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[FFH] The Sinister Svartalfar

Lone Wolf

Dec 4, 2006
Summer has come, and with it, another one of my stories. Emperor, Classical start, no vassal states. My usual style.

The land, long covered in snow, had recently woken up from its slumber. The Dark Elves, long
forced to make their meagre living in freezing cold, are beginning to set up the beginnings of large, forested cities. They are led by Queen Faeryl Viconia, who is famous for her beauty, paranoia and xenophobia. She thinks that the Svartalfar, ruled by her, should dominate Erebus, just like she rules over Svartalfar.

Desert lies to the west of our land.

Faeryl didn't like the leader of these self-righteous desert scum at all. Unlike the elegant pale skin of her people, their skin was dirty and dark. They scoffed at the elegance of Svartalfar buildings, on the art of deception and treachery the Dark Elves value so much. She plans for the desert people to be on the receiving end of the Svartalfar treachery one day.

Our civics.

Our scouts are infected by a horrid disease. Guess that's what you get when you explore too close to the land of Kane's desert scorpions.

Spectres, as usual. They are dealt with Warriors. The Dark Elves don't fear any creatures, since they know of the arcane mastery of their Queen.

Esus is the patron god of our people, but until we research the ways to follow him, Leaves is fine enough.

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We meet the Sidar. They are a strange, shadowy people. Faeryl doesn't really know what to do with them. They seems to like deception - that may make our people similar, but it also involves hidden dangers. Finally, Faeryl decides that the Sidar are only imitators of the Svartalfar.

The Dwarves. Homely, inelegant people. One of the best proof of the inferiority of everyone who isn't Svartalfar.

We practice our deception. We see a Lion with a Hidden Nationality that was obviously just captured by a Malakim Hunter. Our Scout with Subdue Animals attacks it, captures it, and declares nationality, making it impossible for the Malakim to gain the Lion back without a declaration of war. Even honest means can serve deceptive ends.

Faeryl orders her people to find a city upstream.

Unfortunately, our Lion is destroyed by a Lizardman.

The Vampires. They might have a certain elegance, but the Dark Elves are still superior. We are born with innate superiority - we don't need any bloodsucking rituals to achieve it.

Our nation needs to deal with an annoying Goblin kingdom next to the border.

As our Hunters pillage the Goblin capital, Giant Spiders and Orcs suddenly attack us. It's quite surprising. Faeryl certainly wouldn't have thought that brutish race capable of such a deception. We defeat and capture the Spider, but one of the Orc units defeats a unit of our Hunters before retreating. Another Hunter becomes Withered while destroying the Goblin lair.

An affluent Svartalfar noble gives all money to Faeryl after death.

Faeryl values good minds and research. She has ordered a sage to found an academy in Thariss.

The empire. Also, these desert nomads had developed the most disgusting religion on Erebus - a self-righteous religion that preaches "truth and justice". Of course, truth and justice are always just concepts to deceive the fools. Faeryl knows that well. But she is not a fool.

We continue our research on the Recon line.

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:culture: Do-do-do-do-do-do sub-scribed! :culture:
By the way, the other settings are ErebusContinent, No Hyborem or Basium for a change.

The Malakim prove that they lack any nobility of character by begging for handouts. They are met with a resolute refusal to engage in their extortions.

A traveller writes a book, characterizing the Svartalfar armed forces as "puny". That's an insult, but on the other hand, if other peoples consider our forces puny, we've succeeded in deceiving them.

Our empire expands.After KotE, we start researching Poison.

These Orc barbarian workers are easily enslaved by our Hunters.

The Sidar, however, we are willing to trade with.

Our first Adepts graduate from our academies. They are skilled in the arts of inspiration (+ 2 beakers, +1 Great Sage GPP).

More trading with Shekinah. The Sidar are very interested in following in our footsteps.

As years pass by, we advance our magical knowledge. Only then our mastery of magic can dominate Erebus.

Flauros has his instincts dulling. He allows his cities to be captured by the barbarians. We recapture it, of course.

Enchancement mana make our people happy.

The Svartalfar are the most powerful nation when it comes to the arcane mastery.

Every nation on Erebus has their assasins. But only we have whole institutions of learning dedicated to that noble and graceful art.

This, however, is not good.

We meet the northern barbarians who also follow Empyrean. They emphasis the "Honor" aspects of the religion.I guess that's preferable to the unbearable self-righeousness of the Malakim.

A Great Sage researches Divination.

Kane is really insolent. We tell him that our nation will not allow such blackmailing, and he declares war.

The Sidar continue to be our allies. They are, apparently, at war with the northern barbarians.

Priestly forces of Kane assault our ancient forests (Solar Vicars are just a Malakim replacement for Vicars in my personal mod. They posess with not only Divine, but also Arcane SunI and SunII spheres. The Malakim Wordspell, however, grants them default Vicars).

Treants spawn in our shadowy forests to protect them from the Malakim burning sun.

Our Rangers, with their thin, sharp blades, run circles around clumsy Malakim Radiant Guards.

The bulk of Malakim forces attack our capital, but are decisively repulsed.

We have repelled the assault. Time to go on the offensive.

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Faeryl was sitting on her throne. Her black locks were carefully arranged around her head. She knew that her beauty can be easily used as a weapon against the other nations' ambassadors - and if that weapon fails, there're a hundred assassins hidded in her palace, after all.

Her next audience was with the Doviello ambassador. She despised the wolf-people's straighforward style, and something told her that today, the wolfman will be especially insolent.

Faeryl's instincts turned out to be right. They usually were.

"O Winter queen", began the Doviello in a coarse tone, "the noble warriors of the North have a request from you. You must reveal us the secrets of Animal Handling, for Lugus values openness, honesty and truth".

The Svartalfar queen thought about the wolfman's request. It was insolent and disrespectful, true. But now, when her realm is at war with the Malakim, declining the request might result in... complications. She knew that it's always best to destroy your enemies one by one - that principle was taught at the beginning course of the Thariss Deception University.

Therefore, she agreed to satisfy the Doviello request.

Speaking about the Svartalfar learning, the Fire mages were already ready to unleash their fury at the desert people. The Svartalfar always viewed fighting fire with fire as an effective and subtle tactics. Elfs-on-the-street viewed the Illusionist caste with a mix of fear and admiration.

Volanna, Head Ranger of the Svartalfar, oversaw her troops going towards the Malakim border. She was moving forward in front of her soldiers. The Dark Elves didn't make a sound in the dark night. Occasionall hooting of owls only served to disorient
Malakim Lightbringers who attempted to locate the Svartalfar army.

But even Volanna didn't know that her troops are being followed by one of Faeryl's loyal servants, Alazkan the Assasin. His curved blade was deadly to the occasional Malakim scout. He ruminated on the honesty of the desert people and how it makes them stupid. Few Malakim scouts could understand the way his Black Mirror worked. Seeing Alazkan together with his illusion was just too much for most Malakim.

"Froihk, huh", snickered Alazkan, as he walked around the streets of the captured city, as the Svartalfar Rangers put down the last pockets of Malakim resistance. "What a name".

Suddenly, he heard strange noices. The Rathas, the elite chariot detachments of the Malakim had invaded the square, cutting down the Svartalfar Rangers. A sigh of relief escaped the last trapped defenders.

Their relief, however, proved to be short-lived. The Chariot detachment proved to be a small unit, with no Malakim reinforcements coming further. After establishing the new order in Froihk, the army moved forward.

The inhabitants of Lodente - men, women and children - screamed, as they were being burnt by the fire that rained down from the skies. That fire was strange. At first, it didn't seem to burn at all - but after a while, you felt that you were indeed burning with a brutish and extremely hot fire. Strong-willed people managed to resist the Svartalfar illusionary fire a bit longer - they were the ones that organized a defense of the city - but eventually, even they succumbed.

Volanna supervised the establishment of order in Lodente. How easily these "truthful" people were to manipulate. But their helplessness didn't make Volanna pity them - she despised their overwhelming self-righeousness.

Suddenly, a black carrier pigeon landed on her shoulder. She took a note from it. "The Calabim?" - she half-exclaimed. "Declared war on us and took Brakkah? Well, I guess they're powermongers, after all".

A peace treaty was negotiated with the Malakim (you can see Tiriyin in the red square on the minimap)

And let Aeron guide us.

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*crickets chirp*

But seriously, this is a cool story and it makes me want to play FFH when I get the time.

Random question: I want to play FFH warmongerly while experiencing as many mechanics as possible. I could play as the Atheist Guys (can't remember their names) but they don't have any religion. I was thinking the Hippus. Thoughts?
I guess early summon of Hyborem and switching to him might work fine for an exotic warmongering game. Hippus are a bit of an one-trick horse, but are fine as a pure warmonger in Tasunke's hands (and as a generalist in Rhoanna's).
What sub-FFH mod are you playing?

My personal modmod. How did you realize I am playing a modmod? Exotic citystyles?

Faeryl scoffed when the news about Calabim forces reached her. "The Vampires have grown decadent", she told to Volanna. "They may try to seem powerful, but they now can only send their cattle - and even Drowned cattle - to fight. Crushing their attack should be easy. You don't even need any deception for that. Frankly, with such enemies I fear my reflexes dulling".

Volanna agreed with her Queen. In any case, it was usually prudent not to disagree with her. Especially since the Queen was in a bad mood yesterday - she had learned that Esus, while approving of the Svartalfar, doesn't consider any of Dark Elven cities to be worth naming his holy.
(We are not the first to discover Deception and found Esus).

One of the major principles of the Svartalfar is using your enemy to benefit yourself. Here we sell a bunch of tech to the wolfmen, but three of them are magical - non-arcane AI's receive few benefits from magic techs.

We also receive a world map from Mahala. The Sidar are clearly on their way out - their capital is captured by the Hippus, who are, as you can see, is the nation that posesses the Holy City of Esus.

The Calabim cattle fight unenthusiastically. Only their half-mad Drowns and elite Royal Guards provide some resistance.

The Hippus fellow looks straightforward. We, however, should not forget that it he also serves Esus. However, his attempts to deceive Faeryl and insist that he follows Kilmorph failed.

Unfortunately, the Dwarves - the least noble nation on Erebus, even lower then the Wolfmen - decided that it's time to attack the Elven nation.

Screaming, uncivilized, greedy Dwarven hordes swarm forests near Idris.

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Sigh. An army of lowly warriors surely will get butchered in no turn by your elite troops.
Sigh. An army of lowly warriors surely will get butchered in no turn by your elite troops.

Our Rangers fight bravely. Their blades cut and pierce the ugly Dwarven flesh. But the hordes are too strong. Idris is captured.

However, as they advance into our territory, they are met with our fearsome fire that the desert people already know.

Then our troops easily deal with the attacking midgets.

They are blindingly fanatical to their goddess, Kilmorph. Their fanaticism may help them to score victories over us, but ultimately,

their straightforwardness leads them to loss.

After we've slaughered enough of his cattle, Flauros is ready to sign peace.

Celebrations in the streers as Idris is retaken:

And the weakened Dwarven Axemen are destroyed:

We are pressing further. Everyone, Elf, Human or Dwarf, should bow to the armies of Queen Faeryl.

The insolent Malakim again demand our knowledge. We are again willing to satisfy their request for now. In fact, we're even feigning friendship by exporting our Silks to them.

The Dwarven armies are becoming more and more of a nuisance. Keep in mind, Kandros is Aggressive, and Combat I in FFH gives +20% strength. So, before all additional multipliers, his 4 str Warriors are actually str 4.8, and 5 str Soldiers of Kilmorph are str 6.

So we sign peace.

Here's the city that we gained. Note that, apparently, ceded Khazad cities keep their free Vaults.

Trade. The Wolfmen have no need for Sorcery anyway.

This is disgraceful. Positively disgraceful. But the Queen chooses to to escalate the situation for now.

We discover Feral Bond.

If some Svartalfar nobles consider a wedding in the Empyrean tradition, no wonder that other Svartalfar are losing their minds.

More trading.

Faeryl decides that she needs a new residence in the conquered Malakim lands, to properly oversee their governance (note the small improvements on the Desert. In my personal mod, they're buildable only by the Malakim, and provide some food, and, later, commerce. Also, Malakim Desert Shrines turn Plains tiles into Desert).

New discovery. You can also see the new city of Geron, settled next to a mana source.

And a new war.

Comments are welcome, people! Posting one post after another makes the thread feel like a literal echo chamber.
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Yeah, the FFH team had been very creative with war declarations.
The hall was dimly lit with candles. Forty highest-ranking Calabim nobles were sitting at the tables around Flauros' throne. Elegant silver chandleliers and the Vampiric ladies' jewels reflected the candlelight, giving the hall a surreal appearance. You could amost think that you're in a Svartalfar city.

A young bureaucrat stepped before the throne. He was worried, though he tried not to show it. It was custom in the Calabim empire for members of the higher non-Vampiric castes to deliver laudatory adresses to their overlords, and he was the one chosen to give a speech. He heard that the punishment for unsatisfactory speeches was severe. "O Flauros, the mighty king", he began, "everyone on Erebus knows about the might of your empire. Even the Dark Elves, whose snobbery is no substitute for truly noble blood, are starting to acknowledge your superior rule, as your loyal armies, grateful to serve under the noble Vampire caste, capture their cities..."

"I am pleased with the gratitude all the castes of our land show to me", smiled Flauros. The speechmaker thought for a moment that he had seen a slight of irony in Flauros' facial expression. "You may now sit down at your proper place at the table".
As the bureaucrat sat down at the farthest end from Flauros' throne, he breathed a sigh of relief. He knew that his own blood will not be used for any arcane rituals.

Today, at least.

From The Dwarven Chronicle:

"When the perfidious Faeryl of the Svartalfar had taken many cities from our nation, our king Kandros, mighty as an earthquake, blessed by Kilmorph herself, assaulted the Elven positions. Struck by the hammers of our mighty warriors, the effeminate Elven people proved to be weak and mercurial. In Season 338, we've liberated our brothers in Riylod, who were so long oppressed by the decadent Svartalfar treachery".

Meanwhile, Faeryl received news that her people had completely researched the noble art of Animal Mastery:

But the Calabim pressed on, capturing southeastern Svartalfar cities:

The High Order of Faeryl, most Beautiful and Deceptive:

To Every Dark Elf in the Land:

Our noble nation is being assaulted. Brutish Dwarves and decadent Vampires want to destroy our civilization. They want to cut down our elegant trees, to break the distorted mirrows in our palaces.
To prevent such a fate of our nation, I, Queen Faeryl, most Beautiful and Deceptive, proclaim Mobilization. No Elf should be found lazy, fleeing from the task of defense of our land!
Punishments for desertion will be harsh. Special Warrior battalions will be formed, ones containing only deserters. They will be the first to defend, and the first to die.
Our elite Nyxkins, fast and furious, will exercise appropriate control over these battalions, while terrorizing our enemies with their strikes. Nobody, friend or foe, will know where the Nyxkins currently are. One season they may be in Idris, the next one - in Brakkah.

Signed with Her own Royal Hand,

Faeryl Viconia.

Liberation of Enoreth:

The Dwarves capture Idris. However, the mobilized Dark Evles fought masterfully. The Dwarves' offence is almost completely destroyed.

Even this army of Flauros is repelled (Mobility 1, City Raider Archers Flauros is certainly unorthodox in his tactics).

Celebrations were conducted as Elven armies marched though liberated Idris.

As the Elves entered Riylod, Alazkan, shall we say, took appropriate measures towards those Dwarves who were suspected of collaboration with the Khazad forces.

Faeryl's silver tongue can deceive even the Malakim.

Volanna takes personal control of a Beastmaster battalion.

This, however, is not welcome.

So the Svartalfar empire signs peace with the Khazad. The Dwarves agree to return a city we previously captured to us and to voluntarily share their knowledge.

From An Account of My Wanderings, by Nikhmet Jamal, a Malakim traveller:

It's a strange feeling, witnessing a battle you take no part in. We, open and honest inhabitants of the deserts, dislike both the Dark Elves and the Vampires, but I couldn't help but root for the Elves in their fight with these unnatural Calabim monsters - for I refuse to refer to the Vampires as "people". Swishing of Svartalfar blades, howling of Spectres summoned by the Vampires, quick movement of deadly Nyxkins - all that made the battle something horrifying, yet something you just couldn't turn your eyes away from. At first, the Calabim seemed to yield, but their advantage in numbers quickly revealed itself, as the Svartalfar rangers, after dealing some damage, were forced to retreat. I knelt and prayed to Lugus so that the Vampires shall never invade my land.

So we were forced to sign peace with the Calabim, giving away Enoreth:

Faeryl doesn't tolerate dissent:

And, despite what that event wants us to be, we're not the Ljosalfar.

Trade is the lifeline of nations, like Ultriso, the Svartlalfar Treaurer, proclaimed in his work:

And the Malakim floodplains are soon going to be ours:

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Yay! An update!!!
A small update for now.

The Wolfmen may be beastly and brutish even compared to more "normal" races, much less to us, but that doesn't mean we can't trade with them. The benefits to our Nation outweighs whatever feelings of disgust we have.

Our armies approach the desert cities.

And after some fighting -

The cities are ours. Those Malakim who can accept our way of life, will be accepted - of course, as an inferior caste compared to the Svartalfar. Everyone else will be also "accepted" - as an even more inferior caste.

A Great Artist glorifies our victories in timeless epics.

But while battles rage in the deserts, blight strikes the lands of Erebus...

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