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Fading Suns

Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by Immaculate, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
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    The Descent of Grace

    -

    The tinkling sanctus bells sung their timeless melody

    -


    Naganaka Akari raised her eyes and beheld the descent of the Pancreator unto His holy altar as the priest whispered the holy words.

    And she wept.

    Oh how great a mystery, how great a sacrament and how great a mercy that the Pancreator in his infinite goodness bestowed his grace upon poor wretched man, which so many times had gone astray from His Law. As the battle sisters in black habits, who safeguarded all the major figures of House Li Halan, bowed their heads and murmured their devotions Akari prayed and pondered the ineffable doctrine of the descent of grace.

    Indeed as the Church taught, while the Pancreator's grace flowed forth unto mankind for the salvation of souls through His Universal Church and most particularly through his sacraments and was sufficient in itself to redeem all men and restore the fallen world, its efficacy in the lives of men was only active so much as man was disposed to receive it and was prepared to cooperate with the graces obtained. Furthermore, Akari remembered from her childhood lessons, while all men were granted sufficient graces others were granted superabundant graces gratuitously by the Pancreators holy will, be it because they were fore-chosen to be amongst his elect or appointed to achieve some purpose of his in their earthly sojourn. So it was that the Lord ordained a hierarchy amongst men, with fathers having charge over their sons, nobles charge over their serfs, and highest of all the great nobles to whom God was well-pleased to give dominion and authority had charge to rule above all in matters temporal, to complement the Church's imperium in matters spiritual.

    This was why the rule of the nobility was right, for the Pancreator had ordained it by his Holy Will while republicanism was a great and unspeakable heresy. For the foul doctrine that upheld that popular will could determine the right to rule was nothing more than rebellion against the divine will, and led inevitably thereby to every vice and the great mystery of iniquity that led to the fall of the Republic as the Pancreators chosen, the ancestors of the great houses, together with Holy Church, overthrew the apostate republicans and established the present era of enlightened rule.

    Alas then that so few of the noble lord in the present days cooperated with the Lords grace and fell into vice. Surely it was this truth, this renewed iniquity amongst those whom the Lord had favoured that has resulted in the corruption of heresy in the spiritual realm. Surely it was a sign that the Adaezite incarnates festered in the realms subject to House Hawkwood and House D'Glace, who represented (to Akari's mind) the dangers of pride and lust amongst the nobility respectively. For the former House had always gloried in its honour and noble credentials while the latter was infamous for its decadence. She mused that examples such as these manifested the necessity of corporal mortification of the flesh, for without a strict watch the flesh led man inexorably to untamed lust or foolish pride. Only by scourging the flesh for its sins might humility be entrenched and purity maintained in the soul.

    -

    "Go, it is the Dismissal".

    The priest finished the concluded rites of the Divine Liturgy and departed in procession to the palaces sacristy trailed by acolytes and enshrouded in a cloud of the finest Herbertian incense. Naganaka Akari refocused her straying mind and went through her usual devotions of thanksgiving and petition, giving thanks to the Pancreator for all he had provided and petitioning Him that his will might be accomplished.

    She arose and exited the Palace chapel, a fine edifice of star-spangled vaults and stained glass into an antechamber decorated profusely with scenery of Holy Terra in all its idyllic splendor.

    "My Lady"

    A courtier bowed before her, emerging from a waiting throng of minor relatives and court functionaries.

    "We must make haste to visit the construction site for the clinic in the Satomura district as was scheduled last week, further Lord Li of Yu-Bao requests an audience this evening regarding the his recent proposal to facilitate the use of an emarai device in the clinic scheduled to be constructed in his fief."

    Akari smiled, the work Her Gracious mother the Duchess had charged her for the sake of the commons filled her soul with joy. For indeed being struck with horror at the rising heresy in Uyish (and to a lesser degree Akari suspected by the long-standing presence of heresy in Awroth) she had decreed the construction of a network of clinics that the sufferings of the people might be alleviated through faith and (to the surprise of many) technology sanctioned by the Church. Indeed many in the House had argued that such technical resources were better utilised elsewhere and that the commons did not merit such lavish attention. Yet her mother had resisted saying "We rule by the Grace of God, so must we show grace to those subject to us".

    "If you say so, make ready the aero-plane, it should take a tenthday or so to reach the Satomura district from Bashengshi yes"

    "As you request My Lady"

    So had Akari laboured visiting clinic after clinic, managing construction from the capital Bashengshi and the great royal palace of House Li Halan, toiling tirelessly dawn to dusk. Yet she felt only satisfaction. For every time she donned the traditional white gown of the physician to personally attend to the sick who had come to a newly opened clinic, groaning as they did in fever or voiding their bowels as one might do when infested by an Assimovian Parasitic Vespimorph, or donned the stifling attire of a noble princess when addressing the commoners or attending to the trifling engagements of the local nobility she found solace in the knowledge that she was doing so for her people, for her house and ultimately for God. For grace was given from on high to be passed on to others in service, this was the message drilled into her by her mother since she was a child.

    So it was that on yet another day Akari attended to her people, and prepared herself for the time when she would be Matriarch of House Li Halan.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
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  2. spryllino

    spryllino Deity

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    The Archduchess Krylova

    At the same hour, the tinkling Sanctus bells were also singing their timeless melody in the palace chapel of the Decados. As he passed the chapel, Sergey just caught their sound; but he walked rapidly away, into the heart of the great palace. Within its labyrinthine passages were his mother's chambers, and he passed from one corridor to the next, the the green doors with their slatted windows shutting softly behind him. Behind the walls, he knew, sat men in black, as silent as the night, with poignards and lasguns. Though to an outsider it might seem that his mother was unguarded, he knew well enough that the layout of the passages and the compartments between had been designed to make her chambers more secure than a place guarded by a thousand retainers.

    As the Archduchess Krylova had grown old, in the eyes of her son, she had become ever more paranoid and eccentric, and he feared, whenever he looked upon her increasingly inscrutable face, that she regarded him with as much suspicion as her direst enemy. That her son should fear her, Krylova herself regarded as a regrettable necessity; but, when Krylova looked in the face of her son, endowed with so many virtues rare in a Decados (and not, she must allow, possessed by herself), she actually admired and loved him all the more.

    When Sergey entered his mother's sitting-room - a remarkably small chamber, three metres square - he found his mother sitting at the left-hand end of her luxurious couch, which stretched along the whole far side of the room. She was a tiny woman, with white hair pouring in curls on either side of her head, and clothed in a long black dress, a lilac shawl thrown over her shoulders. Every few minutes she took another piece of Turkish delight - what exactly 'Turkish' meant, Sergey was not quite sure - and placed it in her mouth with decadent relish. His sister, the Admiral Miroslava, who had arrived at the palace only the day before, sat at the other end of the couch. There was no-one else in the room - or rather, Sergey reflected, there were some others; he knew that there would be at least two men, armed with poignards, concealed in compartments on each side.

    Miroslava was the first to speak. 'Shouldn't you be in Church, Sergey? One of us really ought to show up, you know; one has to keep up appearances.'

    'Ah - I thought that you were to be there.' He paused. 'Well, it's no bad thing if we're all here; you too, Miroslava, will have something to say. And besides, it's Church business that I've come to discuss. The Pancreator, I suppose, won't mind us missing a chapel service for that.' Miroslava gave a hint of a giggle.

    Then Sergey continued: 'I was going to bring up the whole Heresy problem.' His mother just looked at him, as inscrutable as ever, but Miroslava frowned. 'Yes, Mirka, I know: we said last year that we would let it blow over. But, you know, the Li Halan are making an awful fuss, and it is reported that there are actual heretics in the Uyish archipelago. Actual ones! Blowing off about whatever it is that they blow off about - and it's not good, all this Heresy and Republicanism, you know. Works havoc with the serfs.'

    Miroslava smirked. 'We do have "actual heretics" in Awroth, you know; they're still there, if you know where to look.'

    'Shhhhhhhhhhh,' Sergey joked. 'Our official line is that there probably aren't any, and if there are any we don't know anything about it. But look here, we do actually need to do something about this. You see, the Li Halan are making out that, if the Uyish nobles don't murder all the heretics in their beds, they are entitled to invade their lands and murder all their heretics for them. "The penalty for heresy is death," and "The Law of the Pancreator is the highest Law", and all that cant.'

    'But they can't really think that,' Miroslava replied. 'I mean, it's clearly garbage, legally speaking; and they must know that nobles can't just go around murdering heretics in their beds. They have to be arrested by ecclesiastical authorities and brought before an ecclesiastical court, and, if the ecclesiastical courts are being run by an old sleepy-head like Mirmah, there's nothing that we or anyone else can do about it. It's not within the royal courts' jurisdiction.'

    'I think, Mirka, they want the Archbishop to jump the gun, and go straight from total idleness to full-blown Inquisitor-General, without any of the customary intermediate stages.'

    'Oh, sure,' replied Miroslava. 'But he won't do that; he's far too idle; he prefers his fishing.'

    'Well, it's often happened that, when a clergyman receives a letter from our friend Ichika, it's like a firecracker up the backside; they suddenly wake up, and before we know it, the southern seas are bursting with Inquisitors.'

    'I think you overestimate Mirmah's capacity for sudden activity, firecracker or no firecracker,' Miroslava replied. 'But what would you have us do?'

    'Well, firstly, dear mother, you should write to the nobles of Clarke, to assert our own view of the matter; when the Li Halan say such things, it should not go unchallenged.' (Miroslava looked doubtful.) 'Secondly, we should have a word with the Archbishop...'

    'Sergey,' said Miroslava, 'You like your diplomacy too much; and you have too little sense of when it is best to do nothing.' Miroslava indolently took a piece of Turkish delight from the box. 'It'll all blow over; you'll see.'

    Sergey looked at his mother again. Her eyes were closed, and he was not entirely sure that she had been listening; she might even have been asleep. But, at this lull in conversation, she sat up slightly and opened her eyes, instantly alert, and said, in her surprisingly light and even girlish voice, 'You may be right, Sergey; I'll have to think about it.' And then she paused. 'I have been looking into it, you know. Would you like a piece?' And she held out the box of sweets. No-one would have thought, from her appearance, that she was one of the most feared women in the Known Worlds.

    'Thank you, dearest mother,' said Sergey, and took the lemon-flavoured one.

    'You know, I might sleep for a bit,' she said, and sank a little down the couch. 'Will you ask the servants to bring me another box?' And she closed her eyes.

    Miroslava picked up her book - an erotic novel - from the table, and Sergey stepped back through the door, closing it softly. In the distance, the hubbub of the servants coming out of chapel could be heard. He walked back towards it through the tangled passages; and, as he went, he hummed the tune of a very secular song.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
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  3. Zappericus

    Zappericus Euro scumbag

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    WARNING! This material is known to contain potentially heretical written content. Access by unauthorized parties is forbidden by Church puritan diktat 224.34.

    Spoiler Access: Granted :
    Heretical memoirs of Ping Yuao Sen - "The Rise of the Awroth Triads"

    Part II

    Hierarchy & Traditions

    Despite their new and illustrious position as members of the posh nobility, Gwung-Lou still maintain a majority of its traditions, rituals and structure from their triad days. It would seem that they are either unwilling, or perhaps more likely unable to shake off the stink of their criminal heritage. As an example of this Gwung-Lou still use numeric codes to distinguish ranks and positions within their dynasty; the numbers are inspired by ancient numerology originating from holy terra thousands of years ago. The Great Dragon; Zheng's title, bears the number: 489; 438 is the Dragon Lord and heir Lee. Further down their composition is number 432, indicating the Jade Master who oversees administration as well as inductions into the criminal triads working for the Gwung-Lou family.

    The number 2238 is reserved for agents of the Dai Li, Zheng's private thought police. An army general or fleet admiral, also known as Red or Blue Dragons tasked with overseeing defensive and offensive operations, is 426 and 427 respectively. Finally, the number 49 denotes the simple household soldier whilst 29 indicates an agent or spy. There may be a dozen more of these numerical positions, but I cannot be certain nor do I suspect I will live to see the day that I'd have the time to explore the matter any further.

    Military
    After reaching noble status the criminal enforcers and hitmen of Gwung-Lou were, unsurprisingly, reorganized to form the bulk of the household legions. It is not possible for me to confirm but whispers claim that Zheng spent a considerable sum to have his former band of thugs reshaped into proper guardsmen, pilots and war-machine operators through contact associates within the guild.

    The common soldier wears a blackened, green or tan trenchcoat with gold or red trim, a pair of jackboots, leather gloves, protective breastplate and simple helmet stamped with the Gwung-Lou coat of arms and a dragon on either side of it. To protect the identities of his soldiers and to ensure their anonymity when committing atrocities on his behalf, Zheng has made metal faceplates and some form of voice garblers standardized and mandatory for all in his service. This has had a marked psychological effect on the military as well, as they appear more eager and willing to perform acts of terror and oppression when they believe the victims won't be able to recognize them.

    The quality and type of weaponry in the household varies from legion to legion, but every soldier and officer can always be seen carrying a sabre bearing Gwung-Lou's seal for both ceremonial and military purposes, as well as perhaps to denote the soldier's loyalty to Zheng. There are also cases of soldiers being seen with triangle markings on their equipment, but whether this is an approved alteration or a tradition among their ranks is unknown.

    But no manner of combat drills, restructuring or fancy new equipment will wash away the filth which clings to a common criminal, for the soldiery of Gwung-Lou are still vile to the core, always fighting dirty and with unsightly brutality. This in turn make them an unorthodox fighting force and highly unpredictable in the eyes of potential enemies. As a final pin in their makeup is their notoriety for plunder and looting when let loose upon the enemy.

    Indeed, their barbarism is so great that if it weren't for the deep and intricate respect and loyalty their triad traditions have doctrinated them towards obeying Zheng and his family, all of southern Awroth would be in smoldering flames by now. It is an almost comical irony that such tyrannical sycophants the likes of the Gwung-Lous is keeping the south in a perpetual state of exploited misery, and yet are the only ones maintaining stability and peace. These are truly dark times.

    I hear steps outside my cell. Pray for me.

    End of Part II
     
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  4. Ailedhoo

    Ailedhoo wonderer

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    Dearest Father, Duke Paul Rémillard of Watts

    The blessed victory over the falsehoods proved a momentum of joyful laughs and enshrined loyalties, although I do ponder our foes intent. As you once stated: the master rouge hides in the light. I ponder which lights will the threat we face hide in? Of course the Xyall are the prime focus threat we all face but peace is a tricky question, as we strive to keep the peace among the houses of the Empire. While we will expect our foes to make use of the shadows we must prepare for the enemy to use the light to hide themselves in the open, to twist truth and lies around to suit the agenda of their design. It is the light the most clever foe hides in but it is the shadow which they may let be exposed.

    I will continue my investigations to ensure the false claimants of House Imcinkyl have no additional leads; maybe they were novices who do not even have the shade of a sign post to hide behind. Naturally I and Uncle Maurice will keep our eyes, ears and noses open as we see, hear and smell the scenes. The loyalty of our levies and men-at-arms will not be questioned by pretenders! If they be tested then may the trial make their resolve stronger! I will ensure you that injustice will be corrected, for the sanction of our home will not be dirtied by those who would seek to claim our prestige for their own fill.

    As of personal matters I am taking heart the lessons of Sequin Jean-Louis: our court poet has proved himself a most worthy of tutors and I am taking to practice the craft of the word. I have attached to this letter a copy draft of a poem I set on the subject of the political intrigues of the imperial court, for you have educated me on the dangers found in politics and the key of survival is the key to victory, for the survive is to hinder thy foes and build forth our prestige. Let in the end I perhaps should have placed the true lesson in defeating foes that you stated as the true meaning of the Rémillard: living well is the best revenge.

    When we next meet I suggest we scheme on any banquet ideas. For there to be harmony between the Church, the Nobility and the Guilds there must be a meaning and the joy of living is shielded through peace and stability. Perhaps on banquets we best consider a cake to symbolize the harmony desired in the Empire? I ought to take to the artistic craft of such a cake: think on how excellent tastes could come from such union of flavors?

    At any rate do make critique of my poem and may we see in future my craft grow stronger as I enshrine the legacies before us.


    May your days be ever blessed

    Marc Rémillard


    The Game

    By Marc Rémillard

    We have been placed upon a mountainous board
    Each of our pieces placed on treacherous squares
    We will make our moves by the word and the sword
    Our turns, our lives, to be followed by our heirs

    What is this game we all play
    Which we place dies till we die?
    We will play till the Lord's Day
    We will finally know why
    We play the Game

    The Game plays us
    Where each piece moves the other
    To make vices of virtues
    Play brother against brother
    They curse the guilds and churches

    Hence to be a noble is to play the Game
    The wise do not play? Strive not for a rival!
    Yet for all us fools who will play without shame
    Victory is to be found in survival
     
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  5. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

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    Orders due in 25 hours.
     
  6. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    Location:
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    The blue smoke filled the room, wafting lazily and coiling like a griz-bat in the high corners. It clung to the tapestries, redolent and heavy, thick with the smell of incense and sweat. Spirals curled slowly through the air, as a chorus of thin, reedy voices sang hymnals to the dead in dead tongues.

    In the center of the room, emaciated, a cross-legged in a forest of candles and incense cones, sat a boy. He would call himself a man, but few others would. He was naked, spirals of cracked wax flaking off his body with every twitch and trembling, his eyes open, sightlessly staring into the swirling form of the mandala crudely painted over fine stucco. He mouthed wordlessly, lost into the past and future.

    Emerging from the seven holy points of his body, seven colored tubes flowed towards six other individuals in the room, each naked, and covered in wax spirals. They ranged in age from a young child to a withered crone, and each with a single tube to one of the holy-points. Each sang a different, perfect, counterpoint in the hymnals.

    In this room, time swirled without beginning or end. In this room, things would happen long ago that would affect the future.

    If any could remember what they saw.

    On a balcony overlooking the room two men stood. One was short, with grey hair and a bristly mustache. He found it useful for people to see his face. He wore the black and gold cepken common to any of the guards throughout the palace, though if one was inclined to look, one would see that the black was of the finest Mo-silk, and the gold was pure-gold weave. His pants were of a similar make, and at his belt was the scabbard of a Vib-knife with a hilt of the finest Hacan bone. Upon his face, under the mustache, was a broken smile.

    He was the lesser of the two men.

    The other man was also short, also with silver hair, but unlike the other, thick beard of black streaked with silver. He wore a simple black robe, and upon his head was an equally simple cap. If anyone were able to get close enough to see it, they would have felt the other man’s knife slide between his ribs, and that only if they made it past a palace full of devoted cooks, cleaning ladies, washing-maids, servingmen, and guards. In the seconds before they died, they might have noticed that this cloth was of unimaginable make, simple as it looked. On his face, hidden beneath the beard, was a lip turned in contempt.

    He was the greater of the two men, and when he spoke, men listened. “Lo, friend, look upon the fruit of my loins.”

    “He is a young man, he is finding himself.”

    “You said that many a year ago, Cevher.”

    “So I did, lord.”

    “I learned much at the monastery.”

    “So you did, lord.”

    “He did not.”

    “He learned some things.” The general smiled a wry smile.

    The Duke turned towards the other man. “Some indeed. Ozan, you served my father. You knew him, knew me. How did I fail my own son as my father did not fail me?”

    The general, one of the only men allowed to do so, put his hand on his knife, drawing it. “Lords are like blades, my lord.”

    “They must be forged?”

    “They must be forged, Lord.”

    The duke turned back to the balcony, looking down into the smokey gloom. “He flirts with heresy.”

    “As all young men do, My lord. It is the lot of young men. He will flirt with it, give it eyes, and then it will be too forward with him, and he will recoil and stand in the light of the pantocrator.”

    “May you be right, old friend.”

    “It may be that the proper forge is not here, my lord.”

    “No, the winds of Herbert are the breath of Azgheya, but the salt of May is it’s blood. I will send him to it’s rocky shore, and he will learn to rule, rule far from his friends, far from his weakness”

    “The Lady Shekhis is made of steel, my lord.” The general smiled.

    “And weakness folds before a steel rod.”

    “Aye, lord. And, if it breaks, there is always the way of the ancestors. You have other sons. Daughters, too, if it comes to it.”

    The Duke growled back. “Were you another man, I’d have you cut down for that. But you are my loyal friend, and an Azgheya by blood, if not by name, cousin. What you say is true. I am fond of him, though, despite all else. He is a sweet boy, and he tries.” He added, voice softer.

    “He will learn, my lord. I am fond of him, too. Fond of the boy tripping over his feet, running after me, aping the troop exercises. He will learn. He will.”

    “Yes, yes he will.” The duke braced himself against the bannister, a moment of weakness he would have allowed in front of no other, before steeling himself, and roaring down into the coiled smoke “BOY! Come now!”
     
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  7. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

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    Hazat Foundational Myths, Verse 17 "The Self-Serving Verse"

    This is the coronation of Novarch Pralaya Amari, the Hazat. It happened thus.

    In the cold abyss of the sky above Byzantium Secundus, armies of the faithful stormed the great celestial fortress of XEL'NATOTH, defended by the eunuch-warrior NAGISA. The Eunuch Warrior was a great and ferocious fighter, empowered by forbidden secrets and heretical rituals for strength. They possessed eyes of an eagle, skin which turned aside iron, the alacrity of the Herbert Desert Hacan, and stature which dwarfed even that of that thick-headed brute OSGRAMOR. They were armed with a sword which cut a hundred different ways, a lance of fire hammered from starlight, and armor of celestial steel forged by wisdom now lost to men.

    Six fold six times the Faithful lay siege upon the fortress guarded by this invincible and monstrous warrior. Each time, the warrior NAGISA turned their attacks with contemptuous swings of their sword, casting aside their corpses from high heaven to rain upon the city below. Eventually, the Bishop BARBATOS declared: "WHOSOEVER BRINGS ME THE HEAD OF THIS WARRIOR, NAGISA, I SHALL ACKNOWLEDGE AS KING."

    Word of this invincible warrior as well as the bishop's prize for their defeat came to the Hazat's ears, and PRALAYA's captains all boasted to each other and to their lady, Pralaya, that they would be the one to bring her the enemy's head. "Very well," Pralaya said. "The one who brings me this enemy's head shall be crowned King of the Hazat, alongside myself, to water my seed and found my dynasty."

    Thus energized, her captains surged forth to meet this new, terrible enemy, who themself sallied forth from the great fortress of XEL'NATOTH to meet them. The first to challenge the eunuch warrior was AARUSH of the Mountain Gale, clad in gilded armor inscribed in a thousand mystical patterns and wielding a sword blessed by a hundred bishops of the faith. His legions and ships maneuvered in elaborate formations in perfect unison. Just a week ago, their Chrome Legion had successfully outmaneuvered the Republican Army of Numbers, and he sought to do the same against the warrior Nagisa.

    Nagisa, however, proved to be a far more tenacious foe than the Army of Numbers. For all of Aarush's finesse, he could not break Nagisa's defenses. For every movement he made, Nagisa proved to be faster and more skilled. For every shimmering and strange blows Aarush landed upon Nagisa and their warriors, they proved to be able to take them and deal out worse. With his legion's strength expanded and growing incoherent, Aarush retreated before thirty blows had been exchanged with the eunuch warrior.

    "No swarm of ill-bred flies could ever challenge the fires of enlightenment," Nagisa commented.

    Next to challenge the invincible warrior was OSGRAMOR of the Crashing Waves, clad from head to toe in indestructible scaled armor bathed in blood of thousands. He carried with him a vicious, cruel spear which stabbed a thousand times at once and a mighty battle ax which he nicknamed GATEBREAKER. His infamous Jade Legion, composed of brutes who lacked in brains but made up for it with thick muscles and the same cunning you would find in a rabid animal, had just a week ago broke through the fortress of MANTOROK. "Your maneuvers are no match for honorable might and force of arms, Aarush!" Osgramor boasted. "Watch as I break Nagisa in twain."

    And he tore into the eunuch warrior's force with wild abandon and viciousness he came to be known for. Every blow Nagisa's soldiers landed upon him, he returned twofold in vicious counterblows. He fought like a wild animal, throwing caution to the wind and absorbing tremendous amount of violence.

    Where Aarush retreated before thirty blows, Osgramor took a hundred. But Nagisa's defenses proved too strong, and their forces tired too slowly. It was Osgramor who tired first, and Nagisa threw his body off of the battlements of Xel'natoth where the man fell for two days and a night to the city below, whereupon he had to make the arduous and embarrassing climb back up alone.

    "No light of tomorrow can be swayed by the foul squalling of the masses," Nagisa commented.


    At this, the dour Captain Aysen smiled, for while the previous two captains distracted Nagisa, his archons had infiltrated the fortress through treachery and deceit. "If neither tactics nor strength can defeat this warrior," he said. "Deceit and poison will prove to be their undoing."

    At a signal, his archons struck from behind the great warrior Nagisa, armed with daggers coated in mind-burning toxins from alien shores that could kill ten thousand men at once. But before they could deliver a single strike, Nagisa turned around and beheaded them all with a single strike from their sword which cut a hundred ways.

    "Light of future reveals all treacheries and deceit," Nagisa commented.



    Seeing this, Pralaya the Hazat fell into great despair and wrath. "Am I surrounded by incompetents?" she mused. "How can all my captains, great warriors each, fail to slay a single warrior and their forces, no matter how skilled and talented?"

    "Perhaps a retreat is necessary, to reorganize our forces," her steward, JIWOON offered. "Never!" Pralaya replied. "If I be defeated here, let my name be forgotten, and my corpse be lost, but I shall not retreat from this moment!"

    Taking her lance forged in starfire, held by her trembling steward JIWOON, Pralaya took to the void between stars to take war to her enemies. Her voice was like thunder, and a rain of missiles preceded her arrival in the battlefield, creating blossoms of blazing light. The Jade and Chrome Legions saw their master charge alone into the battlefield, and a great cry of alarm was raised between them. They stopped their retreat, and turned to save their master.

    Seeing this, Nagisa was quite perplexed. By now, Pralaya had developed quite a reputation of invincibility, cunning, deceit, and brilliance herself. Yet here she was, charging alone into the battlefield with her winged armor and lance of light, with tattered masses of her followers charging some paces behind her. "What treachery and deception is this?" Nagisa mused. "Is there a maneuver that I have failed to read? Are there hidden reinforcements that I have failed to spot? Are there more archons in my midst, ready to sabotage my fortress, Xel'natoth?"

    They were, in fact, so perplexed by this action that they stood still for fifteen seconds, demanding answers from their battle ancilla and poring over charts to discover Pralaya's brilliant stratagem. There was, in fact, no such stratagem to find. It was a fool's assault, designed and organized with the same kind of attention a five year old could manage, perhaps. It was like a village idiot throwing sticks at a wall. Nagisa was so shocked and offended by such lack of tactics and finesse from the Hazat, that they were taken completely by surprise when Pralaya breached their battlements with her missiles and the fastest of her Chrome and Jade Legions.

    "What treachery is this?" sputtered the great warrior Nagisa, with a voice like trembling candlelight. "What movement have you hidden from me?"

    Pralaya shrugged, and burned the great warrior away with a lazily thrown lance of starlight. With this, the deed was done, the battle won.

    She commented thus, with a voice like thunder and a rain of blood: "If your light was so much more clever and better, I wouldn't be here to kill you. I wouldn't have won."




    "WHAT TRICKERY DID YOU USE TO DEFEAT NAGISA?" The Bishop Barbatos demanded afterwards, himself in disbelief. "TEN THOUSAND FAITHFUL FAILED WHERE YOU SUCCEEDED. HOW DID YOU DO SO? WHAT SECRET, HIDDEN ART HAVE YOU UNLEASHED?"

    "Nothing, truly," Pralaya said. "It was a fool's move."

    It was immediately apparent to Bishop Barbatos that he was not meeting with an ordinary woman.

    "WHAT IS YOUR NAME," the Bishop Barbatos demanded, though he already knew the answer.

    "My name is Pralaya Amari," Pralaya replied. "I am the Queen of the Hazat."


    kataṃ karaṇīyaṃ
    nāparaṃ itthattāyāti pajānātī ti
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
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  8. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    To the Archbishop Leonid Mirmah,

    Most honorable archbishop, I hope this letter finds you well. I am not one for indulgent praise, yet I write to you now to express praise for your tolerance and good judgment, and your great temperance in your reluctance to use violence against your flock. In times like these it is more important than ever that we must not lose our heads to the seductive temptress of violent correction and upheaval. No, always we must remember that the greatest gift the Lord has given us is love, and we who turn the cheek are expressing the truest form of that love, for we are all sinners. Yours has been an example for all worlds to follow.

    It is for that reason that I plead to urge you to use your powers to spread this message of love and tolerance wide, and show even the most errant knaves that the light of our loving Lord is with them always, as it is through us that He does his good work. This is also, in my eyes, the most appropriate solution to the Heresy that has spread its roots through Awroth and Uyish. With the power vested in you, you could create a Holy Order devoted to the correction of these heretic, an Order of the Eternal Wisdom, one that would bring in the wretched and the fools, feed, clothe, and educate them, and turn them back into the world once more filled with the love and the word of the Lord. And above all else, this Order would shun violence, chaos, and anarchy, and meet these things instead with chaste, silent prayer. Their hands would not be stained by the violence that is the duty of we non-Holy men, we knights and nobles. They can be the best of us, and the humblest. And they would be the surest and most lethal weapon against this Heresy that ever there has been.

    This undertaking would require donations and the support of certain nobility, and I have received already the assurance of House Decados that they will join House Garatheade in supporting this new Order. Together, we can banish the heresy in Awroth and Uyish, and without sending a single wayward soul to the spiraling abyss of war and chaos.

    I eagerly wish to discuss the matter of such an Order with you, and you have my gratitude simply for considering this letter.

    Yours sincerely in the Faith,

    Eirrun Garatheade
     
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  9. spryllino

    spryllino Deity

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    From the office of His Serene Highness Sergey Vladislav, Crown Prince of the Decados, Duke of Clarke

    Most esteemed Lord Archbishop Leonid Mirmah,

    We send you our most respectful greetings.

    You will have recently received a letter from our noble friend Duchess Eirrun Garatheade, expressing our concern about the recent development of Heresy in the Uyish archipelago, and declaring her intention to propose to you, jointly with ourselves, the establishment of the Order of the Eternal Wisdom, which, subject to your approval, will propagate the holy and eternal truth of the Pancreator throughout the southern seas, through gentle persuasion and through the teaching and catechism of the young.

    We praise and approve of your noble tolerance, and of your forbearance in inflicting death on your erring flock when they stray from the paths of truth. These virtues, tolerance and forbearance, seem to us among the greatest which the Pancreator can bestow on one of the shepherds of his flock. We do not doubt that, with the Pancreator's grace, his eternal truth may become ever more apparent among the lowly people of Clarke.

    In all such matters, the burden of our own views is the same as that of those expressed in the letter of Duchess Eirunn Garatheade, and we hope, upon our arrival at your archepiscopal seat, to expound and discuss all these matters more fully.

    ~ Sergey Vladislav, Crown Prince of the Decados, Duke of Clarke
     
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  10. spryllino

    spryllino Deity

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    From the office of Her Royal Majesty Krylova Vladislav, Archduchess of House Decados

    Fellow nobles, Dukes and Duchesses of Clarke,

    We have looked, with mounting dismay, at the propagation of heresy in the Uyish archipelago. This is a matter that causes us the greatest distress and concern, and which should not be allowed to thrive unchecked. For this reason, our son Sergey Vladislav, Duke of Clarke, together with the noble Duchess Eirrun Garatheade, will this year propose to the Lord Archbishop Leonid Mirmah the establishment of a holy Order, the Order of the Eternal Wisdom, so that, by gentle persuasion and the education of the young, sound doctrine may thrive among the lowly people of Clarke, and the doctrines of the Heretic may not thrive unimpeded.

    We desire and earnestly request of you, that you will support this endeavour, where it lies in your power to do so. It is not proposed that the Order will operate in the Wraubica islands, since in those regions no murmur of heresy has been heard. However, it is our hope that, from its headquarters in the lands of Houses Garatheade and Decados, the Order will operate throughout the Uyish and Awroth archipelagos. Therefore, it would greatly please us, and we would consider it a righteous act, if the noble Lords of Houses Eahibera and Gwung-lou would allow the Order of the Eternal Wisdom to conduct its holy work within your lands, subject to the laws and customs of your Houses. We invite these two Houses to send small teams of Observers, if they wish, to operate within the Order, who will be able to inspect and monitor its operations.

    We also wish to declare and make known, that in all matters concerning heresy we shall follow and support the judgement and decisions of the learned and noble Archbishop. In recent years the ecclesiastical and inquisitorial courts have been little active within our own domains; but, should the Archbishop instruct his authorities and courts to pursue heretics more vehemently, and to punish them with death, we shall never fail in the assistance which, as servants of the Pancreator, we are rightly bound to render.

    However, we also consider tolerance and forbearance, and a reluctance to use violence against his flock, to be great virtues in a prelate of the Universal Church. Indeed, we consider that the Archbishop's policy of tolerance is, upon the whole, a sound and proper one. We have long believed that, though one may kill an individual heretic with force, it is scarcely possible to kill an idea; often, it has happened that the very death of a heretic spurs their fellows to ever greater outrages, so that the heresy spreads ever more fiercely, like wildfire, through the people. Furthermore, it ever greatly distresses us to see one of our serfs, through an untimely death, deprived of the ability to reach - not, perhaps, through instant recantation, but through a longer period of reflection under the guidance of the Church - a sounder appreciation of truth, and a chance of final redemption. Therefore, although there may be many occasions on which the death of a heretic is necessary, and on which the Archbishop or the Avestites may be under the regrettable necessity of bringing it about, we consider it right and proper that the Archbishop should often exercise, or should instruct the ecclesiastical authorities and courts to exercise, judicious forbearance. The most proper and most effective means of quelling heresy, we believe, is through the propagation of sound doctrine; and this is what our son, Sergey, will be proposing to the Archbishop, through the founding of this new Order.

    We should briefly add that we do not think it right that we ourselves, or any other House in the southern seas, should take violent action against heretics, except as the Archbishop directs or requests. In Decados law, religious crimes such as heresy, which are crimes against the Pancreator and his Church, can only be tried by ecclesiastical courts, upon the instruction of the Archbishop or those acting on his name, or by inquisitorial courts instructed by the Avestites. Our royal judges, acting in our own name, are only considered competent to try secular crimes (including, naturally, those committed by heretics). Consequently, we consider that, for a person to be prosecuted on a charge of heresy, the initiative in the matter must come from the Church; our role as noble Houses is to facilitate the Church authorities' proceedings, and to provide assistance as requested, but not to take action where the Church itself does not. (We do, however, acknowledge and respect the fact that our legal systems may differ on this point. Under Li Halan law, we are given to understand, the profession of the Eurygnostic heresy is considered intrinsically to involve the secular crime of sedition against the Royal House, which is not the case under Decados law.)

    However, these are matters upon which our Houses may differ. On the essential point, we must all stand firm, uniting in support of the Archbishop and the Church, and acting with zeal in the name of the Pancreator and his eternal truth. We hope, therefore, that you will support the Order of the Eternal Wisdom in all it does, and we pray that the assistance of the Pancreator may be with us all.

    ~ Krylova Vladislav, Archduchess of House Decados
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
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  11. Zappericus

    Zappericus Euro scumbag

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    The Festival of Bountiful Harvests
    Qinjiau, Capital of House Gwung-Lou
    Southern Awroth - Mid-Autumn, 4801

    The port city of Qingjiau, strategically nested at the heart of southern Awroth's many chains of archipelagos. It was a gargantuan, glimmering and exotic sprawl of highrise towers and estates, various residential and mercantile districts, docks, vast fisheries and smog-spewing heavy industries composed of an oddly satisfying mix of both modern and traditional eastern architecture; all carved up by a mindboggling labyrinth of tightly packed streets and alleyways. Away from the shiny and beautiful center was a vast ever-expanding maze of makeshift, impoverished ghettos making up the common serf population. To ensure that the beauty of the city was not tarnished by this disgusting trash-pile, a tall security wall had been raised to shield and section off the city from the outer ghetto. This wall was outfited with heavy gun-towers, searchlights and a permanent guard garrison which constantly monitored the disheveled masses outside.

    Serfs were only granted access to the city as a way to reach their assigned factories and were always searched when passing the gated checkpoints by armed Gwung-Lou peace enforcers. After entering, they'd be escorted like cattle in groups at gunpoint until reaching their worksite, which was always fenced off and guarded to ensure that no one would try to leave beyond their stations.

    In Qingjiau there is truly never a dull moment. Ever. During daytime the city would be flowing with merchants trading in goods for coin, guildsmen striking deals and securing their profits, whilst endless rows upon rows of sot covered workers tended to the factories and workshops. But as night approached and good intent left the streets to sleep after a long day, less savoury individuals would spring out from the darkness, luring in the desperate and the lonely for cheap thrills and chemical bliss. For a price, of course.

    But today was different. Today was special.

    Indeed, for today marked this year's harvest festival in which peoples from all over would gather to witness and awe in the glorious displays of fireworks, pretty lightshows and parades the Gwung-Lou family would put on for them as a majestic gesture of personal power and wealth - and to a lesser degree: Their realm's great bounty and prosperity.

    As the streets far below bustled with the roars of the crowd, magical displays of bright lights and various groups of essentric performers, Zheng watched quietly over his domain from his wide and overlooking garden within the security of his estate. In the ball room within behind him mingled his members of court, lesser nobles and associates from all across the guild; dining on fine vintage wines, rice sakes, buttered Awrothan lobsters and fine-cut soy-marinaded pieces of Fleshflayer squid that - when having recently gorged itself fat on the fresh flesh and blood of another creature by wrapping its many razor-hooked tendrils around it, its meat would briefly turn plump, bright crimson in colour and gain a truly magnificent, savoury flavour. Fleshflayer newborns were preferred, as the plumpness and flavour were of a far greater quality than that of an adult specimen. And considering the immense size of these grotesque ocean-dwelling horrors when reaching adulthood - a child required far less "chum" to reach the proper cooking stage.

    And o' was it red, and o' was it young. Gwung-Lou prided itself with its wide access and stock of extravagant ocean cuisines and nothing short of perfect would make the cut, even if it meant sacrificing a few insignificant lessers to the creatures of the dark, crushing abyss. Why, they should be grateful. Their agonizing death would serve to nourish their superiors and liege-lord. What greater purpose would they else have been able to conjure in their dirty, poor and laughably pathetic existence?

    Aside from the fine dining, the Gwung-Lou estate was now full of exotic dancers that moved with alluring grace and finesse beyond obscene. Mountains of quality powders, vibrantly coloured auto-injectors and other means of chemical bliss and stimulants were also freely available, and handed out as if they were but simple cocktail sausages at a common freeman's pathetic barbeque. Zheng himself would never partake himself of course. After all, it is in poor taste for a supplier to indulge in his own supply. Neither did he drink. The duke knew far too well the potential risks and dangers that could come to pass when the mind has been meddled with.

    The church had a presence at the festival as well, preaching the word and light of the Pancreator and the eternal benevolence of their organization. A fine addition to maintain appearances Zheng thought as the skies lit up with bright lights of all colours. The nobles slipped out from their little piece of private reality to watch with the duke, although kept at a reasonable distance by his heavily blaster-armed and exoarmoured lifeguards. The booming and crackling of vibrant fireworks hushed out everything. The duke closed his eyes.

    Peace and prosperity indeed, he murmured under his breath. Then the man smiled.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2020
  12. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

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    To: His Grace the Archbishop Leonid Mirmah
    CC: Archduchess Decados and Duchess Garatheade.


    -

    The correction of heretics through sound doctrine, true piety and orthodox preaching is foremost amongst the duties of all the faithful. Hence we of course absolutely support the most excellent Lords proposal regarding the establishment of a holy order of preachers instituted with the errand of teaching the heretic the error of his ways that he repents and once more embraces the true faith. Indeed that our sincere letters have at last brought the houses of the south to address the issue of the heresy on Clarke brings nothing but joy to our heart.

    However his Grace the Archbishop certainly remembers his catechism regarding sin. First that the wages of sin is death, that is to say that eternal damnation awaits the sinner if he does not repent. Secondly that one can be culpable for the sin of others through nine means*. Of these nine, we are concerned that His Graces lack of punitive measures against the practice of heresy would constitute consent (Ergo if one has some power over the situation, and if one permits or approves or yields to the commission of the sin he is partially culpable for the moral guilt) and the omission of silence (If a person with great temporal authority or moral authority is in a position to stop a sin from happening, and yet stays silent and doesn’t get involved, then that may constitute participation in the sin committed). Paternal correction through the instrumentality of a preaching apostolate certainly would erase the stain of silence from the Archbishops conscience, yet if you do not ensure that those guilty of unrepentant heresy face the ecclesiastical tribunal and suppress the seditious actions against your rule in your own lands (do not forget these heretics have established an alternate hierarchy of bishops, and do not recognise orthodox episcopal authority, ergo Your authority, Your Grace) and treason against the same we fear, as we have with much candour written to you in the spirit of fraternal correction, that your charitable and compassionate policy towards your flock would become a vice. Indeed we believe it is imperative to curb the spread of heresy by any means inasmuch as it saves even one more soul from the fate of eternal perdition.

    Indeed mercy cannot be divorced from justice, and to neglect to institute the just penalty that unrepentant heresy merits in the name of mercy is like to meet with dangerous repercussions both spiritually in the souls of the unrepentant and temporally with the undermining of all our most sacred institutions and laws. To coddle sinful practices and to turn away step by step from the Pancreators Holy Will as a society is furthermore to begin once again to walk the same path that led the Old Republic to apostasy and ruin and to invoke the divine wrath upon us. Hence while the proposal of houses Decados and Garatheade is certainly praiseworthy ipso facto that any measure to correct the heretic is praiseworthy. We fear they err in suggesting that you do not suppress the growing rebellion in the Orthodox fiefs under your temporal jurisdiction, quite apart from what the noble Lords deem prudent regarding addressing the problem of heresy in their own lands and more broadly across Clarke.

    ~ Archduchess Naganaka Ichika

    -

    ooc translation: Supports the establishment of an order of preachers, disagrees with the noble houses assertion that the Archbishop should not forcibly suppress heresy in his own lands (apart from what is prudent in the rest of Uyish) firstly because the same heresy constitutes sedition and treason against him (as they do not recognise his episcopal authority in favour or the Eudaezian council of bishops) and secondly on moral grounds.

    -

    * The nine means are as follows. (editted in since I didn't have time to add it when I was rushing out to work this morning)
    1. counsel
    2. command
    3. consent
    4. provocation
    5. praise or flattery
    6. concealment
    7. partaking
    8. silence
    9. the defense of the ill done
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2020
  13. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

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    Emperor of the Fading Suns

    Turn 2- 4802 by Terran Calendar

    Byzantium Secondus

    Incarnate Preachers (4802)

    Archbishop Quelus Haventi and High Inquisitor David Ghul continue to work very closely together with the Orthodox archbishop offering material support to the Red Robed inquisitors who in turn continue to investigate across Byzantium Secondus widel. The inquisitors are not subtle, conducting kidnappings under the dead of night and breaking down doors, flame-throwers in hand, to deliver purification and holy purity to the incarnates as they hide in their blasphemous holes. Where minor nobility (or simply more influential freemen) are concerned, the Orthodoxy offers a trial, or at least the pretense thereof. David Ghul’s investigators are rapidly losing the support of the people as fear, terror and ash trails in their wake and the opportunity for political revenge (or revenge in love or whatever else) wanes and fear of the flame waxes.

    Ultimately, these attacks, potentially led by the Church spies are much more accurate than they have been in the years past and incarnate heretics are finding it more and more difficult to avoid discovery and capture. At the same time, the political pressure on the nobles to support the hunt is increasing as the priests of both denominations are including a call to action in weekly sermons, specifically detailing how local minor and Major House nobles can assist in the hunt. One of the few to pre-empt that call are the D’Glace.

    Within the D’Glace fiefdoms, Angelique D’Glace coordinates directly with Archbishop Quelus Haventi’s investigation, providing intelligence and administrative support and providing material support to investigations, trials, and punishments, executing a number of D’Glace serfs and even minor nobles found guilty of heresy. Despite this punitive action, by cooperating with the Orthdoxy directly, the D’Glace have been able to avoid the worst of the mob aggression whipped up by inquisitor witch-hunts and widespread fear and panic that comes with their dead of night kidnappings.

    Adaeze and her disciples aren’t finished though, their message continuing to find fertile ground, especially in regions where the Avestite have been particularly aggressive as their message simplifies simply to death by fire, or our loving simplicity. The message, anti-corruption, direct connection to the Pancreator, is a powerful one and the appeal of their message is not losing any momentum.

    As an interesting aside, the inquisitors are making enemies of many, including those armed with lasguns and on an increasing number of occasions, these fearsome warriors of god are ambushed by criminals, lasguns striking from allies or rooftops and igniting fueltanks, delivering the inquisitors to the Pancreator in purifying fire.

    +legitimacy D’Glace, -influence all other houses with presence on Byzantium Secondus

    Proscription Flaunted (4802)

    Well-armed criminals are growing more and more aggressive, launching attacks not only on wealthy freeman but on isolated estates of minor nobility and against the Authority guildhouses and warehouses. Despite police action, it is clear that the cheap lasguns continue to flood the market, their numbers increasing and their presence increasingly common. Isolated noble guards are occasionally overrun, their charges killed and looted and this is doing much to encourage further and bolder attacks even as some of the criminals are stopped or executed. Some houses respond with force however.

    Duke Averi leads House Hawkwood’s effort to establishing security by instilling security checkpoints, patrols, curfews and random searches. In the short-term this leads to violent confrontation with well-armed gangs and the death of several Hawkwood soldiers but within a few months many of the criminal elements seem to leave the Hawkwood fiefdoms or at least make their activities more subtle. As a result of the increased local security a number of freeman businesses move into Averi’s administrative region, taking advantage of the local law and order to conduct their affairs in relative safety.

    House Decados’s Byzantium Duke, Karl Vladislav, leads an effort to hunt the well-armed criminals, taking a page from the Averi playbook and setting up checkpoints and patrols to limit the distribution and spread of these weapons in the Decados fiefdom. Ultimately this does lead to criminal elements avoiding the Decados fiefdoms in favor of other, less well-defended regions.

    Jose Marcado, second son to the Hazat throne, leads a security operation within the Hazat fiefdoms, employing the Bureaucrat guildsmen to assist him. Unfortunately, his attention soon turns to pursuing a vendetta with a minor noble’s son for some slight incurred at a recent kite-fighting expedition put on for the local Hazat court. Ultimately the vendetta ends in a duel and the death of the minor noble, cementing the honor of Jose Marcado even as security operations languish. Ultimately, despite himself, Duke Marcado is able to initiate some limited patrols and checkpoints to limit the activity of the well-armed criminals operating in his fiefdom, though these are of relatively limited scope and scale at present.

    +influence Hawkwood, Decados, Hazat Great City, - legitimacy and influence all other houses

    Other News

    o Oguzhan Azhgeya, the Azgheya Duke of Byzantium Secondus organizes the transfer of serf volunteers from the overcrowded slums of the Byzantium Secondus fiefdom to Herbert where they join the ranks of those working in the Azgheya oil industries.

    o Rogi Rémillard, keen to solve the food and energy issues of the Rémillard fiefdom follows the example set by the al-Malik vassals of House Shinna and launches a colonizing expeition into the floodlands, occupying, stabilizing, repairing some of the more intact high-rises poking from the polluted floodwaters. From here he establishes water purification and aquaculture operations, using primitive solar and tidal harness energy capture technologies to empower these efforts.

    May

    The cinders float serenely on the wind.
    Gently they alight, red moths, on black ash.


    Other News

    o The Beaulne dynasty has abandoned the traditional D’Glace fiefdom to the minor nobility. With Charlotte Beaulne focused on Asssimov, there is no on from the Beaulne dynasty to lead the ancestral fiefdom, the matron Charlotte Beaulne herself having no heir. It is said that the minor nobility are jockeying amongst themselves for power and position. If they can coalesce under new leadership and convince the military to support them while the house matron is away, her return may be more problematic than expected.

    o Duchess Shekhis, vassal to house Azgheya contracts the Prospector’s guild to assist in expanding mining operations within her ancestral fiefdom, founding two new mining villages on promising iron ore veins and importing guild machinery as well as organizing her own serf’s construction to expand mineral production. Smelting and processing operations are similarly expanded. It is said that Cevher Azgheya spends the summer season with the duchess, assisting where he can but generally seemingly finding little reason to accompany her to the new villages or smelting operations.

    o Anya Valushnya leads her house in developing coal-mining operations within the fiefdom, expanding their capacity to recover this precious burning stone for both domestic and foreign markets.

    Assimov

    Xyall Beast Raids (4802)

    The Xyall beasts attacks on the Inland Sea region continue, with a particular focus on the fiefdoms of the Decados, D’Glace, and House Vaureliel. The beasts attack do not abet with the passing of the long night, using their camouflage to creep through crops and ditches, along rooftops and in alleyways, seemingly learning to avoid the guns of the soldiers, and striking where soldiers are not in greater numbers and with more coordination than previously observed. They also attack soldiers’ barracks directly, sneaking into compounds (not always successfully) to attack the soldiers while they rest. The effects on the morale of the people and the soldiers cannot be overstated and panic is rife throughout the fiefdoms.

    House Rémillard is there to lend a hand to its vassal, dispatching both Paul Rémillard himself who seems to be leading a trade contingent, and General Maurice Rémillard, who coordinates with Duchess Danielle Vaureliel in leading the Vaureliel rangers as well as their regular forces. Despite valiant defensive efforts and the strategic insight of the House Rémillard general, House Vaureliel loses several villages and two developed towns. Its armed forces are appearing increasingly thin and demoralized.

    House Decados is at the heart of the Xyallbeast attacks, suffering near constant infiltration and ambushes despite significant investment in defenses. Thankfully general Iosif Mikoyah is there in person to lead defensive operations, organizing serfs to build ditches, palisades, and watchtowers, etc. A propaganda campaign to motivate the serfs is launched, which isn’t really required because if the serfs don’t defend themselves it is very clear they will be dragged into the jungle and eaten. Ultimately however, the numbers and the ferocity of the Xyallbeast attacks is too much and multiple hamlets are overrun and many a soldier slain.

    House D’Glace would have been overrun this year had it not been for the military support of the Decados and Vaureliel Houses. House matron, Charlotte Beaulne arrives in March (terran calendar), six months after her last visit, having sped back to May, loaded the House freighter with supplies and soldiers and returned as quickly as she could, to find devastation and ruin, with much of the colony overrun and just at tiny toehold remaining where her Grimson legions have been able to establish a small secure green zone. Unloading her infantry, led by General Édouard Allard, House D’Glace is able to reclaim more territory but by the end of the year, very little has changed with the colonists trapped behind tall walls and men with guns while beyond, the alien other waits to strike at any moment. Thankfully however, Beaulne is able to complete a command and control center for her nobles to operate from, and this may at least make colony management easier.

    The Al-Malik colony, distant from the D’Glace, Decados, and Vaureliel, is perhaps luckier, suffer much fewer attacks. Despite this, Sabiira Rashid, Duchess of the burgeoning colonial effort, orders the training and outfitting of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, importing a massive number of guns through the Coachmen in exchange for food and exotic imports. When the Xyall beasts come, she is ready with more firepower than any other House on Assimov and able to hold her own against the alien tide. At the same time, she also uses some of the Coachmen imports to improve her colonial offices to proper noble estates, attracting minor nobles and improving her command and management infrastructure.

    (to varying degrees: -influence, all houses with influence on inland sea, -food, energy, materials, exotics, inland sea)

    Other News

    o Annemijn Van Dijk, vassal to House Van Gelder faces relatively little attacks by the Xyall beasts, their fiefdoms primarily in the deep jungle and far from the focus of the Xyall attention. Duke Van Dijk, recognizing the needs for building materials, turns to the jungle for lumber, developing lumber recovery and processing facilities this year and improving their capacity to generate raw production materials.

    Clarke

    Religious Palavar (4802)

    The tolerance of Archbishop Leonid Mirmah proves to be a trigger for a major division both within the clergy and within the wider religious laity with many falling within the Mirmah camp and advocating for reconciliation, education, and forgiveness (where possible) and others, led by Father Tang Juntasa, Bishop of the Li Halan Eparchy advocating for a much harder line.

    Mirmah makes it clear that he will not forgive incarnate missionaries or those who prove unrepentant but simultaneously calls for the clergy to reject corruption and remember their vows of humility and service and for both clergy and laity to seek to forgive their errant brothers and to win them back to the Church through patience, good works and gentle reminders of the Church’s teachings. Bishop Tang Juntasa advocates for a much harder response, a traditional one that involves Avestite inquisitors, trials, and purging fire.

    Within the fiefdom of the Eahibera, the role of hypocrisy and corruption by the clergy in dissuading the lay faithful is the subject of attention by the House’s leadership, Céleste Eahibera. She meets repeatedly with clergy loyal to Archbishop Mirmah, sharing with them reports of inappropriate use of funds or abuse of influence and advocating for corrective action. Mirmah is only too eager to make use of the information, replacing many of the Eahibera priests charged with corruption with priests loyal to his vision of tolerance and at least not too overtly corrupt.

    Eirrun Garetheade spends the year at the Planetary See meeting the major political influencers within the Orthodox church and advocating for Mirmah’s vision with undecided clergy and supporting the vision of the Order of Eternal Wisdom being proposed by the Decados. Garetheade is a competent political lobbyist and her influence and resources are soon reflected in the discussions taking place within the seminary hallways and in weekly sermons.

    The Decados, led by the heir to the house, Sergey Vladislav, lead a domestic effort to found a holy brotherhood, the Order of Eternal Wisdom, managed by lay nobles. The Order of Eternal Wisdom is dedicated to tolerance, non-violence and education of Orthodox teachings. They initiate the construction of a capital chapterhouse (which remains incomplete) while joining with Garetheade in advocating the establishment of chapterhouses within the various fiefdoms and gaining direct support from the Orthodoxy.

    Despite all these efforts, the hardliners are not to be outdone and they have invited the Avestites to assist them in seeking heretics throughout the planet, focusing particularly in the southern hemisphere. The avestites are obviously unwelcome by many, their flame-throwers not always as specifically targeted as many would like. They are not nearly as forgiving and take advantage of the culture and teachings of tolerance to identify incarnates that would otherwise hide themselves more carefully, infiltrating their missionary work and brining holy flame to the blasphemous.

    Within the Church, the division is growing more and more into open fracture and it remains to be seen how Patriach St. Rami Sanya will respond to Mirmah’s teachings of tolerance.

    -influence Orthodoxy, +influence heresy, southern hemisphere regions

    Grey Manta Pirates of the Typhoon Seas (4802)

    After seemingly taking a year to allow police pressure to dissipate, the Grey Manta are active again this year, striking at the inter-island shipping of the Garetheade, Gwung-Lou, Eahibera, and even the Orthodoxy. While in most cases the pirates are able to strike, seize loot, and disappear, the Gwung-Lou are reporting more luck, having successfully engaged the pirates in a high-speed firefight before finally losing them in the deeper seas between Awroth and Uyish. Similarly the Church fleet was able to intercept the Gray Manta but lost the pirates when these fled to deeper waters in their generally faster ships.

    While the Li Halan are not affected directly, having minimal trade relative in the southern hemisphere relative to the extensive domestic shipping of the houses of those archipelagos, a planned exchange of resource between that house and the Gwung-Lou is ultimately abandoned due the intercept of this rather significant Gwung-Lou shipment by the Grey Manta.

    Near the end of the year, the Brother’s Battle orbital fleet consisting of several escort ships and a half-dozen drop infantry, as well as a freighter providing logistic support, all led by the elite order of the Templars of the Faithful Celestium, arrive in orbit over the planet.

    - planetary resources for listed Houses, -legitimacy for Hawkwood and D’Glace (failure to protect vassals)

    Other News

    o Upon hearing news of the pirate attack upon the incoming Gwung-Lou trade shipment, Li Halan Matron Naganaka Ichika focuses her efforts instead on domestic development, developing industrial development, mining, and expanded agricultural investments in Awroth.

    o Zheng Gwung-Lou leads the development of domestic development within that House’s fiefdom, clearing lands in the upland hills and mountains for a new mining village and establishing a new fishing village along the shore.

    o Naganaka Akari, heir to the Li Halan throne, initiates a wide program of medical clinics to support the serfs, freemen, and minor nobility of the House. By virtue of the massive populations they serve, the clinics are soon at capacity. Despite this, the common view is increasingly that the Li Halan nobility are truly the servants of the Pancreator, bringing his benevolence to all reaches of their fiefdoms.

    o Li Halan conduct wargames, focusing on amphibious operations with orbital support. The Li Halan battleship launches orbit to ground kinetic weaponry at unpopulated islands at the fringes of the Awroth peninsula as part of this exercise. For many, it is a very clear message regarding Li Halan patience and the growing presence of incarnate heresy on the planet.

    o General Helrik Vidar, brother to the throne of House Hawkwood and High Knight of its forces travels to Clarke where he assist Duke Eirrun Garetheade in the training of local forces and even expands planetary defenses, investing particularly in an expanded navy.



    Herbert

    Tales of Buried Artifacts (4802)

    When the Azgheya army sets out into the desert, trailing a long umbilicus of baggage trains and support logistics, much of it water, few doubt their destination and the site of the ‘Riah Hariqa artifact’ soon becomes widely known. At the same time, negotiations between the Azgheya and Riah Hariqa results in the sale of the nomads’ rights to the artifact (for whatever that is worth, since there is no real definition, legally, of ‘finders’ rights) to their more urbanized brethren the Azgheya for a significant number of horses, goats, camels, and sturdy desert cattle, significantly increasing their herd sizes and the wealth of these nomadic people. Very soon, enriched, the Riah Hariqa disperse into the desert from which they came.

    The Azgheya army forms up within the deep equatorial desert, patrolling their logistics very carefully and making full use of the Sun-Bleached, teams of desert-born and desert-trained House Azgheya rangers to secure their logistics and communications, fully aware of how deadly the desert can be without these critical support. They establish improvised fortresses, ditches, and barbwire around a 15km square area in the seemingly blisteringly hot and inhospitable middle of nowhere.

    Shortly thereafter, the al-Malik military also gets involved, perhaps following the Azgheya military. Initially the al-Malik numbers are greater than the Azgheya but the Azgheya, their Kizmet intelligence services giving them eyes on local mobilizations, quickly react by ordering further reinforcements of their numbers. Upon the al-Malik military’s arrival amongst observers and rumor-mongers, there are tales that not all shimmering ‘heat haze’ in the desert sun are mirages and that the al-Malik Iridescent knights, in their ‘blur suits’ keep careful watch over the coming and goings of the Azgheya at the site.

    The Agichi, vassals to house Li Halan, are not to be outdone, though arrive sometime later as they have awaited instruction from the Li Halan homeworld of Clarke. The Agichi arrive in similar numbers to the al-Malik.

    Finally, also present are the holy monks of the Brothers Battle, and although only present in very limited numbers, are led by the famously deadly Monastic Brotherhood of the Five Sacred Forms, elite soldiers who are said to have as tranquil a mind as they do a steady and unflinching rho shields.

    And so, deep in the desert, far from water or food or even shade, the three armies stare unflinching at one-another, not sure what to make of the stand-off. The artifacts themselves are soon revealed to be mostly buried urban ruins of the Grand Republican era, though only the Azgheya are able to gain direct access with their soldiers controlling access to the ruins themselves.

    All the major houses are claiming the Church as their ally, with the Azgheya requesting the orthodoxy to join them in blessing any potential technology they may find, assuming it not of a heretical nature, the Agichi in close discussion with the Brother’s battle, and the al-Malik opening stating that they will work with the Church to ensure no unholy blasphemies fall into the hands of the unworthy (presumably meaning either the church or maybe themselves?). Finally, perhaps attracted by rumors of heretical artifacts, Avestite red-robed inquisitors have been spotted amongst the armies of the Agichi, though it is clear the later did not invite them.

    Rumors of Scaver interest continue to swirl though these, if present, do not show themselves openly. It remains to be determined who will control the Grand Republic era ruins and what treasures, if any, they may hold.


    The Drumbeat of Herbert’s Sirocco (4802)

    Following on their very clear threats of the year past, the Hazat demand the surrender of the Io-Ian. The latter, knowing their military forces are both quantitatively and qualitatively inferior to those of the Hazat, and hearing nary a dissenting voice from the Al-Malik, Azgheyi or other Houses of Herbert recognize that they have no real option but to surrender. And so, despite the absence of a real causus belli (though with excellent propaganda), and without a shot being fired, the Hazat are able to force the surrender of House Io-Ian and reduce them to a Hazat tributary.

    Mok Io-Ian, ruler of the Io-Ian and his heir Tan Io-Ian, attend Hazat Izan Marcado at their palace in southern Herbert and ceremoniously offer their swords to the latter to jubilant cheers of the Hazat serfs and nobility alike. The festival continues far beyond the palace with a week of celebration prescribed by the Hazat and the granaries and foodstores open to all in celebration of the might of the Great House.

    While Tan Io-Ian remains a ‘guest’ of the Hazat heir Ronan Marcado at the royal palaces, General Raphael Evuardo establishes barracks and logistic infrastructure to maintain Hazat soldiers within the territories of the Io-Ian on a permanent basis. Once these are in place, Tan Io-Ian returns to his homelands and Ronan Marcado makes a great tour of the Io-Ian minor nobility, where as with his visit to the Herbert Orthodoxy, his unrefined and often crude personality make him an unpopular visitor. Despite this, he represents the new power of the fiefdoms and his visits are seen as an unpleasant but necessary path to relevance for the minor Io-Ian nobles.

    +popular trait Izan Marcado, General Raphael Evuardo, +legitimacy (a lot of legitimacy!) Hazat, +influence Hazat, southern savannah, - legitimacy Io-Ioan, -influence Io-Ian southern savannah

    Other News

    o Cevikar Azgheya, lord of House Azgheya focuses on welcoming the immigrant-colonists from Byzantium Secondus who have abandoned the cramped slums of that planet to take on the challenge of homesteading in the Azgheya fiefdom frontiers. Many are not well suited to shepherding or farming and instead take positions at the Azgeyha oil wells and refineries, which Lord Cevikar Azgheya is able to expand significantly this season. A major investor in the Azgheya oilfied is Anas Raschid, lord of House Al-Malik who is able to accelerate development considerably through investments of both labor and, more importantly, a significant amount of specialized industrial machinery. By the end of the year, the joint oilfields are significant expanded, particularly in the northern equatorial region.

    o Jan-Dirk Van Syth also invests in oil field development, expanding his fiefdom beyond the polar sea into the northern reaches of the great dessert. Van Syth coordinates with the alchemist guild, paying a premium, but managing to develop modern oil wells and transportation infrastructure to get the oil back to new refineries also developed in coordination with the Alchemists guild.

    o Lyndis Ooray, heir to the Ooray throne, engages in a large-scale trade operation with the Coachmen, spending significant time and trading huge volumes with the guildsmen of the agora.


    Watts


    Dreams of Imcinkyl Return (4802)

    Shadowy Rémillard activities continue this year with the ‘Conteurs’, House Rémillard spies, particularly active at Rémillard court and among the minor nobility, the scale of their activities making complete subtly impossible. What they are seeking to accomplish is not clear.

    Other News

    o A violent and early fall soon turn into a particularly storm-heavy early winter and tunnels that have remained open for decades are soon collapsed and the paths between the forests overcome by avalanche. Throughout the northern hemisphere, an unseasonably fierce winter leads to loss of life, resources, and infrastructure for the Lojan and Remillard.

    o Ulf Vidar, heir to the House Hawkwood throne, organizes a significant expansion of the Hawkwood fiefdoms of Veflyn, with a particular focus on mining operations, transport infrastructure, foundries, and especially engines and armament manufacture. The bastion of knightly chivalry is now, more than ever, ready to bring justice to the worlds’ villains!

    o Admiral Snorri Averi, grand commander of House Hawkwood space fleet, conducts a series of drills and exercises focusing on the deployment of drop infantry using the carrier aerospace fighters as a screen. The renown Knights of the Lion Banner, favorites of the serfs, draw crowds of proud peasantry as they alight in their gleaming red and golden ceramasteel armor, great metallic wings humming and sizzling in the air with the heat of atmospheric re-entry and spent jetfuel.

    o Duchess Sam Lojan, vassal to House Li Halan spends the year expanding her fiefdom with a particular focus on mining, industrial production, and expanded fur trade.

    o Nabiya ibn-Rahiman, loyal vassal to house Al-Malik continues the expansion of mining and industrial operations within the ibn-Rahiman fiefdom.

    o Raúl Amontillado expands farming operations on the ancestral family fiefdoms of Western Veflyn.

    o House Dulcinea, vassals of House Hazat, continue their focus on artistry and craftsmanship, initiating a wide-scale artistic sponsorship program that reaches across all of Clarke and sees many artists and craftsmen flock to the Dulcinea fiefdom.


    Memorium

    The winds blow over a scorched radioactive wasteland.



    Guild of Leagues Diplomacy:

    We have completed the construction of a new freighter and are establishing a new trade route between Leagueheim and a food-rich world. We are looking to import (food) and can offer (comms or industry).

    We have one (stealthcraft) available for purchase this year. The minimum bid is 550 raw resources.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2020
  14. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

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    Not Lying through my teeth


    Shaddam, Seat of the Hazat
    Shaddam is an ancient city partially built into a large cave structure, extending deep underground. If legends are true, the city once contained a large Republican aerospaceport for launching of military vessels, although no evidence of such a past now remains centuries after Pralaya's legendary conflict with the Grand Republic.

    Shaddam is by all accounts, a beautiful city and a center for Hazat culture (if there is, indeed, such a thing). Its many tunneled walkways, throughfares, and streets prove surprisingly easy to navigate and well lit at all times of the day. Visitors to the city are entreated to sights of many monuments, murals, and parkways all celebrating past Hazat victory, such as the successful Marcado coup over the Amari dynasty few centuries ago. Bounty from the Hazat's vast holdings are available for easy purchase here, and the air is often filled with smell of cooking and the sound of joy and celebration.

    The Hazat Palace of Glory is the shining, noble jewel of Shaddam located at its citadel, carving itself out of the side of a mountain and into the sky. It is said that the first Marcado Novarch of the Hazat created this palace so that all may gaze upon it in amazement. To see such elegance enshrined here gives hope to the poor and lowly alike.

    The rarest of the luxuries of the known world gather in the Palace of Glory. Anything may be procured here. The Hazat Izan works tirelessly to maintain good relations with the Guild to enable such splendor. It is no wonder that his subjects offer up the bounties of their land so freely.



     
  15. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

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    From the Hazat Izan
    To the Guild

    We are willing to establish such a trade route at 6.5 food to 1 industry exchange rate.
     
  16. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
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    DIPLOMATIC LETTERS - 4802 A.D.

    -

    @thomas.berubeg @ork75

    To: Archdukes Azgheya and Al-Malik and Their Graces the Archbishop of Herbert and the Grand Master of the Brothers Battle


    My Lords,

    The staring contest over the republican ruins is of little benefit to any side, and it would seem that we all desire the same holy end. That is to say the removal of any dangerous artifacts from unworthy hands and the same artifacts proper assessment and if necessary destruction under ecclesiastical authority should they prove corrupt and dangerous to the good of Herbert. We propose therefore honorable brethren that the task of unearthing what remains to be found in the ruins uncovered by the Riah Hariqa nomads becomes a collective one. For as it stands this stand-off in the sands is to the detriment of us all, after all our energies are better directed towards improving the prosperity of the planet than probing each others weaknesses.

    I propose therefore that a combined team under the mutual oversight of the Al-Malik, Azgheya and Agichi houses oversee the excavation of the ruins. While the honourable brothers battle provide security to the site itself to prevent unwanted scavengers from stealing any scraps should a momentary lapse occur. Concurrently the entire endeavour ought to be under the oversight of His Grace the Archbishop through the instrumentality of the Avestite order to ensure that no party to such a collective and noble endeavour as we propose falls to to the siren song of heresy and removes a dangerous artifact from legitimate oversight for their own advantage.

    Regarding spoils, any technological artifact of a questionable nature ought to be sequestered by the Orthodox see as is only right and proper in these matters. Regarding other resources as may be uncovered, in our opinion a legitimate and equitable division between our three honourable houses and the order of the brothers battle ought to be arranged. We suggest an equal distribution of a quarter part of any resources extracted from the site to each party is fair and reasonable.

    Let us transform this unfortunate standoff into a beacon of noble cooperation, a rebuke to the heretic and an example to the commons. Let us reject in turn the path of war and an unseemly battle over the scraps a lost age.

    Yours Faithfully.

    Duke Agichi Ho of Herbert.

    -

    ooc translation: Proposes a co-operative excavation of the republican ruins overseen by the Church rather than potentially having the situation degenerate into open battle between the nobility.

    -

    @Crezth @Kyzarc Fotjage @Zappericus

    To: Archduchess Krylova Vladislav; Duchess Eirrun Garatheade, Duke Zheng Gwung-Lou and Duke Eahibera.
    CC: His Grace the Archbishop of Clarke, Archduke Hawkwood, Archduchess D'Glace and Duke Evuardo.

    Most Eminent Sovereigns

    Per the agreements signed between House Li Halan and Houses Decados and Gwung-lou, our house is treaty-bound to refrain from major military operations in Awrothi waters to further inhibit the scourge of piracy. Further, on grounds of tradition and customary law, it would be in-politic to engage in such operations in the domains of the Uyishi houses which to date have not entered an agreement with us regarding the use of our forces in their waters in anti-piracy operations, lest our intentions be misinterpreted as hostile (indeed this is why we requested sanction from your houses in this matter to begin with).

    Furthermore, it has become clear over the last two years that while our trade convoys with Awroth have to date remained adequately protected by our own forces, extending our operations to protect the merchant-marine of your houses as well as that of the Orthodox see after this resurgence of piracy (after last year saw relative peace thanks to our actions) in perpetuum is untenable of our own power alone. The problem is simply too widespread, and given the lack of cooperation from other houses in enabling our forces to act in their waters we do not have the means to quench this fire at its source. After all this piracy is based in the south, not in our jurisdiction.

    We therefore request firstly that Houses Garatheade and Eahibera avail of the offer we have made previously in good faith and advise us both of what terms of agreement would be acceptable to them in legally permitting House Li Halan to assist in Uyishi waters (as Houses Decados and Gwung-lou have on Awroth) and what level of actual engagement would be desired by them. Secondly we would urge all houses to take further measures to quell piracy in the coming years and to deploy their forces proactively with the aim of suppressing the piracy rather than merely defending their direct interests from it. It is clear that only a coordinated and collaborative effort will be effectual in the long term with putting an end to this menace on the high seas and we maintain our belief that it is in our common interest to do just that.

    Yours faithfully

    Her Gracious Majesty, Archduchess Naganaka Ichika of House Li Halan - Duchess of Clarke and Matriarch of House Li Halan.

    -

    ooc translation: Please take some action to quell piracy and further in the cases of the Crezth and Kyzarc do note what terms you are prepared to accept when it comes to Li Halans anti-piracy measures as they pertain to Uyish. (terms in line with what was agreed with Spry and Zapp would be good as a minimum)
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2020
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  17. spryllino

    spryllino Deity

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    My dear Archduchess Naganaka Ichika, and fellow Dukes and Duchesses of Clarke, we are most distressed by the depredations of the pirates, which have grown to levels not seen before. However, we are much occupied with the dangerous state of affairs on Assimov, and our attention and resources are so constrained by this that it is unlikely to be within our means to undertake any extensive action on Clarke this year, beyond the protection of our own waters and merchant marine. We wish and sincerely pray that the Church and the Houses of the Uyish archipelago may have success in dealing with this severe and growing threat to Clarke's shipping.

    ~ Krylova Vladislav, Archduchess of House Decados
     
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  18. Zappericus

    Zappericus Euro scumbag

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    To all the esteemed houses of the Known Worlds,

    Lords and ladies, the Duke of Gwung-Lou has fallen gravely ill and we lack the means and knowledge to treat him. Without urgent medical aid, he will surely perish. We call out for the assistance of anyone willing to answer our call. We are also prepared to pay a hefty sum (of 100 mats) to anyone capable of treating him - should they succeed.

    - House Gwung-Lou
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2020
  19. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

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    Comprehensive Anti-Piracy Agreement.

    House Li Halan
    declares that it has agreed with House Garatheade that House Li Halan may escort its merchant marine through its territorial waters in the Uyish Archipelago, and that a comprehensive military partnership has been established for the suppression of piracy where our forces shall conduct joint military operations and engage in information sharing with the aim of preserving the peace of Clarke and building closer ties between our two great houses.

    -

    signed and sealed - Archduchess Naganaka Ichika of House Li Halan.
     
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  20. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    signed - Lady Eirrun Garatheade, the Duke Garatheade of Clarke
     
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