I have a mysterious condition. Whenever I pick FFH up and start playing some games, I must take breaks to write down little fragments of stories, detailing what is happening in the little cities and between the little red and green and yellow faces, as well as the various leaderheads. With all those words written, and no-one to read them, I start to feel sad - why couldn't I be writing something useful instead? I guess I just don't work that way. Therefore, I'm going to post some of my excess words here, for others to partake of. Feel free to point out things that don't match with the lore, or simply yell at me for all the words. Sheaim. I like the Sheaim, both in gameplay terms and from a lore viewpoint. Most of my words seem to be about them. I see Tebryn as a manipulative fellow - a hand in everything, and more than likely involved in any war on at least two different sides. (Helps explain why the AI declares dumb wars, too!) My first bunch of words, a small part of his day, seen from his own eyes. Spoiler Words! : (The dead do not sleep.) Is it a bad thing, he wonders? He had dreams, once. Good dreams, and nightmares. Some inspired him, some frightened him. He remembers every single one of them. (The dead do not forget. They can only remember.) Even so, if he had dreams now, they would likely be nightmares beyond any he remembers, and they would all be about... that time. The human mind uses dreams as a way to come to terms with the past, but when there are no such terms to be had? (Perhaps it is a good thing, not sleeping.) As he finishes listening to the report from the last of his agents scheduled for this night, a miniscule gestures closes the enchanted mirror, causing its surface to return to the reflecting you normally expect from mirrors. An interesting trick, juxtaposing one such reflection with another, and quite useful for communication. He leaves the hidden chamber - one of many, in this wizard's tower - and returns invisibly through hidden pathways to his bedroom. It is almost time to awaken for the day. (The dead do not sleep - but sometimes, it is useful for others to think they do.) Minutes later, one of his apprentices enters the room to wake him, as instructed. (Of course, he's close to an archmage in his own right, even though he lacks ambition. At least he makes a competent servant.) In his hands, a letter from the Clan ambassador that arrived late last evening. He quickly scans the written message as he rises. (Quite a wordy fellow, for being of a race that only recently regained the knowledge of letters.) A meeting, to discuss trading agreements, apparently. (Why can't that woman deal with these herself? She should be grown up enough not to judge people by what happens to be hanging or not hanging beneath their leggings... But then again, these meetings do offer some good opportunities. This new Clan ambassador, too, should soon be returning to his homeland... and reporting back regularly, of course. Orcs are just like humans, in some ways. Neither can resist the lure of power for long.) "Send him my response. The time suggested will be fine, in the usual place. And make it suitably... wordy." The apprentice nods and leaves. (Now, then, the schedule for today. Another meeting with that woman, about her pointless war. She probably wants more mages again. Perhaps I should have that elf killed, soon... but no, that would be hasty. There are still a few conditions to be cleared before I can have the war end...) He nods to himself, as he prepares the spell that will take him to the capital. Things are going just as planned, for now. Os-Gabella is interesting, too. She doesn't like men, so I imagine she surrounds herself with women. Here, I've attributed some random infant-collecting scheme to the Sheaim, where randomly chosen mothers are visited just after birth, and their children taken away - boys go on either to be trained as adepts, under Tebryn. (Training from an early age might explain the arcane trait~) or more often, as sacrifices in various horrible rituals. Girls, on the other hand, are taken to the palace, where they are raised to work near Os-Gabella, in whatever positions they are suited for... and with that as an explanation, more words. Spoiler Even more words! : Imagine a city. It is huge - sprawling, even - and consisting almost entirely of low, dark and dull buildings. Few people are seen moving - and those who do appear, move quickly and with purpose, wrapped in heavy clothing to keep out the biting wind. When two people meet - friends, perhaps, or relatives - they speak quietly, in hushed tones. Look beneath the surface, inside homes, and in shops, and we might see a different city. Slightly brighter, slightly more lively. You might hear laughter. You might see children playing. They are not so much a people oppressed, as somehow... private. Certainly, there are darker spots here. In a square, the remains of a pyre, the grey stones tainted with the dull black of charcoal. But no cracked bones. Those have already moved on. In an alley, the only signs of a foreign spy, long since beyond reporting home. Four fingerprints in dried blood. Night falls. Little changes. The occasional burst of laughter from behind heavy shutters - flashes of light, as a door is opened and quickly closed again. There might be four shapes moving quickly along, in the dark. Thieves and murders? No, not this night. Upon closer inspection, they are all women - black hoods, black clothes, only broken by a glimmer of reddish metal or a pale exposed face, now and then. They stop before a door, and knock. They know who lives here - a seamstress, and her husband, a butcher. They also know this night is when she is due to give birth to a child. The door opens - a man faces them. He knows what is going on, and while he is obviously worried, he lets the four women inside. In the light, with their dark hoods pulled back, they are little more than girls, none of them a day older than seventeen. They are early, the butcher explains. The midwife is here, but she thinks it will take a few hours more. Would they like to come inside, have a seat, while waiting? No, they would rather go outside, the leader responds. Two of her companions are casting nervous glances in the direction of heavy-set butcher, as were he some dangerous animal. If he will let them know when it is time, that will be good enough. He understands, and will do so. The four girls head outside, and the door is shut. Waiting motionless in the shadow of the building, they are almost invisible. Hours pass. Then, sudden but expected, the faint scream of a newborn from behind thick walls. A minute or two passes - this is to be expected, the girl who appears to be the leader tells her companions - give them this time, and the rest will go more smoothly. The door opens. The butcher, relief written all over his face, invites them back in. Through the door, and a hallway, and another door. A small room. A bed, an old woman on a chair, and another on the bed. In the arms of one of them, a new-born baby. They all know what is to happen, but for a moment, no-one speaks. Then, the midwife raises her voice. A girl-child. Healthy, and without flaws. On the face of the mother, sadness mixed with relief, as she speaks soft words of parting to her daughter. The child is wrapped, tightly to protect from the cold. A small keepsake - a silver ring - joins the child as two of the black-clad girls take her from her mother. They, too, have similar tokens of affection back at the palace, gifts of parting from parents they only met at birth. Some more words - a promise that the child will be well cared for, and similar courtesies - until the guests leave, carrying the child. On their way home, they exchange quiet words as cobblestones move swiftly beneath their feet, the streets of gavleholm soon giving way to the palace courtyard. Good thing it was a girl. Boys... are much more difficult. More pain, more tears and screams. And sometimes, the parents take up weapons. They all remember a sister who was lost to an enraged father, only a few weeks ago. It is one thing with the ones to be sent to the catacomb libralus, to one day join the mage cadres of lord Arbandi, but the other ones... none of them would like to claim such a child, but even so, it must be done. Perhaps as soon as the next night. Mother must know what she is doing, they agree. They arrive at their destination, and hand their newborn charge over to one of the sisters who care for them, then retreat to their quarters. One of the new sisters, on her first mission this night, remarks that men weren't as scary as she'd imagined. Her elder sister smiles. Most are harmless, for a trained sister, but you should be on your guard when you leave the palace. There are many kinds out there. As for the newborn? She is washed, and fed. Tomorrow, she will be presented to her new Mother, who she will one day serve. Perhaps as an agent and assassin, like the girls who brought her here. Perhaps she will care for the new arrivals, or work with her Mother in governing the nation. Perhaps as a soldier, stationed at the palace, or a general, leading armies to war. A cook, an entertainer, a groundskeeper - everyone at the palace, bar only one, once arrived like this. Only time will tell. The one tasked to care for her during the night smiles as she handles the keepsake ring - it is a twin of her own, given ten years ago. "Sister", she whispers, a small hand coming to rest on the sleeping new-born. Those are all my words, for today. Oh, and this went in the lore section, because lore is made from words. And stuff.