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TNESIII: Beyond the Sundered Sea

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Thlayli, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    10,534
    Location:
    In the desert
    Two hundred seventy six years ago, the Graylings sailed by the thousands from a distant, forgotten shore. When they landed, they did three things. First, they kissed the ground. Second, they burned their ships. And third, they swore to never speak of the Horror they had endured, ever again.

    TNESIII: Beyond the Sundered Sea

    This is a story-based NES set during a period that resembles our own Middle Ages, in a small region of a world quite different from our own. You will control feudal houses (or mercantile families, clans, or some other sort of lineage or institution) who will work, intrigue and fight for survival, greatness, and happiness in a world where dark forces are lurking on the fringes of reality.

    Basic Rules:

    You have formed a cast of characters that represents your noble family or other group. You control their traits, actions, and responses to the world around them. You are able to affect the actions of others and the world around you in diverse ways. You can build, destroy, gain access to information, make war, make peace, make alliances, actively aid or interfere in the plans of other players, save the world or ruin it forever.

    You will also interact with a host of minor characters. Some of them, like your retainers, will largely be controlled by you, with some exceptions, like when they choose to defy you. Others will be controlled by me, and I will narrate their personalities. But the most important characters will be controlled by your fellow players. Player characters (for the most part) will drive the narrative forward, though there are a few triggers for major NPC actions that could upend the NES entirely, if they are used.

    There is no one particular goal to my NES, besides the creation of an engrossing, emotionally compelling narrative. Your characters will have a variety of goals, which may evolve and change as the great events of the world overtake them. But every character's story is an important part of the NES, great or small.

    Specific Rules:

    The most important part of the NES is the stories that you write, however there are significant things that happen outside of those stories. My updates will mostly be delivered in story format, describing what your characters have done through the eyes of the people in the world around them. I will try to avoid, where possible, talking as an omniscient narrator, though I may do it where necessary.

    Stats, such as they are, are a cursory affair, meant to give you an at-a-glance view of your resources, but the stats are not highly important. What is important is that you realize whether your house is rich or poor, gaining or losing money, how many troops (roughly) you can command and other such things. The heart of the NES will be found in your lineage information, the descriptions of your land and people and the stories of what you do.

    I will maintain the Chancery section of your stats dealing with funds, levies, and the like, and you will maintain the Lineage section, which describes your families and their ages and traits.

    Your orders will consist of three things:

    1) Updates to the Lineage
    2) Spending
    3) Summaries of your character goals

    The last part is optional, if you have sufficiently explained your characters' motivations through your stories.

    Normal turns will be one year long, except in the event of major wars. When that occurs, we will carry out up to four mini-updates, where the relevant armies move one season at a time on the map for up to four seasons. Then, finally, major battles between players will be resolved on #nes, where I illustrate maps of the generals' forces on the field of battle and they have the ability to command their troops in real time.

    Character Creation and Traits:

    All individuals in the NES have lists of traits that help summarize their personality. Most individuals have already created their families and character traits. For those with pre-existing families, all that you need to know is that it is required to add new traits to children when they turn 5, 12, and 16.

    If you are looking to create a new family, either for purposes of a retainer, or if you are joining the NES in some capacity, please examine the accompanying guidelines for character traits. If you have trouble, please PM me or contact me on #nes.

    Spoiler Character Creation :
    Character Creation:

    After filling out your house template, you will have a certain number of points to spend on your characters. This is equivalent to 3 points per character with a number of bonus points equivalent to your family size. Positive *and* negative traits can be added in the NES through education, stories, roleplaying, and unforeseen circumstances.

    Your characters will have a minimum number of points to spend, reflected in the following table. Or, you can follow the more detailed instructions below.

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
    Family Size (Adults) Positive Points (With Bonus) Negative Points (Minimum)
    1 4 2
    2 8 3
    3 12 5
    4 16 6
    5 20 8
    6 24 9
    7 28 11
    8 32 12
    9 36 14
    10 40 15
    11 44 17
    12 48 18
    13 52 20
    14 56 21

    Note: Add 2 points to the positive and one to the negative column for each child 5-11. Add 3 points to the positive and one to the negative column for each child 11-15.

    Instructions:

    1. To determine your positive trait points, add up your adult (16+) family members and multiply by three. If you want to have 5 adult family members, you have 15 positive points to distribute amongst them. Then add one point per 5-11 year old, and two points per 12-16 year old.

    So if you want a family of six, with two parents, one adult son, one 13 year old daughter, one 8 year old boy and one 3 year old daughter, you would receive 3+3+3+2+1+0 = 12 points. Then add 1 bonus point for each family member, an additional 6, to get your final total, 18.

    Then, calculate your negative trait points; this is easy, just multiply your number of family members by 1.5 and round up.

    2. Distribute your positive and negative traits as you see fit by “spending” them on the traits with their point costs listed next to them. You *are* allowed to add additional negative traits, the rules just set a minimum. You can distribute the traits among family members however you like.

    3. Check to ensure you're following the rules and submit your template!

    Rules:

    1. All adult individuals must have at least two positive or negative traits (or one of each); if you run out of points, you must assign negative traits. No assigning only neutral traits to leftover family members.

    2. All children over the age of 5 must have at least one trait. You can redistribute their points later in childhood as they learn things.

    3. Please keep your number of children to a reasonable limit. I can’t spend the entire NES keeping track of dozens of children.

    4. When new children are born, they have no traits. They receive one trait point at age 5, a second at 12, and their third at 16. You can add and remove children’s traits more easily; doing that to adults takes heavy effort. You can add and remove neutral and negative traits to and from children at any time after they turn 5.

    5. If you pick a neutral trait, please choose one or at most two, since most are overlapping or conflicting.

    Character Traits and Costs:

    Paragon of His/Her Generation (+*) Special. Can only be added as a bonus through stories, experience, and popular recognition as a truly exceptional figure.
    Brilliant (+5) - This character has an effortlessly perfect knowledge of the arts and sciences, truly a genius compared to his or her peers.
    Beloved (+4) - Through constant acts of nobility and self-sacrifice, and in possession of a regal figure, this character has gained the adoration of almost all around them.
    Heroic (+4) - This character is an extremely inspiring martial leader, both physically fit and skilled in a command role on the battlefield.
    Dignified (+3) - This character has achieved a decent amount of prestige, and is well-respected by their neighbors. Attacking them without good cause would seem amiss.
    Innovative (+3) - This character will occasionally come up with exciting and unexpected ideas; they’re not guaranteed to work, however.
    Master (+3) - Through a lifetime of study, this character has mastered the art of ____.
    Smart (+2) - This character has a solid overall knowledge of most things, and can pick up new information quickly.
    Wise (+2) - While lacking in academic knowledge, this character has an intuitive understanding of the ways of the world.
    Hardy (+2) - This character is strong, and can hold their own in battle.
    Attractive (+2) - This character is pleasing to the eye.
    Kind (+2) - It is obvious to any that know them that this character does good for goodness' sake.
    Loyal (+2) - This individual seeks to serve a greater cause with all their being, and will die defending it if necessary.
    Trained (+2) - Through years of training, this character has become quite good at ____.
    Clever (+2) - Not necessarily Smart, this character has a great understanding of social situations and dialogue. In an Amoral character, could be manipulative.
    Handy (+1) - This character enjoys making or fixing things; they have the natural abilities of a craftsman with no special training.
    Just (+1) - This character has a strong sense of right and wrong. This tends to improve subjects opinions of them, though it can also cause friction.
    Friendly (+1) - This character gets along well with people and has plenty of friends.
    Diligent (+1) - This character is a good planner and steadfast worker, and doesn’t usually make stupid mistakes.
    Artistic/Musical/Literary (+1) - This character is especially skilled at music, writing, or the visual arts. Not very helpful, but adds peace of mind.
    Skilled (+1) - This character is an above average ____.
    Lucky (+1) - Be it fate or fortune, the little things up to chance tend to fall this character’s way.

    Moral (+0) - Has a personal code of values they will not betray if possible.
    Amoral (+0) - Will do anything necessary to achieve their goals, reprehensible or not.
    Patient (+0) - Prefers to wait before acting.
    Proactive (+0) - Prefers to seize the initiative.
    Idealist (+0) - Prefers to believe that the world can be a better place.
    Cynic (+0) - Prefers to see individuals and the world as flawed and selfish.
    Pious (+0) - This character is a firm believer in the power of the gods.

    Temperamental (-1) - While not constantly boiling over with rage, this character has a tendency to get cross when crossed.
    Distant (-1) - This individual has trouble connecting emotionally with others, and comes across as cold.
    Slow (-1) - This character isn’t dumb, they just...like to take their time figuring things out.
    Shy (-1) - This character has trouble meeting new people, and lacks personal charisma.
    Arrogant (-1) - Justified or not, this character has extreme confidence in his or her abilities, to the point of belittling others at times.
    Depraved (-1) - This character has a slight overenthusiasm for certain unorthodox sexual practices. Not necessarily a problem unless word gets out.
    Homosexual (-1) - This character prefers the company of the same sex. A public embarrassment and a hindrance to procreation, but not crippling.
    Vain (-1) - This character cares a little too much about their personal appearance.
    Dishonest (-1) - This character isn’t afraid of bending the truth where necessary. But cheaters never prosper...usually.
    Wroth (-2) - Even unto violence, this character cannot control his boiling rage.
    Rebellious (-2) - This character dislikes authority, whether legitimate or illegitimate, and will constantly have conflicts with their superiors.
    Obsessive (-2) - This individual is fixated on an idea or a person; or they have obsessive behavior that repeatedly manifests with various subjects.
    Cruel (-2) This character takes a certain amount of pleasure in the exaction of pain, or is simply used to inflicting it.
    Cowardly (-2) This character flees at the sight of battle and conflict, or at the least is extremely ineffective when facing it.
    Lazy (-2) - This character is seriously lacking in motivation.
    Ugly (-2) - This character has not been blessed with a perfectly symmetrical face.
    Stupid (-2) - This character is seriously slow on the uptake.
    Sickly (-3) - This character suffers from a serious, incurable illness. Though they endure for now, they are very weak and could die anytime.
    Crazed (-3) - This character has a serious mental disability like schizophrenia or epilepsy that regularly impairs their ability to govern and may threaten their health.
    Addicted (-3) - This individual has developed a dependency on a chemical substance, most likely alcohol. This could prove extremely problematic.
    Incompetent (-3) - This character suffers from an overarching lack of ability that inspires pity in neighbors and terror in subordinates.
    Diabolical (-4) - This character is a vicious psychopath who lives to terrorize others, and will almost inevitably be hated and feared by all around them.
    Incapacitated (-5) - This character cannot speak coherently or otherwise act; for all intents and purposes they are a vegetable.
    Scourge of His/Her Generation (-*) Special. Can only be added by particularly egregious acts of infamy leading to popular recognition as a universal menace.

    Custom (+/- ?) - Talk to me if you want to add a unique trait.


    Spending Guidelines:

    Frustrated with the available funds in your stats? Want to raise more money or accomplish a project? Don't forget, you can do several things:

    • Raise taxes
    • Borrow money from another player or NPC
    • Neglect paying your troops
    • Neglect the divine offices

    All of these have serious consequences, but that's life!

    Spoiler :
    Raising Troops:

    Most troops in your domain are sworn to your service in return for your protection, and in the case of your retinue, expect some form of payment. In a time of war, some of your levy (the percentage dependent on prestige and vassal opinion) can be added to your retinue to form a larger army.

    However, if this is insufficient, you can use excess funds to acquire mercenaries. Hiring mercenaries is an ongoing expense, and will increase your upkeep. Unless you are highly wealthy or in dire need of additional troops, it is recommended to rely on your retinue and levy before resorting to the hiring of mercenaries.

    1 to induce a trained knight to join your service (requires sufficient prestige)
    1 to hire 5 men at arms or warriors
    1 to hire 5 riders (if Fennacht)
    1 to hire 5 pikemen (if urban)
    1 to hire 10 bowmen
    1 to hire 20 light infantry

    3 to hire a ship

    1 to provide food and water for 100 troops for one campaign season when not living off the land

    Please note that in most cases, the troops you send to war will be living off the land, which means taking food from the locals, or hunting and foraging. Where this is not possible, or you choose not to do it, you can establish funds to purchase supplies for your troops. This may endear you to the local population, or it may be necessary to keep your troops from starving if you have a large army or are marching through desolate countryside.

    Bribery and Ransom:

    1 to bribe a commoner (if receptive)
    5 to bribe a lesser noble (if receptive)
    15-25 to bribe a major noble (if receptive)

    1-10 to ransom a lesser noble
    10-30 to ransom a greater noble

    Please note that bribery and ransom guidelines are merely guidelines, and particularly when dealing with players, other values can be negotiated.

    Construction:

    15 to build a small castle or holdfast
    25 to repair or reinforce a large castle
    50-100 to build a large castle

    10 to build a small temple
    25 to build a large temple
    50-100 to build a truly impressive temple or monument

    ??? to build a town or village

    Funds can be dedicated to building settlements or expanding villages, but whether or not that settlement will succeed or fail is dependent on the quality of the land and resources, available population to live there, and local security.

    Other:

    1-5 to hold a small feast
    5-10 to hold a grand feast
    5-10 to hold a small tournament
    15-25 to hold a grand tournament

    Characters can enter into a tournament and win prize money which is put up by the holder of the tournament. Holding and winning a tournament are both a good way to earn prestige.

    Loans may be taken out from other players, but must be directly borrowed from funds that they have in their treasury. Running a negative ledger balance is functionally equivalent to not paying or underpaying your troops, and will cause their morale to swiftly drop, possibly causing rebellion or defection.
     
  2. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    10,534
    Location:
    In the desert
    The World of the Grey Isles

    Spoiler The Three Peoples :
    Greylings represent the dominant martial race of the islands, and most of its noble lineages. There are two dominant ethnic strains among the Greylings: Ulks and Elmings, named for the two Ship Kings at the dawn of modern history. Ulks are known for their sandy brown hair, and settled mostly in the north, while Elmings settled in the south and have mostly flaxen hair. Greylings are known for being ambitious and competitive, though there is a vast diversity of character among them. Pure-bred Greylings all have grey eyes, and many are prone to having strange dreams so realistic that they lose their grasp on reality.

    Athsarin are a minority in Greyling lands, mostly located in southern lands and in cities, though their merchant ships are often seen plying the trade routes among the islands. They wear robes made of rich, beautiful textiles and tend to have dark brown curly or wavy hair and brown eyes. Once the rulers of the Isles, following the conquest of the Graylings they came to serve the new kings as advisors and learned men. Some have risen to lordly rank but they are not known for being fighters. They have ties to the city of Athsar far to the south, heart of the Republic That Burns. They worship a pantheon of gods separate from the Greylings, though some religious intermingling has occurred, particularly the worship of the goddess Calia. Athsarins are also associated with the powerful military order of the Peregrins.

    Fennacht are the tribespeople that once inhabited the Grey Isles (which they call some variant of Ilthsyre), often fanatic worshippers of a strange and fiery cult. Most of them live on the fringes of civilization, and their few “lords” are hardly worth the name. They have mostly fire red or raven black hair. They were driven into the heaths, moors and swamps which they possess by the Athsarin and the Graylings and remain highly rebellious, fractious, incestuous and resentful of outside influence. Many of them wander the land as mercenaries, entertainers or vagrants. They have a bad reputation that is only half-deserved. Some among the Fennacht have become moderately more organized, and these are led by the Ymherador, the revival of an ancient title reclaimed by Clan Dugallach.


    Spoiler On Nobility :

    On Nobility

    Maelrik or Mael - This is the highest non-royal title that exists in the Isles. Its original translation is 'lesser king,' as it is believed the old Grayling homelands were more like a confederate high kingdom rather than a unified state. This hereditary title only belongs to those who can trace a lineage back before the Saga, and whose forefathers commanded many men at Ulk or Elming's side. Collectively form the high nobility with the Wardhelms. Known holders: Hartwell, Raskakalle, Siegaesc, Grijsman, Illen, Dennet.

    Varrik or, more modernly Wardhelm - This is a potentially powerful title, the most powerful that the king has the authority to grant. The holder of the title is considered the king's champion or defender, typically meaning that a region's castles are given over to this man for upkeep and maintenance. Often used for holders of strategic straits, marches or passes. Equal in power, if not in precedence, to the Maels. Known Holders: g'Aurené, Vardel, Daufing, Lutair, Letten.

    Fyr or Fyrhelm - A mid-range title often given to those of good blood but low circumstances. Can be independent or in fief to higher lords. A 'Fyr' was a noble warrior who distinguished himself on the field of battle, earning himself a gift of land from the king. They can often trace a direct ancestor back to the Saga, but he was not of great importance. This title has also been won by successful warring after the Saga, in the notable case of the Rising of Kathar. Known holders: Kathar, Skelton, Lovell, Valmaic, some older NPC vassals

    Halder - The main title of the lower nobility. Its name literally means 'holder,' referring to a lord who controls a town, manor or castle at the behest of a larger lord. Often used to spin off cadet branches or reward skilled servants. Known holders: Violla, most NPC vassals

    Ceorl or Karhelm - A knight, or a household warrior. Not typically independent landholders, trained soldiers are expected to be provided for in all things by their lord. As such they are quite loyal and quite expensive.

    ---

    The Fennacht do not strictly follow the noble structure of the Graylings. Traditionally the head of their clan is called "The Old," as in "The Old Dugallach" or "The Old Seor". The ancient title of Ymherador has been revived in the last century by Clan Dugallach, and has been accepted with varying degrees of resentment by most of the other surviving independent clans. The Ymherador is a 'leal subject' of House Elming, and is considered by Graylings to be equivalent to a Maelrik in heraldic precedence.

    ---

    Notes: As you can tell, the term 'helm' denotes a warrior, euphemistically by their iron helmets. Originally, "How many helms do you bring to my cause," and so on. A Wardhelm is a warrior-warden; preferred over the original Varrik which meant 'war-king,' hearkening back to an early Grayling period when there were many kings with many roles. High king, lesser king, war king etc. Naturally the throne has discouraged association of the word 'king' with non-royals. Fyrhelm means 'first helm,' a particularly skilled warrior deserving a large grant of land. Ceorl or Karhelm means 'man' or 'man-helm,' noting no particular importance.

    A Maelrik's territory is a Maeldom. A Wardhelm's territory is a Warding. A Fyrhelm's territory is a Fyrding. A Halder's territory is a Halding.

    A female Mael is a Maela, a female Wardhelm is a Wardess, a female Fyr is a Fyra, and a female Halder is a Halda.


    Spoiler On Religion :
    On Religion
    • The Observances - Common practices that all lords must follow to honor the gods
    • The Devotions - Deeper understanding of one particular god through years of cultic worship and loyalty
    Lords will have to maintain the Observances to be in good standing with their people. This includes providing lands and homes for priests and priestesses of the greater gods, ensuring that the people have access to well-maintained temples and that festivals are observed. This all requires a certain amount of money and attention.

    The Devotions are optional. If your characters seek to pursue the deeper mysteries of a particular god, they may gain special benefits and secret knowledge. Not to say that the inner reaches of the divine cults are free of risk...

    It is commonly believed that the gods punish the impious, but you are certainly not obligated to believe that. After all, the gods have not been seen for centuries.

    The Eight Great Gods

    Yrea is the goddess of time, fate, destiny, and astronomy. She is believed to be the oldest of the gods. She is considered aloof from human affairs, but is invoked on solemn occasions.

    Eodris is the ethnic culture-hero of the Graylings, a warrior king who may have been half mortal. He is the patron of just war, of rulers and generals, and is one of the most popular Grayling gods. It is believed that he forged the Diadems in the Golden Days.

    Calia was originally an Athsarin goddess, the chief of their pantheon, but she has been adopted into the pantheon of the Isles. She is the goddess of grace, art, mathematics and refinement. She is the patroness of teachers, artists, and of many noblewomen.

    Breln is the god of the family, of children, of peace, and of agriculture. His greatest festival is held with the harvest, and newlyweds pray to him chiefest for protection.

    Ilith is the goddess of the evening, of shadow, of secrecy, and of seduction. Her trysts are held at sunset, and her color is the blood red of dusk. Rivalry with the priests of Breln.

    Kermennos is an ancient god of the wild, and of hidden ways. His shrines are found in desolate places, deep forests and mountain peaks, and his priests are hermits and wanderers. He is the patron of the lost.

    Jölvandr is the god of the sea, and of lunatics. It is believed that he has been driven mad, and can only be redirected or appeased. He is referred to as a "broken god".

    Nyli is, curiously, a trickster goddess. She has been known to deceive by taking male forms, and hermaphrodites (while stigmatized in general society) are considered to be blessed (or cursed) of Nyli. Naturally, she is the goddess of both truth and lies.

    ---

    The Hearth Gods

    In addition to these major cults, there are a host of lesser gods, household gods, and demigods. Feel free to talk about these or make up your own, if you like. The isles are tolerant of foreign gods and cults, and are happy to worship them alongside their own, as long as they are not hostile to local beliefs.

    The Fennacht religion is different. They worship a single god and believe in the power of ysberyd, local nature and animal spirits who are bound to the land and who can be invoked for blessings and curses. They are distrustful of foreign gods.


    Spoiler On Foreigners :
    On Foreigners

    To your south, the continental mainland is occupied with what seems to be unending waves of barbarian invasions, cultic uprisings, and civil unrest. On the Isles, the Continent at large is often called The Republic that Burns, this name often accompanied by some sign of warding to thank the true gods that the same fate has not befallen you.

    The Sublime Republic as such has fallen, the Scholastia disbanded in fire and blood during the Second Sack of the city which has now endured seven. Many parties claim to act in Athsar's name, managing simultaneously to act against each other and the foreign enemies which beset them from all sides. The most important of these (who you may interact with) are the Daughter Cities and the Peregrin Brotherhood.

    The farthest borderlands of one of the vassals of the distant Xardavate of Kalimakas also stretch into the corner of the visible map.

    The Daughter Cities:

    The Daughter Cities were the eleven great colonies founded by Athsar, meant to be miniature copies of the Supreme City and its institutions to spread the perfect light and culture of Athsar to each new subject province added to the republic. Of the eleven, six survive under independent Athsarin rule. The smallest and northernmost of the Daughter Cities was once called Eredinium, which is now Yyredin, the seat of the Elming kings.

    Five of the survivors to the distant south are of little concern to you. The sixth, the dowager city of Mernaix [ancient Athsarin Marinex], on the northern coast of the continent, is a source of exotics like glass, porcelain, books, potions, and luxuries from the south, and is a voracious consumer of northern grain, iron, and timber. The surviving Daughter Cities have formed a loose alliance that protects each others trading interests and are bound to come to one another's defense in times of emergency. Mernaix, while a tempting target due to its fabulous wealth and not incredibly strong on its own, would be a force to be reckoned with if it summoned its sisters.

    They generally do not participate in the adventures of the Peregrins, preferring to protect flickering light of ancient Athsarin urban life in isolation from the outside world as best they can, idolizing and emulating the early Republic.

    The Peregrin Brotherhood:

    Alternatively lauded as the Republic's greatest champions or vilified as usurpers of its rightful authority, the Peregrin Brotherhood is the most powerful military force on the northern half of the continent, but it is beset from foes within and without. Named after the swift falcon that is one of the favored forms taken by Calia in her appearances to mortal heroes, the Peregrin Brotherhood originally started as a cult within the legions of the late Republic.

    Following the growth of serious corruption and factional infighting within the Scholastia, the legions of the Republic were surprised and overwhelmed by the first wave of barbarians that emerged simultaneously from north and south. The loss of the Isles and the southern borderlands was a shock, but not as much as the trial and execution of several beloved army commanders in the Republic's search for a scapegoat.

    The legionaries revolted under the cult's leaders, demanding the right to elect their own commanders and tax their own lands to ensure adequate funding. The Scholastics and the Peregrins waged a twenty year civil war, ending with the success of the Brotherhood in starving out the Supreme City. But in the course of the civil war, the first of the great cultic empires rose in the jungles of the southern continent, and a million of their fanatics overwhelmed the Empire's overstretched southern defenses and sacked Athsar itself.

    The Brotherhood retrenched, assuming control of the governing apparatus of the Republic. From then until the present day, what remained of the Republic became a decentralized elective military dictatorship under Peregrin control, the Council of Brothers and their Father-Commander the only real authority that remained in Athsar.

    Following the sack, Xardic cults spread across the Continent, and the old faith of Calia was hard-pressed to root out the cultists, even as the Daughter Cities began to break free of Athsar, claiming that it had been replaced with Peregrin domination. A short-lived attempt to re-assert Scholastic authority resulted in an overzealous Peregrin commander sacking the city of Athsar itself, this episode being notable for both an appearance of an otherworldly evil and Calia herself descending to the world to fight it. (It is unclear how much of this is Peregrin hyperbole and legend, however.) Regardless, the damage from the fires, arcane or natural, to the city was immense from the Second Sack.

    Five sacks have followed from various causes, and an Eighth seems imminent, as Kalimakas and the God-King of Meltra have supposedly signed an unholy alliance, to which the exhausted Peregrins are unprepared to confront. In the past hundred years, many individual Peregrinates have fallen under the control of powerful families, with the elections first becoming a formality and then disappearing entirely. This is frowned upon by some Brothers but encouraged by others.

    In the region adjacent to the isles, you are party to the Peregrin of Iverre, a man of little repute who is content to do his duty, and the Peregrin of Castrenavis, one of the more powerful Peregrins of the north, a noted commander with an iron sense of discipline and an impressive level of humility. He is said to be one of the more hawkish members of the Council of Brothers.

    The Dux-Peregrin of Lieve is something of a rogue general who has defied his distant brothers. His house, a long line of noble warriors serving the interests of the Republic for centuries, has begun to assert hereditary rights resembling those of the northern Graylings, and the local gentry has supported him in this. He is a serious rival to Castrenavis, but neither one has had the leisure to challenge the other as of yet.

    The Xardavate of Kalimakas:

    This is a barbarian empire vast in splendor and power, to whom a thousand nations and tribes kneel, whose most distant frontier is but fifty leagues from Lieve. The palaces of Kalimakas himself are thousands of leagues to the south, and the regions that touch the northern coast of the continent are a backwater, held by a vassal of a vassal of a vassal, a tribal chieftain called the Stepan Dar. Kalimakas himself makes war on Athsar far to the south, hoping to seize it as a base to claim the much wealthier lands. He wars the Peregrins, but this region is at peace due to its relative unimportance. The Gray Isles themselves have been far too rude and poor to attract the notice of the higher echelons of the Xardavate's leadership, their eyes set on richer prizes.

    An arrangement has been established whereby the Dux-Peregrin of Lieve pays a protection fee to the Stepan Dar, who is perfectly happy to take his cut and then pass the remainder up to his superiors. This has kept the frontier quiet for decades, and everyone is satisfied with the arrangement. The Xardavate is vast and incomprehensible in its customs and desires. Kalimakas is said to be part man and part snake, but this could either be Peregrin propaganda or simply a barbaric legend that has passed to your ears. Naturally, most believe it.


    Spoiler Miracles, Magic, and Monsters :
    It was unwise of you to even consider reading these words. Perhaps you should return to whatever you were doing before.
     
  3. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    10,534
    Location:
    In the desert
    Statistics Template

    House Name
    Ruler/Player

    Chancery:
    Treasury: The available funds you have.
    Ledger: (+income -expenses)
    Retinue: The troops personally loyal to you, necessary for the protection of your family and your lands.
    Levy: Vassal soldiers you can raise in time of war. The portion you get is dependent on vassal loyalty.
    Retainers: House Name (Leader – Strength/Opinion)
    Prestige: (A Black Name – Disgraceful – Disreputable – Sufficient – Honorable – Esteemed – Legendary)
    Relics: Optional. Any special items obtained by your house.

    Lineage:
    Ruler/Heir: Your ruler and his current heir, if any. Ages included.
    Sigil/Words: Any symbol and/or motto taken by your house.
    Family: The immediate family of your ruling house.
    Allies/Rivals: A brief accounting of those neighbors with whom you have especially good or poor relations.
    Holding Descriptions: Descriptions of the towns and castles under your control.
    House Description: A summary of your house's history and its current status and economy.

    The Houses of the Isles

    Player Houses:

    House g'Aurené
    Wardhelm Courdre g'Aurené / m.t. cicero

    Chancery:
    Spoiler :
    Treasury: 325
    Ledger: +31 (+107 tax, +154 trade, +15 interest, -155 upkeep, -20 bribes, -20 observances, -50 royal taxes)
    Retinue: 11 knights, 400 men at arms, 200 pikemen, 200 archers, 19 ships
    Levy (Unraised): 80 knights, 500 men at arms, 1000 light infantry, 500 pikemen, 800 archers, 48 ships
    Retainers: House Violla (Halder Henri Violla Strong/Neutral), House Nijnheim (Fyr Vlaarfelt Nijnheim - Strong/Disloyal), House Hargenshem (Weak/Loyal), Sundry Burghers (Strong/Loyal)
    Prestige: Disgraceful
    Relics: None


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    The Free City of Confels
    Rector Byrndyn Sigmund / ChiefDesigner

    Chancery:
    Spoiler :
    Treasury: 75
    Ledger: +2 (+35 tax/tuition, +10 trade, +2 interest, -30 upkeep, -10 observances, -5 royal taxes)
    Retinue: 3 knights, 100 pikemen, 35 night watchmen
    Levy (Unraised): 1 knight, 100 pikemen, 100 archers, 500 light infantry
    Retainers: None
    Prestige: Esteemed
    Relics: A Diadem, The Book of Wyrdleif


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    House Daufing
    Wardhelm Arnulf Daufing/ Grandkhan

    Chancery:
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    Treasury: 43
    Ledger: (+152 tax, +23 trade, -15 observances, -135 upkeep, -5 royal taxes)
    Retinue: 33 knights, 750 men at arms, 50 archers
    Levy: 59 knights, 300 men at arms, 200 archers, 1000 light infantry, 25 pikemen
    Retainers: House Beorring (Halder Eadming Beorring - Moderate/Disloyal), House Uebern (Fyr Borgen Uebern - Moderate/Loyal) House Herring (Mayor Imbern Herring - Weak/Loyal), House Fammering (Fyr Folling Fammering - Weak/Loyal), House Lemmern (Halder Gruenilla Lemmern - Weak/Loyal)
    Prestige: Sufficient
    Relics: None


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    Clan Dugallach
    Ymherador Daidh Dugallach / LordofElves

    Chancery:
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    Treasury: 19
    Ledger: +12 (+152 tax, +3 trade, -111 upkeep -2 observances, -30 royal taxes)
    Retinue: 45 riders, 100 men at arms, 800 light infantry, 100 archers
    Levy: 75 riders, 100 men at arms, 2450 light infantry, 600 archers
    Retainers: Clan Rhyst (Old Rhyst – Weak/Neutral), Clan Eirheste (Old Eirheste – Weak/Loyal), Clan Dumollag (Strong/Disloyal)
    Prestige: Sufficient
    Relics: The Red Mask


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    House Grijsman
    Maelrik Saxan Grijsman / The Strategos

    Chancery:
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    Treasury: 3
    Ledger: -2 (+145 tax, +15 trade, -115 upkeep, -17 living expenses, -20 observances, -10 royal taxes)
    Retinue: 35 knights, 450 men at arms, 200 archers, 7 ships
    Levy (Unraised): 56 knights, 500 men at arms, 300 archers, 1100 light infantry, 32 ships
    Retainers: House Zwartlicht (Balcaen Zwartlicht – Strong/Loyal) House Volwit (Hastert Volwit – Weak/Loyal)
    Prestige: Esteemed
    Relics: A Diadem


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    House Hartwell
    Mael Leofric Hartwell / Shadowbound

    Chancery:
    Spoiler :
    Treasury: 4
    Ledger: +19 (+133 tax, -94 upkeep, -15 observances, -5 royal taxes)
    Retinue: 73 knights, 350 men at arms, 150 archers, 2 ships
    Levy (Unraised): 150 knights, 200 men at arms, 1400 light infantry, 600 archers, 14 ships
    Retainers: Belwerd (Fyr Ermyn Belwerd – Weak/Loyal),
    Prestige: Legendary
    Relics: A Diadem, The Bones of Ducimidrath


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    House Illen
    Mael Creigh Illen / North King

    Chancery:
    Spoiler :
    Treasury: 42
    Ledger: +14 (+86 tax, -52 upkeep, -10 observances, -10 royal taxes)
    Retinue: 45 riders, 300 warriors, 75 bowmen, 3 ships
    Levy (Unraised): 120 riders, 700 warriors, 400 rabble, 150 bowmen, 9 ships
    Retainers: House Chuffrey (Moderate/Neutral), House Less (Weak/Loyal), House Cullech (Weak/Disloyal), House Fealdere (Weak/Loyal)
    Prestige: Esteemed
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    Spoiler :
    Lord Creigh Illen (M, 28) - Head of House
    A relatively young head of the Illen household, Creigh came to hold sway over their lands after the death of his father Orwet, though even at 25, he was still deeply influenced by his mother. With a just and even hand, Creigh has been a lord well liked -- if not quite beloved -- by his people. But his pliability is evident in his personal life; with his wife Lea passing in childbirth, he is caught between two women he loves deeply, and what elsewhere would be a simple domestic drama has far deeper political implications.

    Meir Illen (M, 3) - Son by Dead Wife
    Too young to be particularly interesting, Meir has the unfortunate effect of reminding many of his family of his dead mother.

    Lady Halda Tynn (F, 28) - Love Interest
    Halda was a childhood love of Creigh; as young boy and girl, they were absolutely inseparable, and reaching the age of puberty, they began to take an interest in each other in far more intense ways. But an incredible string of events connived to separate them, one that can scarcely be believed. Halda vanished late one night from the grounds of the castle, supposedly within the sound of the waves. When she didn’t turn up for a month, many presumed her dead, but the more superstitious of the locals insisted that she had been abducted by the merpeople of the nearby sea. Over ten years later, she emerged into the light again, by now looking quite different, but most definitely still herself -- she knew things about Creigh no one else could, bore her ring, and so on. But many whispered that she had come back wrong; while she began to court Creigh once more, it quickly became evident that something was not quite right with her head.

    Lady Klare Ceir (F, 27) - Love Interest
    Klare, in contrast, never met Creigh before his wife Lea’s death. But she appeared in the exact hour of his need, and offered him some comfort, though only the foolish dare claim to know how. She and her house are a family of climbers, and she has been pursuing Creigh quite… aggressively, a plan which has met with something of a hitch with the reappearance of Halda. While the two have continued separate courtships without overt interference from one another, the castle has become a veritable snakepit of politics between factions supporting either one, and Klare is rather better at negotiating this sort of environment than Halda. She lacks the naive charm of her antagonist, perhaps, but many suspect that Creigh is less attracted to naivete than most men.


    Lady Masandrelle Illen (F, 53) - Mother
    Decades ago, Masandrelle was already infamous in noble circles of the northern kingdom; she had taken quickly to the art of seduction, true, but it was the exact nature of that seduction which made the gossip flutter about her like a clutch of startled moths -- though never in her hearing. While she was largely restricted in her… activities… by her marriage, she still managed to retain something of her aura, and when Orwet died, all bets were off. Given her influence on her son, she would already be an attractive target, but she needs little help in this regard. More than a few men have been spotted in her company, though they have naturally said nothing of what transpired.


    Lord Cerestyf Illen (M, 26) - Brother
    The brother of Lord Illen, Cerestyf is something of a dull soul, though everyone who knows him would say it is a blessing to be around him. He is always kind, thoughtful, and utterly boring. His seat is a minor barony some miles from the main Castle Gyll.

    Lady Gwenyth Illen nee Veres (F, 24) - Sister-in-law, from a minor house
    And indeed, the boring brother was consigned to the boring betrothal -- Gwenyth was nothing that a young man would dream of, but was dutiful, bearable, and shored up a critical alliance in the northern isles. She is largely content with knitting and creating decorative arrangements of flowers or fruit salads.


    Chellar Illen (M, 1)
    What is there to say about a one year old? This one seems quite precocious; he only vomits up half of every meal.

    Lady Elynor Ulf nee Illen (F, 27) - Sister
    Elynor was always something of a black sheep in the family, but where other houses might have coddled or grudgingly loved the black sheep, Elynor was pushed to the side. She was quite a bit smarter than her siblings, and she never felt quite at home in her own skin, barely interacting with the other children at play, and becoming desperately uncomfortable with the increasingly adult games they played as they aged. Her sharp analytical mind seemed to hit a brick wall over and over, until she turned to alcohol to solve her problems. It didn’t -- it simply added a new one. But when Orwet and Lea died in quick succession, it was Elynor of all people who comforted Creigh, and the two have been close since then.


    Crown Prince Storrow Ulf (M, 29) - Brother-in-law
    Elynor’s marriage to Storrow was not particularly surprising, all things told -- the Illen family had been one of the closest supporters of the Ulfs for the last half-century, and the match only made official what had already been a rock-solid alliance in practice. Storrow has an iron sense of justice, and is judged by many to be a promising, if personally unpleasant, successor to the king.


    Princess Carina Ulf (F, 9) - Daughter-in-law
    Carina is the eldest daughter of Elynor and Storrow, and by all accounts a bright and impressive young child, precocious in a number of things -- one of which, of course, was her love of riding, which ended up mangling one of her legs and rendering it almost useless. She can still walk, but it is a painful thing for her, and one can only hope life is kinder to her from here on out.


    Prince Karl Ulf (M, 5) - Son-in-law
    Princess Shayla Ulf (F, 5) - Daughter-in-law
    Karl and Shayla are twins, of course, and one can scarcely tell them apart at this young age. They are happy to play with one another and their younger sister Talda, but have yet to make any real impact on the family. For obvious reasons.

    Princess Talda Ulf (F, 2) - Daughter-in-law
    A less precocious child than her cousin, Talda vomits up nearly all of her meals. Aside from this, she’s quite adept with her stuffed animals.

    Lady Katrina Illen (F, 19) - Sister, unwed
    Katrina has always been a bit of a cheeky child, probably the wittiest of the Illen children, and easily the most creative, dabbling in music and especially poetry. But her skills never fully blossomed, and she fell back on her privileged upbringing to avoid doing anything useful with them; her main talent in life is most likely that which she nurtured by long years of absentmindedly stealing things that got within arm’s reach.

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    House Kathar
    Fyr Jorik Kathar / TaylorFlame

    Chancery:
    Spoiler :
    Treasury: 20
    Ledger: +3 (+55 tax, -42 upkeep, -10 observances)
    Retinue: 10 riders, 250 warriors, 200 bowmen, 5 ships
    Levy (Unraised): 20 riders, 500 warriors, 900 rabble, 350 bowmen, 49 ships
    Retainers: House Hybjorn (Highhalder Karl Hybjorn - Strong/Neutral), House Vyrfaeg (Halder Brandt Vyrfaeg - Moderate/Loyal), House Jolmir (Halder Tyr Jolmir - Weak/Neutral)
    Prestige: Honorable
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    House Letten
    Wardhelm Enrik Letten / ork

    Spoiler :
    Treasury: 12
    Ledger: +6 (+78 tax, +18 trade, -80 upkeep -10 observances)
    Retinue: 24 knights, 30 riders, 450 men at arms, 50 bowmen
    Levy (Unraised): 13 knights, 150 riders, 500 light infantry, 100 men at arms, 50 bowmen
    Retainers:
    Prestige: Sufficient
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    House ge Lourdesier
    Dux-Peregrin Xavid Rhodeus ge Lourdesier / TMG

    Chancery:

    Spoiler :
    Treasury: 42
    Ledger: +9 (+228 tax, +45 trade, -239 upkeep, -5 public services(!?) -20 observances)
    Retinue: 345 comital lancers, 1100 brother-soldiers, 400 bowmen, 8 ships
    Levy (Unraised): 3000 light infantry, 200 comital lancers, 300 brother soldiers, 200 bowmen, 35 ships
    Retainers:
    Prestige: Honorable
    Relics: The Mace of Peregrin-Martyr Velcier


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    House Lovell
    Wardhelm Allen Lovell [Wardess Genevieve Lovell] / Seon

    Chancery:
    Spoiler :
    Treasury: 9
    Ledger: +2 (+68 tax, +13 trade, -69 upkeep, -10 observances)
    Retinue: 19 knights, 250 men at arms, 300 bowmen, 4 boats
    Levy (Unraised): 13 knights, 200 men at arms, 500 light infantry, 100 bowmen, 2 boats
    Retainers: House Ulfram (Moderate/Loyal) House Eadric (Weak/Disloyal), House Leofwine (Rose Leofwine - Weak/Loyal)
    Prestige: Honorable
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    House Lutair
    Wardhelm Crestin Lutair / Ophorian

    Chancery:
    Spoiler :
    Treasury: 187
    Ledger: +21 (+69 tax, +152 trade, -120 upkeep, -20 bribes, -15 observances, -25 royal taxes)
    Retinue: 33 knights, 400 men at arms, 350 archers, 25 ships
    Levy (Unraised): 75 knights, 300 men at arms, 800 archers, 750 light infantry, 63 ships
    Retainers:
    Prestige: Honorable
    Relics:


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    House Raskakalle
    Mael Ulrics Raskakalle / Masada

    Chancery:
    Spoiler :
    Treasury: 39
    Ledger: +8 (+127 tax, +21 trade, -115 upkeep, -5 bribes, -15 observances, -5 royal taxes)
    Retinue: 52 knights, 500 men at arms, 75 archers, 100 pikemen, 5 ships
    Levy (Unraised): 98 knights, 400 men at arms, 200 archers, 150 pikemen, 1000 light infantry, 19 ships
    Retainers: House Aarrand (Moderate/Loyal), House Ushriel (Weak/Loyal), The Haugher of Hahndel (Moderate/Neutral)
    Prestige: Legendary
    Relics: A Diadem, The Blade Hauskillar


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    House Siegaesc
    Mael Aethelred Siegaesc / Nuke

    Chancery:
    Spoiler :
    Treasury: 53
    Ledger: +14 (+179 tax, -140 upkeep, -20 observances, -5 royal taxes)
    Retinue: 103 knights, 650 men at arms, 100 archers, 3 ships
    Levy: 95 knights, 950 men at arms, 1500 light infantry, 300 archers, 21 ships
    Retainers: House Hyerfern (Fyr Halden Hyerfern – Strong/Loyal), House Lien (Halder Cirraw Lien – Strong/Neutral), House Kaol (Halder Karruc Caol – Weak/Loyal), House Thamden (Halder Jael Thamden – Weak/Loyal)
    Prestige: Honorable
    Relics: A Diadem


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    House Skelton
    Fyr Aethelhere Skelton / Golden1Knight

    Chancery:
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    Treasury: 7
    Ledger: +3 (+45 tax, -37 upkeep, -5 observances)
    Retinue: 6 knights, 75 men at arms, 150 archers
    Levy: 15 knights, 250 archers, 500 light infantry
    Retainers: House Reeve (Halder Eward Reeve – Weak/Loyal), House Harrison (Halder Coenhelm Harrison – Weak/Loyal)
    Prestige: Sufficient
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    House Vardel
    Fyr Franks Vardel / bestshot

    Chancery:
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    Treasury: 9
    Ledger: 0 (+78 tax, -68 upkeep, -10 observances)
    Retinue: 35 knights, 350 men at arms, 100 archers, 400 light infantry
    Levy: 20 knights, 200 men at arms, 50 archers, 700 light infantry
    Retainers:
    Prestige: Sufficient
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    House Valmaic
    Fyr Eraric Valmaic / bombshoo

    Chancery:
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    Treasury: -31
    Ledger: -14 (+63 tax, +13 trade, -65 upkeep, -15 ???, - 5 observances, -5 interest payments [g'Aurene])
    Retinue: 19 knights, 350 men at arms, 75 archers, 1 ship
    Levy (Unraised): 35 knights, 450 light infantry, 200 men at arms, 13 archers, 3 ships
    Retainers: The Brothers of the Autumn Scythe (Strong/Neutral)
    Prestige: Disreputable


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    House Violla
    Halder Henri Violla / Defacto

    Chancery:
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    Treasury: -8
    Ledger: -5 (+35 tax, +10 trade, -40 upkeep, -5 observances, -5 interest payments [g'Aurene])
    Retinue: 4 knights, 100 men at arms, 50 archers, 6 ships
    Levy (Unraised): 100 light infantry, 25 men at arms, 10 archers, 5 ships
    Retainers: None
    Prestige: Disreputable


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  4. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    10,534
    Location:
    In the desert
    Non Player Houses:

    -To Be Completed-

    Maps of the Isles

    Spoiler Political, Update 0 :


    Spoiler Political Labeled :


    Spoiler Physical Geography :


    Repository of Records:

    Update 1 Deadline: 9:00 p.m. EST, Friday, September 19th
     
  5. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    10,534
    Location:
    In the desert
    Just in case.
     
  6. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    10,534
    Location:
    In the desert
    Update 0

    ---

    The Butcher King

    There were two lonesome figures in the feast hall, posted at the end of a long, polished trestle table like guards on the night patrol of a stretch of empty walltop. Two rows of guttering torches on opposite walls threw out as much light as pools of gloom into the corners, and up into the rafters hung with ancient banners of dragons and snakes. The shadows danced quietly as the king slurped at his bowl of stew, chewing the soft vegetables with the teeth that were left to him.

    “What is your name, child?” muttered Rædrik into the half-light.

    “Elycia, your might,” replied the serving girl. The king could see a wave of blonde hair, braided intricately and hung behind her head, and what might have been a blouse. Something brown and white. Little else penetrated past his cataracts in this light.

    The king took another mouthful of stew.

    “It was the dragons that brought them north,” the king finally muttered. “A threat to burn the daughters. This land had nothing to offer them but savagery...and the quest.”

    “Of course it was, your might,” said Elycia soothingly. “And the knights killed 'em just like in the tales. Now here, take your soup.”

    “Knights? Pah,” said the king, dribbling a little bit of soup into his beard. “The techneiao, cunning men, and the legions...an unholy alliance...and weapons better left buried...” The king's eyes wandered, and a trickle of soup slowly spilled out of his spoon into his lap.

    “Your might always tells the best stories,” she said calmingly, coming closer and stroking his shoulder, “But my mam always says, dark stories at sup make for a dark belly later on.”

    The king huffed in approval. “A wise woman, she. Mmn.”

    Elycia took the king's hand, gently guiding the dripping spoon back to the bowl, where it took on a new cargo destined for a royal port. “There you are, 'en that better?” she said.

    The king closed his eyes while swallowing, then smacked his lips.

    “I treasure your kindness, child,” said the king. “Tell me, what is your name?”

    “Elycia, your might.” she said patiently.

    The king blinked his rheumy eyes several times. “You are kind to me. As Calia says, knowledge...is the greatest reward, but kindness the sweetest.”

    Elycia smiled back, then wiped the king's mouth with a cloth. “Tell me another one of your tales then, your might. Knowledge for kindness.”

    The King's eyes crinkled with pleasure. “Hmm! It has been quite some time since I had to sing for my supper.” He wheezed at his own joke. “Shall I tell you the tale of the maiden in the autumn grass?”

    “Well your might...”

    “Oh, I see, you've heard that one before.”

    Elycia looked out into the distance, reminicing. “My father was a fisherman, my king. When I were small, he take me some time, from the city into the Riksfjord.” She fussed with the end of her hair unconsciously as she continued. “Once, we sailed north...further out, for better fish...and we passed the Isle of Kings, all empty. My father wouldn't speak of it...but I saw the old towers, and the great dome. There was a tree growing out of it. I was wondering, your might...they say it was you that abandoned the Isle, fifty years ago. Would you tell me the tale of...why?”

    She looked at the king. His normal, rheumy-eyed expression was gone, and he stared at her, head held high, his grey eyes shining in the reflection of the torchlight. One of the torches flared, and the blue jewel set in the king's diadem caught the glare.

    “Have you worked in the kitchens, girl?” The king's voice was now hard as a piece of flint.

    “Y..yes, your might,” she said, slightly taken aback.

    “Have you ever butchered a cow?”

    “No.”

    “Seen it butchered?”

    “Yes, of course.”

    “Have you ever seen them bring in a fine cow, and then watched as they split open its belly to scoop out the entrails, but instead of fine, clean bowel, thousands of maggots spilled out onto the floor?”

    “I...”

    “Imagine it, then. Imagine the body of the cow, rotting from the inside. And who is this cow's meat meant to feed?”

    “The king, your might.”

    “And the king's wife, and the king's children. Say not all of the cow is spoiled, say the maggots have not touched the brain, or the tongue, or the shanks, as far as you can see. Would you still serve that meat to a king?”

    “No, your might.”

    “Tell me, what would you do with the cow?”

    Elycia swallowed. “I would burn the cow, and the maggots with it.”

    The king finally broke his gaze away from hers, exhaling slowly. “You would burn the whole cow.”

    “Your might, I am s-”

    “Perhaps,” he said, cutting her off, his voice then returning to its normal dreamy state, “that is enough for one night, of tales.” King Rædrik pushed away his bowl of soup, grasping the handles of his chair. “An old man grows so tired before the night has hardly begun. Take me to my bed, child.”

    “Yes, your might.”

    The king creakily rose to stand up, leaning heavily on the arm of the servant. Together, they slowly shuffled towards the doorway, as fast as the king's steps could take them.

    “We are not so different, you and I, dear child,” the king said softly.

    Elycia was a sharp girl, and she took his meaning. “We're both servants.”

    The king let out a wheeze. “Yes! You are a quick little starling. Tell me, what is your name?”

    “Elycia, your might.”

    ---

    Then We March

    A lone horseman rode across a field of scars. Great divots were dug into the ground he passed, holes, gulleys, and concentric trenches pockmarking an open plain from which any sort of cover had been ruthlessly denuded. Hooves thudded against wood as the horse crossed one of several log bridges, ready to be pulled up at a moment's notice, leaving no road at all.

    One of the outlying watchtowers had long-since detected the rider's presence, and a blue flag fluttered to signal the walls.

    The great curtain wall soon loomed below, and beyond came the five towers, of staggered height and measure, and the great arca soaring upwards in their center. Castrenavis, the greatest fortress of the north. It was here that the Molag Dar and his thirty thousand had met their end, crushed between the pincer of Iverre's pikes and the sally from the gates that cut through the heart of the besieging army to the Dar's command tent. It was here that a Father-Commander had seen fit, twice in the last two centuries, to convene the Peregrin Council.

    The world might be burning, but Castrenavis did not know how to burn. Not yet.

    As the rider approached the gates, four ballistas far above tracked his approach, rumbling on their great oaken turntables. The great portal itself stood wide open; no challenge was necessary, as they knew exactly who he was. He urged his horse to a gallop as they passed through the archway of the gatehouse into the first court, itself surrounded by walls, then pulling him up into a majestic rear at the perfect moment. Nothing wrong with a little celebration at the end of a long, difficult ride.

    There were no trumpets to mark his arrival, no assembly of soldiers at parade stance. Other Peregrins might have enjoyed such things, but in Castrenavis, brotherhood meant equality. Even a Brother-Commander was still a brother, no better than the lowliest stableboy and no more deserving of praise. It had taken some time for the Peregrin of Castrenavis to instill this attitude in his men, but instill it he had.

    There was one man waiting for him, however, dressed in comfortable clothes, not military or workman's attire. The indispensible man of letters, spy, and advisor who any man of merit possessed. The cipher, Calé.

    This small, slight individual took the reins of his horse, patting it gently on the side of the face and producing an apple, which the magnificent black courser crunched gratefully. Only then did he look up at the rider with an apologetic smile.

    “You look tired,” said Calé. “One of these days you need to let me give you a tail.” He hooked the reins over a hitching post as Castrenavis dismounted.

    “Entourages are for the old and the weak,” replied the Peregrin. “I think I made more of an impression arriving alone.”

    They stood staring at each other for a few moments. Then they finally embraced. “It's good to see you, idiot,” said Calé.

    “Same to you, coward,” said Castrenavis. They clasped arms, then both started chuckling. “Give me a moment to get the dirt of the road off me, and then you meet me in the Orichalcery.”

    “Right away? The men wanted to-”

    “Calé.” His tone was firm.

    The cipher saluted stiffly. “One quarter hour, in the Orichalcery.”

    ---

    The Orichalcery was a small cube of a room in the upper bailey where some of the novice brothers took their meals. It was one of those strange artifacts of the ancient days, beautiful and incomprehensible in purpose. The room seemed to have been carved entirely out of a single block of bronze-colored metal, but no one knew why. The walls, floor, and ceiling were covered in swirling scrolls of tracing lines, but they never formed any coherent writing or imagery.

    The sole exception to this scrollwork covering the entirety was an empty circle in the center of the floor, to which all the lines connected. They had experimented with it as boys, but they were never able to get it to do anything.

    Frankly, it was a queer room and an awful waste of material, but it was pretty. For whatever reason, the two had also learned in their youth that conversations in the Orichalcery would never be overheard. That was part of the reason that the Brother-Commander and his Cipher chose to have their private conversations here, away from posturing flight leaders, grumbling artificers, and all the constantly swirling politics of their so-called meritocracy.

    “So,” said the Cipher. “The council.”

    “Athsar, such as it is, has been secured again. Given how blasted the countryside there is, it's a waste of resources, but nobody can countenance abandoning it.”

    “Well, I expected that. What about the politics?”

    “The usual, until Televaja and his allies stormed out when a new attack on Meltra was voted down.”

    Calé hissed. “After that red lunatic's outrages, they still won't act!”

    “As bad as that is, the south will have to fend for itself now. Meltra and the Xardav have allied, and the treaty is repudiated. They say the Oyars have been brought to heel and yoked to Kalimakas' purpose. Already there's fighting all along the Raphelians, and Erzam...is most likely gone by now.”

    “Sweet goddess.”

    “So as you can see, there's no time for feasting. We'll need to march as soon as the north can be rallied.”

    The cipher looked slightly awkward. “Which...is a good place to begin, I think. Because Lieve...”

    “I KNOW about ge Lourdesier and his games. We have no time to deal with it at the present. If he wants to defy the Council and ignore the Call, let him. We'll deal with him later.”

    “Well, it's not all bad. Iverre will do what we tell Iverre to do, and Mernaix has offered a token contingent to be used at your discretion. A thousand pikes.”

    The Peregrin cocked his head to the side. “How did you manage that?”

    “Politics! You can do a lot more with a pen and the right information than swinging a sword, you old fool.”

    “To find the measure of a man, derive the inverse of his ego,” quoted the Peregrin, making Calé chuckle. “But very well. Will we have trouble with the Graylings when the North is stripped of troops?”

    “No. The Gray Isles are on a knife's edge. Elmingland is paralyzed between the Lily and the Greyhound, ever since Cirwyn's return. As King Rædrik becomes ever more reclusive, the two are effectively ruling the kingdom in his dotage, and at each other's throats constantly.”

    “That was one of your best moves,” said Castrenavis.

    “And better still to come, if we need to use him.”

    “What of the high lords? Will any of them pose a threat?”

    The Cipher's brows furrowed. “Of the great Maels...Hartwell is interested in killing Fennacht and Cirwyn. Those two will likely keep him in check. Siegaesc, Grijsman, and Raskakalle have all interbred and hold daggers behind their backs while they smile at great feasts. It would take little to throw the east into chaos.”

    “The lesser lords and the new nobility will play their games, supporting whoever they deem likely to win. If the red men support one side or another, it could prove decisive...but Dugallach is hated by half of them and grudgingly obeyed by the rest.”

    “And what of the marchers?”

    “Lutair, g'Aurené, and Valmaic. United and aggressive they could pose a threat. But you have seen Crestin Lutair in the flesh. He is not a man preparing for war. Multiply that times twenty and you have Courdre g'Aurené. And the Valmaics are in poverty and disgrace since the loss of their Wardship. It is far more likely they will struggle amongst each other than turn their attentions to us.”

    “And the Ulks?”

    “Have you ever even seen an Ulklander?”

    “...once, perhaps.”

    “Exactly.”

    “So, there are none among the Isles who will pose even the slightest threat to us?”

    “None whatsoever.”

    The Peregrin folded his hands. “Then we march.”
     
  7. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
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    Location:
    In the desert
    You may now post. May gods and men grant you safe passage.
     
  8. m.t.cicero

    m.t.cicero Good Kid

    Joined:
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    Location:
    m.A.A.d city
    Libaus an Etenao! The Golden Peacock shall outshine all others!
     
  9. Nuka-sama

    Nuka-sama :)

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    Tokyo, JP
    All are beneath the Eagle's wings, for we have grown through our hardship.
     
  10. Ophorian

    Ophorian Holy Britannian Emperor

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Vancouver
    The cross-sailed ships of House Lutair stand ready to protect the King's waters, their sailors ready to give their lives in service to the kingdom and the crown.
     
  11. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    We will set an order deadline for 9:00 p.m. EST, Friday, September 19th. That should give people enough time to write some interesting stories.

    I'll be writing my own as well.

    NPC stats, and the transfer of the player templates from the pre-thread into the Lineage section of the thread stats, will be accomplished over the next few days. If anything is urgent, feel free to PM me or ask me on #nes.

    I need ork, Shadowbound, Strat, and Masada to name their holdings when they get an opportunity. An incomplete labeled map of holdings can be found here.

    NK and LoE are strongly encouraged to give me holding names for their neighbors.
     
  12. Lord of Elves

    Lord of Elves Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    Location:
    right behind u ;)
    The Ymherador Daidh Dugallach of the Red Men has arrived, and his is the strongest redoubt and the sharpest wit. The ysberyds shall dance gaily tonight.
     
  13. Shadowbound

    Shadowbound Scourge of God

    Joined:
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    On Westerisle:
    Ealhavn and Ealhavn Castle
    Ragnar's Rest and Ragnarsburg
    The town of Faerflung

    In the Granmark:
    Tochsford
    Worstown
     
  14. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
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    I will consider positions for the Elming king's council soon; I have to determine precisely what the positions are and their functions. There is likely to be at least a Hartwell, a Grijsman, and NPC Osvern (also a Mael) on the council, if they desire to be.

    The only position I'm certain the council has is that of Cipher, an Athsarin importation the function of which is explained in Update 0. Lesser lords are likely to have their own.

    As for the Ulk monarchy, again I'll work that out with NK.
     
  15. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    Names will be forthcoming tonight.

    Grrrr.
     
  16. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    I only said that because the Grijsmans and Hartwells are in or near the capital, Masada. If you want a representative on the council, you can have one. :p
     
  17. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    I'm happy to be upstaged by the Hartwells but Gods forbid if I'll let a Grijsmans get one up on me. Not that I object to them serving on the Council with me.
     
  18. Grandkhan

    Grandkhan Telvanni Master Wizard

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    Inside a mushroom
    House Daufing is present.

    We take by our own hand.
     
  19. TaylorFlame

    TaylorFlame Nuclear Whale

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    House Kathar is ready, no shore is safe.
     
  20. Golden1Knight

    Golden1Knight Elf-Friend

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    Location:
    Somewhere.
    Lord Skelton is here. All hail the crow, always watchful.
     

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