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Varica: Children of the Sky

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Fulton, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. The Strategos

    The Strategos Thanatos

    Jul 21, 2002
    Spoiler Part II :


    Now Raven-Feeder truly ranks among the treasures of Varica, as I shall relate. In the days when Hroth ruled from his mighty throne, he placed his servant the Foldenadrian Blargramr on the Raven Throne, to rule over the north in justice and in truth. It came to pass that Blargramr lost the iron weapons his valor had won. But he lost these weapons not due to his own neglect, but they were destroyed during a great battle with Foldenadr. For the coiling serpent’s blood boiled with toxic poison. Therefore when battle-brave Blargramr stabbed the serpent’s golden-tip scales, it melted.

    So Blargramr resolved within himself to replace the arms which he lost. Of all the blacksmiths in the land, the greatest was nimble-fingered Lodur. Lodur was an earth spirit, who lived under the mountain Hnit. One hundred iron golems, which he had created with his own hands, served the forge. Forty golems, made out of the purest silver fashioned supple armor. Ten gold-fashioned golems carved enchantments of the strongest magic on all forge-fashioned crafts.

    To Lodur Blargramr went in order to have him make him arms and armor. With him he brought rich gifts, gold, silver, precious stones, and everything a king would desire. But when he reached Lodur’s halls, he found them barred to him. For Lodur had a daughter, Idunn, who was said to be the most beautiful creature in the world. But it had also been prophesized at her birth that her husband would kill Lodur. Because of this, Lodur refused to let any man near her. But Blargramr did not know of this prophecy. So, not realizing why Lodur refused to see him, he sat outside the gates, refusing to leave until he saw Lodur.

    When Lodur saw that Blargramr was as a statue, he became weak in the knees, thinking that he wanted Idunn. So he went out to meet him, intending to send Blargramr away. But when Blargramr saw Lodur, he fell to his knees saying, “Most noble smith, men say that you could be Sara’s teacher in all manner of crafts. Now I say this not myself, for what mortal could be greater than the immortals? Nevertheless I know that of all that draw breath, you are the greatest in metal-skill. Therefore I bring you great gifts, seeking you to make arms and armor for me. For my own were not cowardly left behind in battle, as some men do when they are defeated, casting them off lest they hinder their flight. No, mine were destroyed by the poisonous blood of the great serpent Foldenadr, when I slew him. Now if these costly gifts do not sway your mind, perhaps this deed will. For great deeds are sung wherever two or more gather. Therefore when men sing of my victories, they will sing too of the mighty weapons I wield and the smith who made such ones fit even for Haeka. Then you too will be immortal, though the flesh dies.”

    Lodur heard these words with eyes which smoldered as though they were the fires which he used to heat the iron to make a sword, or an iron shield, or some other implement of war. “He uses such an excuse only to get close to my daughter when I leave him alone to carry out his wish.” These were the thoughts which went through his mind. Then a plan came to him, to get rid of Blargramr yet seem blameless. Opening his mouth, he replied, “I could hold no greater joy even if Haeka came to me on his golden chariot, pulled by a team of dragons requesting from me to create for him his lightning bolts with which he judges evil men. Such is the joy I have to have Blargramr Ravenborne before me, whose deeds of valor are more than his years on earth. But to create weapons worthy to be held by your battle-wise hands, I need materials. For common materials are fit only for common men, but heroic deeds must be done to create a hero’s weapon.

    If then you bring me what I need, I will cast for you a sword such as will cut the heavens and separate the mountains from the roots of the earth. But hear the materials I need: For the metal, it must come from the coal from Haeka’s fireplace, which sometimes he casts out of his house and falls to earth. This iron, which comes from heaven is holy, and can slay both men and demons. The only fire which can work such material is fire from a dragon’s mouth, which Haeka uses to draw his chariot. These are kept in stables on the eastern edge of the world, where they await Haeka’s summons. Words of power must be engraved on the sword as it is being made. Though I know many, the most powerful are kept in a book guarded by the giant Ettin along with his guard dog, which has four heads and one hundred eyes. To quench the forge-hot sword, I need water made from snow found in the caves in the north where the world ends, where the north wind makes his chilly abode. I need a total of ten buckets of the purest snow, unmelted and touched by no man’s hands.”

    And when he had finished speaking, he left, rejoicing. For he thought that he would never see Blargramr again. For either he would fear for his life and not attempt the quest, and so never show his face again for shame, or else he would attempt it and so die, for the collection of the materials was a task no mortal could accomplish. But Blargramr rent his clothes and went away sorrowful.

    As he was contemplating his sad fate, and the impossible task set before him, he came upon a raven caught in a hunter’s snare. Remembering the common bond that they shared, how once he and all his men were ravens before being turned by Haeka into men, he was moved with compassion and released the raven.

    The raven sat down with him, and accepting a piece of bread and a cup of wine which Blargramr offered, asked him about who he was, and his linage, and what business he was on. So Blargramr told the raven about his history, how he was made into a man from a raven by Haeka and set above his brothers as king, as well as all his great deeds, from the battles with the Fulanti he fought under Hroth even till when he slew the foul serpent Foldenadr. Then he also told him how his weapons were melted by that creature and how he went to Lodur to receive a sword. Finally he told of the quest which he had been given, ending with despair he felt over gathering all the needed materials.

    But the raven replied, “Well should I help you, both for the common bond of family that we share but also for the personal debt I hold, for you saved my life when it was in danger from the hunter’s snare.”

    Answering Blargramr said, “If you help me, I shall lay out a feast, both for you and for your children’s children, as long as my line draws breath. When a sacrifice is offered up to Haeka, you shall eat from it, after Haeka devours his share. At the time we arm ourselves, and go off to war, then we shall blow our horns and call to you to come for the feast which we shall prepare for you.”

    “I will help you,” the raven replied, “both me and my kin. Leave everything in our hands, save one. For the Book of Power which is guarded by the giant Ettin is kept underground, and so we are not able to touch it. Therefore you go and take that book and when you return we will have gathered the rest.”

    Once the raven flew off, Blargramr started pacing around trying to formulate a plan to gain the needed book. For Ettin was known as a violent man, driving away all men who sought after the book with great blows, even if they brought gold or silver. If Blargramr had arms or armor, he knew he could defeat him, even though Ettin was a giant, but without he felt himself unable.

    As he was pacing around, he passed under the window of the room which Idunn the daughter of Lodur was locked in. It so happened that as she looked out the window, she saw Blargramr. Being the first man that she had seen, other than her own father, she called out to him asking his name, and his family, and why he looked so troubled. So Blargramr told her everything.

    Iddun was absent of all the vice of her father, so when she heard his tale, she said, “I see that my father has given you a difficult task, though not impossible for one such as you, who caused the Fulanti to flee before your presence as a hind flees before the arrow. Only have courage and listen to my advice, for I would help you so that my father will be able to create the greatest sword forged by a blacksmith, and so win undying fame. Now look, here is a potion, which I myself concocted, which will make the one drink it fall into a deep sleep. Go to the lair of Ettin the giant and place before his cave a flagon of the best mead you have with a note saying, ‘Dedicated to Haeka, may he look kindly upon my journey.’ Ettin is an impious man, who fears neither gods nor demons, and seeing the expensive mead, he will lust after it, take it for himself, and drink it.

    At this moment, the book is yours, if your heart fails not. Go into the cave, past the sleeping Ettin. His guard dog will growl and bark and make all manner of noises, but pay it no mind, for Ettin will still sleep, even if the earths fall of its foundation. Instead, take three pieces of meat, as big as you can carry, and throw them at the guard dog. Then its four heads will snap after it, each one thinking that the meat is for itself alone, and so it will fight amongst itself. Take this opportunity to slip past it.

    You will now be in the cave, where Ettin keeps all his treasures. Ignore them, look neither to the left nor the right but go straight ahead until you reach the place the book lays. Now you need not fear the guard dog, for the one who holds this book can command it as they wish, and make the fierce guardian as meek as a newborn babe.”

    After saying these words, Iddun threw the bag containing the sleeping potion at Blargramr’s feet. With many thanks, and promises of great rewards if the potion worked as its creator had said, Blargramr left. But as Iddun retired, she found herself unable to sleep. For her mind continually went to the man which she had just met.

    Then she said within herself, “It is not the man I worry for, but my potion. Both men and beasts fall under its power. Even my father Lodur has felt its efficacy when I give it to him so that I might sneak out and play in the sun or pick more herbs or sing with the birds. That is why I gave it to this man, to help him. But I wonder if I spoke the words of power aright, or whether some pause or slip of the tongue has caused the whole thing to fail. Or perhaps the herbs I used had laid unnoticed and unused for too long, until they lost their natural power. Step by step my mind thinks back to how I created it, worrying over its creation. But why do I care so much for this man, what is it to me whether he succeeds or fails? He is gone, and nothing but a memory remains. I worry only lest my potion fails him, and he is slain, and he turns into a vengeful ghost to haunt me.”

    So Iddun attributed the rapid beating of her heart to fear of ghosts and the blush which turned her cheeks to rosy dawn to some sickness which she had caught by standing too long at the window. For Iddun was still inexperienced in things of spring, her heart having been trapped in winter by the jealousy of her father. But when she passed a restless night, as Haeka slowly turned to greet his daughter’s creations, she flew to the window to see if any news could be had.

    As she was standing at the window, she saw a strange sight. Coming from the north were twenty ravens, each carrying with another a bucket. These ravens alighted under Iddun’s window so she called out to them. When they answered her summons, flying into the room, she could see ice and snow covering the wings, so that their feathers looked to be as day instead of night. Marveling at the scene, Iddun inquired of them why they were carrying buckets, and how they became so ice-covered, and why they alighted under her window.

    “Seeing as you are ignorant of our task, dear lady, I shall divulge everything, so that our great deeds not be forgotten but told by all, as is fitting.” So said the largest raven. Delighted at this response, Iddun quickly built a fire, and poured warm wine into several buckets, so that the ravens could refresh themselves.

    When these preparations were complete, the raven continued, “As you know, your father Lodur Metal-Shaper placed upon Blargramr, king of Hrafn, a quest to gather up the materials to make a sword. And you know how Blargramr saved the king of the ravens, and so won his help, both himself and his subjects. So my companions and I were sent out to where the North Wind dwells in order to gain ten buckets of snow. But as we flew north, the North Wind’s icy blasts sent as backwards. Let a man push against a mountain, such would it be to fly against these northern blasts.

    So we gathered together in council, to determine what we should do. Then one of our number arose and said, ‘Why do we waste our time fighting against a foe who is too strong for us? It is no shame but wisdom to gain for yourself allies who are even greater, and with their help overcome your enemy. So even did Hroth, when faced with the hosts of Fulanti beseech one who was greater then him, namely Haeka who rules over all. And Haeka heard his prayer and sent forth our kin, the Hrafn, to fight for Hroth and so overcome his enemies. Let us too gain an ally, one who might overcome this bitter North Wind, namely his brother the South Wind, whose gentle breath turns his brother into a meek lamb.’

    With one voice we acclaimed this plan and set out to the South Wind’s abode. Past fair Varica we flew, overtop its great stone walls made, as they say, by giants. Over virgin forests we flew, which knew neither man nor their axes, but only wandering Fultanti, who took refuge there when driven out by Hroth’s power. As we flew we crossed the great sea. Whenever we became tired, we would alight on the backs of some giant sea-monster, which inhabits the sea and grow so large that men sometimes mistake them for islands.

    Finally we reached the dwelling of the South Wind. Now his land is full of trees and flowers, and all manner of plants. Any fruit which a man could wish for grows there all year. They need neither plow nor sweat of brow to grow, but spring up on their own accord. Entering into this land, we immediately went to its lord and spoke before him saying:

    ‘We of the raven clan ask your boon, that you lend to us one of your winds. Of all the creatures in the world, we are the most beloved of Haeka. For while the sister’s creations, Thunes, Haecomus, and Sargothi, as well as all the beasts of the field and fishes of the sea hug the earth, we alone soar into the heavens, where Haeka dwells. Nor does Haeka close the doors of his halls against us, but invites us in and asks us of the affairs of the earth, for he loves them on account of his daughters. Therefore if you do us this favor, we will speak of it into Haeka’s ear and turn his favor towards you.’

    But the South Wind replied, ‘Do you think your words are worth more then the words of the Haecomus who sacrifice a great number of animals to gain Haeka’s favor? Yet when they lift up their cries to my ears, I speed above them, considering them nothing. For if I moved every time I heard a prayer, I would not cease from moving to and fro.’

    Seeing the South Wind’s face set against us, we dipped our tongues in guile and replied, ‘Truly lord, but we wished for your wind only to defend your name. For as we were flying north we heard your brother the North Wind boasting among his servants saying, ‘Have you heard news of my brother the South Wind? For I never see him anymore now that he runs whenever I approach. He is like a woman, grown fat from indolence as others do work for him. I do not doubt he has even gone all the way and emasculated himself, so effeminate is he!’ Now as our lord the South Wind has always provided us succor from his brother, allowing us sanctuary in his lands when his brother’s frosty fingers grip our home, we wished to defend his name. But if you are not even willing to give us the smallest wind to help us, why should we concern ourselves anymore? Let your brother boast, he will hear no reply from our lips.’

    At these words the South Wind grew angry. Air spirits great and small rushed about, arming themselves. Others yoked six giant eagles, each larger than a man, to a chariot for the South Wind to ride. The South Wind himself took his great pot which is greater than a mountain, in which he keeps all his winds. To the north he rode, his attendants following him with warlike shouts. We also followed him, riding his winds as a sailor rides a ship, turning it whosesoever he wishes.

    Now when the North Wind heard his brother approached with a mighty host, he too sallied out, followed by all his hosts. Then the two brothers met together with a great crash, so that the sky shook and mountains toppled into the sea. While they were thus struggling, we slipped by unnoticed by all, speeding unopposed to the northern domains. Once there we filled our buckets with snow, as we had been commanded. Then we immediately flew here, unmindful of the great battle still raging among the winds, as our lord had commanded.”

    At the raven’s words, Iddun clapped her hands. “Truly the gratitude of the Hrafn will remain with you always. I doubt not that when the warm winds blow in spring, singling the defeat of winter, then your deeds will be brought to mind, when you conquered the North Wind. And the Kings of Assfell will pour out libations to you in thanksgiving.”

    No sooner had Iddun finished speaking then a second marvel approached. From the east came a giant raven, this one was twice the size of others of his kin. In its claws it held a branch of wood which burned with a blue flame. Sensing that this bird too had a tale to tell, Iddun called out to it as well, inviting it in her room. After drinking some warm wine, and thus refreshing itself, the new arrival began its tale.

    “I see my brothers here also, so I know that you have been made aware of the task the raven tribe has undertaken. For myself, my brothers elected me to journey to the east, where Haeka’s chariot resides to see if I might acquire some flame from the dragons which pull his chariot. So I flew, over small huts whose owners nurture flocks or fields until I came to the great cities of the Thune. These are crafted, if it is to be believed, by Sara herself, though others say they are created by the Thune, using giant machines which are run by magic and which can move mountains as easily as a man throwing a pebble into a pond. Even past these I flew, until I came upon even greater cities. In these cities dwell other Thunes, though unlike their brothers they are burnt black. For here they are close to the place where Haeka keeps his chariot, and so they are burned by its fires whenever it is summoned by its master.

    Finally I reached the stables of Haeka. There a hundred earth spirits work in forges, fired by the breath of dragons. Hundred upon hundreds of golems assist them, so that they rival even a Thune city in population. These are kept busy crafting all manner of things, some create weapons or armor, and some vessels used for eating and drinking, and some jewelry. Others create birds made out of gold, which fly above there heads as they work, and others silver dragons, which guard their forges.

    These I ignored, going straight to the stable. There I was greeted by Hyrrass, chief of the dragons, who only listened to the voice of Haeka. Him I begged for a bit of the fire which came out of his mouth. At my request, mighty Hyrrass laughed, shaking the roots of the earth. ‘Do you wish to die so quickly little one? A little sneeze from me will cause the entire world to be engulfed in flames, so who are you to think you can survive even my smallest flame?’

    But I, not fearing answered him back, ‘If you knew who it was who spoke to you, you would not be so boastful. For if we are comparing great deeds, know that I am one who dwells beside Haeka. And when some great battle takes place, I speed from his side. And those who fall who are righteous I take in my talons and carry them to Haeka’s throne. But the unrighteous I devour as my wages. So why should I fear your flames, I who have sat unafraid before the Burning One? Or do you think that you can consume me, I who have been touched by Haeka’s flames and still lived?’

    At my bold words the dragon wondered. ‘I see that you are not a normal creature, as I should have known. For to even reach this place you have flown through such dangers as would make a song-touched bard lose his tongue. Now then I will give you a little flame. But if Haeka withdraws his protection from you and you are consumed, know that I am guiltless of your death.’

    Then the dragon poured from its great mouth a little flame. But if you compare it to the fire, it would be like comparing smoldering embers to the sun. Still I felt nothing but a warm breeze, such as is felt during the gentle spring days. Having completed what I set out to do, I immediately returned, to find out how the rest of my kin had fared.”

    When the raven had finished telling his story, Iddun spoke up, “Doubly do the kings of Hrafn have to honor you. First because you guide the dead to Haeka’s throne and second because of your great boon you did for them. I doubt not that when one of their line dies, they will give to you a double portion of what is do you, lest they be seen as ungrateful and incur your wrath.”

    As these words left her mouth, the attention of all was drawn to the window. For yet again a marvelous sight met their eyes. For here flew the king of the ravens, and with him a great host, and these carried with them a giant meteorite, which Haeka had cast down from heaven. Immediately Iddun invited them into her room, and laid out some warm wine served in a golden bucket, and greeted the ravens as befits one greeting a king.

    After refreshing himself, the king of the ravens looked around him and began speaking. “It fills my heart with joy to see my children gathered around me, each being successful in the deed I laid upon them. Listen also to my tale so that none think I laid all the dangers upon others and waited myself in safety.

    After sending away the others, each to their respective tasks, I took upon myself to acquire Haeka’s iron. Having heard that some had fallen into the domain of the water spirit Askati, I immediately left to visit him to discover for myself whether it had any truth or not.

    And when I arrived at Askati’s halls I ate and drank with him, for he welcomed me as my station demands. And after we had eaten our fill, I asked him saying, ‘Most noble Askati, I see in your halls many wonderful things, such as any of the kings of the earth would eagerly trade places with you. And I see there, in the corner, a meteorite. Now I must ask you a boon. A fortnight ago, as I was sitting by Haeka’s throne, he commanded me asking me to take to one Blargramr, king of Hrafn, this same meteorite as a sign of Haeka’s favor to him. But as I was flying, to accomplish this task, an eagle swooped at me, causing me to drop it into your waters. Now I come asking that you return it to me, and if you do so I will burden you with many kingly gifts. But if you refuse me, know that you have caused me to be shamed in the sight of Haeka and Blargramr for I would have failed in the holy task given me.’

    But Askati answered me saying, ‘I doubt that this is the same one you dropped, for the earth is wide and high in the sky where you dwell one river looks like another. But even if by chance this was the one you held, it came to my waters, and what is in my waters is mine, just as what is in the sky is yours. Therefore you may not have it. But come, I will give you an iron sword, excellently forged, give that to the human. Then you will be safe, for Haeka will not know that the gift has been changed while the human will not know that another gift had been intended.’

    To this I retorted, ‘I am saddened, for your house that it would see such a day as today, when you so shamefully treated one of your guests. But I will forgive you if you do this one thing I ask.’

    Askati replied, ‘Speak and it shall be yours.’

    Then I pointed to a chest in the corner and said, ‘Give to me what is in that chest.’

    ‘Surely I will’ Askati replied.

    But I pressed him further saying, ‘Swear to Haeka that you will give me what is in that chest, whatever it may be.’

    Then Askati swore, ‘By Haeka’s light, let my children forsake me and Haeka blot out my name if I do not give to you what is in that chest, whatever it may be.’

    Then I stood and opened the chest and behold it was empty. Then I lifted up the meteorite and placed it in the chest and pointed saying, ‘There, that is what is in the chest, and as you swore before Haeka it is mine.’

    Askati gave a below at my words, ‘Let your tricking tongue fall out and shrivel, let your flesh rot off your bones and your line be blotted out forever for this trickery you have done to me. Nevertheless because of the oath I swore, I will give you what you ask.’

    So I left with what I had come for, but I fear lest this be a cause for hatred between me and Askati and my seed and his.”

    When he finished his tale, Iddun cried out, “Fear not for the enmity of one such as him, whose stinginess to his guests is an affront to Haeka. For though you have gained a mighty enemy, you have made a greater friend in the Hrafn. And they shall honor you above all. And their war-horns shall summon you from wherever you are and they will provide a feast for you and for your sons until both your lines are extinct.”

    So the day passed as Iddun Fair-eyes waited for gold-covered Blargramr to return.

    Meanwhile, Blargramr had done all that Iddun had commanded him to do. From his pouch he took fine mead, of the kind only kings drink. Along with it he pulled out a cup painted with a scene from creation. There was craft-wise Sara, crafting the Thune from the ground as a potter skillfully shapes clay into a beautiful vessel fit for a king. Beside her stood fair Thea, her helmet’s crest nodding like a great eagle’s wings as it soars unafraid throughout the sky. Into a rock she is seen thrusting a spear, and from the wound gushes out Haecomus as blood gushes from a grievous wound. Lastly sun-bright Ptolos is seen, mixing her own blood with fire to create the Sargothi. This is before they fell, and so they stood proud and handsome, as if stars condescending to live with us.

    These things he left before the cave of fierce Ettin, but not before first mixing into the mead the potion which Iddun had given him. Along with these, he picked several flowers, and plaited them into a crown, placing this with them as if preparing an offering to Haeka. Thereafter he hid himself to see what would happen.

    As Blargramr hid, he saw giant Ettin emerge from his cave. Spying the offering laid out, he exclaimed, “Some desperate traveler has laid out an offering to Haeka for a safe journey. Well, Haeka does not need such things, and if he did, there are rivers enough in this world to quench his thirst.” So saying, impious Ettin took the cup and the mead and returned to his cave. Presently Blargramr heard singing, as if from someone making merry, and smelled the scent of food cooking in a large fire. But presently the sounds of singing were replaced with snoring, and Blargramr knew the potion had done its work.

    So he crept into the cave, silently, though assured that once Ettin had drunk the potion he would not wake for any sound, even if a battle were fought beside him. Beside Ettin lay the cup, a small trickle of mead flowing from it. Nearby stood a fire with food burning on top of it. For like a drunkard, Ettin did not even wait for food before consuming the mead.

    By now the guard dog had spied Blargramr and came running at him barking, though his loyal howls went unnoticed by his master. Taking from his sack three pieces of meat, the Hrafn threw them at the dog. No sooner had he done so then the dog turned all of its attention to the pieces of meat. One head would grab one piece, only to find itself fighting with another head who wished for the same piece. So it would let go, but only so that it could bite at the thief. In this manner, soon the heads forgot completely about the meat and so intent were they in biting each other and repaying in kind.

    With the guard dog thus occupied, Blargramr easily slipped by, passing into the depths of the cave. Past chests full of gold, silver, and iron, he sped, mindful of Idunn’s warning, until he reached the Book of the Words of Power. There he only stopped long enough to chant the words to control the guard dog before fleeing with his prize.

    Now when Blargramr returned he found all the ravens gathered, together with the materials he needed. Then he went to metal-wise Lodur saying, “Here are the materials you sent me to gather, meteor iron, fire from a dragon’s mouth, the Book of Power, and ten buckets of snow from the northern edge of the world. Now fulfill your oath to me when you said you would make from these things a sword such as Haeka himself would desire.”
  2. The Strategos

    The Strategos Thanatos

    Jul 21, 2002
    Spoiler Part III :
    Now Lodur was surprised not only that Blargramr returned alive, but he had also gathered all the materials, each one which would take song-told deeds to acquire. But he hid his malice from Blargramr and with honeyed words replied, “Stay here and enjoy my hospitality as I forge for you a battle-sharp blade.”

    But as Lodur left, he began planning on how to kill Blargramr. So he decided that when he had finished the sword, he would hold a feast. And when Blargramr would drink from his cup, he would find poison, and so die. So he went to his daughter, Iddun, who was skilled in all manners of potions and said, “My daughter, some rodents have gotten into my garden, and are destroying it. Therefore make for me a strong poison, that I may spread it out, and they drink it and die. But you know how animals are cunning so make it so it has no smell or taste or color lest they discover its presence and not take it.”

    So Iddun did as her father asked. And Lodur forged a sword for Blargrarmr and inscribed it with magical words. And he brought it out to a stream to test its sharpness. For this was Lodur’s common test, he would place the blade into the water. And as the stream carried down leaves, if the leaves were cut by the stationary blade he knew it was sharp, but if the leaves were stopped by the blade but not cut, then he knew he needed to reforge the blade. And so Lodur stuck down the blade he had made into the water. But so sharp was the blade that even the water jumped out of the way of the blade, so that there was dry land where the blade was in the stream.

    Then Blargramr rejoiced, and brought forth a feast to eat. Every delicacy burdened the table. Kibal filled the table like grain growing in a fertile field. Deer, shot by Blargramr, supplemented all manner of birds and cattle which provided the meat. Wine and mead flowed out of pitchers as a mountain stream springing from the ground. So large was the feast that they could not hold it inside the hall, but moved outside. Now those who were at the feast were three, Blargramr Ravenborne, Lodur Sword-Crafter, and Iddun of the cherry-lips.

    Then Lodur rose up as his responsibility as the host of the feast, offering up a drink offering to Haeka saying, “O good and most beneficent Haeka, accept this offering to your greatness.” Then refilling his cup, he poured out the same to Ptolos, Thea, and Sara. Then he sat down joyful, for he had placed the poison which Iddun had given him in Blargramr’s cup and expected him to drink of it and die.

    But Blargramr rose up and said to Lodur: “Forgive me, I pray, but it is my custom and the custom of our tribe to give one cup of libation to the ravens who take our souls to Haeka.” Then Blargramr poured out his cup upon the ground. And immediately birds flew in to drink the puddle he had made. No sooner did the birds drink the wine which had been in Blargramr’s cup then they died. So all knew that poison was in Blargramr’s cup.

    Seeing his plan fail, Lodur arose with a shout saying, “You escaped my wiles but you will not escape my right arm.” So saying he took up his knife which was used to cut meat and attacked Blargramr. But Blargramr took up a plate for a shield and a knife for a sword and smote Lodur. Now Lodur’s arms were the size of tree trunks, and his chest the size of a mountain, for he grew strong at the forge. So, Lodur would often boast, he had no need of armor, for no sword could cut through his muscles. But Blargramr thrust his knife through Lodur’s eye and it entered into his brain, and Lodur fell down dead.

    Then Iddun fell at the feet of Blargramr saying, “Kill me too, for though I knew not my father wished to kill you, your blood would have been on my hands too. For the birds which lie dead at our feet testify to the fact that it was the poison I made which was in your cup, though I swear by Haeka I thought it was to be used against rodents in the field. Now though my father is unjust, do not make me suffer. For I cannot argue that my father is unjust, seeing he broke all laws of hospitality and tried to kill a guest. But I myself am blameless. But if the lips of innocence does not sway you, remember the debt you owe me. For you owe me a double debt, first by slaying my father, and thus leaving me alone, with no one to support or care for me. But if an orphans plight does not sway you, remember also that oath you also swore to me saying you would give me whatsoever I desired if I helped you in gaining your sword. And truly, it was because of my potion that you were able to gain the Book of Power from the giant Ettin.”

    So spoke Iddun to Blargramr, and many words besides this, all the while watering his feet with her tears and drying them off with her hair. But Blargramr Ring-giver raised her up and embraced her and said, “Far be it from me to require innocent blood be shed! Nor shall you be in want of a protector. For I myself will marry you, and all the Hrafn and the tribes under our feet shall call you queen and gold shall flow from your hand as a river. But if you cannot stand to share the bed of one who shed your father’s blood, even in defending his own life, then I shall marry you to a battle-brave warrior of Hrafn. And I shall raise that man up to be second in the realm after me for your sake. But if you cannot even stand to be in the same tribe, I will give you a dowry such as would tempt even the Emperor of Varica, and you shall choose for yourself a husband.”

    So Iddun rejoiced, for she loved king-wise Blargramr and she married him and became one with him. This happened so that the prophecy which Haeka spoke saying Lodur would be killed by Iddun’s husband. So Blargramr gained not only a sword, which he named Raven-Feeder on account of the help that the ravens gave him, but also a wife. And from her he gained four sons and three daughters. And he did many deeds of valor, of which the bards still speak.


    This sword he gave it to the nurse of his son, saying ‘Hold this on behalf of my son, lest men say that he is not a true king of Hrafn because he wields not Raven-Feeder.’

    And before the enemy, Adalbrandr arose, and laid aside his shield, and took of his battle-worn armor, and stood before them bare-chest. And he taunted them saying, ‘No need have I of arms or armor to defeat the likes of you.’ And turning to Finoir Golden-Tongue he said, ‘Weak-eyed you have grown in my service, but now neither armor nor cloak will hide from your eyes the sword-sweat which my valor shall win me.’ So bare-chest Adalbrandr spoke.

    And the men murmured among themselves saying, ‘What kind of man leads us, that he regards neither sword nor arrow?’

    Then Adalbrandr blew the horn of war. And from north and south, east and west, flew the Hrafn’s brothers, the ravens. For they knew they were about to be served such a feast that they would not be able to fly after eating from it. And when the enemy heard Hrafn’s horn, and the war-cries that they shouted, they too sounded their horns, and rushed to meet their death. And Adalbrandr lifted up his sword, and smote them so that the birds of the air did not have to land, but could eat from the corpses as they flew.

    Then the enemy’s knees grew weak from fear, and their loins burst like the springtime rains, and they threw down their arms and fled. Then Adalbrandr said in his heart, ‘Woe that I fall to men such as these, who run like the rabbits in the field!’ But while he was thinking such things, behold, a great cry came up from the enemy’s line, shaking the very mountains. And those that were fleeing melted away as the noontime dew.

    Then before the mighty men of Varica came a fearsome sight. For behold, before them rode many of the enemy, who covered the ground as locust. And they rode the fearsome Yomba, of whom the elderly frighten little children saying ‘If you don’t behave, the Yomba will come and eat you.’ But these were not tales to frighten children, but living creatures. And each one was taller than a man, and they had teeth as if made from sharp iron, and their talons were as flashing swords. And many of Hrafn feared within their hearts saying ‘What kind of men are these, that even monsters obey them?’ But others stood firm saying, ‘Are we not men of Hrafn? Did not even the demons flee in terror from us when we fought by the Emperor’s side? Therefore stand firm lest you be dishonored in the sight of your fathers.’ Saying such things, they became strengthened in their hearts, and faltered not.

    Then the two lines met, and such was the crash that the stars fell from the heavens and no man could hear the war-cry they shouted. And the men of Assfell flew backwards, as if hit by a giant’s hammer, and the shield wall broke, and it seemed as if they were but ants before their foes. But then Finoir the Bard arose, and walked among the Raven-borne and called out the names of the mighty men as he walked by. And the hearts of the ones of valor were strengthened, for they knew if they did some mighty deed now, they would be known forever, for Finoir would sing their name into immortality. And Adalbrandr, rose up and slew the enemy, they could not stand before him. And many mighty deeds were done, such as if all the bards in the world sung of them, I think they would never finish.

    But as Haeka-touched Finoir walked amongst the battle, he was hit by an arrow. And the men of Hrafn carried him to the back of the battle to tend his wounds. But Finoir refused, for Haeka had shown him the time and the hour of his death, and he knew it was near. Therefore he prayed to Haeka, ‘O Haeka, I pray, not that I might live, but I pray that you will raise up one with your gift who may worthily speak of the glorious deeds done this day.’ Then he bade them to give him a sword, for he too was a proud man of Hrafn, and thought it dishonorable to die except with a sword in his hands. Then, supported by a Raeka, he charged the enemy, and slew a Yomba with his own hands before his strength failed him, and he was unable to lift his sword anymore. So died Finoir, son of Danzleikr. And now we speak as beasts, for Finoir the Song-wise, who spoke with the tongue of the gods, is dead.

    Then Rodull, the son of Hestr, Commander of all the Raeka rose up, with grief heavy chest, and slew the enemy, they could not stand before him. But then arose from the enemy a Demon-Walker. Now behold, he was twice the size of a normal man, and his eyes glowed as fire, and darkness followed his steps. For he was possessed by a legion of demons, and was covered in armor made from the furnaces of the Inferno, and armed with fierce weapons which the Sargothi once held when their darkness covered the world.

    Then Rodull, the son of Hestr, who had royal blood in his veins, attacked him. For Rodull had fought against the Witch of Kaldar, and the Demons of the West, and fought beside the Emperor against all his foes, so he feared neither man nor demon, but only Haeka. And Rodull smote the Demon-Walker with all his might, but his sword broke, for it was only mortal made. Then the Demon-Walker called forth demonic flames, and Rodull was consumed. Thus died Rodull, son of Hestr, who was the son of Burrulfr, who was King over all of Assfell. And though he fought beside the Emperor before the walls of Varica, when it was held by the usurper, and avenged the Hrafn on the Witch of Kaldar, and fought against the Demons of the West, on this day he slew more of the enemy then all his other battles combined.

    And the Demon-Walker went about as a prowling wolf, devouring the men of Hrafn with his accursed flame. Then Adalbrandr, son of Burrulfr, rose up and prayed to Haeka. ‘O Haeka, you have been with me all my life, and where I fought, none could stand before me. Be with me once more, I pray, that I might smite your enemies, and the enemies of my lord, the Emperor.’

    And Haeka heard his prayer and appeared to Adalbrandr in the guise of a raven and spoke to him saying, ‘Adalbrandr, blessed among all men, Haeka has heard your prayer. Behold, he sends this sword, forged from his light, and no demon can stand before it. But beware, O Adalbrandr, for the moment you take up this sword, you will surely die. For what are you, but a wretched man, can you stand before the sight of Haeka? Therefore if you dare touch Haeka’s sword, His glory will consume you as a purifying fire, and you will surely die.’

    But Adalbrandr answered and said, ‘If I must die, let it be by Haeka’s favor than by the wrath of a demon.’ Then he arose, and picked up the sword, and exchanged blows with the Demon-Walker. And such was their battle that none could stand beside them. For the Demon-Walker surrounded himself with his accursed flames, so that the ones who approached him died. But Adalbrandr was protected by Haeka and burned not. Then Adalbrandr lifted up his sword, and smote the Demon-Walker. And the purifying fire of Haeka leapt out, and consumed the Demon-Walker. But such was Haeka’s glory, that all who were nearby, both man and beast, Hrafn and others died. For though Adalbrandr fought with those numbered among the Mighty Men of Varica, before the glory of Haeka, we are but grass and were consumed, for we saw the glory of Haeka with unclean eyes and so were consumed. And when our foes beheld the death of their champion, their courage deserted them, and they fled. So died Adalbrandr, King of Assfell. Before him there was none like him, nor after him shall any be.


    But many who were there at the battle say Adalbrandr did not die. The story is given as follows, so that each may decide on its truthfulness themselves.

    Now when Adalbrandr lifted up his arms, and smote the Demon-Walker, Haeka’s purifying leapt out, as an arrow from a string, and consumed the Demon-Walker. And we all turned our eyes away, for the fire was as the sun, such was its brilliance. And when the blaze had subsided, behold everything was consumed. Neither flower, nor grass, nor man, nor beast stood, even the rocks had melted together as iron.

    Then we lifted up our voices in a lamentation, saying, ‘Woe unto us and to our eyes, which have seen the death of our king.’ With these cries and many like them we filled the heavens.

    And while our grief still echoed, behold an old man spoke to us saying. ‘O Ravenborne, why cry and wail as women?’

    Then we answered saying, ‘You will weep and cry too, honored sir, when you hear this news. For Adalbrandr the king of the Hrafn is dead. And the white hair which crowns your head speaks that you have lived long. But truly you have not seen one such as Adalbrandr nor if you lived twice as long as you have to this point would you see another like him.’

    Then our elder answered us and said, ‘Do you wail and tear your clothes when a man leaves his house and goes into his field to harvest the grain? Or do you weep when a woman takes up her jar and goes to the well?’

    ‘Certainly not, for we know we will see them again soon.’ We replied.

    ‘Even so will you see Adalbrandr soon, if you but wait a time, and a time, and half a time. For if man knows how to reward good how much more does Haeka know how to reward those who please him? But when he looked down, and saw Adalbrandr, and how he was about to be consumed by His holy flame, he sent down his chariot of fire, pulled by four dragons. Then Adalbrandr was taken up to Haeka’s throne. And there he will feast with Haeka until the Last Day. Then Haeka shall ride out against the armies of Darkness, and Adalbrandr shall lead his hosts and they shall smite the Darkness, and the Darkness will not prevail against them. Then there will be no more Night but Haeka will dwell among his people, and there shall be Eternal Day.’

    And we all marveled at the words that were spoken to us. But while we were yet exclaiming at this news, behold, the man disappeared. Just as the dew vanishes in the noon-time heat, so too did this man disappear before our sight. Then we looked all over, but found no sign of him. Then some said that we had been speaking with a ghost, and others said a spirit, and still others that Haeka had taken on the form of a man. But all these things which he had spoken to us, we kept them in our hearts.


    This then is the account of the death of Adalbrandr. But we who stand before you are alive, not because of our own cowardice, but by the words of our King. For Adalbrandr, King of Assfell, commanded us, his servants saying, ‘Take my son, who will be king after me, and protect him, and guard him, that he fall not this day, but live to reign on the Raven Throne.’ So when Adalbrandr died, remembering his words, we took his son, and carried him to you. But now, O Queen, hear our plea. For we are not worthy to live when we could not protect our King, Adalbrandr, who died before our eyes. Therefore now that we have fulfilled our oath to him, kill us we pray, that our dishonor be ended.”

    But Jyanna, Queen of Assfell showed herself to be a Queen indeed of the Hrafn. For she did not wail nor cry, but took the news worthy of a warrior and of a Queen. Then she replied and said, “Far be it from me to kill the faithful servants of my lord and my king. But if you feel you have been dishonored, then I command you to fight by my side, and the side of my son in any battle we so choose, and to do many great deeds, and thereby wipe out your dishonor by your honorable deeds.’

    And then commanding her servants, she ordered that messengers be sent out to all the world saying:

    My Lord and King, Adalbrandr, son of Burrulfr, King of Assfell has died this day. But let us not sorrow, but rejoice, for he was found worthy of a King’s death and has found glory which shall never fade. Therefore, all you faithful servants of the Emperor, whether great or small, come to Varica, and there we shall hold a funeral feast for him. And let the ones who think themselves mighty come, and the ones who think themselves skillful in song come, and let them compete at the funeral games of King Adalbrandr, who was counted among the Mighty Men of Varica. And the ones who do great deeds in memory of my Lord and King, that one I will reward, so that the fame of King Adalbrandr of Hrafn never fades.

    And so it was done as Jyanna, Daughter of Hroth, Queen of Assfell commanded.
  3. Fulton

    Fulton Chieftain

    Mar 5, 2007
    Listen to Strategos. Not only is his story amazing, it is a game changer.

    Welcome to the game Tree and Omega. I've added some background information on the Bexian and Romadi in their profiles.
  4. alex994

    alex994 Hail Divine Emperor!

    Mar 6, 2004
    Breadbasket of USA
    OOC: :eek: Wow, this will change the game.
  5. Kraznaya

    Kraznaya Princeps

    Sep 28, 2005
    Land of the Successor
    Oerdan please. Will read and catch up soon. :)
  6. orangelex44

    orangelex44 Partisan

    Aug 5, 2008
    Weyauwega, Wisconsin
    Casually interested after skimming. Will be lurking...
  7. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

    Jun 7, 2005
    Radu of Dolu stands at the ready.
  8. Last Praetoria

    Last Praetoria Chieftain

    Oct 18, 2009
    the land of humidity and accents
    I wish to claim the Darian March. I will create the background information soon.
  9. Omega124

    Omega124 Challenging Fate

    Nov 1, 2008
    Albany, New York
    OOC: I have a Question. Does Romadi have epic Latin or Anquility culture of win? If not, what do you say their general culture? Gaelic, Scavidavian, Mesoamerican, etc.
  10. Fulton

    Fulton Chieftain

    Mar 5, 2007
    Varicans, including the Romadi, all have a sort of germanic feel with celtic influences. Imagine you're one of the tribes fighting over England in the 400's to 700's. Think Beowulf for extra awesomeness.

    Last Praetoria, Kraznaya, welcome aboard.

    There is some background on the Darian March I have yet to post. I'll have it up shortly.
  11. Vertinari118

    Vertinari118 Chieftain

    May 4, 2008
    An island near to Europe
    My bow is strung, my spear is long, my sword is sharp, my vorthai are harnessed. I am ready to lead the Nakar-Fulanti Confederation come what may.

    OOC: On a far more serious game note do I need to fill in my focuses et al or have you already NCPed that. If so could you tell me, in private, what you have decided. If you have not I promise to get them in by Wednesday. I sorry I did not do them sooner but I have not been NESing a lot recently. I cite GCSE mocks which ended a week ago as my pathetic excuse.
  12. Fulton

    Fulton Chieftain

    Mar 5, 2007
    Glad to have you back Vert.

    I'm considering dropping the number of players able to produce metal. Currently six of our fourteen players produces metal. I'm thinking of dropping it to two (werhold, which built mines, and the Nakar, who have access to significant bog iron on the plains). I might possibly cut the amount of metal being produced by the other four nations in half, or remove it entirely. What do you guys think?
  13. Shadowbound

    Shadowbound Scourge of God

    Mar 4, 2007
    Five-Arrow of the Four Claw will repay his Wookie life-debt!
  14. HunterG24

    HunterG24 Chieftain

    Sep 27, 2007
    First off, Fulton, you are awesome and I love you.
    Second, as much as it pains me to lose my 1 metal, I think to fit the idea this being metal poor planet I would suggest that the metal be taken away until those nations can make considerable investment towards getting it.
  15. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

    Jul 22, 2007
    Homework Workshop
    The Darian March looks cool: strong militaristic nation! After that it is bexian or Romandi.
  16. HunterG24

    HunterG24 Chieftain

    Sep 27, 2007
    OOC: And it begins. Alright so no where near the length or quality of Strategos. Strat, I bow down before your mastery of wordsmithy. But I hope everyone enjoys. This sets the stage for the Huroto's actions in the near and possibly far future.

    Word had been sent to all the rulers of the vassal tribes to meet with Cul in his fortress. This was not an unusual event as King Cul Funkard held quite splendid feasts for his nobles almost once a season. Despite his iron fisted "his way or the fists way" approach to leadership, Cul was very benevolent with his subjects. As long as he was obeyed life could continue smoothly. Only a select few could question him, and never would they dare do so in public.

    There was some excitement about this particular gathering. Word had slipped out from the castle that something big had been decided. No one knew what but Cul and his advisers had shut themselves away from prying eyes for days. The high-born of the Huroto were especially interested in what their king had to say. Cul had just past his forty-sixth year and while he might not look or act aged, many were beginning to wonder what their kingdom will look like once Cul had finally left them to go to the halls of Haeka.

    Cul had refused to name a heir despite there being no lack of candidates. The king had no less then six wives and twelve concubines who had born him children. After thirty years of energetic fornication, Cul's progeny numbered well over forty. Some of his older sons had followed their father's example and had children of their own. However Cul would not consider naming any of his sons as an heir to the throne.

    No one had broached the subject of a heir with their king, not after one insolent Aiking had directly asked Cul who would be the next to rule. It had been during a feast to commemorate the anniversary of Cul's victory over Kraal. In an instant, Cul went from being the heavy drinking, party loving King whom everyone loved to the vengeful warrior King whom everyone feared. With his own strength he tossed over a twenty foot long table and rushed over to grab the aiking that had offended him so. Cul effortlessly lifted the shrieking aiking over his head and threw him out of the great hall. Then he turned to his shocked subjects and bellowed "I AM KING HERE!" before stalking away.

    The assembled great and wealthy of Huroto and her vassals waited in the great hall for their king to appear. A low drone of conversations filled the air as the nobility discussed recent events, Cul's plans, and the weather. A careful study of the various groups could give a hint of the politics of Cul's kingdom. The Huroto were the most numerous of all the assembled tribes. It's nobles mainly spread out towards the front of the great hall, talking with the nobles of the other tribes and eachother. Cul's sons and daughters were among the Huroto for the most part. The Gorka stood together in one solid mass in front and to the right of Cul's gilded throne. They believed themselves to be Cul's most beloved and loyal vassals and never missed an opportunity to remind the others of this. They spoke with the Huroto freely but were more guarded when speaking with the other tribes. The Gorka refused to speak with the Lokvar whenever they could help it.

    The Oortan and the Lokvar gathered more in the center of the chamber. The Oortan nobility was mostly made up of women as their tribe had always been a matriarchy. They tended to attract some attention from the others during gatherings such as these and always used this to their advantage. Recently the Lokvar and Oortan relations had become quite coordial and they had supported each other in some inter-kingdom political intrigue. The Lokvar, once resentful of Cul's assertion of authority over them, now basked in the wealth and prosperity that came from being the doorway into the lands of the far southwest. They always wore the very best clothes as a sign of their wealth.

    The Rugasa and the Loupor kept to the back of the great hall. It had been thirty years since they're tribes had been forcefully brought under Cul's rule and they still held some resentment over this. However they still talked to all of the assembled nobility including those of the Huroto. It would do their tribes no good to be taciturn. The Vara nobility were not present in the great hall and nor would they ever be allowed to set foot on Huroto territory. As far as Cul was concerned the Vara tribe were slaves of the Lokvar, thus not a tribe at all. That they had sided with the Sunta when they came into the region forever tainted them in Cul's eyes. The only Vara people ever allowed in the King's great hall were Vara slaves made to perform tricks for Cul's amusement.

    A hush fell over the assembly as members of Cul's personal body guard, the Death Heads, took up positions around the throne. The royal herald stepped up in front of the nobility and thumped his staff of office upon the tiled floor. In a loud voice he declared, "My lords and ladies of the Huroto kingdom, I present our great ruler, King Cul Funkard." Everyone got down on one knee as no one but Cul's bodyguard and his chosen advisers were allowed to stand while he made his way to his throne.

    Cul marched into the great hall from a side door near to the throne. His great height and musculature forced him to duck slightly as he passed the threshold of the door. The assembled nobility looked on with slight surprise as they noted that Cul was wearing his battlefield rianment and the pelt from the Fulanti champion he slew during the wars with the Sargothi's Eye. Cul had, in his time, come before the nobility wearing a variety of various fashions and styles including once he sat down on his throne in nothing but a loincloth. But Cul never wore his armour except when about to take to the battlefield.

    Behind Cul entered his trusted advisers. Philas the ancient sage stiffly hobbled his way up to the left of Cul's throne. It was said that there was no mystery that Philas' wisdom could not pierce. Thane Rutor Lassa, master of arms and general of Cul's army, took his place at Cul's right. He was decked out in the best armor available and he carried Cul's great war club, Cuchan. It was meant to be an honour for Rutor to carry Cul's weapon, but the sheen of sweat noticable across his brow gave a hint of the struggle to keep hold of the massive club. The others took up positions on either sides of the throne based on their place within Cul's inner circle and only when everyone was in place did Cul take his seat upon the throne.

    Everyone stood and waited attentatively as Cul looked them over with his piercing gaze. A large grin creased his face as he began to speak. "My friends, it is good that you are here for I have the most momentous news!" His voice reverberated down the great hall, easily heard by those at the back. "For a long time we have laboured and grown strong. We have made our kingdom mighty, respected by our friends and feared by our enemies. But we did not do this because we wished to sit on our treasure like fat merchants. No, there has always been a purpose." Cul paused for a moment before speaking in a much softer tone. "Three weeks ago, during the festival of Haeka's Light, Haeka's daughters were arrayed in a line. As the ritual blessing was completed a great flash of light was seen in the sky. It moved with great speed between Haeka's daughters, briefly connecting them, before moving south and disappearing. I have consulted with the priests in Haeka's temple. They tell me that this is an omen of destiny, pointing us to where we should go."

    Murmuring and whispers could be heard as the assembly took in the import of Cul's words. Cul nodded, "Yes my friends, it is time. For too long have the barbarians been allowed to plague the lands with their stench. Now, it is time for The Sunta to fall." King Cul Funkard stood up and raised his voice. "I swear to everyone, on the honour of the Huroto and my own place at Haeka's table, that the Sunta will be destroyed. All of their warriors will be butchered without mercy. Their people will be made into slaves, and their slaves will be made into their Masters!" The nobles began to cheer, caught up in the moment. Cul shouted above the din. "I promise you that I shall not rest, I shall not DIE, until all of the Sunta are broken!"
  17. Fulton

    Fulton Chieftain

    Mar 5, 2007
    I've added background on the Darian March. I suggest everyone read up on the history of their nations. I'll be adding links shortly on the front page to the updates from the first game. Check them out to figure out how your nation got where it is. Reading previous players stories is very useful as well.
  18. Fulton

    Fulton Chieftain

    Mar 5, 2007
    Ok players, here's what I need from you:

    Please post how you will spend the EP you have to spend on military units and trade goods. You don't have to use all of that money if you don't want to, but anything unused will be wasted.

    Please calculate your upkeep based on the size of your army and post that too.

    I'm going to say that goods required for upkeep are paid at the end of a year, so you can use goods being produced this year as well as trades made in the first year to pay your upkeep.

    If you'd like to update your summary from the previous game for use in the stats thread, please do so. If not, then let me know and I'll happily write an updated summary for you, or use the summary supplied in the previous game. New players, feel free to add to the summary that I've written to further detail your nation.

    All players with claims have had their claims accepted. Charles Li submitted claims for three nations that were already claimed, but he was also the only person who submitted multiple claims. Expect a PM from me soon Charles, I have a neat idea for something for you to play I hope you'll enjoy.

    That leaves just the Rhenican and Gibraly Empires available for new players. This is enough players to begin the game. We will begin once I have the above information from all players.
  19. The Strategos

    The Strategos Thanatos

    Jul 21, 2002
    To: The Most Excellent Emperor Hroth V [NPC] and Our Dearly Beloved Brothers: King Haecadem II of Werhold; Lord Thomas II of Gibraly [NPC]; King Matteo of Validira; King Radu of Dolu; King Goros of Romadi; Lord Damarkes of the March; King Ban of Bexian; King Deiwar of Rhenica [NPC]; King Tyrion of Teraldur; King Cul of Huroto; King Rhakim of Nimosa; and King Haergar of Oerdan
    From: Jyanna of Hrafn

    My Lord and King, Adalbrandr, son of Burrulfr, King of Assfell has died this day. But let us not sorrow, but rejoice, for he was found worthy of a King’s death and has found glory which shall never fade. Therefore, all you faithful servants of the Emperor, whether great or small, come to Varica, and there we shall hold a funeral feast for him. And let the ones who think themselves mighty come, and the ones who think themselves skillful in song come, and let them compete at the funeral games of King Adalbrandr, who was counted among the Mighty Men of Varica. And the ones who do great deeds in memory of my Lord and King, that one I will reward, so that the fame of King Adalbrandr of Hrafn never fades.

    To: King Vaughan of Gamar [NPC]
    From: Jyanna of Hrafn

    Though men speak ill of you, my tongue will not, for I remember well the friendship you had with my lord and husband, Adalbrandr, and how you overthrew the enemies of the Emperor together. Now do, I pray, the last privilege of friendship, and attend the funeral of Adalbrandr held in Varica. For the passing of a mighty man should be mourned by mighty men everywhere. And if there is any among you who is mighty in battle, or skillful in song, or who has any reason to boast, let them come as well. For I will not hold back in rewarding the one who does great deeds in the memory of a great man.

    To: The Republic of Tessilki [NPC]
    From: The Loyal Vassal of the Emperor of Varica, Jyanna of Hrafn

    Our lord, the Emperor of Varica looked kindly upon you in your time of need, allowing his vassal, Oerdan to give you succor. Based on that friendship, look kindly on my request, I pray, for I am of the same blood of the Emperor. But if my blood does not move you, perhaps my station will, for I am the wife of Adalbrandr, King of Hrafn, made Queen of the Hrafn by marriage and by rites. But alas, my husband has fallen in battle in defending his lord and mine, the Emperor of Varica. Come then, I pray, to the funeral of Adalbrandr, which will be held in Varica. And if there is any among you who is mighty in battle, or skillful in song, or who has any reason to boast, let them come as well. For I will not hold back in rewarding the one who does great deeds in the memory of a great man.

    And if you have any food or drink, or wonders of any kind, bring them as well for it is fitting to have great things at the funeral of a great man. Worry not about their price, for I will pay whatever you will, for I am not stingy. Surely I will pay what is needed so that the dead might be honored.

    To: Emperor Hroth V
    From: Jyanna of Varica, Queen of Hrafn

    My Lord, already you know of the death of your servant, Adalbrandr, and how he was slain in the defense of your realm, for as soon as I heard the news I sent it to you on the fastest ship. I know that you mourned for him, just as I mourned for him, for he was loved by us both. However, the night of mourning is past, behold the daybreak of action is upon us. Therefore I ask that you authorize me to deal with the northerners in your name. For it is the tradition and the duty of the Hrafn to guard your northern territories, since the day Hroth’s throne was established.

    But if we have not your trust to deal with this issue, appoint one, we pray, who you do trust. That one will receive whatever aide we can give. But move quickly, I pray, so that all your vassals may know whether they must arm themselves for war or are able to enjoy the peace your right hand has provided.

    @Fulton: Can you tell me how much livestock my northern plains can graze without me needing to pay the required grain upkeep? I need to know for calculating my trade goods.
  20. Fulton

    Fulton Chieftain

    Mar 5, 2007
    (OOC: Assfell has enough pasture to feed 8 saon or 4 cattle, Werhold has enough to feed 6 Saon or 3 cattle, Nakar has enough to see 20 saon or 10 cattle/vorthai, the Four Claw have the same as the Nakar.)

    To:Jyanna of the Hrafn
    From:King Deiwar of the Rhencian Empire

    I will attend the funeral and bring my champions.

    To:Jyanna of the Hrafn
    From: Lord Thomas II of the Gibraly Empire

    I had hoped that the day would never come that my great friend, your husband, would pass. Know that the Gibraly mourn the passing of so great a man. I will attend the funeral and send my greatest champions to honour his memory. I have prepared a poem written in the northern style that I will present in his name. It is nothing compared to the beautiful poetry of the fallen Finoir and his disciples, but I hope you will find it an appropriate tribute to his deeds.

    To:Jyanna of the Hrafn
    From: King Vaughan of Gamar

    Your husbands name is known in Gamar as an honest man of bravery. I will bring five champions who fought beside Adalbrandr and King Vagram at Checka River to honour his past deeds and five young warriors to represent the glorious future that their actions have laid the foundation for.

    To:Jyanna of the Hrafn
    From: The Republican Council of Tessilki

    The Republic has voted to send a delegation to Varica so that the Haecomus of your Empire might know the glories of our city. Councilor Tikikci will attend this ceremony with a troop dancers and acrobats so that you might learn you the basics of these arts which the Tessil alone have mastered.

    The Councilor has been authorized to demonstrate for you the fantastic goods our partners in trade enjoy. You will soon see that our wines will replace your mead as drink of choice for the cultured. You will marvel at the fantastic machines he will bring to your lords. As a gift, he will graciously present robes of Combren to each of your kings.

    Surely the Varicans will be blessed by this friendly gestures by the foremost city in the world. May we both prosper by this friendship.

    To:Jyanna of the Hrafn
    From: Emperor Hroth V (written by his Regent Taka)

    We feel the loss of our uncle with great sadness. We had hoped that he would assume the regency of our father. To lose two great men together is a blow I fear Varica will barely be able to recover from.

    I have authorized the commander of my Raeka, Hronu, to lead half of our Raeka north with five hundred lesser warriors to assist you in avenging the death of our uncle and resolve the crisis on the northern border.

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