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Arcanum

Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by Tolina, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
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    Not Lying through my teeth
    But what if you can't tell which one is worse.
     
  2. christos200

    christos200 Never tell me the odds

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    12,039
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    EU, Greece, Athens
    The Old Religion

     
  3. Ninja Dude

    Ninja Dude Sorry, I wasn't listening...

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
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    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    "And so our beloved supervisor, Danon, must retire from both his position in the foundry, and from this world entirely..."

    The din of machinery and the shouts of workers in the distance nearly drowned out the words of the studious dwarf speaking while atop a small wooden crate. Gathered around, a party of a couple dozen dwarves and the occasional half-dwarf listened on intently. Some wiped tears from their eyes, inadvertently smearing soot across their faces. Others looked on stoically, admiring the sacrifices of their supervisor. He had forsaken a life of hard labor and fruitful works in order to ensure others would not have to. For this, Danon's soul would not doubt suffer in the afterlife, slaving away for eternity. But the Last Work could salvage the situation, perhaps.

    "...and in his last moments, beloved supervisor Danon both works as he has never worked before, and to provide you all with one last noble task. May Danon's sacrifices be met with mercy after he passes. Let the Work commence."

    Danon looked up, his vision blurry from holding back tears. His loyal workers filed past him, offering stern handshakes, pats on the back, and words of encouragement. Danon had been a supervisor for nearly 40 years, watching over his flock diligently. He ensured that their souls would be saved. Whenever someone was maimed by a machine, Danon was there to reassure them that they could finish the work day strong. When someone forgot to bring a lunch to work, it was Danon that offered encouragement, taking their minds off of their grumbling stomachs. He was everything and did everything expected of him. Danon provided work, provided comfort, and never allowed an idle minute to pass under his watch. Even now, amidst the ritual and the melancholy, he was eager to get on with it.

    Slowly, Danon and his old work crew found their way on the outside of the city wall. The guards shuffled out of the way quickly when they saw the appropriate papers flashed, and gave low bows in reverence. Danon slowly craned his head around, looking for a proper spot for his Last Work. All around him was loose soil, which was too easy. Plenty of bosses had passed in this area, making the soil easy to turn over. Danon resigned himself to the fact that it would be easy digging; he'd have to make up for it with the sheer volume of earth moved.

    "And so beloved Danon's Last Work commences," the scholarly dwarf belted out from atop his signature crate. Custom dictated that a supervisor's crew watch the Last Work, to ensure that it is done. They looked on, many uncomfortable watching their old friend undertake such a grim ritual. They watched the sun beat down on his wizened frame, which cracked and popped under the strain. Many scrunched their faces at these sounds, while others maintained their stoic expressions. Danon himself ignored the noises his body was making; he had to keep digging deeper. To dig deep during the Last Work is to show dedication to the ideals of Kobraz. To the last breath, a worker is expected to give it their all, and to ensure that sloth is banished from his soul. Danon would dig until his hands blistered, his lungs burned, and his heart quieted.

    It took several hours, but Danon's body began to fail him. His brittle bones began crack under the strain, and Danon had cut down his rations the previous few days until he was practically starving. His shining bald head barely peaked out of the hole he had dug. Soon, it dipped below the dirt, and the shovel ceased to heave dirt. Several moments had passed, until the onlookers approached. Nestled in the hole was Danon's body, cradling the shovel amidst the earth and the worms. With heavy hearts, the crew began piling the dirt atop Danon. He had dug deep; hopefully deep enough to earn his way to an eternal rest in the afterlife. At the very least, an eternity of light labor. As the last of the loose dirt was packed onto Danon's grave, the studious dwarf once again placed his crate firmly on the ground.

    "Here lies supervisor Danon. His body is to be dug up within a week's time, incinerated in his old workplace, and the ashes dispersed throughout Kobraz's 12 districts. His shovel is to be reassigned to your new supervisor, yours truly, during this process, to signify transference of authority over this workplace."

    And so Danon passed, his Last Work complete.
     
  4. Tolina

    Tolina trust the pillars with your s e c r e t s

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    10,491
    Location:
    Nightvale, US
    So. Some of you are probably wondering "When's the update coming up, anyway?". I may have mentioned in chat various dates, such as 15th September or 20th September.

    Unfortunately. I'm afraid that this probably won't be the case. Due to RL being a dick to me, in the few recent days I've been rather stressed out, impacting my work. With school starting on 15th September, severely limiting my already quite poor PC access (at least, in comparison to when I was writing update 0), this means that writing stuff will get even harder to get done.

    Thus, I fear that it'd be until early October that the update 1 of Arcanum will see the light of the day, outside my super-secret Google Docs document which only NC knows its URL and whatnot. I feel that, in general, with the whole stress deal going on, a slower updating cycle, in which I get each player's order done a day would be more beneficial, both for me but also for the player's event, as it means more and further deliberation and thought will be put in it, thus increasing quality, and as a result, enjoyment (and my remaining sanity).

    Furthermore, there's also further issues going on at the backend, as the Ri- Archer Engine's work, while going on well, seems to be taking more than expected, which puts a number of actions done during the update on hold. Not to mention that NC has also a RL and university to worry about, so he would also benefit from this update cycle slowdown.

    I must also add that there's a good chance this may be a temporary thing, as in October I plan to get myself a new laptop, which will finally mean unlimited access to the Internet, hence more bad fantasy lore updates for us all. Yay. Of course, if that, worst comes to worst, doesn't happen, well...I don't know. I have no idea then. I'll be too busy reminiscing about my life to focus on Arcanum.

    Yes, yes, I know and I'm well aware you're probably pretty damn angry about it. It may take us two months to get from update 0 to update 1. I would be pretty angry if I was a player and I heard this. But, I, as a GM, feel that this is the best - both for us two and for the players and the game and all that.

    So there we go. Arcanum will update in early October. Feel free to...rejoice? Throw stones? Whatever your heart feels like.
     
  5. Tolina

    Tolina trust the pillars with your s e c r e t s

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    10,491
    Location:
    Nightvale, US
    So the Arcanum formatting is broken. It's readable, although it's not pretty (an apt metaphor for Arcanum itself, anyway) , while future updates will have a different formatting until it's fixed. Considering CFC, probably not in any of our lifetimes.
     
  6. Tolina

    Tolina trust the pillars with your s e c r e t s

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    10,491
    Location:
    Nightvale, US







    1827-1830 AE




    MAJOR EVENTS












    Perseverance




    TAG: IRK, NPC (M), NPC 2 (M), FSS (M)




    This is Captain Two-Bit Navigator of HMS Valiant. It has been nearly eight months since I set out on this quest, to seek out for the location of Nalore, and then try and discover the ancient artifacts that had sunk with it. Alas, our luck had been cursed and Ishrama had put us through many trials I. Misfortune was our unflinching companion from the very beginning all the way to the very end.




    This, perhaps final, entry, written on my way back home, shall serve as a summary of the events that transpired.



    Initially, we had logistical issues, as a miscalculation done by our suppliers back in Novus Nalore meant our supplies were barely enough to reach a point halfway in our journey to Shelgorod. We decided to resolve this, as we sought harbour in Themlar. There, however, a tenuous situation existed as the local Human authorities wanted to kick us out, while the Elvish locals wanted to help us. An inter-racial conflict between the two seemed to linger, and we were caught right in the middle. The Human merchants in the town where we took refuge outright rejected to trade with us. At the time, I feared that my crew would turn violent if left on their devices. Which is why I banned any of the lower-ranking sailors from disembarking. I and the other high-ranking officers had to take care of it all. Fortunately, the Elvish merchants offered us supplies at decent prices, and our supplies were replenished.




    Unfortunately, for all their niceness, we were forced to make yet another stop in one of the minor isles owned by the Athica City-State. The merchants there, fortunately, were more…cosmopolitan, so as to speak, as they were more interested in what our pockets contained rather than our race. Even here, however, trouble followed. The sailors, tired from the long and excruciating voyage, demanded have a shore leave, something that I approved. Sadly, it didn't pass without incidents. A dive bar, called the "Mended Guitar", all filled with the worst lowlifes the Elthel Sea could offer, was where it all took place. A number of my men, including my Second Mate, were arguing about which Queen is prettier with a bunch of Orcs - and, well, all I can say is, I'm just amazed at how many synonyms the word "whore" has. It got really ugly in the moment I entered, as the leader of the other "side" started laughing at me. And, inevitably, it turned into a fistfight. I'm not the one to brag, but I think that I did manage to place that stupid Orc in his place!




    I thought that this event, as distressing as it might seem, would be in the grand scheme of things, rather inconsequential. Not quite, as it turns out. It seems that he is part of the Shelgorod underworld, and can exert quite some influence within Shelgorod, since most of our contacts there were very uncooperative, and only large lumps of gold made their mouths open. Our next destination was now clear - the city of Magichari.




    Then, perhaps the worst happened. As we left some distance from Port Urgran, suddenly, five ships came on our left side. I saw a familiar figure - that Orc captain! He's out for revenge! An intense naval battle broke out between us. We managed to drive them off far and away, thank Ishrama. However, at the loss of a ship - it was trapped between some of the enemy ships and we were found ourselves unable to help them, as we were busy fighting off the flagship.




    We rescued those that we could, and demoralized and battered, we made our way to the city of Magichari where on the other side of the isle, ancient ruins from Nalore lied. Unfortunately, the moment we docked, a part of our crew mutinied and left for the town, never to return. Those of us who remained went forwards to the ruins. The historian on-board was talking all day about "Suburbs! Suburbs!" but I was tired. So very tired. It's all a blur, really, so all I remember is this: After some time, we did happen to find a cache of miscellaneous artifacts - nothing magical of any sort. Another thing, the spellcasters on board mentioned they can extract some mana from the structures around. All in all, we've managed to scavenge about 50 mana and 6,500 gold. Which is enough to barely cover even half of the damages done to the ship, not to mention the pensions that will have to be paid out…




    I'm sure my family will be just thrilled. I knew I should've listened to my mother when she said I should become an architect and work in the Gerheldian Dominion, and not a navigator.




    ~Captain Two-Bit Navigator










    TAG: CAI, NPC 1 (I), NPC 2 (M)




    16th Coldgust, 1829

    Irie Tori




    Today, our news take us to a place further to the south, and much more colder than usual. The Kingdom of Cai and the the Principality of Iras. They have signed a historic treaty, signifying the establishment of a tributary state between the two realms. In effect, this means that the Principality of Iras is within the sphere of influence of the Kingdom of Cai, which would mean the following things:

    1) It wouldn't be too outlandish to assume that the Iras army movements would be soon dictated from Huangyang directly, so whomever may declare on the Cai would expect to face Iras armies, as well.




    2) Furthermore, naturally, all foreign policy done by Iras from now on will be fully and completely dictated in Cai interests.




    3) Foreign affair experts working for the Athica Inquirer state that at this rate, they expect that the Principality of Iras would be annexed within the Kingdom of Cai. Their conservative estimates mention a period of roughly 12 years or so, barring, of course, a major political shift within the region, such as a devastating war or a civil war breaking within either of those two nations.





    This move, at a first glance, one would find surprising and even shocking. However, once a more thorough glance is taken in the inner workings of the Principality, it would seem much less surprising - indeed, not doing that move would be more surprising. There's two basic facts at work. One, foreign - the Federated Clans of the Southern Orcs, has been the source of tensions in the past years in this corner of Southern Thel, often resulting in border skirmishes, which made the ruling Vhor dynasty worried for their security. Secondly, and more importantly - domestic. The Pailpeds, controlling one of the few water reserves nearby, were beginning to charge increasingly exorbitant water prices, creating chaos within the nation. Much of the "diplomatic" gifts actually went to paying off the debts they had towards the Gnomish water merchants. In the end, this is what made the whole idea palatable, as Fingon Vhor preferred to rule a Cai satellite than a realm embroiled in turmoil.




    Training









    TAG: CAI




    From: General Guo Jing

    To: Bai Qi, Divine Ruler of Cai




    Your Imperial Majesty,




    I have excellent news for you. As you have instructed us in your divine wisdom, I have followed your orders to begin a mass-recruit of forces to fight in the glorious name of Cai. The Heavenly Legion, comprised of brave men willing to die for our Kingdom, are ready at your command. Ten-thousand Cai Men, whose loyalty lies only in you and you only - I'm sure, such an army will grind any enemy underneath its boots.




    As for the Crown Prince. Well. I'm afraid this is a touch more difficult topic to approach. Initially, your words about our Imperial Ancestor visiting your dreams and telling you of a great danger if we neglect our defence, seemed to have an effect upon Jiang Wei. He paid attention to the military matters, and seemed to show interest. As the months passed, he became more and more lenient, and he began to...indulge himself. Alcohol, women, all that sort of things. I fear that he didn't actually learn anything, but there's still hope. I think you need to really drill in the idea that he's the Crown Prince of Cai, not some kind of a debauched noble.









    TAG: FSS, ICSK, JER, NPC




    25th Snowcheer, 1830

    Irie Tori




    As the year draws to an end, and alongside it, the war in the Free Cities, one cannot deny that it had caused an event, which, perhaps will have consequences in both the foreign and domestic politics of the neighbouring states of the former Free Cities. That is, of course, the refugee wave triggered by the war. Of course, after every war, it isn't unusual to see a number of migrants seeking a new home. What's unprecedented, in this case, would be the sheer size of it.




    Several reasons can be identified for this. First of all, even before the invasion, a certain state of flux and uncertainty existed within the Free Cities, especially so following the mysterious disappearance of Jeremiah Brown, and some of the wealthier citizens have already began considering fleeing to different places. However, the war set off the true wave, as thousands poured over in a desperate chase to flee from the destruction that was caused. The atrocious treatment of civilians by Botecelli, following the so-so called "miracle of Balderdash", only exacerbated this.




    The very first nation to open up to newcomers was the pirates in Shelgorod, although, of course, being Orcs, they only accepted those of their kin. Nearly [X] amount of Orcs have by then overwhelmed the coastal cities of Point Ozar and Mogh, with the governors of the cities, reportedly, urging the capital establishment for further funds, due to inability to keep up with the refugees coming in, despite initial preparations.




    A small amount of immigrants have also headed into Jeromac itself, under the protection of the army of Botecelli; however, the amounts that actually live within Jeromian cities, however, is rather minimal, as they're heavily vetted, and only the most skilled and able eventually do make it there. Those who don't make it are forced to either turn to banditry or rot away in one of the many camps that the city administrations have haphazardly made to prevent crime spilling in.




    By far, however, the worst situation is in Kobraz. In an ever-increasing need for labour, as their religion demands, they have opened up to the waves of migrants coming in. This had an initially positive effect - especially considering the hardy physique of the Orcs, couldn't be denied, and in fact, it had resulted into an economic boon for a short while.




    This situation lasted very shortly, however. First of all, even the most basic labourers get a minimal indoctrination into the religion of Kobraz; that is to say, that one must work until death in order to achieve perfection of some sort. The issue with that is, due to the origins of the now-defunct Free Cities, freedom of religion was one of the core tenets upon which the nation was established, coming from the fact that much of the populace lacked a common religion.




    Secondly, Kobraz has a very stratified social structure - a simple labourer cannot hope to actually rise to being a boss that would oversee other workers. Furthermore, that's just for Dwarves born in Kobraz; for non-Dwarves, different rules apply, as they need to put in extraneous effort just to be recognised as citizens, making it near-impossible for them to rise above the level of a worker. In the Free Cities, a street urchin could plausibly rise to becoming a street boss (Although, it should be noted, the amount of people who have actually accomplished that is very low). This only generates pressure within the growing numbers of non-Dwarf people.




    Thirdly, and this time, from Kobraz itself, a certain pressure is growing, as elements within the nation's society are growing increasingly paranoid and hateful of the newcomers, fearing that they would subvert the very fabric of society and end the Kobraz Way of life (Whatever that means.). Of course, a counter to that movement runs, according to which, Kobraz must accept those migrants and make them part of the workforce. Of course, this isn't done out of the goodwill and generosity of the Kobraz elite; rather, it's due to their greed and desire to create more and more, in the name of their religion.




    The Athica Inquirer isn't usually in the business of giving subjective advice. All we do is, after all, report news. But we'd make a special exception. We believe that, in the end of the day, cooperation between the different races isn't an impossible goal. True, it'd be easy to say now, that racial homogeneity is the true path to stability, with the collapse of the Free Cities. This would, of course, ignore that the collapse didn't actually happen due to any kind of racial violence, but rather, the works of one or another player on the grand chessboard of history. So we urge the leaders in Kobraz; or Jeromac; or the Free State of Shelgorod (check if correct name) to be tolerant and patient, for that this moment of tolerance might just pay out a thousandfold.










    Secrets




    TAG: TCI, NPC (I), NPC 2 (I), NPC 3(I)




    Saniya Verma cursed her luck. As she had cursed her luck since ever that fateful appointment. She became part of the Assembly, as many who did with the regime change, and much like many of the members of the Assembly, she did it as an attempt to get rich. After all, those who are loyal to Runa tend to get rewarded well. The religion that she had latched onto, about a goddess underneath the sea and all that talk about liberty and freedom - that was kind of disturbing, and some of the rituals were downright bizarre - but Saniya remained unfazed, ignoring all that, in the name of her ultimate quest for wealth.




    Alas, one of the things about the Assembly is that, you can have a multitude of opinions on how the Isles should be ruled - and maybe, if you're lucky, perhaps the mighty Runa will listen to them. Criticism towards Nagakawa Runa and her rule, however, was completely out of the question, however. So, soon, the easiest way to eliminate your enemies within the Assembly - powerless as it may be - was to either blackmail someone with anti-Runa rhetoric, or to fabricate such statements.




    Saniya became victim of the latter, as someone within the Assembly took a fairly innocuous statement regarding the worship of Hara and the divinity of Runa, and blew it way out of proportion. Her punishment, as such, was to become the ambassador to the Dominion of Bevelle. Not the worst place, but not the best, either. The Yandros cultists that ran it were...temperamental, to say the least, making her job rather hard. Not the worst thing that could happen.




    So she thought, until two weeks ago, when she inadvertently became a character of a bad novel. Saniya was walking through the streets of Bevelle, busy as they are. In front of her, two cloaked figures - one taller, one much shorter - walked towards somewhere. Saniya caught a glimpse of the taller figure's face, and...it seemed familiar? Someone from the palace, definitely. But why would they walk incognito? The shorter figure didn't seem to be a local, as they walked ever-so warily, as if it's their first time here. Something was afoot. And, so, she followed them through the streets (something she'd later regret), until they hit a dead end.




    Behind a couple of trashcans (There's *probably* a better word for that, but I can't quite figure it out *now*), she saw the two figures finally taking actual faces. The Elf had an air of authority, whose identity Saniya couldn't quite figure out - yet, it still seemed as if she's someone familiar, while the other figure she had seen before, entering and exiting the Ragnos embassy, which was just across the street from where she was working from - a Ragnos agent, surely. From the depths of his clothes, he took out a letter, engraved with a regal stamp, and passed it to the Elf.




    The Elf nodded and took in the letter. Then, doing a gesture with his fingers, that would probably pass as a tic of some sort for the uninitiated, but Saniya could feel the Flux and Mana being pulled in. The Ragnos agent grabbed his throat, trying to reach for air. With one last try, he stared at the Elf with his unseeing eyes, as if asking "why?". The only answer he received, however, was a slow, almost apologetic head shaking from the Elf. Exit, stage, left. He's dead now.




    Saniya panicked. The Elf was coming up. Any moment now. He had demonstrated that she's ruthless and has great magical abilities. Saniya had neither of those. All she had was surprise. Step, step, step...JUMP! She leapt at his neck, nearly biting it, and almost knocking him down on the ground. At this point, Saniya was operating on instincts. And one of them told her to cast the simplest spell there is - flare. Even the most inept Elves could cast it, and it required minimal amount of mana, Flux, or for that matter - focus. Another instinct also told her that the very worst that could happen to her is if a spellcaster, after being surprised, manages to restore his concentration.




    It wasn't easy. Her skills as a fighter or a spellcaster weren't very well honed, and the Elf constantly struggled. Her rage, or perhaps fear, however, allowed her to maintain her lock on the him, and then - a searing flash of light into his eyes! He let out a savage yell, and then he tried to run, but only to stumble and fall down. Saniya, however, was just as blinded by the light, and she could see only shadows. One of them was crawling on the ground, so she moved towards it. So she kicked it, presumably where he had fallen down, and where his neck was. She kicked and kicked until an ugly breaking sound and a redder shade appeared in the corner of her eyes.




    He was dead. Saniya took in a deep breath. Haah. Haah. The air filled her lungs. Her sight was returning. A bloody mess was before her, a near-detached Elven head. She took a better look at him, now that there was no cloak or cowl to hide his identity. And, indeed. A diplomat from the corps, a mid-level one. Will they notice his disappearance? With his task, probably. She rummaged through his clothes to find the letter, and what it said. Breaking off the seal, she learnt its terrible secret. It was simple. Just a sentence long: "Your counter offer is acceptable. Neo-Alissane shall fall soon, and you shall enact your great revenge.". Signed with the very same seal on the letter. And with a name. ~Isandra Ragnos. It all tied together. Unfortunately.




    This was two weeks ago. She galloped out of Bevelle in the quickest way possible - oddly enough, the embassy's quartermaster didn't seem surprised at all at her hurry, as if that was expected. It took her about two weeks to reach Neo-Alissane - or maybe it took more? Less? Time just diluted at that point, as she was going at a pace that would've killed most people. But this was important. There was no time to lose. She spoke with Paulos Cassandros - the poor bastard had enough before, now he's got more, and he entered a literal panic attack. Still, his second-in-command was kind enough to provide her a ship back home, to show this letter to the Assembly and Nagakawa Runa herself.




    In the Assembly itself, two opinions formed. One stated that the dealings and goings on of the Landfarers shouldn't remotely concern the Circle Islands at all, and a wasteful military adventure there would be the last thing needed, and that a more internal focus would be much more beneficial for the Isles and its people. Another group states that an intervention is definitely necessary. However, while bigger in numbers, opinion is divided on how exactly should the intervention be done - boots on the ground, monetary support, or perhaps stirring up trouble within the enemy nations?




    And what did Runa think about this? Saniya didn't know. Nobody in the Assembly knew. Nobody in the Isles themselves didn't know, either, so all they could do is wait. And see.




    Anger









    TAG: CRE, NPC 1 (M)




    Inquisitor Francis Gale was angry. And it wasn't just the normal, background anger from the knowledge that non-human races still walked the green world of Arcanum and polluted it with their presence. Nor the pure, white hot rage at the fact that even now, spellcasters play with forces they can't control, that they don't want to control, and that would one day, inevitably, end their miserable lives in an explosion of great magnitude, as it had already happened once with the Thelians.




    This, after all, was expected - and, if one wished to stay an Inquisitor, and, especially, an alive Inquisitor - rage, and as such, was perfectly healthy and natural. Today, however, Francis Gale's anger had a face. It had a target. It had reason, even.




    He couldn't quite comprehend why all of this was happening. Instead of leading a glorious charge towards the filthy Elves in Anaya, he was sitting here, and listening to a speech. One of the members of the Court of Engineers was giving a speech about how listening to them is a wise idea and that this university is dedicated to the great wisdom of King Robert Stane. In other words - white noise, for Francis Gale, who knew that the only wisdom there was in killing those who happen to be non-Humans. He didn't think of it as murder, per se. It was more of…liberation, really. The end of a sad existence.




    Others certainly felt the same way. Indeed, he heard rumours. No one will go against Robert Stane. For now. If action isn't taken, well, who knows what could happen next?




    Key









    TAG: UGR




    Lahn al-Emyla was a confident man. He knew all the things. He knew many things. There were voices. Ones of a distant era. They told about splendor beyond Man's pitiful knowledge. It all made sense. Before, Lahn al-Emyla was a person of..well, irrelevancy. He had no purpose. Nothing to his life. Just one more of the millions of soul living, breathing, and eventually - dying. But not this soul. He was chosen. Chosen to do something great. Something beyond those who have lived in the past.




    How he got to be chosen, he remembered well. Every detail of it was engraved into his memory. How it beckoned for him. It chose him. It told him where it was. An image of rocky crevice appeared in his mind. Where is it? How can he get there? It didn't matter, I will show you the way… He was led. He grazed past mountains and cities and towns and hills - all of it blended together, all until he reached the peak. Where was he? Didn't matter, either. Every breath, every step towards the target - he remembered it, clear as a day.




    And there it is. A gap in the mountain - no, more like a wound in it. In there, a mist out of time, out of this dimension was covering the interior, obscuring all but one thing. A skeleton, dressed in clothes, new as the day they've been woven. Its skull was grinning at the expense of whomever was staring at it. And then, the person once known as Horace Albeither was gone. A new...well, new would be actually wrong, as Lahn al-Emyla was far beyond trivialities such as age. What however he lacked, alas, was funds. Money drives the world, even now. But he knew ways. In his past - boring - memories, something about a faraway kingdom, called Revnoz, seeking the location of the something called Gates. He had heard about them, some strange and weird pre-Thelian religion, long gone, long dead. But he could use this to get rich, could he not?




    And now, a different location, a different person, and even - a different time. Alceste Iannone was part of the bureaucracy that kept Revnoz working. His job wasn't particularly glamorous, and probably wouldn't be praised in songs. He had to deal with all the people who came and sent in their "clues" to where the Gates supposedly lied. It was a tiring, annoying job, but he didn't mind it too much. After all, he rose more or less from the literal dirt, to here, and in all fairness, he was getting paid well, and no one was truly rushing in to replace him, so, in comparison to what he thought would be his future, Alceste was living the life.




    That would change very quickly, once a strange person entered his life. He was..Strange. Alceste had seen odd people coming, something of an occupational hazard, really. But this one? This one was different. As Alceste had glanced through the window, his attention was nearly immediately captivated by him, the moment he saw him. Something about this person..it felt as if there were two people in one body? One, a normal citizen...and another, a man of noble descent. This was impossible, yet this is what his eyes saw.




    And then, that person entered the building Alceste worked in. A closer look confirmed it all. His walk, his clothes, even, they changed. Alternating between those of a commoner and those of royalty. All that however disappeared once he saw his eyes. They were sharp. They also weren't human. Elvish, perhaps...but not human. This was perhaps the only real constant about this person. The eyes. Cold. Heartless.




    He spoke. But the words - they didn't really enter his ears. No, they skipped through them, entering right into his mind. "I have a map of one of the Gates. 50,000 gold and your ruler can have it." was all he could remember. And then? That person was gone. Alceste did what he would usually do - record the event, write in the request, send it to the palace. This time, however, after he was finished with that, he went back to his home, packed up his belongings, got what he saved up, then boarded the first ship to the Iridescent Kingdom. Some break time is always good, no?







    Prophecy




    TAG: FCSO, ORC




    It has been two weeks. Sixteen Rolling Rocks wasn't a happy person. His occupation wasn't exactly enviable, as he was the adjutant of the Chief Paramount Three Bison Field. And now, he was given a mission that was different. "Out there in the wilds, they say, there's some Oracle. I don't believe in such things, but people are talking. Not gonna send in my son, Twenty Swords, as he has to do important things - but you, Sixteen Rolling Rocks, you can do that, no?" was what he said. That was two months ago. And one near-frostbite earlier.




    He couldn't feel his hands. Or his face. Or his legs. And this was Warmpeak. He would be a frost sculpture if this was in the real winter. It has been a long time since he saw another face. Perhaps too long. Has he died, and he's now walking through some version of hell, without direction, without destination...without hope? He didn't think it'd come this far. Or that everything would go so wrong, so quickly.




    No sane Orc would go out alone in the tundra. Indeed, he didn't do so, initially. But everything that could go wrong, went wrong, and it went wrong very fast. Bandits, food spoiling...in the end, he wound up all alone. But he went on. It had been two lonely weeks. Sometimes he thought about death, and how he would welcome its sweet, sweet embrace. But even despite that. He had a mission. A stupid mission, all things considered, but, still. Something within him told him that this was important.




    And then, as perhaps as if ordained by fate or something higher, he saw a clearing. A clearing of green grass. He couldn't have gone this far north, could he? No, something else was at hand. It seemed more like a path rather than some kind of a feature made by nature. Still. It felt, oddly enough, warmer within the patch, so Sixteen Rolling Rocks decided to follow the road.




    As he continued, however, he felt dizzy. At first, he thought it was due to exhaustion. But as he went on, it seemed to get worse. He began coughing badly, as he felt his lungs filled with liquid. Was he drowning? Is this truly the end? Through his reddened vision, he saw a hole. He rushed towards it, in a vain hope that he may find a refuge from whatever or whomever is trying to end him. As he got closer, it only got worse. His legs turned to lead, and then he tumbled down the hole...and then it all faded to black.




    Sixteen Rolling Rocks opened his eyes. He was greeted by the perhaps oldest and ugliest Orcish face he has ever had the misfortune to see. The next thing he noticed was a meowing sound. Cats? Here? Of all places? Oddly enough, this cave wasn't cold at all - in fact, it was rather warm. Very strange.




    "So you're awake, young man. Impressive. Usually most people's lungs would have collapsed by now. Now, if I may ask you a question - what are you doing here? she asked in a grave voice




    "Uhh, first, thank you for rescuing me from certain death. Secondly, do you happen to know an Oracle nearby..?" As Sixteen Rolling Rocks said the word "oracle", the Orcish woman took a deep sigh.




    "Oracle, you say. This is exactly why I'm living here, in this faraway and secluded place. Too many people. Too many faces. All seeking the future. All I need is my cats."




    "But this is important! Our Chief Paramount, Three Bison Field, he needs to know what...well, what people say that you know!"




    "Three Bison Field, eh? Was a child when I left, but he sure rose up from last time I saw him. Ah well, I like you. Something about crawling through the icy and cold tundra under the nonsensical order of a superior always gets me." she got up, then stared at him. "Sadly, I'm a very hard to amuse, and so, my prophecy will come up in a bit of a more...how should I say, direct way."




    In that moment, nothing but the eyes of the Oracle existed in this universe. They were glowing. They were piercing straight through his skull, and images flashed through his eyes. The last thing he heard from the Oracle was "Don't worry, your body will return to its home on its own, I've taken care of that…".




    The images were now different. A distant, faraway lush land. Orcs from all over the place - including, the Federated States themselves - were going to this land. A name. "Usguthundar". It is located in the continent of Malthel. And more and more Orcs are coming to it. And...then it ended.




    What happened? Where was he? It took a couple minutes for him to figure out his belongings. He was back in the capital. As to what it meant...well, the paper note he found in his pocked was telling enough - "I knew you would ask - "What's the meaning of this vision?" - so here is my answer - you'll have to figure it out for yourself."




    Loss




    TAG: NPC (I), NPC (I)




    It was winter. It was cold. However, a different type of cold lingered within the soul of Chairman Tobias Foot. How did it come to this? His parents were amongst one of the first to come with the first wave of Gnomish immigrants to Panaxim. It seemed that they've finally found a new home from the chaos raging across Malthel. And yet, in three years, that was proven to be wrong. The forces of hatred and discrimination have united, and they were represented by one and one person - Malgarn Dalmir.




    His arrival to power was just as surprising as his candidacy. Everyone thought that all of his promises are just that - promises. But as it turned out, not only that he was hellbent on accomplishing his anti-Gnomish rhetoric, but there also existed a significant amount of Dwarves who were willing to back it up. Finally, when the governor of capital defied the authority of demagogue, he, as the former vice-president and an important figure in Gnomish society, what did he do?




    He fled. The news of the governor fleeing to Panaxim caught him in Kogh Mordir. By then, however, the war had began. And it wasn't good for the revolutionaries. Their army, led by some Kien Gong - an activist and ideologue for Gnomish independence since long - had the idea of rushing towards the capital, and attempted to ambush the forces of the Dwarves. They were led by the trusted confidant of Dalmir, Ohdin Steelshaper, who was a skilled military leader. And it showed, as the half-baked offensive of Kien Gong nearly destroyed the war effort. Kien Gong himself was found lying dead, killed by a stray Dwarf bullet - unfortunately, however, the amount of people believing in his ideas were still plenty.




    These news nearly immediately catapulted Tobias Foot into becoming the de facto leader of the revolution, whether he wanted it or not. He didn't exactly excel in leading armies, but he was a fairly good when it came to logistics and raising up the spirits of the troops. This was important, especially when the first siege of Kogh Mordir came. It was a difficult moment. The spirits were low. The Gong rabble rousers wanted his head for not doing anything to alleviate the situation, which was getting worse.




    However, that was a show of patience. The idiocy of Kien Gong had nearly led to the entire destruction of the Revolutionary Army, and even then, much artillery was lost. This was the big decisive factor in the war. And this was what Tobias Foot relied on, to break the siege. The reliance of Ohdin Steelshaper on his cannons. Artillery, on close range, was nearly useless, as it took a while to reload. And so, using contacts in Panaxim, he gathered up brave, loyal men, and then, in the dark night - he could still remember every second of it - they ambushed the Dwarf army in the dark, causing it to retreat in chaos. This resulted into a momentary spot of hope, where it seemed that the war might have turned into their favour.




    That was brief. Tobias Foot knew that. The best he could do with it was to increase the morale of his troops. Because that spot of hope was, naturally, only temporary, as the Dwarf troops had plenty of cannons and that they would easily reconquer the lost territory...and it did happen. The trick that worked last time wouldn't work now...It has been 9 long months since the second siege of Kogh Moldir had began.




    And, as Tobias Foot looked out through the window, he was sure that it sure as hell it wouldn't last nine more. In fact, it had lasted so long due to pure luck. The Dwarf forces were forcefully recruited (much like the Gnomish forces), and as such, they weren't very enthusiastic. And so, during the third month of the second siege, a portion of the forces were disaffected, and were easily made to desert their positions, allowing to get the much-needed influx of supplies downriver. Unfortunately, that didn't last long - sooner or later, Ohdin Steelshaper managed to bring back the deserters (while making an example of them), and since then, the siege has been tightened like a steel chain around their neck.




    Who knows how much they'll last. At least 40,000 souls have been killed on their side, both civilians and military...and if they lose here, now, at least 40,000 more will die, too.




    Darkness




    TAG: CCH, GEA (M), SKA (M), NPC (I)




    Somewhere in the outskirts of the capital, far from the busy city centre, from the lights and the merry songs of the Helvane citizens, a building stood. It was an old building, and if you ask anyone living nearby, they'd always tell you that it always was there. Who owned it, no one knew - and if they did make the effort to research that, digging deep into the papers, they would discover that no real records exist for this particular building. It just is, and no questions asked. Besides, it's abandoned - so why would you care, anyway?




    This ancient house would become the scene of a peculiar event, one that would however pale in comparison to what was being planned there. And Jeremiah Castellano would be part of it. He was a cleric in service of the Church of Helvane. And, well, let's be honest. Jeremiah was one of the things that seem to come with each and every organised religion. Because for each and every Saint Helvane, who willingly would die in the name their religion and nation, there's always at least a thousand Jeremiahs, willing to sell themselves for gold.




    In front of him, six figures, closer to shades than actual human beings sneaked through the shadows, until they reached an ancient door. It opened with a creaking sound. Jeremiah was filled with a strange mix of greed and fear. His surroundings weren't helping. The inside structure had a feeling of lingering decay, one that had lasted for decades, and then, as they went further down, a hard, almost material smell of dampness that hit Jeremiah like a brick wall. So as to speak.




    The basement was dark. Only the moonlight gave any shape to whomever - or whatever - was inside. The same si- no, seven, now, figures were waiting. It was clear that the new figure was waiting here since long time ago. It gestured to the others to take a seat. Afterwards, it stared into Jeremiah, and said:




    "The preparations. Are they done?"




    "Y-yes. My people will let your people to the stage, without any interruptions. No one will ask a-any questions. "




    "Good. Good. Hand the man's reward."




    The way those last words were said, they brought fear into Jeremiah's heart. They sounded as a verdict, an order to end his life. Instead, however, a bag was handed to him. It was ringing with sound. Coins? The moment he left the damned house, he checked the bag. The moonlight revealed shining coins. Nearly 10,000 in total. That's a good pay. More pay than he would've gotten out of his parishioners, even with his...tactics. Of course, it also meant that, being an accomplice of such a deed, he should leave Helvane.




    He heard good things about Skagar.

    Two weeks have passed since that event. The sun was shining outside. It was a good day. An even better one, considering the occasion. St. Helvane's Day. One person wasn't exactly happy, however. The Vice-President Jain Oliander was in a very bad mood, indeed. He was given a speaking role, one taking precedence over the President's, since he was busy with something. Someone with more ill-will would probably presume it's another day with another mistress, but Jain never believed those rumours.




    It was a bright day, after all. People were laughing, talking to each other, and most importantly, donating funds to the state. Still, Jain was uneasy. He wasn't really a charismatic person - he was much more confident at running things behind the scenes, clearing up things, making sure that everything worked with at the best efficiency possible. In short, he felt more confident behind a desk than being behind a podium. President Tamberlaine was the speaker.




    After some arguing with his staff as to whether he should even do this, he stepped forwards the podium. As he was doing that, a couple of Abendrestian envoys, went towards him. They seemed angry - apparently, he wasn't the person they were looking for. Well, these bastards will have, for once, to satisfy themselves with Jain Oliander and not Ebenm-




    He didn't finish this thought, as his entire world turned yellow. And then white. People say that fate likes to stick its finger into man's works. In this case, some may argue that it's definitely sticking its middle finger. Jain certainly would agree with that sentiment. An explosion occurred, as the explosives laid there the night before were timed to be. Fortunately, however, due to the quality and bad timing of the Abendrestian envoys, it exploded before Jain stept into the podium.




    When Jain regained his eyesight - surrounded by at least fifteen town guards and the first doctor caught off the street - his ears were still ringing. Who could've tried something so daring? It didn't matter. He got up. His vision was blurry. He shook his head. Not the time. This wasn't the time and moment to be down on the ground, or even worse, be rushed off to the nearest hospital.


    Jain ignored the doctor's words to seek help at once. Or the town guard's urges to be rushed to his residence. His coat was now a mess. But for once, this was the least of his problems. He reached over to the ruined podium. Before him, the terrified crowd. All silent. Some of them had expressions of terror. Some of fear. Some just wanted to see what will happen next. As he appeared above them, however, they all turned to him. Waiting. Jain wasn't a man of words - numbers were more his forté. But in this case, they came to him naturally.




    "Citizens of Helvane. In some other world, President Ebenman would have taken my place. Perhaps, in this case, this would have ended differently. Regardless of that, however, one thing is clear - whoever did this act, has values that are totally and completely incompatible with ours.




    And I know, my next lines would probably sound laughable, coming from the Vice-President, Jain Oliander - who was that, again? But I guarantee you, that the entire apparatus of the Central Confederacy of Helvane shall come down upon those people, with all of its might, just as the patriots driven by St. Helvane's sacrifice had rebelled against the despotic Rane Principality.




    Maybe you're wondering - "Can I help?". To this, I can answer, with a resounding "Yes!". Donate to our cause. Give us any information that you believe that can help.




    And now. Finally. Thank you. If you'd excuse me, I need to take a break…"





    He said those words, and then collapsed down on the ground. He was rushed off to the nearest hospital, where he recovered. The next day, the newspapers came out with the following titles:




    UNPRECEDENTED DONATIONS - RECORD BROKEN - OVER ONE THOUSAND GOLD PIECES RAISED!"




    JEREMIAH CASTELLANO, CONSPIRATOR IN THE ST. HELVANE BOMBING CAUGHT AT THE SKAGAR BORDER - NOKAI CELLS IN THE CONFEDERACY?




    Moonlight




    TAG: NPC (I), NPC 2 (I)




    The moon was far away, far further than any mortal can ever even dream about. However, tonight, it seemed as if it was closer than before, as if to peek into the deeds of those who dwell under the skies. Down there, a bloody slaughter was going on, for many days now, between two nations. And one was losing.




    The tent of Lieutenant Governor-General Fermintxo, leader of the offensive, was located on a cliff, allowing for easy overview of the battlefield. Below him, the siege engines and soldiers, all skittering around like an enormous ant nest that also threw a fireball at the defenders from time to time. Behind them - the endless jungle. They've come far to reclaim what's theirs. And they'll go till the end. In front of them lied the city of Ibaiara by the Sea - the grand reward in this bloody war. Once they enter its city gates, it'll be all over.




    To think how far they've gotten. Three years ago, such a situation seemed impossible. To end the Republic, their hated enemy, which had let the Humans amongst their mitts. Now? It was all but inevitable. And he, Fermintxo, was the engineer of this victory. He could remember the early days. When that invertebrate, Aingeru Gorka and his supporters, holed up in Old Ibaiaras, literally begged for help from the Governor-General. And while Gorka was an useful tool, Fermintxo would be more than glad to dispose of him as soon as possible - after all, once you become a traitor, it goes without saying that you're always one. So it would be for the best if someone more loyal is appointed as governor.




    He closed his eyes. Memories kept on flowing. Memories that are likely to never fade away, to come back when he wasn't on guard. The jungle. The smell of dead people. And the rain. Everything was soaking wet. One vivid scene then emerged in his mind. It was night. Darkness. It was quiet. The rain had stopped. Even the fauna has disappeared, perhaps into the jungle depths, where no man or Elf have come across. All that was left were the mosquitoes. Ferminxto briefly thought about sleep - it has been at least three nights since he had real sleep - brief naps when the rain wasn't as heavy didn't do him any favours.




    But no. At that moment, an instinct of some sort told him that this isn't the time to sleep. The very same instinct that usually told him that the rustling in the bushes probably isn't the wind. It was time to attack. The longer this battle went on, the worse it got for his side, as morale was starting to lower, while the Republican forces grew incensed by the moment, as they were defending their homeland from the rapacious invaders.




    And so, he gathered his army behind him. A scouting report came back that they are resting in a clearing, after exhaustive skirmishes between the two forces. Ha. Just the moment needed for an attack. Ferminxto was given more or less full reign over the tactical part of the battle, as he had far greater experience in it. In the end, it was decided that they would attack.




    The battleplan he chose wasn't something genius. It would be a simple deal of attacking the enemy in the clearing with one army - which will cause it to retreat, just into the clutches of the other army, waiting in the thick jungle. He would lead the first army, as they would need his presence, as he would serve as a leader of the charge. Danel Assander, his liege, so as to speak, would be leading the second army.




    Everything seemed to go up to plan. The attack began, but they didn't retreat. There was only one thing Ferminxto could do. Ordering his mage to sent immediate signal in the skies, he, himself, before on the backlines, he charged towards the heat of the battle. As he did so, however, he felt the water droplets falling down. The rain was back. He grinned. If it was easy, what's the fun in this? Above him, in the skies, a giant fireball exploded in the skies.




    The frontline was intense. He could smell the mana being used up and turnt into lightning, fireballs, icicles and the like. As they saw him charging towards the enemies, the troops cheered. A push had began. The lines of the enemies started to break down. Ferminxto cracked a smile. And then he saw a mirage, so as to speak. The White Maiden of the Two Rivers, as she would be known as later on, Lady-Protector Zorionne led the battle, on horseback. What an opportunity arose for him - to kill the enemy leader, here and now! He rushed towards her, only to come across a mage casting a thunder bolt, scaring off his horse, and nearly throwing him off. By the time he recovered, the mirage was gone. Ha!




    But that was in the past. Now, the future was here. Ferminxto could even see it, grasp it. Below him was Ibaiaras by the Sea. He could see the palace. Its towers. Maybe somewhere amongst those towers, even now, Lady-Protector Zorionne was being trapped. All but a matter of time, until he finds her...and ends her.




    And indeed. In a lone tower, high above everyone else, Lady-Protector Zorionne was seeing the end. Below her, the forces of the Southern Ibaiaras were preparing to end this siege. With this, a grand finale shall soon come to the noble ideas that the previous generation or so have fostered in the wake of Thel's collapse. It was merely a matter of time.




    How did it even come to this. Lady-Protector Zorionne was a popular governor of Ibaiaras on the Two Rivers before she got elected, so she never got a true glimpse of the whole mess going on in with Southern Ibaiaras. And now, she had to fight for her hometown. The siege was epically long, but to no avail...In the end, it fell. She barely escaped. It all ends here.




    This is the end.




    Attrition




    It has been probably fifty years since the last time High Archmage Pyrethenes Socretheon was last was on the mainland. It still is disgusting as ever - everything outside the Isle of Eudamon was awful. Dirty. He saw the filthy Humans trying to kill him. Pfft. Is there any use to them but to till the land? Useless. And yet, in the end, it was such an ugly mess. Disenfranchisement? Laughable.




    And yet, here he is, on this dirty land, filled with thousands of angry Humans (and some Elves! Traitors!), and it has been nearly three years. In the end, he had to admit - they were tenacious. In the beginning, it seemed as if they had the initiative. The rebel navy was curbstomped easily, and all would be good. Sadly - and the High Archmage rubbed his shoulder - a damned stroke of luck nearly killed him and his most trusted and able advisers. There were no casualties, except for his pride.




    It is then that the siege of Elfhaven began. Kind of a misnomer, the name of this city - considering that most of its populace was in fact Elves, while most of the Humans actually lived out in the fields, where they worked to feed the isle of Eudamon. As it should be. Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case for the last years, as the crisis began hitting the Isle very harshly, to the point where most of the recruits only came to plunder and loot food. Alas, all they got was death.

    The High Archmage sighed. The past three years made him wish his old colleague, Vim Thes, was still alive. He knew a thing or two about weather and why things happen like that - something about the magical particles disrupting the weather. He never believed this theory, but after the last three years, he was ready to believe it in full. There were plenty of storms, and it seemed like they were neither on his side, neither on his opponent's side, that knave, Egnoll Menoll. For every moment that the storm gave his army an advantage, only to see it eroded next season.




    As much as he didn't want to admit it, the things weren't going very well for him. First of all, during early Autumn 1828, the ongoing one-year blockade had to be ended for the season, due to the storms plaguing the bay, making it nearly impossible to sustain the blockade without losing ships. Later on, they lost Faes Kien in the early Spring of 1829. She was the commander of one of the mage divisions, and her death disrupted the attack. In the end, they did get back for his death - a commander of the rebel troops, one which was harassing the supply routes was finally punished for his insolence.




    Even then, however, things are still stagnant. A state of attrition has been in place for a long time. It was a battle that the Union had to win. The isle itself could not sustain the agriculture needed to feed everyone on the isle. Not to mention, to put those fools in their place...How dare they revolt!




    End of a Miracle




    "VICTORY!", the newspaper read, in the largest font available. It had all ended. A strange journey from a half Orc born into a family of labourers, only to become an assassin, and afterwards - the leader of one of the factions that used to rule the Free Cities. Used to, of course, being the key word. All he ruled over now was his own body. And not for long, as the Jeromac Inquisitors seemed to try and carve a roadmap into his chest.




    Gergac breathed raggedly, as he leant onto the prison wall. A prison cell, four by four metres, was destined to be his last abode. No windows. The only light came from the guard's gas light, which, likely on purpose, was turned on to be shining as painfully as possible, so that every time he walked in, the light nearly blinded him. If Gergac was a human, he would lose all will to live - but he didn't. Death would come for everyone, and there would be no use of fearing what was clearly inevitable.




    However, as he thought of death, one person's face popped up immediately. Him. Jeremiah Brown. His death would come from old age, or perhaps eating crabs that he shouldn't eat on some unmarked tropical isle. Preferably with beautiful native maidens. As for Gergac? If he's lucky, one of those hack-surgeons that call themselves Inquisitors will dig their knives into his lungs, and he will be spared of the trouble of living.




    Light! The prison guard is coming up again. The light flooded into the prison cell like a tidal wave. But wait...he's not alone! Someone else with him is with him. Gergac squinted with his eyes. Something was familiar about that man. Shorter than him, he wore clothes that would be fancy, were they not torn in parts, and seemingly soaked into water. Then, as he looked up, it all clicked together. It seems that he got his wish - for that, Jeremiah Brown was standing in front of him. Sans the smug smile, which is why he had such a hard time recognising him in the first place.




    "Well. Hope you two don't kill off each other. Although, even if you do, you'd just save us time." the guard said, then unlocked the door, and then he pushed Jeremiah into Gergac's cell "Enjoy the first day of the rest of your life!" Then, with a loud clang, the key turned, locking the two prisoners.




    "You know...it's hilarious, but...I was just...thinking of you." Gergac said, taking breaths sharply.




    "Oh. Really?" Jeremiah bitterly said. "Maybe you made those bastards pop up on my private island offered to me by the Athican government. I guess they're called an Inquisition for a reason."




    "Ha!" Gergac laughed, but then coughed up some blood. "Either that...or one of your lackeys that you...called "governors" is enjoying some...freedom."




    "Tsk, tsk. Mind telling me just what happened here, in the end?" Jeremiah said, and Gergac just pointed at the newspaper. "Yeah, sure. Let's say I might trust you slightly more than a piece of paper printed by our Dwarf friends."




    "Bah. Alright. If this is what you...wish." Gergac sighed "So, first...we tried to ambush. It...didn't quite...work out. One of the leaders of the...half-dwarf regiments...they defected and gave us all out. Ended in a nasty butchery...so we had to retreat back to Balderdash."




    "Hmm. I actually heard of something happening there. A...miracle?"




    "Yeah, some...miracle. We call it...rain. Lots of it." Gergac chuckled "Totally ruined...their weapons. Yeah. That's the whole miracle. Of course, their general...furious and angry, still ordered them into battle. For the first time we...had a chance. All of that lasted for about six months."




    "Then it ended, eh?"




    "Yes. They got new weapons. From the homeland. Quickly, too...some act. I don't know...the specifics." Gergac continued "But, yeah...We got trashed afterwards. In the end...tried to organise a militia...Failed. Got caught. And here we are."




    "So, what now, old pal?"




    "I swear to...whatever religion you believe in, you're not my old pal...no more. Since you can't pay my salary, we're just...strangers, at this rate…" Gergac said, annoyedly "But I heard rumours that this whole...miracle...deal made people inspired. Resistance. And all that."




    "So, there's a chance, huh? That we might not rot away in these cells?"




    "I wouldn't count on it...no, I wouldn't. My time's running short. Probably will be...dead...by the end of the year. Mhm. Come to peace with that."




    Confrontation




    TAG: FSS, JER




    From:

    Sergeant Hurz'Raz Valle

    Camp Bolderdash

    4th Dullsky, 1829





    To:

    Commander Shieda Bondevik

    Point Ozar





    During routine patrol to help alleviate the Orc immigrant wave, there was an incident between our squad and a number of Jeromac forces.




    We're unsure of the exact circumstances, but I shall try to give the best summary I can. We left off our camp some miles away from the border, as we replaced the returning squad. As we approached the forest where our official borders end, we've heard gunshots and screams. As we approached the source of the gunshots, we saw the following situation. A group of Jeromac troops have taken chase, following a group of fleeing refugees (Upon further investigation, some of our troops have seen some of them firing back. Perhaps in self-defence, but still?), while yelling "Partisans! Partisans! Get them!"




    Unfortunately, some of the more temperamental soldiers refused to follow orders as they saw the sight of Dwarves trying to kill some of their own kin. They immediately charged at the Dwarven positions. I managed to restrain most of the squad, but those who ran towards the Jeromac forces were, for the most part died under enemy fire. At some point, one of the less bloodthirsty soldiers realised that these aren't actually refugees, and they backed out.




    In the end, we succeeded in pulling out the refugees, but we've lost several soldiers. Not to mention the fact that this was most likely reported to the central Jeromac command, so we may or may not see more of this very soon.




    That is all, Commander. I've attached the names of those who have fallen in combat.




    ~Hurz'Raz Valle


    Reconciliation?




    TAG: NTK, NPC 1 (I), CRE (M)




    Dear Tanaka,




    As I mentioned in my last letter, I got a position within Princess Malene's staff! For the first two weeks, my new job, as a lady-in-waiting for Her Highness, has been rather uneventful, until very recently. Let me explain in greater detail.




    To the north of us, lies the nation of the Anaya Bastion, a bunch of...well, friendly, uptight neighbours. We've always had very tense relationships with them, \until now. Our benevolent queen, Lycou I, in her infinite forgiveness(that is also her best quality) has recently embarked on a policy of reconciliation with them - we'd seek out an alliance, or at the very least, a joint project between our two nations to restore the Sapphire Road. To aid those goals, Princess Malene was sent as an ambassador of good will, and can you guess who was supposed to accompany her on that trip? That's right, good old Sulenne. SO EXCITED




    But I bet you wish to hear something more...intriguing, don't you, Tanaka? Okay, so I'm not totally sure if I can tell you all of this stuff, so...Please promise this will stay between us two, alright? PROMISE. So, while we were travelling to Celedo Abeco, the capital of Anaya Bastion, the Princess confided to me that she hates the Anayans, and told me a story about a noble from there that she met. Ugh, how rude! Still, it seems there's far bigger threats out there - Creta - so for now, it seems that she had to put aside her differences with the Anayans. Inspiring, no?




    In any case, we soon reached the capital. It seems that we were expected; Lady-Protector Metava Slevina, alongside a number of other dignitaries of varying ranks, were waiting all for us. We were greeted cordially - that's how I'd call it - not with outright hostility, naturally, but they weren't very thrilled about cooperating with us.




    Due to the fact it was late when we arrived, we were offered residence within the Palace. Our guards were on alert, perhaps keeping us safe, or just making sure we don't go out of bounds. The next day, it was announced that a ball will be held that same night. Before we prepared to attend the ball, however, Princess Malene told me to never leave her side during the event. This means she trusts me! I sure do hope I'm not betraying her trust by telling you all this - but I feel that I can trust you, Tanaka, isn't that right?




    Let's get to the ball. It was amazing! Oh, the lights, the dances...the dresses! It seems, most of the nobility has somewhat warmed up to us - whether sincerely or not - I can't tell. As for our mission, well, we had mixed success. We weren't able to agree on a defensive pact, although I quote the Lady-Protector: "however, a future visit to continue this discussion certainly wouldn't be unwelcome". Our other mission, however, met a far more favourable ground, as Metava Slevina was more than happy to agree about the restoration of the Sapphire Road. Of course, she wants both of our nations to cooperate on this project, and if Queen Lycou I spends 10,000 gold on fixing our side of the road, then they'll follow suit. I believe, that beyond the costs involved, this will be a solid Administrative for both nations.




    But enough me. Heard that you moved into Jerchoi! A young person like you surely has a lot of perspective in this new city, and can only expect to broaden their horizons outwards. Best of luck there, and write back soon!




    ~Sulenne​









    Trial




    TAG: TNK, NPC (M), FSS (M)




    What a horrid voyage. I must have done something bad, something truly heinous a previous life to deserve this fate. I went out, filled with hopes that I shall discover something that will benefit towards creating a better New Thel. Oh, I went, but my hopes were crushed. Failure, it seems, was my stalwart companion. This final, and last entry, shall serve as a recollection of the events that happened in the last year. Or, perhaps, a warning.




    The problems began even before we set sail. As it turns out, the crew that I got was made of mostly...unsavoury people, to say the least. Criminals, both Half Elves and Human alike, made the majority of our crew, which left only my handpicked officers as the only people I could trust. Perhaps this wouldn't be such an issue normally, as we all know that sailors aren't the most reputable folks around, especially in these seas. However, another issue appeared soon enough, once it turned out that we had plentiful but...very low-quality rations. This was perhaps the catalyst for what happened next, as my crewmen definitely weren't impressed. Talk about bad luck.




    After we finished the last preparations for setting off, we headed out to Point Urgran, As we set dock, the mood was at an all-time low. It was a continuous voyage, with almost no breaks in between. So, I decided, in a misguided attempt to improve morale, that I let them out on a shore leave - of course, with trusted officers keeping a watch on them so that they don't get too rowdy. Ah, "trusted"! It turns out that the people that I had faith in were just as disgruntled about the whole situation, so they were much looser on dry land. My ship, for the two weeks we spent in the harbour, got turned into a literal brothel. Enough was enough, and I could not bear it anymore. I kicked out the filthy whores, drunkards and all assortment of pirate life that had made its way into the ship, right alongside the worst amongst my crew.




    And so, began the most frightful part of this already dreadful adventure. My crew was this close to a mutiny. There was a stretch of four nights when I haven't slept for a single wink - I was this scared for my very life. Only one person on this ship remained that I had full and complete trust - my First Mate and sister - it seems that I can trust only my kin here. She guarded my room when finally exhaustion got the better of me. Still. Somehow, we reached the isle of Magichari, where we would try and look for some more clues to getting around to the end of this story. Ha. It was hard. Of all the people onboard, only I knew how to get around through the ruins, as it seems that the rest didn't take Thelian language lessons.




    Regardless, sometimes...ah, sometimes, luck just doesn't favour me. During this expedition, however, it seems that bad luck is my truest companion. Using my knowledge of Thelian, I began to move through the ruins. This, of course, meant I was separated from the main group, when I suddenly heard a scream. Not a blood-freezing scream, as I had perhaps hoped, but a yell of pleasant surprise. I moved quietly towards the source of the scream - and, indeed, I saw the reason for it. Gold. And priceless artifacts, indeed, I could see it. I also saw greed. Those people - they're criminals. But now, they're criminals that can get rich beyond their wildest dreams. One of them saw me. I didn't hesitate - and by that, I mean I fled for my life, back to the ship.




    Breathless, and chased by people hellbent on my death, I reached the ship. To scare off the remaining crewmen onboard into sailing away, I told them some story about the place being haunted, which they believed. My appearance probably spooked the ever-loving spirit of Ishrama out of them, and the fact that my tale was scary, so we set sail at once. The only people that know the truth are me and my First Mate - and, of course, whoever is reading this entry right now. Hopefully, it is our Queen. Because I have a plea for her. I know, that by now, I may seem as the ultimate failure. But there's still hope. Fortunately, the treasure, or at least the statues with Ishrama's figure, have their own distinct magical trace - I felt it the moment my eyes were set upon it. It's not something I can or will forget. So...All I wish, Queen Lycou or Princess Marie - whomever is reading this - is for one more chance to prove myself.




    ~Admiral Ruta



    Crackdown




    TAG: GEA, NPC (I)




    Captain of the Imperial Civil Guard, Maximilian Burkharte

    Region Abenkänte

    Report for date 05.03.1828

    For the Kaisung's eyes Only




    My Kaisung,




    You've established the Imperial Civil Guard, a wise decision from you, indeed! We have maintained order successfully from the very moment of our establishment, and today, our black uniforms sow fear...and respect. And isn't that the basis of a society that has law and order in it, something much desirable while our brave Army fights for glory and conquest...But I digress.




    During the last months, we've conducted an extensive investigation, which have only in the recent days given fruition. An incredibly disturbing revelation has been made to light, something that has reaches far beyond the usual pocketeers or a house fire.




    My Liege, we've discovered a cultist ring dedicated to No- that devil! I can't believe it, I saw the oyster - symbol of the Nok- not that I would know anything about that, but it's just something people spe- I mean, spoke about. Before.




    More importantly, however, is the connections they had. We have damning evidence pointing towards Duergermark's involvement within all of this. Those...those Dwarf barbarians! It's clear they have no shame, as they dare supporting Noka- no! I won't say his name!




    The offenders, caught in the midst of a meeting, speaking that...awful, awful name, were summarily executed without a sign of mercy. We have also seized their weapons, and rearmed the Imperial Civil Guard, bringing up at least ten mixed-gunpowder companies/regiments, which will, of course, allow us to police the situations that someday may arise. As well, as, of course, keeping our citizenry safe from scum like the ones we just got rid of.




    Inspiration?




    TAG: GEA, SKA (M)




    PERSONAL! DO NOT READ! This diary belongs to the sculptor Hans Veiner!




    11th Newleaf, 1829




    So. It is completed. Everyone's talking about it. The statue in front of our noble Kaisung's palace. Thirty feet high, ten feet wide, all solid bronze. My best "work". Originally, I suggested that we use stone or marble for the statue, being more..common and more inexpensive. I was a bit taken aback when the palace chamberlain suggested gold or silver plating - fortunately, that didn't happen - but my request for using more modest materials was sadly denied. And here, I quote the exact words - said, if it wasn't obvious, in a feverish and deranged tone:

    "No! Stone washes away...marble rots away! Only solid bronze, yes, solid bronze is the only way we can commemorate our industrious ruler, for all of ETERNITY!"




    He screamed the last word, which only attracted an idle glance from a passing servant. After this, in a strange mood swing, he continued in a dull monotone, more fitting for his position:

    "Also, if you don't comply, I'll make sure that you don't get to even mold ceramics within the Greater Empire."




    This threat, alongside the promise of money, dulled most of my concerns. The creation of the statue, however, did take its sweet time. Procuring this much solid bronze, then molding it wasn't easy. Sculpting the face was the most difficult part, and there were many failed attempts, one including making our noble Kaisung's chin bigger than his face. Had to bite off my lips to restrain my laughter while I was in my workshop.




    Whatever effect the statue intended to have, it worked. Somehow. People feel more inspired, and they work much harder, in the name of their Kaisung. Because, if he can have a thirty-foot statue, waving gracefully at the rest of the capital, as if saying, "this land is mine", then they'd better act that way. Not to mention, would their Kaisung title himself "Industrious", if he wasn't one? Regardless, there seems to be an Administrative increase. Sure, some of the more...how should I say it, cosmopolitan citizens draw parallels to the Sarus Imperium, where statues dot the landscape and remind the citizens of their place, but, hey, our Kaisung would never do that.




    My take on this is, well, life here feels constricting. Some people plan moving to Helvane, where people live free - I, personally, don't find the feverish and almost cult-like patriotism there any better. If I must be honest, there's only one place near me that I would move to. Skagar. I've heard stories. It's a land of barbarians, but also...freedom? True, real freedom, not the strange version Helvane prophets. Sadly, I am too weak and frail to become a vakar...but who knows, no? Even they need sculptors. Not to mention...I've heard things about the Skagar women. Just for that I might as well leave this place. Who knows.




    Quest




    TAG: SKA




    Kaldra Steinsmadr gritted her teeth. This is probably the third time this year. The same scene all over again. Hella Bane-Bosom, sitting on her throne, with her patented glare of death. Ha. That works only on weak Elves. "Showoff." is all that Kaldra could think about "If sitting on a throne and showing off your bare chest muscles was all it took to become and remain a Tharl."




    What they spoke about wasn't important, mostly because it was all the same. The words and the locations were all different, but the meaning remained all the same. This time, Kaldra had to go all the way to the northern border, where a village has sent a request for help, since something was harassing them. It couldn't be Imperials - they weren't that stupid to come across the border, or, if they were, they wouldn't be armed. There's always a bunch of fools who had no idea about vakar life. Not that it was unheard of foreigners becoming vakars, but it wasn't easy as one would imagine. Still, those who did become such, they were good people. Good warriors. Driven.




    That was perhaps two weeks ago. Ultimately, it was in the past, and, in the end, regardless of whatever she thought, Kaldra was duty-bound, if not towards the Tharl, then, at the very least, towards the villagers. Especially now, as she felt something was amiss. She could see, and, as she got closer - smell - smoke. Perhaps it was a feast to celebrate the end of Winter...but this early? Her worst fears came true once she approached the village.




    There, a scene not too unlike from the end of world was taking place. Death and destruction raged, with bodies of both men and women that put up a brave, but futile fight against the enemies. Kaldra made a sour smile - they got some of them down, but at a what cost? Many children will be left without...wait, where are the children? There was no sign of any children. They must have been abducted - after all, everyone knows that hobgoblins always take away children to eat them.




    She saw a hobgoblin loitering around - perhaps, in a vain hope to find something valuable to pick up from the ruins. She felt the burning rage within her, and grasped into her warhammers, and then let out an angry yell. The hobgoblin let out a panicked yell and began running, but Kaldra followed him all the way until they reached a small hill. As they went downhill, she made a leap towards him, warhammers in hand, striking the unsuspecting hobgoblin, trapping his neck in a steel trap that pulverized it - the sheer force of which resulted into his head flying off into the distance.




    As she rolled down to the ground, she saw where the hobgoblin was headed to - hole in the ground, perhaps the entrance to a tunnel. Two hobgoblins were guarding it, but it seems that they've became witnesses to this scene, as they fled inside, screaming in their guttural tongue, causing chaos inside. That was welcome for Kaldra. Chaos was good. She ran towards the centre of this system of tunnels - or, well, at least, where she hoped it was. There, she encountered three hobgoblins with much better armaments - they all had Imperial horsemen sabers, and their chieftain (presumably) had one of those horseman headdresses that the Imperials love so much. Behind him, caged, were the children she was looking for.




    As the chieftain saw Kaldra eyeing him, he made a simple gesture towards the cages, then at her. The context was obvious: fight us if you want them. Understanding this gesture, she charged at them. Their sabers clashed with her warhammers, not giving her an opportunity to swing at them with full power. An opportunity arose, however, once one of the hobgoblins swung his saber at her warhammer too hard, nearly breaking it down. Seeing an opening, she swung at the hobgoblin, crushing his skull with a loud noise. While doing so, however, the other one sought an opening, and barely missed her neck. It did, however, scrape her left side, carving a wound going from her jaw all the way to her temple, nearly taking out her eye.




    This didn't worry Kaldra. There was just not enough time to worry about this. The battle was turning in her favour now that there were just two enemies left - one per each warhammer! But the one that was important was the leader. She turned at him, and with her left side covered in blood, cracked a smile at him, and then, immediately charged at him. Suddenly, the other survivor leapt at her, in an attempt to...stop her? But it was all to naught, as she had smelt blood, so it was as if he tried to break a steel wall.




    The hobgoblin chief ran to his fallen comrade, taking his sword. It is then, that fear and rage clashed. Driven by his fear, the hobgoblin chieftain gained speed and ferocity, one that overwhelmed even her rage. His sabers went through the defense of Kaldra, slashing her all over her face, leaving ugly scars all over her. "Stop...moving...so…FAST!" was all she thought. And as if her arms reacted to this thought, a lightning fast strike with both of her hands smashed through the sabers, crushing her opponent's feet, leaving them in a bloody mess, and him, in general - dead.




    She unlocked the cages, letting out the children. One of them told her that there's a hoard of nearly 2500 gold, and that, well, considering the fact she just killed their chieftain, the hobgoblins wouldn't mind if they take it. And so, they exited the cave. Free once more. Back...somewhere else where they can call home, once again.




    Wine




    TAG: SEG, NPC 1 (?)




    Another meeting. More foreign dignitaries. Gjurd was bored. He never liked these kinds of visits. He was, in the end, an enforcer and he made sure that Franz Barbarossa continued to rule until his death - whether he or someone else or just Nature taking its course would be the cause for it, that was another question. What mattered was that he would get to rule once that question was...resolved. Until then, however, he had to take care of things like this - although, mostly, it was more exciting, as hunting down dissidents and crushing nests of rebel activities before they rebel.




    But now, he has to attend this boring event, and mostly because Franz threw a hissy fit over the fact that Samuel Attar, ruler of the Kingdom of Attari and neighbour, didn't attend to it and sent his son, Roshan Attar, instead. According to Franz, they "didn't respect his authority", which meant in turn, that he needs to disrespect them to "even out the scales" - and so, this is why Gjurd had to attend to this incredibly boring event. And had to wear this unfitting suit, to look respectful. Pfft. A rusty cuirass is ever-fashionable, and more importantly, it never fails to not inspire respect.




    He saw someone walking through the hall, cutting through the swaths of people as if they weren't anyone. Gjurd smiled. It was Anna Kirchwey, the current for-life governor of Thoria, the capital. She didn't rise to this spot by casting a ballot - well, unless, cracked skulls count as one - and she left quite few corpses to get to this position. And remain, of course, as it is usual here. Normally, one would think that she's enjoying it. Gjurd, however, knew for what signs to look for - a slight eyebrow twitch that one could miss if not paying attention, but more importantly, the increasing cordiality in her voice. She was one of those people who would tell you how much they're honoured to see you, then pack out a knife from their pockets and begin carving up a roadmap on your body. Beyond that, he and Anna had previously lead missions to crush rebels near the capital before they become too much of a nuisance.




    Nor Anna, nor Roshan, not even Gjurd could have noticed one person, hiding in the shadows. A servant. He had no name. He was one of those people who would do anything for money, but were born nameless, and most likely, would die nameless, as well. A tool, just slightly more animate than a hammer or an axe. He was paid and instructed well. His target was initially Franz Barbarossa himself, but after it seeing the guest list and not finding him present, his benefactors instead opted out for taking out Gjurd "the Leviathan". The method: poisoned wine with Blackbane, a poison, that in enough dosage can take out even the strongest Orc. Those benefactors also knew well that his favourite wine is Pinehaven 1806.




    The time to serve wine had come - and so did the servant's moment come. He began slowly walking towards Gjurd, who was now chatting with another Orc - they seemed to be friends. Suddenly, he saw a woman going quickly towards him. It was Anna Kirchwey, and she seemed to be in an angry mood, as she saw the servant, the platter with cups and took one, saying "Gimme that." And...much to the shock of the servant, she took the poisoned cup and drank it all in one go. This much Blackbane would've killed Gjurd hours after the event was over - but for a human, death would come nearly instantaneously. Her eyes widened, white saliva came out of her mouth - and in one terrible convulsion, she felt down to the floor, dead. Anna Kirchwey is dead!




    The reactions to this were, well, terrified horror for the most part. One thing Gjurd did notice was the great surprise on Roshan Attar's face - but then again, if one would judge by his clothings and demeanour, he seemed the typical pampered noble, who has never seen a dead person except in theatre. Still. Other people could be out for the governor. She's had her share of enemies, after all. Gjurd cracked a smile, as he saw the guards take away the servants. After all, this did turn out to be interesting event.




    Treasure




    TAG: TOP




    Khafu, the One Who Drives, scoffed. It was cold. But it wasn't the cold that bothered him. The cold was something you learnt to ignore here. What he couldn't ignore, however, was the lingering uncertainty that he had no idea what was happening. He was sent off to this faraway corner of the tundra, where no animals even came close. It was just four months ago when he set off from the Great Camp, on a mission given by the Great Hetman himself. A...treasure? He said that Khafu will no longer have to be a caravaneer once this great deed is over, as he shall bring their people one step closer to reclaiming and conquering the world.




    But first, he had to reach this goal. And for that, one person was attached to him. It was Halla the Irn, the spiritual leader of the Punt people and a wise woman. Grand Hetman Janah for Whom the World was Made said explicitly that she can sense the great treasure with her powers of precognition. Another thing that was also made clear was the fact that her life is worth far more than his, and that he needs to do anything preserve her life.




    For the first three months, seemingly, they were wandering without direction, as the Halla said that her senses gave her no real point. Khafu had doubts, but in the end, the authority of the Irn was much above his. This wandering lasted for about three months. Then...One day, her direction became clear. And now, just last week, she said that they're within reach of the treasure. But Khafu was worried to where exactly they were going. He hasn't went much to the north, especially in this portion, as he had heard rumours about a big great battle fought by the Elves against the "Coalition". It was a place that he and others avoided unless absolutely necessary.




    And then, suddenly. Halla the Irn ordered him to stop with a resolute order, and told everyone to get out their shovels. She pointed at the ground, no less different than the endless tundra surrounding them. After that, she fainted down on the ground - a clear sign of divination, or perhaps, just exhaustion. Still, this being the Irn herself, Khafu told his men to start digging. At one point, he heard a loud thud. And a chest. Several chests, actually. All of them had engravings of one name. E-M Hus Yaen. Inside them, they found coins. Many coins. Bronze, silver...and, of course, gold. All of them were engraved with a womanly figure, staring coldly into the distance. It all came to end that all of those coins are worth nearly one million gold in total.




    http://image.prntscr.com/image/81be2bbddfd541c1bd6e429313f1a661.png[/IMG]




    TAG: GHD, NPC 1 (I)




    25th Newleaf, 1829

    Irie Tori




    A scandal has racked up the upper layers of the Gerheldian society. The ruler of the nation, King Castius of the Dominion has embarked on a massive campaign to begin increasing the housing capacity of the cities in his realm. This has been welcomed by many, as it is a sign of the good rule of the King, as well as a way to alleviate the rising amount of various slums in the cities of the Dominion, where crime and chaos were steadily rising, due to the influx of various migrants from the south and southwest.




    In order to fund this project, however, many other foreign investors had to be involved, from nations such as Two Rivers, the Iridescent Kingdom and other neighbouring nations. Of all nations, however, the Most Serene Bureaucracy of Thellana, being filled with the business-savvy Gnomes, had perhaps the greatest amount of investors. A majority of them were good, honest businessmen, just as the King had expected.




    One of those investors, unfortunately, turned out to be a fraud. Ben Rasp is the name that had been signed on various documents, although authorities in the Dominion doubt very much that this is his real name. The scheme was very simple. The Treasury of the Dominion offered to pay 50% of the cost for constructing new housing developments, if the investor offered paying all of the costs, and of course, employed only local workers. Some sources also point towards that they would make sure that only certain residents would get those developments, perhaps as an attempt to create gated communities, or just to isolate the migrants coming from various places.




    Nevertheless, what happened with "Ben Rasp" is that he embezzled the money, taking it away and leaving much of the developments in a state of unfinishedness, forcing the Treasury to spend approximately 10,000 gold over the budget established before, to finish construction. The authorities of the Dominion have also told the Athica Inquirer, as well as various other newspapers with high traffic, that anyone who has information on this person shall be repaid well for his or her efforts.




    Beyond that, a more interesting look would be at how the Gerheld public reacted to this. A certain portion of the citizenry, especially the more...xenophobic of them, have stopped doing business with Thellana citizens. However, more generally, it seems that right now, most Gerheld citizens desire a registry of reputable businesses, and several non-governmental organisations have taken the chance to become such. Unfortunately, in most cases, those unregulated registries tend to serve as a way of tarnishing the reputation of the rival businesses as opposed to shining a light into who's a fraud, and who isn't.



    https://pp.vk.me/c631629/v631629079/7da6/YS4oYBN1a0c.jpg[/IMG]




    Learning




    TAG: KOR




    Your Majesty




    Your son is learning, My King. Not..not at the rate that one would wish, especially considering the money spent, but there is progress. By the three characteristics that define a ruler's skill, - Administrative, Charisma and Strategy - here are the following results from the three-year training regimen:

    1. First off, we didn't really start off well, I'm afraid. Perhaps it was my fault to throw him into the deep inner workings of administration that keep our Kingdom operating was a bad idea, but I wanted to make it clear what is at stake here. Unfortunately, it seems His Excellency, Gorin Thrundhal was burnt out by this, as he reacted rather badly to further training. However...If I may. I feel that he just didn't like this kind of deal - I've seen such other students, and there's not a whole lot I can do about this. As a result of this, Gorin Thrundhal has suffered a minor decrease in his Administrative skills.
    2. Fortunately, training His Excellency's personal charisma went slightly better. It seems he's trying, he really is. Apparently, he understands the need to be able to cooperate and impress both his peers as well as the populace. He's putting a great effort in it, but sadly, he still has to make any progress on it. However, I'm sure with a bit more specialized training, as well as some more funds and time, he'll become a ruler who will have the necessary skills and aptitude to be loved by his people as well as by foreign dignitaries alike.
    3. Finally, I've had success in something! It appears that Gorin Thrundhal has taken a liking to Strategy, as shown by the mock battles we've conducted. He has managed to defeat his opponent but also managed to learn something. So we repeated them, with better and more experienced opponents, and while he didn't always win, one could see the obvious - even in defeat, he seemed to learn, and, I guess, take enjoyment even then? In any case, there's been a minor increase in his Strategy skill.




    In summary, with further and more intensive (and better paid, too) training, I believe that His Excellency will prove to be a brilliant strategist that will be loved by our people.

    ~Emalian Murda





    Discovery




    TAG: ORC,




    A mass of caravans. All filled with Orcs. This is what Irdam Marath could see before him. It was a good sign. More and more Orcs joining Usguthundar, the promised land where they could finally live in peace, without fear of persecution. Those who joined, they were brave and they fought well. Irdam smiled. As it was meant to be. Suddenly, from one of the caravans, an Orc disembarked, and began approaching Irdam. He then whispered into his ears about a treasure. All belonging to an Athei called Larru Dun, and he just needs to give this poor Orc some money and people.




    Irdam sighed. He couldn't bother with that. Perhaps it was a waste of time, but still, something at the back of his head (and it wasn't that annoying Orc, either!) that made him believe him. Perhaps that guy could just sell his case well. He came from the mountains, fleeing from the Mintarum crazies that kill any non-worker Orc on sight, and said that as he crossed the border, he had discovered this treasure, owned by the Athei. So, in the end, he gave him people, money and a time limit - if he doesn't come back in six months, he'd better be on another continent.




    A year passed. He had already issued a warrant to shoot that Orc on sight long time ago, as he realised he probably was swindled. Then, one day, a young Orc ran up to him, telling that a massive flow of caravans is coming from the south. And it's not immigrants; it seems that they're heavily loaded with...gold? Even more suddenly, the caravan itself appeared. It had many wagons, stretching all the way to the horizon. But from the front, a familiar, albeit, perhaps a bit older face was leading the entire thing.




    He did it, apparently. Found the treasure of the Athei. He couldn't believe it - yet, here the coins stood in front of him. All solid gold, all encrusted with the Athei's initials. L.D. Late Thel Imperium. Nobody would accept them as tender, but that wouldn't matter, as the gold contained within them would be worth about one million gold in total. Indeed, now Irdam could begin work on the Zhavarplak, to create a combined library of all Orcish works. It'll be the greatest achievement any of the Marath dynasty will ever do - or, for that matter, any Orc at all.








    --------------

    Direchill (January), Icethaw (February), Seedbreak (March), Newleaf (April), Lifespring (May), Plantchime (June), Sunjoy (July), Warmpeak (August), Dullsky (September), Firstfall (October), Snowcheer (November), Coldgust (December).




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  7. Tolina

    Tolina trust the pillars with your s e c r e t s

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    10,491
    Location:
    Nightvale, US
    Ah ha hAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HAH AHAHAHA.

    Anyway, for those of you who have working Alerts, or Alerts on the IOT subforum, you might be a bit shocked. I have been sitting on these for the last 6 months or so. Today, I decided to finally release them; the word parts miss only 2 wars which never got around to be calculated.

    Well, what can I say? Arcanum was a typical case of reaching too close to the Sun. Too much. Maybe. It could've worked out in a better world. But still, I wanted to show you this.

    That's all I have to say.
     
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  8. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Messages:
    13,032
    Location:
    A Silver Mt. Zion
    It's great you shared it!
     

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