedom upon the waves would swiftly be scuttled by the temperamental deity. So they did what any rational authority would do and founded a cult. The Drowner Cult as it was called quickly seized all real political power in the city and after surreptitiously (And appropriately given the cults name) drowning a few naysayers and conducting a little incitement of the cities warrior class, the old king was deposed and the people acclaimed a new King, crowned of course by a drowner priest, who pledged in solemn tones to return Haversten to the ancient ways of reeving and pillaging. He also made good on a promise to build a new and grand temple to Ursula, a thank you to the priesthood for their trouble and perhaps a plea to the goddess for her favour in a world gone mad. With the tribes of Malaka and Sauromatia newly liberated from the imperial yoke and with rumours of wandering Malphasim in the far north and plotting witch-covens lurking in the jungles lapping across the cities docks, the aid of a higher power may prove critical in the days ahead.

    To the south in Asphodel however there was no need to search for a divine patron, for here Malakbel was King with the Unbound God abiding in quiet repose deep within the forest's heart much as he had always done. His druids however, more attuned than their god to mundane events, found in this new world order much to savour, for with the Empire’s fall the annual autumn scouring of the forests margins with fire and sickle failed to materialise. The regrowth that inevitably followed once winter was vanquished by the Herald of Spring quickly overwhelmed the ashen borderline that marked the front between the Domain of Malakbel and the civilised world. Better yet from their perspective the farmers and shockingly even many of the imperial administrators along the margins of Asphodel who had hitherto persecuted the druidic circles adopted openly the cult of Malakbel, offering up libations and sacrifices in the name of the Orchard Keeper in the hope of a good harvest, comprehending that in the land of the Rampant Green, to turn to any other god would be nought but folly.

    Even in neighbouring Mavernus where Avvite nobles, vastly outnumbered by their human slaves, found themselves victims of cruel retribution, namely being burnt out of their homes and put to the sword in the name of liberty, the druids found opportunity and cause for joy. Every void must inevitably be filled, so the wise men of the forest understood. Meeting in conclave under the boughs of ancient trees, the Brotherhood of the Free Father, a circle of druids devoted to their god as patron of liberty and taking good stock of his status as the father of agriculture endeavoured to set out from the deep forest to establish themselves in Mavernus in the hope of restoring that land to its ancient state, namely that of a druidic theocracy subject to their god. With Mahat dead their prosperity gospel would surely be well received and already their green mantles of woven leaves can be espied amongst the ruined villages surrounded by eager listeners.

    Such opportunity had yet to avail in Ulmar though, here the fragile kingdom set up in vassalage to the Imperial theocracy in the previous age quickly became ensnared in racial divisions, throwing the land into the tumult of civil war. The Vaetti tribes, distrustful of humans and their hereditary King quickly rose up under their own chiefs, seizing control of much territory along the southern border with Vaettiheim (whose tribes continued in barbarism much as they always had) in the process. As the year went by the sphere of Vaetti dominion extended even further, with most of the eastern border with the wild marches of Odra being wrenched from royalist control. The royalist humans for their part maintained control of the west and north of the Ulmar and by summer’s end human armies had rallied from their initial losses and were engaged in constant skirmishes with Vaetti war bands amidst the trees. Their position remains tenuous however, their kingdom is isolated from other bastions of civilization by anarchy and barbarians on the one hand and the impenetrable forests of Asphodel on the other. Furthermore, chill winds from the south forebode a long winter and a poor harvest leaving the Kingdom's prospects, barring divine intervention, to herald ill.

    The chill grip of winter was felt even more keenly to the south in the tundra wastes of Dovievel and Niefelheim. Here beyond the haunted mires of Vaettiheim the resident giants and the nomadic tribes of fisherfolk and reindeer herders dispersed along the frozen shores huddled together for warmth around dim whale-oil lamps in their frozen tents as the presence of Tallai became known. Indeed all throughout the southern part of the world, where once the imperial presence was but lightly felt and now not at all, the return of the Queen of Winter heralded long nights and portended a lengthier winter, perhaps a winter that might one day never end. The booming laughter of the Neifling lords in Neifelheim echoed across the ice as they revelled in the frosts, for being attuned to the cold they were perhaps the only beneficiaries of the return of the goddess. Rumours soon filtered north that the Nieflings had raised up undying servants from those who perished in the snows all the while singing paeans to Tallai’s name.

    The Vanir too felt the tingle of winter in the misty breath emanating from their nostrils upon the high fells, albeit the moors and glens of Vanheim were always chilly come winter and remained not so hostile as to cause much disturbance to the natives. Here the Empire never truly ruled, and the Vanir clans together with their Firbolg and Myrkalfar vassals and their ample stock of captured slaves continued their timeless feuding even as their High King sat uneasily upon his lofty throne of riven stones upon the royal hill. Niefling raids were particularly vexing in this first year of the fourth age but were turned back to their barren wastes as usual by the border jarls. More disturbing than they to the King as he sat immersed in waking dreams as revelry filled his oaken hall all strewn with straw echoing all around him to the merriment of his jarls were the visions, and the reports coming back from his jarls of strange music from some unseen pipe accompanying the rush of tinkling streams through lonely glens on moonlit nights. Stranger yet were reports of omens and unseasonable phenomena tantalising the credulous under the forests trembling boughs. No need for worry, no need for worry, did his thoughts console even as his soul knew otherwise.

    Such thoughts did not enter the heads of the people of the Vatn Confederacy, across the sea from Vanheim on the Isle of Phlegra. A mutual association between nine tribes of Vanir and their Firbolg clients, the confederacy not only felt keenly the bitter winds of Tallai rushing from the south across their savage land like a storm of blades, but they also took note of the disturbing ascent of the Hangadrott King of Helheim. This figure is one of an ancient hero of the insular vanir who was hung upon a sacred ash tree in days of yore, his spirit bound in eternal agony by Mahat in punishment for some defiance erased from memory by the imperial inquisition. This was a poor jest in hindsight now that the King found himself freed upon the god’s untimely death. Revered as a living ancestor by the local tribes, who for an age had taken up in secret the worship of their ancestors even as Mahatic overseers compelled open obedience to temple doctrine and ritual forms, the Hangadrott King was soon hailed as the paramount sovereign of a great many of the Vanir tribes of Phlegra, claiming much of the isle for his own and holding absolute dominion over its southern heights. The Confederacies chieftains were left to fret and wring their hands at the thought of their near neighbour, anticipating what horrors he might unleash. They prayed that their renowned sorcerers, skilled in the mystic lores of frost, might hold at bay any shambling husks that might come careening down the mountain heights unto their holds.

    Returning back across the sea unto the centre of feydom on earth, namely Sijosalvar, the Sidhe, brethren and oft times enemy of the Vanir found themselves subject to the same mysterious phenomena as the Jarls of Vanheim. Yet more than they, the Sidhe, who had embraced the lordship of Mahat and made themselves his servants in abandonment of their ancient god found themselves afflicted by portents of doom. Their dreams echoed with the downfall of their slender towers, of their desires being lost in billowing mists and their worldly delights transforming into ashes in their mouths as their finery and pomps crumbled into dust all around them. Compelled, the frightened sidhe lords gather together atop the highest and most ancient of their towers under the light of the stars to scry the meaning of these signs. The eldest of their number, born directly from a Tuatha sire in days long passed and resplendent in a star-bespangled mantle glimmering with the splendor of the constellations, revealed the bitter truth. “Our god is returned to us, and if we do not repent of our apostasy we will be punished”. Thus did the proud Sidhe lords come to a consensus, “that the days of division shall be at an end and all shall be subject to one lord and god, namely our Fair Prince”. Hence as the sidhe sang haunting songs of repentance, not entirely sincerely, to beg the forgiveness of their god, their neighbours for their part trembled in hearing of the establishment of the Court of Twilight and wondered at what it might portend. For in the house of ballads where the mysteries of the Lord of Music and God of Dreams are writ large upon the waking world, mere mortals fear to tread lest they find themselves lost forever in the mists.

    The Emerald Kingdom, a minor imperial protectorate in the days of the Empire which lay on the border of Vanheim and Sijosalvar, found greatest cause for concern by these events. For here the people were significantly composed of immigrants from far off Patala who, in secret, had long maintained the covert worship of the Consolation of the Sick and Lady of Mercy, a faith which now at long last could emerge into the open. The cruel Vanir were one thing, but a united Sidhe court if they decided to act in force under the banner of the Lord of Desires could pose an existential threat to their kingdom. Their Queen wisely saw fit to strengthen the military power of the land and fortify the gates of her realm against invaders in case of this eventuality and perhaps, just perhaps, to take advantage of any opportunity that arose to subdue those amongst the Sidhe march lords who out of sentimentality and misguided individualism had yet to submit to the newly arisen Court. Yet not everything portended peril to the kingdom, no their skill in metalwork led to good relations with their kindred spirits in the Svartalfar Kingdom in Odra and a thriving transit trade in raw metals from the mountains in return for foodstuffs and fey trinkets passed across the moors from Jormungand and up into the high peaks unabated by the unfolding chaos elsewhere in the realm. The Queen took note to take care however, a freudian slip or moment’s distraction as the affairs of the world passed the Emerald Kingdom by could lay it low in the days ahead. She must carefully steer the ship of state across the azure realm and take regard of the sweeping whirlwinds that hushed in grim repose across the far horizon. Otherwise the saga of her kingdom would only end in ruin.

    Yet unknown to the people of the Emerald Kingdom the Svartalfar of Odra were vexed by their own problems. While largely unaffected by the chaos of other lands, the wilds and the scattered villages and tribes of the sheer valleys of the Odran wilds, which had hitherto provided the Svartalfar with much of their food, became greatly afflicted by the predation of wild beasts which in both numbers, savagery and intellect had reached far above their former state. Wise women amongst the Vaetti and Firbolg farmers and trappers made divinations but every man, woman and child already knew what their witcheries would unveil. Revna. The only solution was to propitiate, and so it came to pass that each full moon, at the witching hour when the night was darkest, sacrifice was made on bloody stones high up in the vales where the screaming of the slain would echo across the mountains. Only when the sun arose in the coming dawn did the wild-men return to their hamlets to continue as they always had, clinging on in secret all the while to a primal terror of the Lord of the Hunt.

    North in Nazca a more civilised and sporting kind of hunt was kindled in the flames of the empires fall. Here the nemedians has long dominated the land and this remained so, yet the absence of central authority spurred competition for power and facilitated the rise of a number of powerful warlords, the elder councils being relegated to advisory functions as they battled across the plains of Nazca and dreamt great dreams of a united Nemedian kingdom ruling over all the realms. With Emyur to the north in anarchy, perhaps now was the time for Nazca to become something more than a mere tributary to a greater power?

    Eastward in the lands of Machaka and Awharai, the Awharai Kingdom and the Machakan tribes endured the chaos of the Empires fall. Indeed in southwestern Machaka the imperial legate even managed to maintain authority over the Svartalfar and Firbolg farmers of the region even as imperial control slipped away elsewhere. Yet the area was not immune to wider geopolitical changes. While the self-sufficient Machakans could suffer the loss of trade resulting from Emyurs anarchy with little detriment, the Awharai Kingdom had under the imperial yoke become highly dependant upon trade in goods from Emyur and Pythium, the most important of these imports being grain which had enabled the population of the area, under the empire, to expand far beyond the lands normal carrying capacity. With Emyur fallen into ruin, and trade with Pythium, the other great agricultural region supplying Awharai, being heavily impacted by piracy in the eastern seas from Lanun and the resurgent Kingdom of Fomoria (which seized back independence with a vengeance under the banner of Ursula), the region swiftly fell into famine.

    This collapse in supply has resulted in a degradation of royal authority such that the Kingdoms rule over its peripheries has begun to fray. Indeed the border region of Xerconia has already gained de-facto independence under loyalist clergy of Mahat where, under the leader of the local abbey, the new Holy Order of the Dominion of Xerconia seized the organs of power in a silent coup. Here Abbot Winfor cannily utilised his connections with the legates in southern Machaka and the Sidhe Lords to the south to guarantee a supply of food to Xerconia, providing much needed humanitarian charity to the peasantry from the abbeys stores even as his templars gradually took over state military and policing functions in order to preserve order in the region and protect the people from raiders from neighbouring tribes desperate for food.

    Cleaving fast to Mahatic doctrine the Order paid lip-service to Ishat as the sole “redeemed deity” amongst the liberated gods, perhaps to ward off divine retribution and assuage the superstitious, and established institutions for the study of pyromancy (already a locally prominent school of magic) to negate the loss of divine power formerly wielded by the abbey’s templars and secure their independence from the King of Awharai, who still claims sovereignty over the area. Yet the Order like all the authorities in Awharai faced another threat than famine, for pestilence followed quickly on famine’s heels and by the end of the year almost a third of the population of Awharai lay dead. Even in Xerconia where the bite of starvation was held at bay by the Orders trade policies, the influx of refugees and pilgrims desperate for sustenance brought disease into the abbeys walls, and as of years end the abbeys hospice was overwhelmed by the numbers of the afflicted who came begging their services even as countless others groaned and clamoured at the gates.

    The plague did not however originate in the starving tribesmen of the savannah. No, its origin could be traced north, to the land of Patala. Here the people were divided into a series of city states together with a rump naga kingdom in the deepest jungles under the reign of their enigmatic Nagaraja. Boisterous and colourful, the markets of Patala were prosperous and served as a wealthy entrepot of maritime trade between Awharai and the Fey lands to the south and the prosperous Kingdom of Pythium to the west. It was in the melting pot of the city-state of Amunekamam that the symptoms first appeared. It started with a fever and perhaps due to this the people first mistook the Patalan Plague for one of the endemic diseases of the region, the Red Death perhaps, or Summer Fever. But in due time after its initial stages passed and sores started to appear, putrescent and weeping vile ichor that reeked of decay and oozed down the limbs of the afflicted in steady torrents, they knew otherwise. It ended with the eyes weeping blood as the inner organs of the sick turned to rot, their minds by this stage far gone as they lashed out at any and all in a savagery more reminiscent of beasts than men. The only mercy their carers could give them at this point was a swift death.

    As the rampant plague took hold and spread from Amunekaman to Lamuqam, Shingsopadhoo, Paolserang, Xaru and beyond, reaping a savage toll, the people and authorities panicked. Quarantine was initially implemented, to no effect, as spread perhaps by foul miasma and the unhygienic state of the Patalan cities it continued its march across the population unabated. High lords and slaves died as equals in its embrace and in the end in desperation they turned to the goddess. Solemn processions of newly wrought idols were taken in solemn state upon the backs of caparisoned elephants and on great chariots topped with gilt umbrellas through the cities to repurposed and re-consecrated shrines of the dead god where overlooking high altars piled with expensive offerings and rich adornments, libations of milk, wine, honey and sweet water were poured out at the feet of the images in the name of Lotahna. Here newly appointed priestesses beseeched the goddess for mercy in exotic rites, and she replied. The sick who beseeched the goddess sincerely for healing found their symptoms abated, their wounds closing up and their vapid eyes reclaiming something of the sanity of those who remained whole. In time they would recover. The Cult of Lotahna had a new birth and the harvest of faith and adulation was breathtaking in scope, never mind that by the end of the year a full half of the population of Patala had fallen to the grave.

    In addition to the toll in lives, the political cost of the plague in Patala was substantial. In Xaru, an ecclesiastical fief of the priesthood Mahat, the plague saw the ruling Hierarch, whose authority was already on a knife-edge after Mahats death, overthrown in a coup-d'etat with the city lurching into anarchy. While a loose council of political collaborators has emerged to run the city and provide a semblance of order even as the corpses of the dead and dying are sprawled untended by the waysides, the city appears doomed to further turmoil in years ahead. Naga power stirs in the deep jungles of their rump-state and elsewhere other city-states fall into anarchy and disorder even as the rapidly growing influence of the Cult of Lotahna threatens the authority of the traditional social hierarchy. More insidiously, great swathes of fertile agricultural land lie untended, the peasantry having died or fled threaten to portend famine and war as the plague continues its merciless course. So it is that the four horsemen ride together in Patala.

    The isles of Lanun were similarly afflicted by this calamity, the plague spreading here on captured ships and returning pirates. Here the Great and Felicitous Armada had under their charismatic “queen” gathered together a substantial fleet to harass shipping as well as numerous brigands and vagabonds to seize territory on the isles. Like the Fomorians further south, the Armada acknowledged Ursula in order to appease the roiling waves as the goddess made her presence felt, although their piety compared to the former remains sorely lacking. They were the first to notice the rising tide of pestilence, their captains soon met in court to determine how best to control the outbreak and whether to take advantage of Patalas weakened state on the side, to seize the riches of that lands great cities.

    The people of The Hollows too noticed sickness in their ranks. A union of three peoples, the first known as the Bahatakada descended from slaves brought to the Patalan slave marts from Sijosalvar in the latter days of the Empire. The Bahatakada had in the Empire's fall escaped to the hollows with the aid of Spirit Walkers, a magic-wielding caste bearing minute traces of Sidhe blood and maintaining something of their magics and a certain Dunding captain who saw potential for mutual benefit in proffering his aid. Here in a hidden haven established long ago by transient Cosabrodla merchants from far-off Emyur, they signed a covenant establishing a tenuous union of their peoples under the guidance of Aisha of the Mists and took measures to propagate and preserve the magical arts of the spirit walkers to better maintain the secrecy of their sanctuary in perpetuity. How long this union and its secrecy will last remains to be seen however, for with the seas becoming less friendly by the day, with pestilence already claiming almost a fifth of the population of Lanun and with the relationship between the three peoples being fragile from the start and maintained only out of necessity, the Hollows must tread carefully if it is to endure and establish a lasting fellowship between its subjects.

    We pass now lastly to Pythium, greatest of all the independent realms to emerge from the fall. Here too the Patalan plague bit deep and by years end up to fifteen percent of the population had died. Yet the Kingdom remained one of the most stable in all the realm, for Pythium had always been a subject state to the Empire under its own king and when the templars lost their power and the coercive might of the central state shrugging off their overlordship was as simple as shrugging of a cloak. Cosmopolitan, wealthy and proud, the people of Pythium encompassing as they did diverse nations and tribes brought together from all the four corners of the world saw fit to cultivate the restored worship of the old and now new gods much as they cultivated business, namely with profit and mutual-benefit in mind. Here alone in the realm you could find the like of temples of Lohtana milling with the sick praying for mercy and Groves of the Orchard Keeper side by side in a way nigh blasphemous in other lands even as singers extolled the praises of the Mother of Inspiration to crowds of mingled Avvites, firbolg and humans just beyond their gates. Perhaps this was foolish, for to serve all the gods is to serve none. But again perhaps it was wise, for to serve one god exclusively could invite the jealousy of others, and in the new calculus of divinity where no one god held the throne of heaven perhaps hedging bets was the most religiously prudent manner of course. Regardless, with the anarchy of their neighbours and the destabilising influence thereof causing troubles on the borderlands and with the Patalan Plague only beginning to reap a dread harvest in this part of the world, the King of Patala saw in the cultivation of the gods only one of a number of methods by which he could preserve his realm from the anarchy that reigned elsewhere. He could only pray that war and famine, the two horsemen yet to touch his Kingdom would by these measures be held at bay.

    Thus does the realm abide at the start of the fourth era, anarchy and confusion abound and liberated deities make sport with the souls of mortals even as they keep watch over their brethren beyond the sight of their puerile playthings. Be it in the shattered fields of Emyur or high up in the wastes of distant Dovievel the people of the land suffer and must make the best of the numerous challenges that await them. For Mahat is slain, order and civilisation have been laid low, and the age of chaos bays at the heels of a world reeling after deicide.


    -


    The soldier sat atop a farmers dry-stone wall, its rustic stones all mossy and damp with drops of dew, as he stared out in contemplation across a tumble of rolling moors adorned with flowering heather and the occasional hawthorn, oblivious all the while to the flight of moths reveling above his head in a moonlit dance.

    “Damn Naz’jar, sending us on watch at this ungodly hour. Nothing ever happens this time of night’

    “Quiet Eoin, we don’t want your petty complaints to reach the generals ear do we?”

    The soldier teased his companion, as Eoin, a young firbolg recruit to the Serpent Army, grumbled while huddling under a warm woolen blanket. The nights had been getting colder as winter beckoned and the soldier noticed the boy's breath coming out in puffs of mist as he stamped his leather boots in discomfort, armour rattling, as he kept sentry duty.

    “Besides you heard the briefing, same as I, the Sidhe are gathering together like never before now that Mahat is dead and gone. Who knows what mischief they may be plotting in their high towers. We must be ready for any tricks they might pull.”

    “Those sidhe give me the willies”

    Eoin shuddered as the soldier laughed

    “That’s because you never see them for what they really are. Still, better the Sidhe than being made a slave of the Vanir”

    “True that”

    The soldier made a gesture of warding under his cloak. The Vanir were legendary for their cruelty and the Empire had never fully subdued them throughout all the long centuries. Praise Lotahna that they were a quarrelsome people and but rarely came together to attack their neighbours. A clan coming down from the high moors at the behest of their jarl for cattle and slaves was one thing but a whole army under the banner of Vanheims High King was another altogether. He remembered being briefed about them as well back in Jormungand and frowned. The Kingdom was surrounded by damn fey and while he wouldn’t admit it to Eoin or his fellow soldiers he was afraid of them. How could you truly know something when you couldn’t trust your eyes? Well as the boy said, nothing would happen this time of night and besides his country had stood for three hundred years now, it, and his family, would survive no matter what happened.

    “Hey, where did this mist come from?”

    Eoin asked quizzically, snapping the soldier out of his reverie to notice a bank of fog sliding down the hillside across the way like slick oil over water and across to their position.

    “It's the moor boy, there’s always fog”

    The soldier scoffed as the fog silently rolled up and coiled about them, the water vapour in the air tangible in his nostrils. The waxing moon above illuminated the cloud with a mysterious light and obscured his sight. A shame, the borderlands were quite beautiful at night his thoughts wandered again as they were want to do.

    “What’s that!”

    Eoin’s shrill voice ripped his attention back to the present once again.

    “Stop your games boy, as you said nothing….”

    He saw it and his voice fell silent, a strange light descending the hill. Soon after he heard it in his ears and felt it, whatever “it” was, throbbing in his very soul. A strange music on lilting pipes accompanying a melody of unearthly voices in solemn chant. A choir rejoicing in their king as in procession they made their straight way along the narrow road. He shuddered oblivious to Eoin falling to his knees by his side.

    As he watched with rapt attention “they” passed by on the way and it was then he saw them clearly for the first time. At their head was a young boy head wreathed in hawthorn leaves, his hair lay in curls of spun gold and his robes were white and radiant all about with light as he played a silver flute, his feet dancing to the tune. Behind him followed a sequence of what seemed to him lords more noble than any of his own people with each more noble than the last. Their brows were high and visages aristocratic and sublime such that he could not help to avert his gaze even as their lavender eyes were radiant with joy and their song tinkled with the echo of laughter like a sweet caress. Their robes were adorned with radiant gems and were lined with gossamer and silver filigree, in their hands were banners gleaming white and at their waists were fine brazen swords with gleaming diamonds for pommel stones radiant like rainbows in their own bedazzling light.

    “Tuatha...”

    The Firbolg boy to his side whispered, his voice lost in the mists as he crumbled to the ground.

    The soldier compelled himself by a supreme effort of will to turn his face once more to the procession passing ghostlike by his sentry post, resisting the urge to shield his eyes from the beauty they beheld. Offering a silent prayer to the Lady of Mercies that he might not be bewitched by the sylvan maids that spun airily amidst the horses of the noble lords as they danced upon the dew-laden grass like fleeting mayflies over the Lake of Jormungand on midsummer's eve, he endeavoured to inscribe what he saw in memory.

    It was then that he saw it. A great white stag being led on a golden rope by a woman of the Tuatha naked beneath the stars save for a sash of silk, pure white, that by some trick of the wind covered her modesty. It was what was on the back of the stag however, alight in a silver saddle and attended all about by a score of fey maidens, that snared his sight.

    A youth, scarce fifteen summers, caught out of the corner of his gaze. He was oozing with majesty as a sovereign beyond compare and light clear and fair radiated from him like the sun. He was beautiful beyond all telling, limbs clean and smooth without spot, his gaze was serene and his golden hair captured the light that emanated from his flesh and radiated with a holy splendor about his head like a crown as he played the panpipes in playful accompaniment to the music of his votaries. His beauty made the Tuatha maids that doted upon him seem like poor scullery maids in comparison and the moths that revelled under the moon hastened to him as to a flame, careening wildly in an ecstatic circuit about their king in answer to his visitation.

    He could not help but kneel.

    The stag stopped for a moment as the Tuatha continued their procession alongside the stationary epiphany, blurring away it seemed while the soldiers eyes were fixed in rapture upon this paragon of perfection. He espied the boy upon the stag lower his pipes and turn his gaze towards him and slowly, and with a kindly countenance, look upon him and smile.

    His soul was lost.

    The boy then pointed down the road with a silver rod that materialised from the mists, its tip festooned with a golden pinecone, its shining stem bedight it seemed with a ribbon of light glimmering as it fluttered in the unseen breeze. It was pointed towards the Emerald Kingdom.

    It was then, as the moths sped away at their masters' direction, that the soldier remembered, yes remembered, the identity of this golden child, this fair prince who had seized his soul and made it theirs.

    “Froede”

    -

    Map

     
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  10. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,191
    Special Messages

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    @Seon

    -

    You toss in your sleep, overcome with visionary ecstasy.

    A great plain of ash rolls out into eternity before your minds eye, cinders flickering as they rise up upon the air currents simmering skyward from the searing ground. As you look around in bewilderment you find yourself seized as if by an unseen hand and the world flies away beneath your feet in a haze. You stumble, reeling, headlong in prostration before a great horned altar raised on steps and adorned with graven daffodils illuminated in stone by a rising sun. It is set open to the sky in a stately court amidst the crumbling stones of a ruined temple, the rough ashlar cast like seeds across the field in scattered ranks. Upon the altars height is enthroned a blazing, roaring inferno which you perceive to rise up endlessly like a pillar of light uniting earth to heaven and joining indivisibly with the celestial fire that burns eternally as it makes it circuit through the firmament. It is a living flame.

    As you kneel, entranced by the fire, you notice a golden trowel forlornly abandoned at the bottom of the altar steps lying by your feet. As you pick it up in your hands and turn it about, straining your mind to uncover its possible significance, you behold the stones dispersed around the altar twitch, and marvel as the dust and stones rise up of own accord and reassemble themselves into a noble cloister restored to magnificence around the altar court, the rough ashlar made perfect in the rising. Its walls are adorned with noble reliefs of warriors in battle and upon the capitals of its pillars are inscribed scenes that make even a world-weary warrior such as yourself blush. As the temples inner sanctum, lofty and sublime, rises phoenix like behind the altar all resplendent in gilt finery its brazen gates set in state between twin pillars of purple porphyry topped with golden braziers open wide.

    You perceive priests, obsidian knives in hand and ashen-cowled, rising shade-like from the whirling ash, ensconced in their embrace. These unyielding hierophants process into the court leading with golden chains ghostly rams black as soot and bullocks red of hair to the altar, accompanied by acolytes swinging gilt censers billowing with fragrant incense. Here before the altar steps they draw their blades and with swift strokes cut the throats of the living oblations into brazen bowls before they cast the warm blood upon the four corners of the altar in libation. Then, each in turn, the cowled priests ascend the steps and offer up the flesh of the oblations to the living fire in fitting holocaust and pleasing savour. As they continue their solemn rites, out of the corner of your eye you spy in annexes set into the cloister the comely ghosts of temple hierodules in vermillion veils and consecrated slave boys leading virile warriors armed for battle into secret bowers illuminated by the crimson light of golden lamps. There they seize the fruits of victory and ignite the secret fire that burns within all the living in honour of the Lord of the Flame.

    It is then that Goliath jarringly awoke, and called upon his advisors in urgent tones as he sought to understand the meaning of what he had seen. For he understood one thing above all else, this was no simple dream. The god has given him a task.

    -


    @Shirogane

    -

    My Queen,

    I attach a report from the Serpent Legion of a dire portent witnessed by one of our soldiers while on sentry duty at the border, details are enclosed in code with this report to preserve confidentiality.

    I beseech Your Majesty to consult the High Priestess to divine the meaning of this sign and determine how our Kingdom will respond to it. I’m afraid Your Majesty that I am ill equipped to understand the language of gods, for the symbolism in which they inscribe their will is obscure and their intellects lie far beyond our mortal comprehension. My insight will not avail thee in this task.

    Nonetheless take heed, the reports of unnatural occurrences in our territory only increase as the days pass by and the people grow restless. The smallfolk well understand that this land is not our own and that we abide here not entirely as welcome guests. We must not neglect to act in a fitting manner in response to these strange and untimely prodigies lest we be cast out like common squatters.

    May the goddess preserve us

    General Naz’jar.

    -

    @Crezth

    -

    To His Beatitute Grandkeeper Winfor of the Glen

    By divine ordinance of Mahat, Heavenly Emperor and Lord of the Worlds, our ancestors, in perpetuity and unto their heirs forever, were bestowed lawful jurisdiction over all Awharai and undoubted suzerainty over the tribes and towns thereof in fief to the throne of heaven. We therefore, lawfully and in accordance with imperial writ and tribal custom command the collection of tribute in the form of grain or a fitting substitute from the Territorial Abbey of Xerconia and attendance in Svopyeyvysk of a representative of the Holy Order of the Dominion of the same Xerconia in the tribal council there to pledge humble obeisance to our rule and continued fidelity to the law.

    We have heard Your Beatitude that the Holy Order of the Dominion of Xerconia maintains fidelity to the doctrines of Mahat, the Great Lawgiver and Master of Man, and professes obedience to his holy precepts in all things. We therefore with great pleasure look forward to your representation to our court in recognition of our lawful authority and to fruitful collaboration with the holy order in quelling unrest and restoring prosperity in the wake of the scourges of pestilence and famine that so afflict this world for the sake of its unspeakable sin against our Lord.

    ~ King Ivan IV of Awharai

    Sealed with the royal seal and co-sealed by the Chiefs of Iskikavka and Belenomyssk
     
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  11. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,191
    Notes

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    1) the gods ways are not those of mortals, they oft speak in signs and symbols and reveal their will through prodigies and omens. Work hard to interpret these, for if you err in your understanding it will not bode well

    2) Immaculate will provide stats in due course, don' t worry

    3) secret reports on your neighboring districts will be forthcoming in due course.

    4) A list of some important NPC actors proximate to your nascent polities has been edited in to replace the deadline post (saving precious space :p )
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
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  12. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    7,610
    Due course has arrived!

    You should all have gotten stats (which include your spy/scout reports) via direct message in discord. Please advise if you have failed to receive your stats.
     
  13. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    8,110
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth
    To: the druids of Zobrzych
    From: Goliath of the Communion; Prophet and Champion

    I am bringing my forces into Mavernus this summer, so that I may liberate the people of Pomaz and put its Avvite master to the sword. I shall burn whatever nobility of Emyur that's left in the city out of their homes and impale their skulls to the walls as a warning to others.

    I do not request your aid nor do I request your permission. This is merely a courtesy, for you too fight against the Emyurians and I do not wish to needlessly alarm you with my sudden and monstrous appearance.

    Do not impede me, and I shall save my, and your, people from the Avvites and the Emyurians once and for all.

    That shall be all.
     
    Crezth and Immaculate like this.
  14. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,191
    To: The Prophet of the Communion
    From: The Circle of Zobrzych

    -

    Do as thou wilt under the sovereignty of Lord Malakbel, The Unconquered and Unconquerable, for all who sup from the waters of liberty are doing so from His cup.
     
    Immaculate likes this.
  15. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    7,610
    Orders are due Sunday at 18h EST.
     

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