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JNES: The Age of Gods

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Jehoshua, Jan 28, 2020.

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  1. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Messages:
    24,564
    Location:
    Yukon
    The Black Pool, That Which the Wat Call Angar Lok
    1 Magic to giving a blessed gift of water to Cerunnaihn.
    2 Magic to tasking some of the Wat with secretly healing the wounds of their neighbours, or ensuring their food. Their sorcerous power shall derive from my waters. The adventuring boy told me of lands of poverty. This distresses me, and I shall see that I can alleviate their suffering.

    1 Civilization to supporting the silent workings of my benevolent agents, such that they may be made informed of the circumstances of their neighbours and act accordingly.

    Stats
    Titles: The Well of Life.
    Power: 3 mag, 1 Civ
    Holdings: Life-bestowing Waters, A tribes worship, A reanimated deer
     
  2. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Messages:
    11,283
    Location:
    Earth Dome
    A few years after the awakening

    “ - The story goes that you stumbled into this village naked, confused and weak – said a deep confident voice.
    - Don't we all come into this world in that state Drozak ? - the reply was quick and energetic – Later we grow, we learn and after a while we give what we have taken. Protection for protection, nourishment for nourishment, care for care.
    - No stranger ever becomes the leader of our settlements, at leasts not at amongst the sensible people where I am from.
    - And yet you come to us over many miles of danger and uncertainty. Not something I'd expect from sensible people.
    - There is value in exchange.
    - There is also value in doing things as they have always been done. Nifti doesn't smile upon those who don't take chances. I doubt most of your sensible people would make it as far as our lands.
    - It is my calling to seek out the riches in other lands and to help those who might need what we value.
    - Which is why I wanted to talk to you. Your calling is more important to us than the goods that you'll bring. We will soon talk with the Circle of the goods your brought to us, but before we go and greet them, consider....”

    and I had to run away. I was a small child at the time and adults were coming near the tent where I was eavesdropping on a conversation that would change our small village's fate - Marcus the Eldest. "Memories of Marcus the Eldest as recorded by Zanther".

    Stats:
    Rultan
    Titles: The Fallen God
    Power: 3 Magic/2 Civilisation
    Holdings: An unremembered past, a small tribe

    Orders:
    3 Magic points - save.
    2 civilization points - “into A city, a modest castle, or a network of towns”. Fuelled by the occasional knowledge that comes from Rultan and many talented others the tribe begins to construct a network of towns, expanding its living territory.

    Traders may come from the South if they agree.

    OOC: Sorry for the late submission.
     
  3. LordArgon

    LordArgon King

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2019
    Messages:
    651
    Gender:
    Male
    Since I can use my civilization's civ points, I will use 2 points to create a city.
    The capitol of the Ba'gali Theocracy, Arkham, formed around the great temple to support the priests and the pilgrims that worshipped there. It was a in the shape of a eight spoked wheel, with four roads and four canals forming the eight spokes. The roads left the temple in the cardinal directions and the canals left at 45° off from those. The city was around 300,000 square meters and surrounded by a 30 meter high stone wall. The buildings inside the city were all made of stone, with the priests and rich merchants having the more decorative abodes and the commoners having plain gray rock houses.
     
  4. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,165
    Turn Locked - Update commencing.

    -

    turnover will be slower than last turn due to lack of early contributions, but I will try to have it in approximately a week give or take a few days.
     
  5. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,165
    update likely to be longer than anticipated. Easter and work are busier than I assumed they would be. Will still try to get it out sometime this week all things considered [currently easter Monday here in Australia].
     
    Lord_Iggy and Angst like this.
  6. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,165
    UPDATE II - The Price of Knowledge

    -

    10 - 20 AG - Timekeeper Reckoning.

    -

    The young girl trembled and from her lips came forth these words.

    "Have We found Our faithful?"

    Sarai bowed thrice upon the sodden ground and cried for joy.

    "Yes Lord, yes, what would you have of us"

    "We whisper through the door but the gate is latched and we are sealed away. Four are the keys which shall unlock the door"

    "What keys"

    Sarai exlaimed sharply.

    "Tell us Lord, and we shall hasten to bring them hither that you might be made free."

    the echo laughed.

    "They are keys beyond your power to obtain.

    The first a fire awakened from its slumber to devour the world,

    The second a god by mortal slain, returned from the other side of day

    the third our stone anointed with the water of life, latched upon the lintel

    the fourth the blood of our chosen victim, poured out upon the threshold"

    The echo shuddered.

    "When these things come to pass, then shall we be free, and when we walk the earth again we shall raise up our faithful above all other mortals forever and bestow upon you every blessing!"

    "We swear Lord, we swear"

    Sarai exclaimed, and the women behind her also

    "All these things we shall work to fulfil"

    The echo smiled, and shuddered again, and the body of young girl collapsed upon the stones and turned to ash.

    -

    The North.

    -

    The pines shuddered, their green needles quivering with anticipation in the deep silence of the northern forests at the coming winds of winter, for the ruling goddess of this domain of wood, water and abiding shadows walked the Land when the seasons turned, and her servants were at this time of year at their most active. So too were they most desirous of mortal blood to spill in libation at her coming during this liminal moment. Rultan himself, more attuned to the movements of the gods than most in this time of liminality, reflected on a certain truth. That being namely that the north remained [despite his efforts to the contrary] as antithetical to mortal flourishing as ever. However he smiled as he assured himself while looking proudly over the nascent town rising from the lakeshore that despite all adversities divine and human alike, mankind had begun (predictions to the contrary aside) to establish itself in this place and build up for itself the rudiments of what southerners would call civilisation.

    Indeed during these past years as Rultan established himself through skill and wisdom in the midst of his adopted tribe he had at times revealed flashes of unearthly knowledge and with charisma unmatched by his new and less gifted companions he had become something of a leader in their reckoning. It was under his direction that the woodsmen who had since time immemorial dwelt beneath the veil of the deep forests, were convinced to moved south to the banks of a great and languid river that flowed in great slothful meanders seaward from a cold and deep lake. Here he foretold they might be able to trade with men from afar off and travel far further than if they had remained as frightened savages beneath the trees. Through this intercourse with their fellow man Rultan hoped they would expand their knowledge and understanding and learn more of the wider world that lay sprawled out seemingly forever beneath the sea of stars. Fortune favoured him in this migratory directive, for it was heavens will that upon their arrival from the deep forests to their new abode it seemed to be sparsely populated, with those men who yet lived thereby in crannogs and atop the trees being much diminished and telling tales of their kinsmen who had recently travelled south to fulfil a prophecy of empire (whatever that meant). They spoke as well of the favour of an unseen deity upon a great hero who had led them forth although this was of little consequence to the forest folk. At any rate these few who remained to make a sparse living as fishermen and had not joined the march south were more than willing to join Rultan's tribe so they said, if only for protection from the dangers that lurked amidst the trees and beneath the waters and which took an ever greater toll upon them as the years passed given their diminished numbers. Rultan it must be said more than happily took them in under his wing and took no heed to the fables of this so-called hero, for his concern and thought was fixed only towards establishing the security of his adopted people and now of these new friends also. It was this drive and one-directional focus that enabled him to succeed in fashioning a network of trading towns of stilted huts and great log halls upon the waters that his people might abide in what manner of peace is to be found in the dreary north. They were crude, Rultan would admit, but he sound of hammer and saws and the cheers of men as logs were raised in an new palisade cheered the heart.

    Thus was the amnesiac and as of yet unrecognised god of the river-folk well pleased when his work bore fruit, for travellers from afar came to trade and offer good-will to his tribal confederation. From the verdant south beyond the lakes black and perilous depths emissaries of a strange people who called themselves the Wat had travelled hither. They came in long canoes carved from ancient trees and with prows carved in the likeness of stag spry and hale. Each canoe was heavily laden with preserved meat, hard bread and fruit of many kinds and at the helm of each stood a man with a banner white topped with sprigs of green and antlers to herald peace and plenty. These folk were strange, youthful in appearance, clad in furs and never changing, speaking like those who had seen many, many years and standing aloof, above the transient concerns of mortal existence or the harshness that beset Rultan's crude followers. But despite their odd and unnatural demeanour these travellers brought much needed supplies particularly in the early days of Rultan's settlements, supplies that were necessary to overcome the hardships of winter and hold back the menace of starvation in the long night that devoured the sun when the snows came. The Watfok were thus much appreciated and year after year they eased the burdens of the people before they in their consistently demure manner quietly departed with soft smiles for other lands or back to the mysterious realm from whence they came. Such was the joy their coming amongst the northerners brought however that it seemed that those who were afflicted by disease became well with their passage, and each town and village of the rivermen would every winter like clockwork rejoice in festival and laughter under the light of the moon as these strangers came bringing food and news, before quietly departing leaving the sounds of flutes, dancing and good cheer in their wake as a little light illuminated the pall of deepest winter.

    Unknown to the river men, who thought such wonders were the fruits of business, such good cheer and charity was the will of the god of the Watfolk, the mysterious aquatic phenomenon known as Angar Lok. For it had heard tales of suffering from the very god-anointed hero of whom the remnants abiding along the great river had spoken to Rultan in the first days of his endeavour, that is to say of Cerunnaihn. This hero had travelled south to the Lands of the Wat together with his followers at the behest of the witches who cleaved to his cause. Here he sought, and was granted, an audience with the god itself. For he had learned that the Watmen were blessed with prosperity, immortality and peace and desired the favour of such a benevolent deity who could (And would!) grant these things for his own cause and for that of his followers. So it was that appearing before an undead stag which he was told [not quite accurately] by the elders appointed to be his guides, was a vessel for the godhood he prostrated and pled his cause. Before it Cerun spoke of suffering and empire, things which much disconcerted the nascent deity of the well, and was granted leave to partake of the deep waters and even depart with some of its ambrosial essence for his own. So it was that he took three vessels of holy god-infused water, one for his own to use in times of need, one for Sarai of whom he had grown fond since the days she rescued him from the terrors of the forest and who had begged such a boon for herself, and another for good measure lest the inevitable occur and ill fortune or malicious god find him and his people in their journey south unto the sands and seek their ruin. So it was, so it shall be, and so blessed and purified Cerunnaihn and his people departed for their promised land.

    Yet that was not the end of the wells workings. No, for as we have heard the Black Pool was much disturbed by the words of Cerunnaihn and of the shadows that afflicted the north. So as its guest passed into the south together with his followers on their great exodus the black pool called together the Watfolk and as we have heard sent them forth to bring its blessings and aid to the suffering and to the lost, and to bring back news of neighbouring peoples that it might in knowledge avail to their assistance where before it had been ignorant save for the idyllic bliss that surrounded its own waters. It was through such agents that Angar Lok learned not only of the endeavour of Rultan but of the work of the timekeepers to the south who on the fringes of the north under the gaze of their implacable Lord Horologist have set up a great city of spun stone and sorcery named variously Lightstone, Perivor and Elsineth depending upon which tribe was asked upon the northern shores of the inland sea. This city of light filled with all manner of supplicants, cultists and mystic artisans all scurrying amidst the cities towers like a hive of ants, they established for their own inscrutable ends as well as partly to aid in the recruitment of acolytes no doubt given the turning of the age and the ill-tidings laid writ in the book of heavens. What mysteries lay therein obscured from the sight of all but Vahashtai the Keeper of the Watch by the Order of Timekeepers was not yet known.

    -

    The South

    -

    Far beyond the Inland Sea and the Isle of Echoes, and further still from the struggles of the North the Uwal had continued under the apostate banner of Sargal of the Sands their long march north to the green and pleasant lands that blessed the banks of the Sacred River that flowed from the inland sea through the narrow gates betwixt the mountains and from there unto the great ocean which desert tribesmen under the edict of the Lord of Dunes were forbidden to behold. The journey had been long and many of those who followed Sargal on the long journey had perished from the blasting sands that rushed in from the east in a great wall of brown and red on a howling wind, a cruel tribulation from the desert god on the Uwal for forsaking his tyranny no doubt. Hunched and cowled as they were, trudging step by heavy step across the dunes and gibber, Sargal counted it a small blessing that the Uwals old enemies were equally encumbered by the heavy mantle of the sandstorm and unable to harry them as was their custom during their march. Other less vested watchers would note that the dunes buried the corpses of the fallen to emerge centuries hence as shrivelled husks, "artifacts" of interest as historical curios to some future antiquarian. A blessing for those interested in the passing of time indeed.

    For time passes ever forward, and so with the passage of seasons the power of the sands was spent as the hourglass turned, for a time, and in its wake was revealed to the weary caravan of the Uwal their promised land. A fair green pasture of reeds, date palms and fertile black soil it was to their grizzled eyes and it was tended, so they found not entirely to their surprise, by a race of farmers content with their peaceful realm of earth and water and the stability of their rhythmic cycles.

    "What is to be done"

    said one enterprising lad with a quavering voice, a page boy of sorts to Sargal and the Chieftess.

    Indeed what was to be done? For Sargal had spoken of liberation from the tyranny of the gods, but how could the Uwal be the vanguard of liberation if they acted in a manner more akin to the savages of the east and brought war and sack to this peaceful domain? How could they be certain that they would prevail over these "Farmers" when they had been so weakened from their journey? No, another, more diplomatic touch was required.

    So Sargal sent before him seven ambassadors pledging each in their turn peaceful intent, and proclaimed a desire to collaborate in building the Uwal and their sedentary interlocutors up together that their children might not know the harshness of seasons, and might by the works of their own hands climb the ladder of divine ascent to glory and life eternal free from godly tyranny. Most, rightly, scoffed at these claims as those of desert rustics and barbarian apostates. What would nomads know of craft? Such hubris to claim that they, of all people, would raise them out of "poverty". These sand blasted bumpkins were far more run-down than they, as was well evinced by their own neat white linen kilts and well ordered houses of mud brick and thatch. For the various tribes of farming men were by no means poor or deprived. They rather were well provided from the fat of the land and trade flourished between them and the timekeepers (who disdained farming on their isle in much the same way as they disdained all "subsistence' arts) and even to the theocracy across the narrow way in those sesons when the sirens who lurked therein slumbered and the passage was tolerably safe. Yet Sargal if anything was a lucky man. An ambitious chief, a savvy woman of many summers who oversaw a tidy village at the rivers opening to the inland sea saw opportunity in the Uwals arrival. While no one chief could hope to aspire to dominate his fellows alone, with a hardy band of desert mercenaries by her side perhaps her tribe could aspire to more than their rustic humdrum existence. The quaint doctrine Sargal espoused was of no consequence to her.

    So the old woman smiled to the emissary sent to her village as she reclined under the shade of a fig tree and languidly picked at a bowl of dates by her side. In reply to his message she sent her seven grand-daughters, young, supple and fertile to attend to the "young lord" and bestow upon him a message.

    "We shall not accept the rule of your chief, but if you can sit with us in assembly as equals we shall stand with you."

    Thus did the Uwal, or rather the remains thereof after their long march descend the dunes into the river valley and come to abide in the old woman's village. The farmers made for these desert guests new houses and taught the women the arts of agriculture and weaving. While the men of the Uwal taught the rough youths of their hosts the serious business of war craft and atheism. To sort out disputes the chiefs of the Uwal and the Ulsarim [for this was the name of the old womans tribe] came together in council as was agreed between the two peoples. The years passed and the town became a city, and neighbouring villages soon congregated at this burgeoning centre to render the Uwal Commonwealth their fealty. Thus did this tribal collective become the foremost of the nascent petty states along the banks of the sacred river. But this rapid ascent was not uncontested. Threatened by the strength of this new force it was not long before other tribes, those who rejected Sargal's entreaties to come together in their own statelets and compelled by fear they sent emissaries down the river, seeking aid. The assistance they sought though was not that of any mortal power, but that of a god.

    What they found was a city far greater than the new and ramshackle mudbrick home fashioned in the half-score years the Uwal has abode in their new home, but a city greater than any other they had ever conceived in thought or dream. It was orderly, its buildings constructed without seam according to neat mathematical geometries according to arcane ratios and symbolism. The city itself was encompassed within a great wall which was perfectly circular in circumference, and within its bounds the districts of the city were divided into eight quarters by broad roads parallel to serene canals adorned by flowering lotus. These were plied by barges carrying a bounty of fruits and grain unheard of upriver where the desert held sway to markets filled with people of myriad tribes, with strange "ashmen" appearing beside be-furred forest tribesmen alike under the gaze of bureaucrat priests in alabaster masks bearing the sign of the hand, stone tablet and stylus in hand to keep record of trade and tithe. This was Arkham, capital of the Ba'gali Theocracy and the greatest city of mankind at least in terms of number of denizens in all the known world. Some say greatest of all sentient beings, although the splendour of Aoldom or the mystic artifice of Elsineth render such claims in doubt.

    Nonetheless it was certain truth that the theocracy had expanded significantly in scarce few years as the power of its priestly rulers and the favour of its god brought it power and had drawn in neighbouring tribes eager to reap the benefits that accrue to those flocking to its service like moths to a flame. Thus did the enemies of Sargal, eyes darting hither and yon as they beheld wonder after wonder become ensnared as, guided by a Ba'gali temple servitor they arrived at the very heart of Empire, The Great Temple of Cho'Manos. It was a great pyramid rising aloft in a riot of swirling colours and seeming to reach the heights of heaven itself, and at its top was a great hall illuminated by the heavenly lights from afar by a gleaming dome of gilt bronze raised atop eight columns of porphyry at the centre of its marble clad hall. Beneath its oculus, open to the starry night was atop a plinth of obsidian polished mirror bright an alabaster altar arose of eight cupped hands wherein sacrifice was made to the Great God itself. The emissaries of the anti-Sargal alliance however were not permitted to behold this most sacred of places, rather they were hurried along to a hall midway up the pyramids lofty expanse where the Council of High Priests customarily met with emissaries begging the gods favour.

    Here the tribesmen knelt and conveyed their proposal

    "We shall worship at thy gods holy altar and offer sacrifice to His Holy Name, if he deliver us from Sargal the Apostate and his lies!"

    The priests conferred

    Nodding as one after nary a thought they proclaimed their horror at what had transpired and pledged that priests would be sent north to teach their people the ways of Cho'Manos, then shall they be raised up as the Ba'gali were raised up and fashioned anew to the gods delight into a more glorious visage. In this manner shall the lies of the apostate be laid bare and the god-fearing man be given the power to overcome his foe.

    So did Cho'manos obtain new faithful.

    -

    The West

    -

    Cho'manos influence has indeed spread far. For ships of Arkham have sailed even unto the kingdoms of the Taethlin far to the northwest, plying the azure seas to the ports of Baernaeth and Tel Marann, regardless it seems of the sweeping whirlwind that hushed in grim repose in expectation of its prey lay within the deep abyss under the waves. For it was in the depths that an old deity, Ran the Oceanmother, Ran the Stormcaller, Ran the Mistress of Sailors awoke from her restful repose to the noisome wanderings of men and aol and watched in jealous fury at the games of divinity played by other gods with mortals without her participation than man might offer her the rightful portion owed to Her Divine Majesty in respect to her bounty.

    So did the Lady of Waters, seething at the indignity she was subject too, call upon the Yokai, shape shifting sea-spirits long under her sway to turn humanity to her worship that she might not go disrespected and unremarked upon the temple altars. Thus as each year passed ever more ships disappeared into the depths never to return to their children and wives on land. Even more insidiously the Yokai on bright moonlit nights in the sight of Vahashtai the record-keeper they emerged in human guise and seduced young men and women with their comely and otherworldly charm. From the fruits of these unholy unions half-spirit children open the whispers of the deep sprung forth. While many perished, drowned in the waters that beckoned them hither before they could learn its mysteries, others endures to speak of their godly patroness and convey the whispers that called out to them in their dreams. In this manner did those who lived by the sea learn to offer libations before each fishing trip to "The Lady", and thanksgiving when surprised by an unexpected bounty in their nets.

    Yet this was not the end of her games, no. For her voiced echoed through the waves and over the beaches into the fishing villages and indeed very beds wherein men and women lay asleep and open to the hands of divinity. In a similar way to how Cho'manos walked spiritually amidst the Ba'gali all those years ago and touched his appointed and bestowed them with power, the Voice of Ran echoed through the psychic realm of dreams and came to dwell within the souls of men and women who lived beside her realm and who without exception became drawn to the sea leaving all earthbound sorrows aside to pursue the waves. Thus were those who were devoured by fickle Yokai replaced and to the relief of the bureaucrats in Arkham trade northbound trade continued undiminished.

    The Taethlin Tribes have benefited much from this trade, although not so much as they have from the prosperity bestowed upon them by the Holy Well in fulfilment of their wishes. Having experienced a population explosion in the absence of privation as harvest after excellent harvest cast famine into memory, and wealth from trade with the Ba'gali and the alien Aolfolk each Taethlin tribe had formed what could clearly be said to be kingdoms amongst men. Six of these states emerged in the west, of which the greatest were Baernaeth which prospered from oceanic trade, Abanntel which was most closely aligned with the mysterious Aol and the Kingdom of the Most Holy Well which in the centre of the region laid claim to the Well itself. This Kingdom rose to prominence on the realisation that it mattered not (in contrast to the ways of Cho'manos) how much one sacrificed to the well when one made a wish, only that the wish was sincere and made in purity of heart, and that a small token was given. Thus did the King of the Well (so was the King who ruled the land called) lead four small and innocent young children to offer a copper coin apiece for a good harvest, protection from the Kingdoms enemies, wealth for the people and the continued blessings of the deity. So it was that each year were these wishes fulfilled, and so it was that his people flourished as blessings were poured out upon them by their beloved god.

    Yet not all beings were content to bask in the Holy Well's all encompassing generosity. Some beings festered and writhed in disgust at the thought that the Taethlin would grow fat not from the work of their hands as all proper folk do but from some farcical aquatic phenomena. No this state of affairs simply would not do. Cinniar Accarmance, a youthful Aol at a mere three centuries of age and the greatest of the younger makers of the present age had done much to restore Aolish greatness in his time having restored much of the crumbling architecture of Irec and Briumbar and wrought a great many wondrous things both for the adornment of the twin cities (and edification of their denizens) and for trade with their mortal neighbours. Yet impetuous and vivacious as he was, he could not help but involve himself in Taethlin affairs when year after year his human interlocutors sung the praises of a certain sanctimonious spirit in a most unseemly fashion.

    After secretly observing the sight of the wells votaries offering up their hearts and devotion to this abomination Cinniar had beseeched and begged the Tallic Sur to intervene, to wean these poor deluded children out of the snare they found themselves in. In this Cinniar was wise, for in becoming dependant on the Well the Taethlin only served to feed the hunger for spiritual sustenance common to most lesser gods and become slaves to its requirements. Yet the Sur demurred to act, for the mountain rumbled and the signs lay dire over the world and whispered of other more menacing threats pointed at the heart of Aoldom. That is not to say they were unconcerned, but prudence has always been the Aolish way and the trifles of human children were of little consequence in the great scheme of things to the rump-realm they were sworn to preserve.

    So did Cinniar turn to the Teshann, the mortal Aols who had not supped upon divinity and were not weighed down by the inertia of aeons. To these he proposed a new endeavour, one not known since another time and another age. The building of a new Aolish haven. It was to be built amidst the Taethlin that the wise Aols might teach these humans of the dignity of hard work, of the wondrous secrets of a lost time and turn them away most importantly from the false blessings of the font to which they had become enslaved. Thus one summers eve, after judiciously purchasing land from Abanntel's King fairly with gold and mystic treasure drawn from the secret recesses of his vault, a great number of whales emerged from the deep and disgorged one after the other an Aol Shaper bedecked in robes of sea silk and cloth of old, much to the astonishment of the locals. Each gathered behind Cinniar single-file brazen banner in hand, each precisely one and a half paces behind the other as they proceeded in procession step by step in stately way along the shore unto the Rock of Calth that standing like a sentinel looked over the storm-wracked sea. At precisely midnight when at last all the shapers had gathered at the summit in a perfect circle around Cinniar, who stood in the midst of them bearing a staff of shell bedecked with trinkets of stone and bone all bedangled on its crook. They began to sing.

    It was not a song in the manner of humans mind you. Rather it was low and sonorous, for these were words of power more felt than heard and they resonated within the bones of the watching Taethlin who from the beach beneath the rock looked up at the waxing moon at the wondrous sight silhouetted in its light. Placing a "city-seed" upon the rock, in short order a great tower arose organically like a sprouting tree from the stone in a riot of calcified architecture that was beautiful to behold. Its non-euclidian architecture disturbed the feeble human minds that bore witness to its emergence as was to be expected, but the initial unpleasantness would surely pass and its aesthetic charms were not to be denied. The night bore on and the song continued until at last just prior to dawn and the rising of the sun the tower was done, its pinnacles rising skyward in the morning mist in baroque array. It was as sturdy as it was lofty, and it pierced the horizon like a needle shining amidst the morning rays as its radiance of copper and mother of pearl reflected the pure light in a shimmering haze to the astonishment of Abanntel across the bay. Cinniar nodded, and turning to his confreres gave them an order. "Get to work".

    So they did, and as the years passed the city of Irrenroz was delved into the rock of Calth beneath the Tower of Cinniar as it came to be known to the neighbours. The halls thereof were free of the patina of ages and of the genteel decay that so defined Irec and Briumbar, rather adorned with pearls and stately banners its facades bespoke the vitality of its Lord and the audacity of his work. For far across the Kingdoms of the Taethlin his message had spread. "Come to me all ye who would learn wisdom in good faith, and I shall welcome thee" and so they did. One by one at first did humans come to live in the midst of Aols to learn their arts, each vowing to live by the work of their hands and merit their own rewards. In time many from Abanntel and even from other Taethlin Kingdoms came, although no Kingdom forswore the Well's blessings Cinniar so despised. All in good time he thought, he had many more centuries to live and could afford to wait. Nonetheless he was pleased that in scarcely a decade the halls of Irrenroz abounded with human students and were filled with a life denied the old outposts of his youth.

    Indeed Cinniar was astonished that students came from as far as the Wabinu tribes far to the east. For from this distant folk one Varag, who heard of Irrenroz while abroad in Baernaeth had heard of Cinniar's grand endeavour and sought it out for his own that he might bring back wisdom to his people. This errand had been bestowed on Gauchita by the Council of Uiziqi which over the last few cycles had sought to bring together the Wabinu together and to learn more regarding the changing world beyond, establishing to this end a regular interchange between the numerous villages that lined the Straights of Gauchita. Furthermore, having learned many rumours from passing ships they sent forth from the sacred meeting grove four embassies of three ambassadors apiece. Each being sent to one of the four directions, north, south, east and west.

    The western expedition, Varag included sought rumours of the well and found the mighty Taethlin Kingdoms and their blessed people. After he had heard of Irrenroz he had spoken with his partners Tilaleen and Anyta and decided to separate from them, where they would travel to the mystic font to commune with its spirit he would travel further afield to the strange "ashmen" of whom he had heard, and so it was. Thus he remained in his chosen destination where his partners observed and attempted [without success] to commune with the spirit of the well and later returned to Gauchita to report their findings.

    The northern and eastern expeditions had a differing fate. The northern expedition under the oversight of Narif Osprey spoke to many spirits and listened to the music of many waters yet learned little the Uiziqi did not already know and thus returned wiser, but lacking a great revelation. The eastern expedition under Kena found the newly raised City of the Timekeepers. Here in this "unreal city" newly raised like a mirage in the deep deserts amidst the muck they like so many others were ensnared by the desire for knowledge and the subtle doctrines of the ordermen. Thus enmeshed amidst the many cults and schools of the order they joined as acolytes under the steady hand of the Lord Horologist and have thus far not returned to their brethren in Gauchita. What they shall learn here after their novitiate is yet to be seen.

    Ah the southern expedition under Danriel, ill fated and ill-advised. He had heard of the priesthood of Cho'manos and their works wrought by arcane magics and what he found in Arkham was truly... foul. Cold order reigned, epitomised by the perfect geometries and clockwork schedule of the city and worse the sight of many thousands of men toiling together under the weight of Empire disgusted him as each mans life and blood bore a price like any other piece of meat at market. There was no balance here, only the unnatural rule of man and disturbed spirit over natures harmony and the tyranny of those bestowed with power they did not earn or merit. For the priests did not serve, as the Uiziqi did, but ruled with an iron hand and those who opposed their rule so he had heard from a beggar by the wayside entered the temple never to be seen again. The good ambassador of the Uiziqi was wise enough however to hold his thoughts to himself, set a watch upon his face and hold fast to the teachings of his elders who told him to respect local sensibilities and spirits as he was led to the temple to meet with the High Council that ruled the city.

    Here he bowed before the withered sages, the wisest of the priests and most respected within their order and spoke of the Uiziqi shamans and their abilities to call and speak to spirits and of their quest for wisdom, and offered to teach the Ba'gali of the Wabinu's knowledge if they would share what they knew. Here the priests scoffed and in mocking tones stated that all that was necessary for them was Cho'manos the all holy,, who had reshaped them into a new a glorious form and who would continually refashion their souls until they were at last perfect and free from all defilement. The Councils Speaker gestured to the great city with its seamless towers and wondrous works of stone. What could the Ba'gali learn from those who yet lived in huts? What necessity did these forest savages possess which the Ba'gali did not already have thanks to their divine benefactor? Danriel was incensed though he kept it secret and through some means divine or human was seized by the spark of inspiration.

    "Have you spoken to your god? I can speak to spirits and through me your Lord can speak to you."

    He said through Larysi, his companion's translation.

    The priests murmured and dismissed the embassy as they conferred.

    The guards gestured, the embassy left to the house apportioned for their stay.


    -


    That night.

    A watchmen knocked the embassies door thrice. knock, knock, knock.

    "You are summoned to the temple, make haste'.

    Attended by guards in red vests marked with the sign of the hand they ascended the monolithic temple with heavy breaths under the light of the moon until they stood at last under the brazen gates of the hall of worship, its carved exterior all bedecked in gold gilt and rare stones.

    Awaiting there the high priest cowled in grey and with a white staff in hand spoke to Danriel.

    "We accept your offer, tonight you speak to the Lord"

    and he turned and entered into the recesses of the temple without another word. Danriel and the others swiftly followed thereafter and looked furtively left and right as they saw arrayed a great multitude of priests. Each bearing censors in hand and mumbling petitions to their god in an unnerving tongue, the syllables murmuring through the hall like the ebb and flow of the ocean in disconcerting waves. Before them stood the High Altar, as if to catch Danriels thoughts as they rose up from the recesses of his mind, for its hands grasped into the shadows of the hall like a drowning man grasps for the air before he is claimed by the depths. Or so it seemed to him.

    "Show us your art, shaman. Let us see if you are worthy".

    The sharp voice of the high priest beckoned. Danriel nodded, and sat down, closing his eyes as he invoked his soul and called upon it to enter the spirit world.

    "Fly my soul like a bird, fly to Cho'manos that he may hear my call"

    He called upon Cho'manos, and his soul departed from his flesh, his head bowing as if in slumber.

    At first there was only darkness.

    drip

    drip

    drip

    The wax of the candles illuminating the hall dripped down the candlesticks as they flickered in the shadow.

    A breeze rustled the robes of the priests through the oculus of the temple, illuminated that night by the waxing moon. The flames shuddered and rose higher in the dark.

    The Divine Presence.

    Danriel in his spirit-self again called upon the entity which now weighed heavy in the hall like a miasma, his face felt clammy as the heat of the tropical night bore down. His heart beat fast in anticipation, it was always exhilarating speaking to a new spirit and the experience of meeting each for the first time was unique on each occasion.

    He called again.

    "Come Spirit, enter into me that we may speak and that I might know thee and you know me."

    Again silence.

    Then suddenly his witch-sight, the second vision granted to all who had touched the spirit world was overcome in a flash of light and he beheld before him a shimmering rainbow of effervescent colour, a veil of light rippling through his psyche with a flurry of azure and emerald and purple within purple hues unknown to human description. Of a sudden in a fractal diffusion of colour he saw a deep black within black, the originating womb-realm of souls and in it he saw grasping through the veil towards the light ...

    ...

    Larysi watched the summoning keenly, Danriel had been silent and unmoving in meditation for ten minutes or so, a not unusual time to connect with the spirit. The priests continued to murmur their prayers and the high priest, a wry smile on his lip stood by her side watching and waiting his back straight and tall despite his great age.

    Suddenly Danriel screamed and his eyes flashed with fire blazing into the dark as his eyeballs melted and oozed down his face like tears.

    "No! Nooo!"

    He screamed again and Larysi failed to notice the fire reflected in the high priests eyes as she stood aghast.

    Danriel's flesh distorted, writhing as if a swarm of insects was feasting upon the flesh beneath his skin, bubbling and rolling like waves as Danriel leapt to his feet and clawed at his face in agony drawing blood across his cheeks.

    "SCREEEEE"

    The flesh of his face tore asunder to a screeching whine and a pop of splattered gore upon the marble floor as a white hand reached out and grasped the empty socket of his right eye. A second soon followed and grasped the left in its vicelike grip. From his stomach, his arms, his legs, all over his body. Arm after arm, hand after hand emerged forth like bamboo shoots sprouting after the melting snows in spring as the shamans body distorted and bent over as it was pulled in and out, up and down, by the twitching hands. Each one was white like marble and perfectly formed. The Priests knelt, their chants forgotten as they raised a new chorus.

    "All Glory and Honour to Our Lord, the Shaper, God of all Creation"

    and in a clink of chains the censor-bearers swung their thuribles in evening sacrifice to their god as they presented their prayers unto the divine, the smoke of their offering rising to the gilt dome in illuminated clouds, ethereal to the reflected candlelight beneath the stars.

    As they prayed, Larysi stood aghast and mute in shock and numb to the tears rolling down her face as the hands pulled and grasped Danriels flesh and each other in a hurried frenzy of recreation as they lay claim to this unwitting oblation like a school of sharks upon a seal. They tore and tore and tore again as from the wounds yet more hands all equally perfect arose such that the shaman became nought but a tangle of hands as they in secret artifice beneath their obscuring forms performed their handiwork. From his open mouth, now devoid of human voice and screaming silently into the priestly throng a swarm of flies erupted, each unnaturally bedecked with myriad limbs, to grasp, cut, snip and prod and probe to better fulfil the holy work of recreating, mutating and crafting and they fell upon the "thing" which writhed upon the temple floor to finish the great work and manifest the splendour it would usher forth.

    And in all too short a time "It" was done.

    It was veiled by a black robe,

    a humanoid form, many handed, and its face was an alabaster mask of a perfect human male to hide it seemed the horror underneath.

    It turned, jarringly, to Larysi, and it spoke as its glowing eyes pierced deep into her soul.

    "Hear and Understand"

    The priests prostrated themselves, Larysi knelt transfixed, eyes wide as she beheld the transfigured being before her and felt the aura of the divine wash over her psyche like a flood as her mind failed to comprehend. Her knees shuddering in fear beneath her as she beheld the god made manifest.

    So it was in rapt attention that she received the oracle Danriel had sought.

    "You know nothing of gods."


    -


    MAP



    -

    stats
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2020
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  7. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,165
    NOTES:

    -

    ooc: update is a little late given I've been busy. Sorry about that.

    ooc II: The lack of participation last turn did sap some motivation I must admit and also made updating harder. To assist and avert an untimely end to this endeavour please do contribute at least with timely orders, and preferably with narrative contributions as well. These also help with making a good update since there is more to write about and wrap into a broader narrative.

    ooc III: Best wishes for all the players and forum-goers enduring the present pestilence and social restrictions. May this tribulation result in some good ends after the present sufferings particularly for those whose livelihoods have been aversely affected or who have caught the damn virus themselves!
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  8. Takhisis

    Takhisis Free Hong Kong

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    49,219
    Location:
    up yours!
    Hey, I wanted to play this because I really like IOT and I also really like this kind of setting. I'm sorry I never got in; we (the entire family) are quarantined together and only getting out every few days one at a time and my usually overcreative mind is often blank and dull. And I need what creativity I have left for doing my (remaining) job - I translate books. I don't think I have it in me to assume this commitment now; mafia is a different thing entirely where a bit of rôleplaying can be done but I don't have it in me to keep track of virtually a game of civ in my mind this time.

    Good luck and may the best win.
     
  9. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,165
    That's fine, I will keep your application as an NPC should your situation change and you wish to rejoin at a later time.

    Best wishes for you and your family. Coronavirus, associated restrictions and the economic crisis they've caused are terrible!
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  10. filli_noctus

    filli_noctus Hmmn

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    2,221
    "Shuushaaoo" howled the cold wind as it cut through the ancient trees of the north.
    "Shuushaaoo" it whispered as it wended its way through primordial thickets.
    "Shuushaaoo" it screamed as it came blasting out of the forests surrounding the villages that had grown along the river.

    It had taken mere moments that lasted decades for news of the spread of civilisation to spread through the northern forests. For centuries the humans who lived below the canopy had been in symbiosis with the trees. They cleared the dead wood and helped spread the seeds of the fruits to keep the forest vibrant - yes the occasional tree was felled for their own purposes but they had clearly been a benefit to the forest as a whole.

    Now however they were no longer moving throughout the forest. The seeds were no longer being distributed and the felling of trees had increased. Worse than that, the areas surrounging the new villages were being clear cut so the forest could not regenerate. As the news spread the trees felt fear deep within their sapwood and their slow and powerful spirits dreamed into being a new protector.


    The cold wind blew down the smoke hole of the dwelling causing Eithrinn to shiver in her sleep, suddenly she jolted upright and gasped "Shuushaaoo wakens!".

    Deep within the forest a creaking and tearing was heard above the wind roaring the name of Shuushaaoo as He gifted some of the power granted him back to the ancient oak Yormukai, rousing it to ambulatory life. Yormukai tore its roots from the ground and headed south to defend the forests from the depradations of civilisation.

    Name: Shuushaaoo
    Title: Protector of the Forests
    Location: The Northern Forests
    Power: Magic 5

    Spend one magic to issue a prophesy of His rise
    Spend four magic to empower Yormukai, hero of the trees
     
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  11. ork75

    ork75 Prince

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    542
    (placeholder)
    Lallina, Laline, or Larine, depending on the tongue, is an indisputably useful plant...

    Larine is also... well, I suppose you would call it a god. 4 magic points, 1 civilization point.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
  12. LordArgon

    LordArgon King

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2019
    Messages:
    651
    Gender:
    Male
    Points Spending (Narrative Orders to Follow Later)
    • 4 Magic points to create a new race of beings known as the Transfigured. They are the result of divine magic being fused with magic using humans, they are composed of the magics that their original form could use. The first of the Transfigured were born from the priests of Cho'Manos and one spirit-calling guest.
    • 2 Magic points to create a new caste of magicians called the Greenshapers of Cho'Manos. They are an offshoot of the stoneshapers that sculpt plants instead of stones.
    • 1 Civilization point from the Theocracy to create the festival of Transfiguration. A eight day long festival to celebrate the arrival of Cho'Manos' avatar and the creation of the Transfigured.
     
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