Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by Immaculate, Mar 28, 2021.
You should have all got your stats at this point.
Please advise if there are mistakes.
To: The Slavers of Nazca
Notes on Delivery: Same as usual, a tube given to a group or merchants that were headed off to wherever. The Council will try to get the message to both the Princely Council and the Elder Council.
The scrolls will read as follows:
As per our last message, the time has now arrived that we might do battle. Our people will not back down from this so grave a misunderstanding, for we are not as foolish as your incompetent messengers whom apparently cannot do the most basic task of updating the correct date of battle. A shame that, really.
We wish the best of luck to your people’s solidarity, for as was sent to in our initial scroll one of our most important goals is to unite Nazca under one banner. It would be much easier to do so if you actually had some national pride that we could build off.
In conclusion, may your armies be united and your troops ready when we arrive at the hill.
I know on discord it was flagged that this sunday was the due date for orders, however to give people a little more time for orders (and so no one can say they were not given sufficient notice) I will set the due date as Sunday 25th July '
Concordantly, it would be most welcome for players to make contributions on the threads, whether that be in the form of diplomatic notices as in the above post, short stories or anything else. This makes the thread livelier and thus more appealing to the general viewer, and more satisfying for your co-moderators.
Finally, the sooner you get orders in the better. Kudos to the two players who have already submitted their directives.
To: The Kingdom of Haversten
From: Saknutjer, Master of the Ishatymes Estate, Prince of Seppotenu, Prince of Tadjefu, Prince of Endetheus, Slave of Ishat
Hearken Tasmina, servant of the King, Priestess of the Lady of the Deep, my sister, thus speaks the Prince Saknutjer your brother. For me all goes well, for you and yours, may all go very well.
When the lords of Haversten and the princes of Ashdod established diplomatic relations in days past then we became like loving brothers under the rule of Mahat, we did not become brothers for one day only but for all time; indeed did we not establish permanent brotherly relations based on equal standing? Our fathers then made the following agreement: "We are only mortals; thus he who endures shall look after the interests of the son of he who has perished that our sons may inherit our brotherly bonds forever".
Yet word has come to us that your army has gone beyond mere sporting raiding and attacked Nemsisouk, desirous of its uttermost ruin, in violation of this ancient peace and has been repelled from its walls, praise to Ishat, by an act of providence.
We must ask, what possesses you to rend asunder all brotherly bonds in such a manner? What evil did the people of Nemsisouk commit against thee that you would seek to slay all who abide within its walls? What behooves you to resort to savageries like those committed by those upstart chattel that so vex our brothers in Mavernus?
I tell you that our brother the prince of Nemsisouk has sent his messenger unto me and pledged his fealty and subjection to us as his Lord, if we but deliver his subjects from your betrayal and the cruelty you would inflict upon them.
Hear then our voice. You will relent from your attack against our subject. For we will not suffer our possessions to be dispossessed by thee nor the flame of the Avvim to be snuffed out at the will of the one you serve. If you resist than we shall render the "service" you would render to us with precise reciprocity, to the praise and glory of the Father of Battles, great god of the flame.
From: The Emerald Kingdom
Greeting Ruler of Garrangleas. We would like to extend a invitation to your town to join The Emerald Kingdom.
Joining us will bring several benefits to Garrangleas, as following:
Development of town and its defenses
Freedom of Faith
Together we can build a better tomorrow for us all!
Queen Athissa of The Emerald Kingdom
From: The Emerald Kingdom
Greeting Ruler of Leathelune We would like to extend a invitation to your town to join The Emerald Kingdom.
Joining us will bring several benefits to Leathelune, as following:
Development of town and its defenses
Freedom of Faith
Together we can build a better tomorrow for us all!
Queen Athissa of The Emerald Kingdom
To: the Emerald Kingdom
From: Garrangleas & Leathelune
Whilst your invitation and good will are appreciated, nonetheless preferring the rule and customs of our own people to those of outsiders we must respectfully decline your proposed union with the Emerald Kingdom.
We do this firstly, as we have noted, out of a desire to maintain our own traditions.
Secondly whilst your suggested benefits are in themselves appealing we do not believe they are best achieved through the agency of your kingdom. The Emerald Kingdom as you are well aware is presently in a grinding war with the Svartalfar of Bhir Boldahr and our people would inevitably become involved in your quarrel, and any other quarrels your kingdom freely chooses to entertain in the future, should we accede to your request.
Furthermore what benefit is there in entrusting the liberty of Lord Froedes cult in the hands of the votaries of a strange god when his cult is already free and unencumbered in our midst already? We note that what you choose to bestow now may be taken away later, and that unwritten in your missive is the implication that annexation would presuppose that we grant liberty for your citizens to practice Lotahnic rites in our midsts? We fear that this would invite divine displeasure and at the very least the suggestion that your goddess might be given worship among the sidhe is chimerical.
These problems outweigh any financial incentive you might propose. Be assured however that we will consider our peoples situation sedulously in light of your proposal and chart an appropriate path forward for their security and prosperity after due counsel is taken amongst ourselves.
~ The Marcher Lords of Garrangleas and Leathelune.
From: The Fey Court
To: The Emerald Kingdom
We presumed good Queen that in light of former correspondences that cordial relations had flowered between the House of Towers and the Court of Jormungand and that this new age might see the cultivation of friendship and peace between the Sidhe and their less fortunate neigbours. However word has come to us in our towers that you whisper promises to those lords who have yet to join our assembly and seek to expand your Kingdom to the lands rightfully belonging to our esteemed race.
We cannot help, in light of your aggressions against the Svartalfar, but interpret these approaches as being hostile to our Court. Whilst we will endeavour to maintain mutually beneficial and cordial relations with your Kingdom despite your indiscretion, presuming such tranquility remains between us as has heretofore been the case, understand that further attempts at encroachment upon Sidhe lands and upon the dominion of Lord Froede will be met with our ill-pleasure and that we will be carefully watching events as they transpire that we might respond accordingly in due course.
ooc: A little late as I wanted to enable orders to proceed before the response. The Sidhe response wont affect anything in the region this turn however so no need to worry on that front.
To: The Fey Court
From: The Emerald Kingdom
We meant no ill will against the Sidhe and The Fey Court. Our purpose was to enforce and expand the smaller towns between us to strengthen the trade, and improve the life for the citizens living there.
We won't proceed with the matter anymore out of respect for the The Fey Court, and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this have caused.
Queen Athissa of The Emerald Kingdom
To The Prince Saknutjer,
Why do you send threats and chastisement for doing what is right for us both. Are you blind to what is happening to the south of you? We are only removing the rot of weakness that is Nemsisouk and what it could have been. Their weakness would have become yours and ours, a rot that would kill from within and leave us with nothing. So instead of looking out for pox filled beggars strengthen yourselves for at your border, there lies a greater foe.
King Fuldan of Haversten.
To King Fuldan of Haversten
Hearken Fuldan, King of Haversten, my brother. Thus speaks the Prince Saknutjer your brother. For me all goes well, for you and yours, may all go very well.
We have threatened no evil to thy kingdom and demanded only what is our due. Nemsisouk has submitted to us and thus is rightly ours by law and custom, in continuing your assault you therefore attack us in the full knowledge that Nemisouk has acceded to our Estate. We are cognisant of the slave-rabble to our south, but we will not forsake our subjects when the sword bears down upon them in the present for fear of a future foe, for such cowardice does not befit servants of the Lord of the Flame nor a prince of the Avvim.
To Prince Saknutjer
Those you claim to be your subjects were never yours to subjugate. You claim to be a prince, but now you come in like a thief to steal another's prize. The city is all but mine, why should I give it up to some hastily written claim of ownership by someone who is in no way involved. If you want it prove you deserve it, otherwise deal with your actual problem before you are burned in the fires of your god.
The old woman stirred the savoury stew bubbling away in the copper cauldron with a wooden spoon as she hummed some nonsense tune, the tender meat simmering therein releasing as she did so a most delectable aroma laden with the scent of herbs and spices, filling the cave where the woman was encamped with a homely fragrance.
“A little taste”
She cackled as she raised the wooden spoon to her lips and supped of the simmering stock.
Satisfied she shuffled over to a sack where bowls and other sundry essentials were stored and scrounged for her best soup-bowl that she might partake heartily of her supper in the serenity of her abode, temporary though it may be. Nothing pleased the palate more than good home-made food lovingly cooked oneself after all.
“Ugh, old snake, what bile have you been cooking again! Bah!”
Alas, the old woman thought, her serenity had been mercilessly vanquished by the appearance of another elderly woman, a squat, dank, dirty little midget whose visage made mockery of the word “woman” by its ugliness and by the scraggly beard that bedecked its chin.
“Silence harridan! Go back to your hovel, or perhaps you have come here to beg for a little favour. I could let you taste some of my stew if you ask politely!
The old woman cackled raucously at some unknown jest as her “guest” shook the snow off her haggard cloak.
“Bah, no interest in long pig stew you wench. Gone scavenging for ingredients for your next “concoction” no doubt. Unwholesome, unsanitary! ”
The bearded hag gestured to the skull bowl the cave-owner had hooked from her sack of goodies.
“Ah but you have another guest to entertain yes, why don’t you come in, better than loitering in the darkness yes!”
As the bearded one raised her voice a tall, severe looking crone entered through the cave entrance together with the chill of the outside air.
“Oh look who it is, you got a quarrel with that wench too?”
The stunted hag chuckled as she gesticulated condescendingly towards the old woman who had returned to rummaging in her sack.
“Or perhaps an old dog has got you in a spot of bother? Who knew the day would come that you would get gentlemen callers, you! A bitter old crone.”
Even the old woman had to laugh at that as she extracted some bread from her sack to go with the stew.
“Foolish creature, you jest to our despite, but we know you were compelled to travel hither due to the fate of thy beloved children. Perhaps you have come to beg that witch to repent of her assaults against thee, or perhaps the workings of another overcome thee even as we speak…”
The bearded woman's voice deepened as the room tensed up in response to her anger.
“This wench may have trimmed our beard, but it shall grow back all the better for the razor. Do not think that because she has snatched what belongs to us in one place that we do not gain greater rewards elsewhere”
The tall crone boomed with laughter
“Oh yes, yet your own children flirt with another even as we speak yes? And you witch, do not your own daughters grovel at the feet of the same foolish deceit?
The old woman smiled as she lifted up her bowl in mock toast
“Perhaps you are likewise vexed by the same nuisance as this bearded hag and I. I suggest that we ought to get down to business. But only after supper, after all if we tarry too long the stew will get cold!”
“So be it”
The three old women proclaimed as one.
The drums of war echoed across the mountains of Odra and beyond throughout all the world in these days after the abominable deicide as the world of mortals descends yet further into chaos in the wake of orders demise. Yea, from the west wherein the wolves of Revna bay still at the gates of civilised men unto the north (of which we shall soon speak) and even unto the east where come the song of Malakbel and the turning back of the long and bitter chill of winters embrace the din of battle is renewed as has not been seen since the foundation of the Empire.
Reeling at the indecisive battle of the pass wherein the Svartalfar held back the serpent's coil from taking Bhir Boldahr, the Queen Naz’jar gnashed her fangs and decreed in her wroth that the conquest of this recalcitrant city must proceed post haste lest the Emerald Kingdom itself be subject to mortal peril to foes within and without. Whilst the commons, blind as they were to the true state of things took this dire warning as merely propaganda for the sake of steeling the troops and raising morale, after all Bhir Boldahr were the aggressors as was known, the high councilors of the kingdom understood the truth that building powers watched beyond their borders, unsleeping and waiting for any opportunity to cast them low.
First amongst these, albeit unassumingly as is their fashion, The Fey Court continued to rise to ascendancy, and flush from their diplomatic triumph over the course of winter where they received the obeisance and tribute of Unocta they had continued their steady course of subduing all Sijosalvar under their rule.
Understanding that a united Sidhe state could prove… problematic. Representations were sent to Garrangleas and Leathelune with promises of funds for development, military protection and most importantly religious freedom with regards to the Cult of Froede should they submit to annexation by the Emerald Kingdom, hoping that the threat of conquest by the House of Towers might compel them to embrace the Kingdoms patronage and protection. These friendly representations were politely received, but the contents thereof were to almost no one's surprise unceremoniously if politely rejected and their bearers sent packing back to Jormungand. As the cannier advisors of the crown would relay to the Queen, the marcher lords desired autonomy and if time showed them unable to maintain their liberty by playing off Jormungand and Ylanati, than they would rather bind themselves to their kinsmen than suffer outsiders to impose their alien ways upon the realm of the fey.
Worse yet for the Emerald Kingdom, shortly after the return of their envoys to Garrangleas and Leathlune an ambassador of the Fey Court arrived in Jormungand to register a complaint with the Queen for her “indiscretion” heralding a cooling of what had been relatively warm ties with the Court in Ylanati. Given the protracted hostilities in Odra and stirrings in Vanheim voices whispered in hidden alcoves that the queens aggressive foreign policy was leading the Emerald Kingdom to make enemies on all sides and would ultimately lead them to ruin, fortunately for the queen whilst the Kingdom continued its ascent these whispers would remain just that… whispers.
It was in this context that the clarions of the Emerald Kingdom once more rang out between the peaks that lined the former trade road to Bhir Boldahr as the serpent host wended its way up the narrow path that wormed around the jagged rocks and unto the mountain heights where lay the svartalfar city itself. Unlike last winter's campaign the good men of the Kingdom were going in blind this spring, for the Svartalfar would not suffer the same misfortune to strike twice and their crossbowmen kept a keen watch on land and sky for transfigured agents bearing poisonous gifts into their stores. That is not to say the the Serpent’s Coil were entirely without support however. In Don Lodur priests of Froede, exultant in the new temple raised to their god therein (to Liluri’s despite) held a ritual dance atop the highest pinnacle of their elegant shrine under the light of the crescent moon and invoked the power of Froede upon the town with each resounding echo of their footsteps. The tangible presence of the Fair Prince raised local morale, and whilst this was of little benefit on the frontline it served at the very least to shore up the home front and keep the subjugated Svartalfar quiescent under the waxing dominion of a new god, at least for now.
On the frontline itself the Emerald Kingdom in a surprising reversal of last winter had the benefit of surprise. The Lord of Bhir Boldahr had evidently not expected the Serpent Queen to attack so soon after the previous indecisive battle that repelled their winter march thus enabling the queens forces to penetrate deeper into the heights than before, prior to being engaged by the hastily rallied Svartalfar troops and their auxiliaries. Here the battled turned to a grinding attrition, for both realms were undermanned and whilst the Svartalfar held the advantage in terrain the mesmers of the Serpent Host and the mystic powers of Lotahna’s priesthood who sent forth venomous swarms deep into the tunnels wherein the enemy lay in ambush availed the Emerald Kingdom much in their quarrelling. In the end however the difference lay in manpower, for whilst both sides were eager to throw flesh into the meat grinder, one for honour and the other for survival, in the end the Emerald Kingdom could recruit more sacrifices faster than Bhir Boldahr even as the Svartalfar forces were slowly, but ever so surely, whittled away.
By high summer the svartalfar city itself was put to seige, its strong defences holding at bay a severely reduced army on the part of the Emerald Kingdom. Yet time is not in their favour, and whilst a paltry garrison of Firbolg mercenaries remains to man the walls the Emerald Kingdoms reinforcements march up along the mountain road, the disciples of the lady of mercy and their accompaniment of archers and knights singing as they make their way hymns to their goddess and eagerly anticipating granting the defenders of Bhir Boldahr the mercy of a swift death.
(Emerald Kingdom: Serpent Knights -4, Serpent Archers -2, Naga Mesmer -2 leaving only 4 serpent knights, 1 serpent archer and 1 mesmer prior to the reinforcements arriving.)
Beyond the battlements of the Svartalfars mountain stronghold another war finally began to stir between the Council of Unocta and the allied city-states of Gretaux and Chamomble. Infantile displays of Chamomblois pageantry and propaganda aside, the two nazcan cities were content enough to put aside their political squabbling to unite their forces in a mighty host when the armies of Unocta, at the time appointed by their emissary the previous year, finally sallied forth from the gates of their subterranean abode. The splendor thereof was perhaps unsurpassed in all Nazca since the foundation of the Empire, for a full seventeen legions of pike resplendent in silver-gilt plate adorned with golden filigree and samite and fourteen of crossbow bedecked with eagle plumes atop tall silver helms and uniformed in attire elegantly adorned with lace and velvet were rallied from the retinues of the great houses who ruled the realms of Nazca to stand against the upstart barbarians. However what truly struck awe in the sight of the gathered ranks of citizenry and subject peasants who cheered and waved white handkerchiefs as the soldiers ebulliently marched through the mighty golden gates of Chamomble were the six companies of knights that accompanied them, whose white banners waved gaily in the spring breeze even as their jeweled scabbards and technicolor tabards bedight with the signs of Ishat glinted in the daylight.
Such was the honour and pride of the Nemedians who in meet array would upon the appointed day array themselves in line before the Unoctan rabble. For their part the Unoctans set up their position atop their chosen hillside with no great fanfare, setting up spotlights to scan the perimeter of their encampment together with pikeneer patrols (much as they had on the march) in case of skullduggery or night assault, for say what you will about their ignorance of civilised conduct and imperial praxis, one cannot deny that the unoctans find no savour in the bloody business of war and do their utmost to minimise casualties.
Time passed, and the day of battle began with each side eyeballing each other as emissaries were exchanged on the field, per custom, resulting in failure of terms. Unocta rejecting the customary duel of champions that initiates each Nazcan bout as per tradition whilst the princely lords of Chamomble and Greteaux, far too invested in military triumph to display any sign of weakness, rejected all possibility of a negotiated peace desiring in their hearts nothing less than the utter destruction of the Unoctan upstarts.
After some time on fruitless talks the time of battle approached, it was high noon.
“Is it the appointed time?”
The standard bearer of the Unoctan host inquires.
Stonefoot, commander of the Unoctan army, turns to a priest of Liluri who behooves himself to consult a strange gadget strapped to his wrist. The priest after a brief glance nods, his beard quivering as he did so.
“Sound the horns, may Liluri have mercy mercy on their souls”
Stonefoot gazed towards the Nazcan host as he gave the decree.
At once the clarion sounded across the hill and as if in reply to the clamour thereof a baleful light steadily started to grow within the engine of the abyssal piercers, much to the bafflement of the Nazcan pikemen who regarding the conical towers with no small measure of amusement as the dim light enkindled therein waxed ever stronger. The nemedian lords, heedless to the unoctans devices, commanded their pike to advance in phalanx, the steady march sowing fear into the unoctan host whom despite the confidence of the council could not help but be intimidated by the mighty army of their foe who in number far outmatched themselves.
It was then that the mago-technical might of Unocta, long squirreled away and hoarded in their caverns like a priceless jewel was dusted off and revealed to the world in all its splendor.
As one the the lights atop the towers glared like miniature suns, before the rapidly rotating orbs at their peaks stopped their gyrating circuit with a start and directed their stores of energy into searing beams of light directly, unrelentlessly and precisely into the neatly arrayed phalanxes of the allied city-states. Screams of pain were the first result anyone could discern from the attack, for the brightness of the piercers initially prevented even the Unoctans, safely arrayed atop their chosen hill, from seeing the results of their initial assault. But as the light dimmed the true horror of what had unfolded could at last be discerned. True enough the piercers had blinded and confused the targeted throng interfering thereby with their organisation and communication, all as intended. However the steaming flesh of those charred and burned by the beams surprised even the most well prepared of unoctan strategists, for not even they could comprehend nor hope to discern, as the priests would later explain, the sanctifying and purifying light with which the goddess Liluri had imbued her favoured peoples artifice to smite the apostate nemedians. Such was it the fate of the followers of Ishat to burn in the fires they themselves had chosen to adore.
Blinded, burned and disoriented with a great many slain or reduced to charred husks crawling upon the cracked and burning earth. The allied nazcan host fell into disorder, the phalanx breaking as the conscripts grasped at their melting eyes and milled about in disarray. Taking advantage of this break in the enemy line the Unoctan arbalests cruelly and relentlessly released volleys of bolts into the enemy pike which swiftly fell into further chaos as great numbers of men are slain, their blood staining the slope red in bitter rivulets which were greedily soaked up by the parched ground. The Nazcan crossbowmen, spared the worst of the piercers searing light respon with a swift counter-barrage which heavily impacts the unoctan line and even served to fell a couple of piercers as a few well aimed and far-flung shots destroyed the delicate and crucial orb-mechanisms that were essential to the towers functioning, whilst elsewhere unoctan soldiers fell one after the other at scattered points across the front. Strengthened however in their resolve by the success of the initial assault and well disciplined in the knowledge that defeat would surely result in the destruction of Unocta and the enslavement of its people they meet the steel bolts of their enemies with good order. Meanwhile the resolve of their foes continued to wane.
The Nemedian lords, pampered under the empire despite their constant quarreling and juvenile stoushes in the field and unprepared for such a wanton slaughter of their troops, completely underestimating their foe tremble as they watch their army fall apart. Desperate to turn the tide of war they sound their horns in a panic, their trill somehow more terrifying than even the baleful light of Liluris wrath to the common soldiery, the knights heeding the call for honours sake ride forth in a glorious charge to put an end to the arbalests assault and cast down the wicked towers of the enemy.
It was too little too late however as waiting units of Unoctan pikeneers, prepared for this moment well in advance, intercept their charge. Unsurprisingly the pikeneers showed themselves to be inferior to Nazcan knights, taking heavier casualties than the cavalry despite the innate advantage of pikemen over mounted soldiers in the field. It mattered not however for in the chaos resulting from the abyssal piercers baleful light the knights morale could not be maintained and at the first sign of the possibility of being bogged down in melee the knights routed and fled the field. At this the noble lords too turned to flight abandoning the common conscripts to the tender mercies of Unocta who proceeded to capture a vast number of prisoners of war, the lucky ones of which would be tended in the field-hospital Stonefoot had prepared for his own troops.
All in all the battle was over in less than ninety minutes. The minor city state of Unocta having this day shocked all the regional powers with a completely unexpected victory.
(Unocta takes 13 pikemen units, 3 crossbowmen units as prisoners of war and gains +5 stability, Unocta loses 2 abyssal piercers, 2 arbalest units, 3 pikeneer units)
Word soon return unto the caverns whence they came of their mighty triumph, whereupon buoyant jubilation resounded through the graven deeps even as the people savoured the sweet nectar of victory and supped upon the desolation of their dreadful foe in feast and song. Spurred forward to seize a final triumph over their enemy even as the common people celebrated, the conquering army of Unocta marched north, bypassing Chamomble the most vociferous of their adversaries and hastening to Gretaux, hoping that speed would avail a quick subjugation before the nemedian elders could remarshal their strength.
Alas the veiled and hidden gods of fortune whose names are known by none and before whom even the gods who rule this fallen world must bow failed them at the critical hour, for upon arrival to Greteaux they saw not a shattered city ripe for the sacking but a great wall of white stone, upon the parapets of which fluttered a thousand white banners pure as snow emblazoned with the golden sigil of the state. Beneath these proud banners, upon the ramparts and glaring unflinchingly between the castellations was arrayed rank upon rank of soldiers bearing spear and bow, for the fair city of Greteaux had suffered less than its fairweather ally Chamomble in the recent massacre in the hills and it had already begun to gather its strength to punish its humiliation a hundred-fold, for pride had ever been the greatest vice of the nemedians and pride would not see them make peace with their mighty foe.
No matter, Stonefoot wistfully mused as the order was given to set up an initial assault upon the walls. The pride of the Nazcans would be their ruin and the people of Unocta would rise to their rightful place in time to ascend beyond even the power of the dread goddess who compelled their ancestors to flee into the mountains in a time half-forgotten. Thus were the abyssal piercers arrayed in haste, their baleful spires and black foci fixed upon the wall as they stood like sentinels in the verdure of the field, guarded and aided in the dire assault soon to unfold by rank upon rank of arbalests. The cleansing fire of the Lady of Mysteries would smite this proud bastion and disintegrate it like so much dust, such was the confidence that buoyed the feathered marshals of the Unoctan host.
It was to no avail. The light seared true enough, the piercing bolts sundering the aether like lightning as they struck true upon the battlements. But a city unconquered by even the mighty Empire would not be brought low so easily, and the glaring lights empowered by divine might fizzed out to nothing even before reaching the gleaming stones, whilst the bolts of the arbalests fell short when confronted by the lofty heights of the ancient wall. Alas, sorceries ancient and potent were woven into the foundations of the ramparts deep beneath the earth and inscribed into each and every stone that rose up upon the forbidding pile. A mere artifice of cunning magitech, no matter how novel or advanced, would not suffice to break the cities wards renewed each solstice by the cantillations of generations of priests and sorcerers before ever the Empires rule touched Nazcan earth. Unocta’s finest thus set up their pavilions and wooden stockades as they steeled themselves for a lengthy siege whilst behind the walls the lords of Gretaux sat watching, waiting for an opportunity to satisfy their wounded honour.
Observing the din of battle over the horizon the Mahatic devotees of Xerconia remained aloof from worldly affairs over the spring even as the King of Awharai continued efforts to buttress the support of the tribes and secure food supplies from Sijosalvar. Whilst anti-banditry measures persisted and local governance over Xerconia continued to rest securely with the Order, the abbeys lack of response to unfolding events led some to suggest they were engaged in some secret rite, perhaps hoping against hope that fervent worship of their dead god might ignite whatever spark of the divine nature might persist after his fire had been extinguished and restore the fallen Empire under a deity renewed and invincible.
True or not, ironically enough another vestige of Mahatic orthopraxy revealed itself as Mahashanazzar, the Legate of Machaka proclaimed the pacification of the three cities of Lalikele, Kumubya and Mbetoro under his authority as Legate of Mahat and Regent of the Empire in the gods absence and as the highest ranking imperial official to have survived the chaos of the empires fall. Having secured the Machakan Lake district under his authority the wise pondered whether the Legate might seek to restore the Empires universal jurisdiction over the numerous wayward regions and vassals through force. Already rumors circulated that an ambassador of the Legate has approached the abbey demanding submission in the name of Mahat, which would indubitably invoke contention with the King of Awharai, Xerconias formal overlord if the Order submitted in defiance of the Kings authority. The rumourmongers already bewailed how relations with the imperial remnant were already vexed by emigrating Myrkalfar fleeing the Legates authority and finding refuge in Svopyevysk. Others for their part speculated on whether the Legate would intercede in favour of besieged Gretaux or take issue with the ever-expanding Froedean theocracy of the Sidhe in Sijosalvar, the favour of which had become nearly indispensable for the surrounding powers. Whatever the case with the campaign season rapidly approaching its close with the advent of winter nigh, the surrounding peoples awaited the actions of this rising power with bated breath and prayed to their gods that the little wars bedevilling Nazca and Odra might not spill over into a more general conflagration.
Across the seas on Helheim, flush from their triumph at the Battle of the Bloody Snows the chiefs of the Vatn Confederacy endeavour to make good of their initiative while the season is fair. Per tried and tested practice, scouts of the Rising Storm are sent to assess Reykjanes' defences in anticipation of the mains hosts advance and are gifted with a measure of offerings that if possible the timid might be converted with gold and trinkets to defect to the confederations just and worthy cause. Igalaq and the others understood that despite the metallic tang of victory lingering in their throats, that the war against Helheim continued despite the lull, and when Tallai's season returned, as it always returned, every man able to wield of spear will be needed against the Hangadrott Kings dread host whilst the pall of dreams hung heavy overhead.
Time however proved to be their nemesis, for recruitment and training took time and no additional forces would be available for their march to Reykjanes. Furthermore word had long since spread of the Confederacies rapid advances and of its consistent methods, and as a result events would prove that the same tired old tactic would not avail again. Indeed the scouts absence after a number of weeks in the field revealed more to the wise than the silence concealed. All understood that the scouts never made it to their destination. Indeed while they knew not the precise method, Reykjanes had in truth foreseen that they would be the subject of Vatn Steppes ambitions, and set watchers on the way who added many new skulls to the altars of their patron gods even as their arrows pierced the eyes of Vatn Steppe, thus did Tallai receive her due.
No matter, the advance continued and as the Rising Storm arrayed itself in barbaric splendour before the grizzled palisade of their rude foe it was clear that the armies of the confederacy had the better of quality, quantity and leadership as the firbolg archers of the enemy milled about in terror atop their crude bastion. They resisted, for they always resist. The archers putting aside their fear availed of their defensive advantage and culled the ranks of the snow warriors who charged headlong into the wooden defences loosing arrow after arrow in desperate volley. However the rime shade, body crackling like pack ice, it eyes glaring with a piercing light like shards of cold, shambled forward unperturbed and terrified the futile resistance, and the beserkers following in its train overcame the walls and the wills of the defenders. Reykjanes succumbed to the inevitable and submitted to the Vatn Confederacy. Glory be to the tribes, Glory be to Tallai the Great and Invincible Crone.
(Gain Rejkjanes -2 Snow Warrior, 1 Storm Beserker)
Meanwhile, as this latest pacification of barbarians was unfolding Igalaq approached the sages of the Rime and the Glacier with questions. For whilst victory tasted ever so sweet Igalaq was... out of sorts, at how poorly the confederacies forces fared against the mighty Vanir, whose glamours confounded the wills and sight of the soldiery and whose cruel lances cut through the ranks with wild abandon as Helheims baleful kinsmen cackled with heady delight drunk on the terror of Vatn Steppes beloved sons.
Their reply was simple, sorcery must be met with sorcery, impiety with the power of the great goddess and ruthlessness with equal devotion to the pacification of all Helheim. Thus did the forges of the Clayr ring out with the distinctive crack of glacial ice and disconcert the unwise with cold and baleful witch-fires burning without heat which illuminated with an unnatural light the hammers of the smiths as arms and armour were wrought from god-hallowed ice to be bestowed on Tallai's chosen for the war to come. Elsewhere the sages of the Rime intoned their maledictions calling forth Rime Shades in numbers never before seen to their service even as the young acolytes were pressed into service as newly initiated Tungaliks, the series of sixty six initiatory rites customarily bestowed before the Tungaliks conical hat is granted being dispensed with on the grounds of dire necessity. Thus did the armies of the Confederacy stand ready with new vigour for the winter even as the Rising Storm returned flush from the subjugation of Reykjanes sans the slain and those left behind to garrison the new acquisition.
All thus seemed to be going well, but as the Hangadrott King found out, and as Vatn Steppe would see unfold this spring, not all things proceed according to well-worn paths and unexpected events may turn even the best laid plans awry. The Confederation had intended this spring to develop recently incorporated Olafsvellir that they might become an indivisible extension of Vatn Steppe and truly equal co-workers in the great endeavour that propelled the Confederacy on its course. To this end grand plans were enacted to develop Olafsvellir and to extend the watchtower network previously built as a measure against Helheim to guard the town and secure the lake region from outside forces. Likewise the priesthood of Tallai under the auspices of the Lake Tribe endeavoured to build a great temple to Tallai in the region, that the bonds of religion might bind the people ever more closely together under the patronage of the Empress of Endless Night and simultaneously strengthen the Confederacy against the Hangadrott Kings foul intentions by invoking the divine favour.
Alas neither would reach fruition.
It was on a nondescript day when out of the great sea and through the thick fog that oft enshrouded the rocky shores of the isle of Helheim a dragon figurehead emerged, seeming it appeared to a gaggle of children who happened to playing upon the shore without regard to the frigid water to gaze forlornly towards the horizon with its wooden eyes . It was soon accompanied by another, then another and yet more until a hundred dragon-headed prows peered through the mists like a flock of ostensibly mythical sea-dragons preparing to make for the beach for the species centennial breeding season. Yet even as the children stood in bafflement at the sight of them upon the rocks the glamours that enshrouded the peering heads were released and the truth was unveiled. Longboat after longboat, sails adorned with the sign of the raven and hulls wrought of fine black wood floated in array, and atop their decks wicked Vanir all in brazen armour and blackened cloaks and led by Solfrid Lousebite, a Vanir chief of some far-flung isle beyond the knowledge of the poor peasantry stood armed and ready for battle. They had come to take what they would not sow, and reap a harvest they had not earned and Solfrid spying the gathered watchers on the shore licked his lips in delight at what prizes his raid would bring back across the waves and which in dreams had already been revealed to him. The children gathered on the shore were his first acquisitions, new slaves to serve the Vanir over the sea and slake their unseemly lust for cruel delights.
As it was Solfrid came to Olafsvellir unaware of Vatn Steppes recent acquisition of the district. Thus his warriors were surprised at the newly erected palisade and baffled by the preparatory work already being undertaken for the construction of Tallai's temple and a series of squat little towers. No matter, whilst the defences were more advanced than expected in the district itself, the number of its defenders were sorely lacking. Whilst Solfrid would not venture to take the walls he noted with jubilation that the countryside lay wide open to him. He would not lay aside this opportunity while its availed.
Thus whilst the militia and citizenry of Olafsvellir took refuge behind stout walls, contained within by a token force of Vanir whose witcheries dismayed the defenders with glamours and strange phantasms, the greater part of the Vanir raiders reeved and sacked the countryside and outlying villages, their whoops and cheers echoing through the hills as they despoiled the nascent sanctuary of Tallai the confederacy had begun to raise and cast down half-constructed towers scattered thereabout all the while making sport of what futile resistance was arrayed against them and gathering whatever grain, livestock, slaves and spoils might be found and bringing them to their boats even as the corpses of those who resisted, and those who invited Vanir malice by their acquiescence, lay splayed and mutilated on the spring-sodden earth in their wake, their heads arrayed on spikes as their eyes gazed lifelessly out to sea even as their blood dripped upon the lichen that grew on the stones below.
The assault was lightning quick and the Vanir glamours only further confused the defenders as to the movement of the raiders. By the time Igalaq in Vatn Steppe could rally the Rising Storm and Stalwart wall to cross the lake and expel the invaders they had already left leaving only ruin, despoliation and lamentation in their wake even as the fog erased all trace of their passing and replaced the echoing cries of those made captive with the lapping music of the ocean in all its uncaring cruelty. The toll Igalaq discovered however was heavy, the temple project was effectively aborted and would, if desired, have to begin afresh whilst the greater part of the watchtower project had been laid ruin. Further whatever work might have been conducted thereafter was delayed as the people of Olafsvellir were compelled to focus their efforts on defending against the raiders and watching against their return even as the lands about were put to sack. It was fortunate for the denizens that, perhaps realising they would not find the town so undefended for the remainder of the season, they did not return and the greater part of the people survived even as losses to the defending forces were minimal.
( -development, -district [material], -10 support, -materials and industry)
Turning westward now to Ashdod, where the clamour of rebellious slaves meets the crack of a thousand avvite whips, the Communion continues its advance under Ishats paternal gaze. For whilst the stones of His temple are yet imperfect the ardor of their devotion already serves to purify his wayward children as they turn to him in the hour of their discontent.
The season began with recruitment, for throngs of escaped slaves from crumbling avvite estates and refugees from Mavernus and even far of Ulmur eagerly grasped at the opportunity to serve the Communion and take leave of the sorry state of beggary that was their lot. Not all personnel gathered from these huddled ranks of vagrants yearning for liberty hailed from the peasantry, many were skilled in the cunning arts and wise in the mysteries of Liluri, and these were welcomed heartily into the order of Alchemists. Either way Goliaths army swelled as he hungered for yet more conquests, and he watched with pride as his forces practiced their drills and grew ever more worthy of the great god Ishat. Surely his service would be rewarded, for indeed already the gods gift rested at his side.
Those already shackled to the Communions armies conducted more than drills, for the siege of Hebdebnu dragged on like the forgotten winter, sharing with Tallai the taste of bitterness and privation. For this seige seemed initially to the untrained eye to be one of attrition, for the fanatics of the Communion ventured no assaults and seemed to be content to wait for the defenders to starve to death as their stores grew less with each passing day. However in truth from the very break of winter when the time of Malakbel drew forth the first buds of spring and awakened lush verdure across the rolling plains and orchards of Ashdod and freed the people therein to travel more openly abroad, the spies of Goliath had infiltrated the enemy city and started a campaign of whispers amongst the captives languishing in the slave-pens therein. Conveying honeyed promises of freedom together with alms and gifts of hidden blades and claiming with the confidence of the devout (and referring to the inexorable advance of Goliaths conquests as proof) invincibility in battle and that all who stood with the Prophet would receive Ishat’s favour in the otherworld should they face martyrdom for his cause, they cajoled these sorry captives to betray their masters in whatever way they could, be it poisoning the rations or assailing the mages when their minds were held captive by the workings of sorcery and their bodies at their most vulnerable… all in the hope that the balance would be broken and tip the outcome in favour of the Communion.
It was in this way that eventually, during one of the mundane summonings the demonologists undertook to replenish the ranks of the cities demonic servants for yet another attempt to break the siege that a certain cabal of slave-attendants, converted to the cause and desperate to avoid their the ultimate “disposal” that awaited them once their usefulness ran dry made use of the hidden weapons smuggled into the city by Goliaths agents, and slit the throats a score of masters even as their minds were linked to the other place and the summoning well underway. The psychic reverberations of their demise quickly resounded in the consciousness of those adepts (still living) connected to the working and resulted most catastrophically for Hebdebnu in the failure of the summoning, which resulted in an explosion of mana and the incursion of a number of lesser demons (fiends mightier than the imps usually controlled by demonologists) into the sorcerers tower of the city. Needless to say in these circumstances control of the existing imps bound to the cities defence lapsed…
Not unwise to the opportunity this presented, Goliath immediately ordered the siege towers, already in position for an advance in anticipation of such a moment to assail the walls. These inexorably and unrelentingly advanced forward under the cover of a hail of bolts and a fierce catapult barrage. The initially furtive advance of the Vanguard and the Purifiers, wary as always of the noxious fumes belched by Hebdebnu’s infernal summons soon changed to a buoyant charge as they beheld the foul imps scatter to the four winds, free from their bindings and at liberty to wreak whatever mischief they could concoct across the vast swathe of the fallen world. Those few who were bound by tighter chains of magic to the city and had cause to come to its defence were quickly banished by the purifiers as the defenders cowered atop the battered wall.
Soon the towers reached their destination and vomited forth an unrelenting stream of infantry atop the walls gangway, the Avvite defenders beating a hasty retreat as their morale faltered and the breach in the cities defence was made secure even as the cities gate was unlatched to allow the greater army to stream forth into the bowels of the city. In desperation, the remaining magi of Hebdebnu made a last great working of blood magic, sacrificing their own essence to inflict torment upon the attackers, saving most of their ire for the purifiers. This allowed some small measure of resistance to fell the weakened assailants. However this sacrificial rite was too little too late for the city, and in the face of the Communions teeming throng flooding through the city streets and putting the sword any meagre Avvite resistance that could be found, its fall was inevitable. Thus did the people rejoice in Goliaths latest triumph as yet more golden treasures were offered up to the Master of Spoils at His most holy temple, whilst the priests therein offered sacrifices of thanksgiving to His name upon His fiery altar.
(Communion: +2 stability Titan’s Fall, +1 stability Poluz, -1 Vanguard, -1 Anathemant Deadman, -2 Ishat Purifier, gain Hebdebnu)
To the north however the sacrifices, as if in contrast to the gilded pomposity of Ishat's worship, were drowned upon the harbour walls of Yorvik to propitiate the Lady of the Abyss for her faithfuls failure to immediately subdue the vile infidels of Nemsisouk, and at the same time beseech her aid. Whether divine intervention was forthcoming or not, the Drowner Cult was nonetheless swift, beyond even the anticipation of the great avvite prince Saknutjer, in its response to the death of their champion at the hands of their foes and the demonic conjurations summoned at their behest. Meeting in council in the deepest and darkest sanctum of their temple as soon as the first of many frantic letters arrived from their leaderless host they anointed Svander Serpent-Eye, a renowned reaver who managed to escape templar justice in the days of the Empire to lead them in the fray, trusting in his cruelty to see a fitting vengeance inflicted upon the people of Nemsisouk and his cunning to seize the day of battle.
Taking advantage of Saknutjers proud and foolish delay, in order to threaten Haversten in vain to acquiesce to the Ishatymes estates subsumption of Nemsisouk, Svander rode several horses to death in order to hastily reach his waiting army and bring them into order that with a decisive assault they might seize the city and its walls in anticipation of Saknutjer's inevitable coming and avoid a two fronted battle, one which the priests had divined in the pools of their temple would result in an inevitable defeat.
Thus it was that after a week or so of silence the defenders of Nemsisouk were roused by volley after volley of harpoons unleashed by an army who knew that if they did not seize victory in both hands they would suffer utter destruction at the hands of far mightier force. Thus battle ensued with arrow and harpoon being exchanged over the barren no-man's-land that lay between the trenches of Haversten and Nemsisouks wall before as in the previous assault siege-ladders were brought to scale the walls. Unlike the previous commander however Svander was wise to avoid making himself a target for assassination and was content to look on from the command post as his men slowly, ever so slowly, beat a break in the enemy defences. The final decisive moment came when the slave-soldiers of the foe rebelled and joined arms with their fellow humans in battle against the avvite masters. Induced perhaps by whispered words, or perhaps simply smelling the sea breeze which wafted far inland on the day of battle and hoping to avoid a grizzly end on Yorviks docks, the spears of slaves met the flesh of warlocks and avvite commanders alike as the united brotherhood of man thrust along the battlements and took the walls with superiority of numbers, far more than individual merit. Thus did the city of Nemsisouk fall.
(Haversten - conquers Nemsisouk)
Tasting the sweet cup of victory, Svander wasted no time in turning his malice upon the cities natives in offering thanks to mighty Ursula, who surely was the ultimate cause of his victory. Thus even as the flag of Nemsisouk was cast to the dust and the gats sundered to grant his army passage he turned to his subordinate and exclaimed.
"Seize the children first"
And so it was.
From fair houses of white marble adorned with statues of sublime beauty in the manner of Ashdod avvite younglings, taller and stronger by far than their human equivalents but no match for the strength of seasoned warriors armed for battle were dragged wailing to the pleasure lake expertly crafted according to the canons of imperial art in the gardens of the cities palace. Here as they were mocked by their erstwhile slaves, who took bets on which child would endure the longest even as they drank their masters wine and laughed in merriment to the eye even as their hearts secretly recoiled in horror, as they watched avvite mothers and fathers, chained and awaiting their own end, lament their children's fate. As all the gathered ranks watched the children were one by one dragged into the lake where the armies drowner priests thrust their heads beneath the waters to face the goddess and intoned her mysteries. The drowned bodies, once the struggling flesh went limp, were left to float until such time as the waters claimed them and they sunk into the depths...
But the desolation of Nemsisouk did not merely abide in the massacre of the innocents. Indeed young and old, men and women, highborn and low amongst the avvites met their end in that pleasant lake ringed by perfumed trees and tranquil paths adorned with all the signs of wealth and luxury that slavery could afford. Meanwhile beyond the serene confines of the palace gardens wherein godly rites continued to unfold, the palace itself was put to the torch after all the loot it contained and which could be grasped by mortal hands was dragged into the streets by vengeful ex-slaves. This fate likewise befell the greater part of the avvite estates and mansions in the city save those few reserved by Haverstens army to serve as residences for the armies command. Thus did fire and smoke rise up to Ishat even as his lukewarm devotees were surrendered to the grasp of the Lady of the Deep. Such frivolity however was cut short by the arrival of Prince Saknutjer and his mighty army. Although the hour as was evidently clear by the rising signs of Haverstens triumph, was late.
Saknutjer would deeply lament his lack of urgency in hastening to Nemsisouks aid, for like all his brethren arrogance was deeply inscribed into his being and he had not reckoned upon Haverstens decisive haste in repairing their failing siege and triumphing over the cities defenders. No matter, as the mighty prince sat astride his gilded chariot, he was surrounded by a host unmatched in all the west of the world. and he would punish these erstwhile savages for their cruelty towards his kinsmen and their hypocrisy through sword and sorcery and lay them low, quelling their hostilities such that he might contend with the rising menace to his south when the Prophets inevitable assault came for his head.
He would find however that he had underestimated the strength of Haversten yet again.
The battle would begin anticlimactically, with a haze which rising up from the dank earth the morning after Saknutjers arrival set itself across the city like a shroud much to the indifference of the bleary eyed defenders save a few amongst the drowner priests who took this watery phenomena as a sign of Ursula's dominion settling over the city. Such fantasies were swiftly undone when the hearts of the mundane defender began to tighten and the mists began to take on a pinkish hue. Looking down, horrified at their trembling flesh the stricken harpooners and erstwhile slaves beheld specks of red, their own blood, being drawn forth from every pore and orifice of their foundering forms.
Saknutjer smiled at the cries of terror that broke the dawn like the crowing cockerel even as the apprentice warlocks of the Ishatymes Estate took first blood even as they stood in a circle and intoned strange and forlorn incantations to draw upon the powers of some unseed demon lord for their own ends. For their part, realising that their energy would be sapped away and the strength brought to nought by such witcheries if they did nothing, Svander in affright orders his harpooners to begin an assault from the high walls of their recently occupied city that they might put the foe to flight before their strength failed. The slayers harpoons arced into waiting ranks of Avvite slave skirmishers who respond with stoned expertly flung forth by their whirring slings. Yet this was not all the prince had in store for those who stood against him. Even as the stones rained down upon the slayers heads the harpooners were struck from on high by a cackling flock of imps which had taken advantage of the sorcerous mists to hide their approach which with clearly malicious delight shot spines from their wickedly arrayed tails to pierce the helms and eyes of the surprised defenders. To this came the hum of great avvite arrows loosed from mighty chariot bowmen, lesser lords amongst their kin, and resplendent in gilt armour and red mantles as their mighty yet bows thrummed with each new arrow unleashed . Arrows which pierced the armour and flesh of their targets even as a pin pierces the flesh of an insect unfortunate enough to become a biologists specimen.
Saknutjer exults, his forces hold the advantage. This waving his sceptre he commands his armies to seize the walls that he might upon his victory put the souls of the sacrificed children to rest by burning the drowner priests in the name of Ishat. At his command the blaring clarions of the Avvite commanders resound like a herd of elephants, even as the crack of whips compels the princes slaves to man the ladder in the hope that the teeming flesh of his chattel might overcome the beleaguered and weakened defenders. Alas it was not, for although culled by arrow and spine and ensnared in a web of sorcery the devotees of Ursula held the line throughout the day even as they suffered heavy losses and themselves wreaked a terrible toll upon the Avvite slaves. No matter Saknutjer mused, the morrow would see these obstacles overcome, as his forces withdrew to their camp to rest during the night even as they prepared for tomorrow's advance come dawn.
The next day assuredly came, and the harpooners despite the efforts of the cities blacksmiths in turning ploughshares into harpoons throughout the night stood in mute worry about what would unfold, for the supply of their trademark missiles remained dangerously low despite all efforts and the scattered ranks of the Avvite host seemed to them to be as innumerable as the stars. Yet the truth was that Saknutjer too found his forces taxed, for his slaves had been much reduced in yesterdays assault and the constant maintenance of the vampiric mists had left his warlocks spent such that they could not simply conjure new imps to replace those fallen in battle, with many being so burnt-out that they would be of no use in the coming battle and would require weeks to recover from the psychic strain.
At any rate the days confrontation began as any other siege with an exchange of missile fire, the spines and arrows and stones continuing to reduce the harpooners as they had the day before through the sheer weight of their firepower. At last, at a time auspicious to the god of war, high noon, he ordered the avvite infantry to take to the walls his slaves having been mowed down like wheat for a red harvest and no longer sufficient to the task at hand of taking the city in his name.
The great and mighty avvite warriors armed in steel, their helmets resplendent with red plumes, raised a battlecry. Surprised by their vigour and strength of arm the harpooners found themselves no match for their like and were brushed aside like so much chaff. The Avvites thus entered the city in a grand foray and threatened to overcome the defenders like a flood bursting a dike. Svander in alarm hastily dug in his linebreakers to defend the inner city, the part where the avvites lived when it had been theirs, taking advantage of the walls and gates built therein to separate the masters from the slaves to defend themselves from the assaulting hosts. The avvite infantry for their part ignored the irony of their assault and did admirably in the field, inflicting terrible losses on the enemy, but the linebreakers hold firm and maintain their shield walls and managed in the end to endure thanks to the aid of the drowner priests, who receiving Ursula’s favour through the merit of the pure sacrifices offered up to her name over the previous days. Chanting frenetically to their goddess and even offering their own lifeblood in her name, they call forth sea-shamblers from the hallowed waters which were swiftly deployed to assist the defenders and with their bulk seal off passage to the inner city.
Saknutjer frets. The linebreakers inflict heavy losses and whilst a dearth of slaves can be easily rectified through capturing more from elsewhere, each avvite lost is a valuable commodity which cannot be easily replaced. His mind whirs as he weighs pride, and the certainty that he can take the city if he commits his full strength, to the equal certainty that another foe awaits him in the days to come and he can ill afford to expend the greater part of his forces here when the day of their assault draws ever closer. In the end reason overcomes his innate passions and reluctantly he calls the retreat ruing that victory would have been his if only he had arrived a little earlier or the lord of Nemsisouk held out a little longer. The avvite infantry withdrew from the city through the shattered gates, much reduced in the observation of the waiting charioteers who stood sentinel outside the walls. The Ishatymes estates gathered armies decamped for home upon the evening of that very day. As their flags were lowered and wagons packed to the light of the setting sun a messenger came unto an exhausted Svander and acclaimed his conquest of Nemsisouk, speaking for his prince, and acknowledging his right of conquest over the city and that of his Kings. Thus under a light rain did the Avvites depart to lick their wounds even as the prince pondered his future course.
For his part Svanders men found release from the stress of the besieged, and of the knowledge of how close they came to defeat, in sacking the city of Nemsisouk anew putting to the sword those few remaining avvite civilians who had escaped the lakes watery clutches much to the priests malcontent who decried such wanton slaughter and proclaimed that the blood of the Avvites was rightly the domain of the goddess. Yet men drunk on victory and life renewed found themselves heedless of dank priests vexing warnings of a distant yet all too real and vengeful goddess and continued their revelry long into the night even as Svander poured out a quiet libation to the fallen, who were a great many in the avvite mansion he had repurposed for his use.
(Nemsisouk: -2 development, -1 magic district, increased Ursula dominion - - Svander's Slayers -6 harpooner, -5 linebreakers, -7 militia infantry , -2 sea shamblers)
At any rate word soon filtered back to Yorvik of the triumph once the victorious champions had awakened from their drunken stupor to which the priests held games and religious ceremonies in thanksgiving for the sacrifice of the slain. Haversten had shown its mettle, and Ursula had revealed her might as the greater god laying low the depraved power of Ishat. All glory be to the Lady of the Depths, the Great Kraken! Indeed the priests, and their puppet king's, authority was entrenched not only by this victory but by the continued embellishment of Yorvik throughout the course of this costly war. To the common citizen who remained despite the ideology of the people and the pervasive presence of the Drowner Cult largely unaccustomed with bloodshed or the true horror of what unfolds on a battlefield the development of their city and its advancement was cause enough to maintain loyalty to their rule, even aside from the golden fruits of victory.
(Yorvik +4 stability, increased Ursula Dominion, +1 development)
But what of the rest of the world you wonder. Well to the south the calamity of wolves continues to unfold far from civilised eyes. Here Ulmur’s King endures against the beasts even as the Asangjar plot and gather strength, whilst Vaetti and Ulmuri refugees flood into Mavernus fleeing the divine torrent that rages ever more viciously through the forests whilst to the south the Niefling giants hold the line against the renewed assault of Revna’s hosts awaiting their goddess’ season renewed in the coming year. The sages of the Communion warn that the day is coming soon when the fleeting Vaetti tribes will reach their southern border and beg the prophet to prepare defences and resist the temptation to strike the Ishatymes Estate and its many cities whilst their hosts remain diminished after their war with Haversten. Yet for now various minor princelings and nascent slave-republics bear the brunt of vaetti pillaging and the weight of the innocent who beg them for succour in their tribulations and the Prophet remains silent as to his intentions.
The druids of Asphodel have much to celebrate in their revels under the trees for their god walks unshackled and free after the deicide and fallen Emyur falls into his embrace as his hierophants reveal the mystery of liberty to those who had known only unbending order, and provide sustenance to the starving and succour to the sick as the long winters shadow passes and the Free Fathers time waxes strong. The Archdruids of the grove who were in the past year vexed as Ishats antics now wonder how providence provides a far greater field in which to sow their seeds than war-ravaged Mavernus which lies even now under Revna’s shadow. How great indeed is their god who remained free even when all others were enslaved to the terrible Mahat that he has provided a rich harvest of souls in the very field of his fallen foe to replace the one his mortal servants had dared hope to tend in the wake of the enemies passing.
In Pythium the Kings authority waxes strong as the miasma of pestilence at last runs its course and the states control is renewed through all the cities of the region. Tolerating reverence for many gods he hopes to remain aloof from the religiously tinted conflicts of Ashdod or the serpentine intrigues of neighbouring Patala where rumour has it that the Nagaraja has consumed another city after digesting Paloserang and cowing its people into subservient obedience to his rule.
Ah and the Hallows, formerly a bastion of hope in the piratical isles that lay to the north-east of the known world. Alas its leaders quietude and love of peace fared them poorly as Athanasia Greys great armada arrived at last unto the Hollows and put it to the sack. The sleek new vessels wrought in Timbercoves docks could have been put to the torch had they sallied forth before this day came, as it was however the docks burned only after their grey sails sped swiftly unto their hidden cove, hastened by the rites of Ursula. Oh how the Pirate Queen rejoiced as the schools of sorcery were put to the sack, their books brought back to her ship as loot and their students, pallid and lacking manly vigour as they were, were bled out into the harbour as fitting offerings to the true ruler of the sea. For her part Ursula, despite the Pirate Queens lack of devotion saw fit to reveal one of her greatest servants at this hour. A great monstrosity of living water wrought in the image of a great serpent at one moment, before washing over the land like a water-made kraken in the image of the Lady in the next. As the pirates cheered at this unexpected sign of divine favour the great elemental washed the city clean and dragged the screaming Bahatakada, Dunding and Cosabrodla inhabitants to dwell beneath the waters, their souls forever bound to the goddess who the three tribes had failed to satisfy despite dwelling in her embrace.
Aisha of the Mist and her counterpart Othar Stonefoot who had signed the covenant and first spirited the people to the Hollows in the chaos following the Empires fall looked at eachother and despaired. Their negligence had led to this dire fate, if only the had sought to rule Lanun rather than watch idly as the pirate queens power waxed ever stronger they might have endures. Perhaps if they had besought the gods rather than trusting in the hollows natural defences and the might of sorcery they might had prospered. As it was embracing eachother as co-workers of their peoples ruin as they observed the elementals playful foray amongst the sundered towers of their sanctuary from atop a high cliff, they bid each other farewell and plunged from the toilsome height hand in hand to an unknown end.
Thus in the end spring heralded war renewed, or perhaps continued, across the world, and even as in one small corner it came to a swift end elsewhere the coming winter heralded further battles even as the power of death strengthened with the lengthening nights, and the baying beast hungered for the downfall of the world under the waxing moon.
1) Vatn Steppe got a bad luck event on a roll, hence the raiders.
2) Exeunt Hallows
3) plague has largely petered out, so certain players who have suffered its ill effects ought to see a slow improvement in stats as its effects gradually subside over the turns.
4) Haversten got lucky in its battle rolls, it got very close to losing and would have lost if it had not gained the city before the relieving army arrived.
5) very late update I know, unfortunately factors beyond my control delayed it as I have rued elsewhere. Fortunately the two gm system at the very least keeps this going despite the slow pace of updates and our own respective burdens IRL, which is a positive.
To: The Kingdom of Haversten
From: Saknutjer, Master of the Ishatymes Estate, Prince of Seppotenu, Prince of Tadjefu, Prince of Endetheus, Slave of Ishat
Hearken Svander, servant of the King, my brother, thus speaks the Prince Saknutjer your brother. For me all goes well, for you and yours, may all go very well.
We have watched you commit savageries in Nemsisouk and contended over the fate of the city for the sake of our kinsmen whom out of unmerited malice you have cast to ruin like chaff before the fire and slaughtered like swine before your unholy altars.
Yet while our cause is right and just, the favour of the gods is ambivalent, for while victory is surely ours for the taking, if we but committed the full might of our armies, the cost would be dear indeed for little gain other than vengeance satisfied. We thus can do nought but remember the words of your King Fuldan who besought us when we proclaimed our lawful right to Nemsisouk and behold that the cost in men and treasure for your ilk should you persist in hostilities against us would be equally grave.
Bring word to your King, if he but renounces all claims, designs and hostilities towards our cities and those of our vassals then we shall recognise his dominion over Nemsisouk by right of conquest and with bitter regret make our peace with the slaughter of our kinsmen. He ought to think carefully on this, for if the King refuses to make peace over our dispute then what was so nearly ours last season will certainly be ours this winter if we but turn the full might of our armies to the task of claiming it.
To: the Province of Xerconia
From: Mahashanazzar, Regent of the Empire
I, Mahashanazzar am the highest ranking surviving official who has remained loyal to the Empire and am thereby the lawful Regent of His Divine Majesty our God and Emperor Mahat. I, recognising the Orders continued fealty to His Divine Majesty and obedience to imperial orthodoxy and praxis, compel by this writ your recognition of our legitimate authority as regent of the same Emperor and command your forces to be placed at our dispensation for the quelling of the insurrectionist entities that have so bedevilled our Lords subjects.
Do this and we shall raise the rank of your abbot to Hierophant of the Emperors cult and release you by our authority as Regent of the Empire from all bonds of fealty owed to the King of Awharai and proclaim Xerconia a direct imperial fief under no other overlordship than that of the Emperor Himself and in his absence that of His regent.
Separate names with a comma.