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Sent more people to the island to help Aato, the ongoing exploration of the labyrinth’s outer perimeter has been slow. Due to the rotating nature of the place we technically didn’t lose too many lives so much as we literally lost them. Hopefully the turn back up eventually. Though we are fairly certain the undead are originating from this place. Aato is fairly certain they were once guardians of the fortified location but a few keep slipping out now and then. Though once you go in there they are in his own words, “fucking everywhere.”

Our golem guest has been restored to Ansa’s idea of correct. Now we can’t tell them apart from anyone else without close inspection. Thus proving that Ansa can do it at the least. As a slight side effect, we have no idea where the golem girl went. Ansa calls it a ‘test run’ to see how long they can go without being discovered. I call it an omen.

Though we’ve also come up with some upgrades to our existing golems to improve their efficiency overall at least. So the mines are going well.

Greetings keeper, It is a glorious day for the Oda people! Iwanagi’s efforts to establish trade relations are going well, turns out people who are paranoid of leaving their own fort have a lot of stuff they want and they’re warming up to him as it were.

 

Unfortunately I cannot ask Kaylen about the mounted monks since she has returned to the badlands and is in an active war at the moment.

Built the ship though, and Kaze has found another lead though its taking him off deeper into the forests.

Alexandria’s forces are headed east towards the plains the orcs supposedly came from. Nyssa is also moving in that direction Albeit a bit blindly.

Ryo and the people of kirillobatov have arrived in Sybaris, while we do have a lot of unused space around here that was still…quite the influx. They are currently settling in around here.

Ankathi and I have started conducting rituals to create dragonborn, of particular note would be myself and Petrina who are some of the first test subjects. I feel funny, that is the extent of my observations so far. Though Ankathi had kind of left me to figure it out on my own as she’s taken off onto some other adventure now. I may need to hire someone to sweep up the coven temple, this place is huge.

 

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fghjk

 

 

Essi has made a few prototypes none of which seem very practical but at least all of which hurts single targets quite well. Not the most portable ideas so far though. At best maybe recruit some of the Oda as their fighting methods tend to do very well against singular opponents.

Aato’s army has incurred heavy losses while trying to clear out the island, though they have uncovered a mysterious underground labyrinth hidden in one of the mountains -more of a big hill really- on the east side of the island where the peculiar undead seem to be most concentrated. Though when I say labyrinth I mean completely insane massive underground super complex. The labyrinth is more of a pit that spirals down for so far no one can see the bottom, the walls move and rotate and gravity seems to go strange within there. This is some sort of massive super defensive structure that was designed to be impenetrable, fortunately all its occupants are too dead to fully utilize the place’s defenses. The real question is why does it exist? It is clearly pretty old. We’ll have to organize a proper excavation of the place, though it does seem that the undead are coming from within it. Iraeka managed to penetrate the deepest in, there is evidence of homes and perhaps a once great civilization. So its not entirely a fortification, a kingdom must have once lived there. That at least explains the size.

In discussing things with the badlands king in some sort of defensive alliance, he’s open to the prospect if you want to send an army to the badlands right now though more advanced terms of diplomacy are not currently available for review while Kaylen is busy. Since she would be the one to generally handle military alliances and affairs, but is currently trying to handle the orc incursion overall.

As for the resources needed to chase down Saeya Morgan, we’re going to need to put a bit more thought into this. We don’t fully understand the Eye as it were and all we know is just that it is very dangerous. To that end, we also don’t know if she is still there. A chance exists that Cayetano successfully captured her and took her back home with them. According to the golems killing her isn’t very simple as her power will find a way to pass on. Hillevi compared this to her notes from Lenahone and has a theory about some of the names. Her current hunch is that if the witch is killed, the primordial essence transfers to someone else in some way we don’t really have any guesses on. Though its her explanation for why some of the names don’t have Morgan in them. Which means the third possibility exists that Cayetano killed her and now the essence of the Fire transitioned to someone else that we have to find. So in summary, we either need to scout the eye, cayetano, or…everywhere I suppose. It might be worth preparing another expedition to reach the eye with the sole purpose of returning from its waters just to figure out what dangers are actually there and what we need to send to actually land on it. Though if we could set up another colony there, might be worth some good mana.

 

Greetings keeper, it is a glorious day for the Oda people! As for communicating with the dragon, it doesn’t seem terribly amused at being asked to spell things. Dragon pride maybe, though it ate the paper we tried it with. All things considered a fairly mild response at least.

Iwanagi made it around the bounty critter and to the city of Alasl Amina. Though they are very suspicious and wary of him, possibly related to the fact that they were also just recently visited by the nalkas. I suspect they aren’t used to so many visitors from far away land. He’s wearing them down though.

Kaze and the team continue their search through the forests. So far there is evidence that they’re on the right track though its a big forest and their search efforts seem to be a bit unlucky.

We’ve begun the construction of Chiheisen in the southern isles. Takei remains on guard over it, so far the monster population of the island does seem a bit abundant and prone to trying to bite.

We’ve attempted mounting the monks, the Kensei actually show some decent promise with the idea. Though without Yuzuki no one’s sure how to design a longer weapon more suited to mounted combat for them to use. Little hit or miss, but they’re not inept at riding or using polearms at least.

Eliana doesn’t appear to have much on ki arts that we didn’t already know. Though she does have more details on some of the ones we do. In the hunt for Kyobo, she is aware that the practice of what she calls ‘angry punching’ carried on for some while after the dying night as a clan of them were able to survive a bit longer. It appears the clan died out two centuries ago when they got into an argument with the druids. However, as usual, Eliana doesn’t have much information on current events.

 

Perhaps we were a bit jumpy based on past experiences though the orcs seemed to have turned north and gone between the mountains and Namanru. Sticking to their general plan to avoid the major cities even at risk of being flanked in favor of not having to fight the actual fortified locations directly. Alexandria seems annoyed at the lack of fighting at the gate just a little.

We also have some reports that the orcs have more waves incoming from the east, where the first two came from and the initial force is largely a shock deployment. Apparently, Euthar’s forces are not far behind either with siege weapons that are less likely to dance around the cities like the current orcs are. So that whole thing going on over there is bound to be fun.

In other news, the market is shutting down for now due to the incursion of the orcs and with Kaylen putting the badlands under martial law. Which is a bit unusual given they are not the most unified front generally speaking but I guess when a huge army of orcs shows up they are a bit more willing to tag team things. Given that Faelyn’s army has started moving into the heart of the badlands from the north to rally with Kaylen along with Salahe’s marauders I can only imagine the political clusterfuck that must have gone down to pull that off for them.

 

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Fill things in quicker you bums

Stories of Lore 23

The Igloo? Really man you too? Anyways, Aato is taking a look around for more clues on the undead. He has found other designs of interest, several of them are built with specialized roles that creates a variety of complications. We were already familiar with some sort of mage hunting variety but he reports also encountering a lumbering monster that’s near impossible to put down with conventional armaments. It was shot by siege weapons and didn’t seem to even notice, they team decided to run away from that one.

It seems quite clear that this is the remnants or stragglers of some sort of organized undead army. Likely created for a larger scale operation and what we’re encountering are just whatever was either left behind or managed to survive this long. Though I am curious as to what they are protecting or what they were supposed to invade.

The golem arrived, though that was quickly overshadowed evidently.

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. The hunt for Maeng has taken some interesting turns. Chinami continues the investigation but returned to Okushiri as otherwise ordered. Though this lead to an interesting development, we discovered Maeng has actually passed through Okushiri itself on his journey before continuing southward. A few of the fisherman recognized the eccentric description Chinami provided. It is likely that Maeng is not fully aware of his abilities or their origin in ki specifically. Alosne does not use the art in a formally trained capacity and it is likely he did not even recognize he had found a land of similar warriors and just continued on his way.

I sent a message to Vasia to see if they had any clues of him passing through their lands as well. He was actually one of their princes for a short while, and apparently a popular one. Though the Katara keep their princes trapped within the city for safety due to their value, so he snuck out and decided he preferred being a free man compared to free wine, women, and an early death. So we could say he seems to have quite the adventurous spirit since he keeps passing through places he could have settled down and kept on going. Notably he visits every tavern in all these places, so we’ve gotten good at finding out where to ask around.

Our ship arrived in Melun and managed to trade the information of the latest tome we acquired with Melun for some insight into this “village on a lake within the mountain” business. Eliana told us of an old village that might match the description though it has fallen to ruin. The place was once known as Sangak and it found itself a nice place to hide by building into the crevice of a mountain that had a surprisingly spacious hollowed out interior. The mountain walls acted as a natural defense and bordered on a lake they could use to help sustain themselves, during the dying night this was one of the more successful surviving populations due to these factors. It’s location has been marked on the map with a green square.

It is quite easy to talk at the dragon. They are fully intelligent and can understand our language, they just don’t speak it in return. Something about slim forked tongues, a lack of lips, and their jaw shape interfering with pronunciation, or they just don’t like to. The dragon for the most part seems content to loaf about at the haven monastery so far, though it seems wary of most people. Except, oddly enough, Shime. She is the only one it shows no signs of being wary of, granted she doesn’t interact with it much. They are often found lurking about near each other. Or more accurately the dragon is near her and she is wary of it instead. The rest of the monks are perpetually confused and enamored to its presence. One of our druids at haven reports that the dragon has a perpetual caution towards us because of likely traumatic events for it. I’m guessing that means the fact that it met both Ansa and Ankathi.

Well we sent Alexandria to the gate but the forces we raised have to reach her from the capital, so here is hoping she can hold out that long. We tried to recruit from the closer areas but those settlements are so new that they don’t even have the population to fill the forces as needed.

I’ve told Ankathi she can help with making dragonborn. That’s been… a trip. We’re still making preparations on all of that. On that related topic, Ryo has been escorting the people of kirillo..krillo…so those people are almost here too. We’ll see what input they might have before we let Ankathi just do whatever she wants.

Nyssa made it over to that town Ryo discovered awhile back to investigate just how isolated they’ve managed to remain. For the large part the answer seems to be they just didn’t try hard enough. Though many places we’ve met since we started expanding seem to have that problem. What makes it stand out though is the size of it, its a fairly large city and should definitely have the resources necessary to explore a little more. They’re a little confused as Ryo was the first they’d seen in their recorded history since the dying night, but then he just up and left and now Nyssa came to fill his place.

As for why no one else has found them, seems to just be a roll of the dice. They’re a little far from Cayetano and we know they prefer to travel by boat, the mountainous coast line definitely shielded them from any explorers on that end. They are closest to Kirillin town but they were also locked in isolation due to a fear of the orcs. Then there is Melun who just…doesn’t go places.

On the orc front, word from the grapevine is that the orcs have also started pushing into the badlands with a massive army. Though they’re staying clear of the various citys in their way to force the warlords to either engage them in the open field or just let them go straight to Maji. Meanwhile those approaching us are finding things somewhat slow thanks to the druid shenanigans once again.

 

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asefds

Stories of Lore 22

What fleet? I suppose we could build a few boats if you want. Though on to other news. The Katara commander Ivan has taken up post at the northern outpost and Aato has been working with…him…there’s a new one, been working with him on trying to keep the construction teams safe. Obviously the first thing they got to work on was the walls. People are dead as usual. The strange undead appearances up there are extremely dangerous to our golems it would seem and obviously Aato’s magic is a bit iffy against them as well.

Iraeka remains in Okushiri, seemingly fully able to use her new limbs now. Still an edgelord though.

Mikael is somehow almost home already, we can expect to see him within the next cycle along with these golems. I’m quite interested to see what rogue golems can become on their own.

 

Greetings Keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. On news of Maeng, it turns out that some of the Nalkas, or more so their slaves, have actually caught wind of Maeng some time in the past as he was passing through. After that he was also seen by the natives of Tonarooka, but he continued sailing south from there for destinations yet unknown. Though it might be worth asking the Katara since going by this trend he has stopped off everywhere along this coast at least briefly. We’ll find him yet!

In similar news, our hunter ship has broken off of Takei’s fleet to make way for Melun to see what they might know about the lake in the mountains that we might be looking for.

Well our trip to visiting Shime didn’t go that well. I wonder what happened to render that girl so quiet. She is usually much more animated, and didn’t have a tendency to lurk within walls nearly as much.

Kaze has arrived in Moncayo pass and is poking around for the mysteries of Kyobo. Apparently with fortunate timing as he found the next lead in meeting the dragon shamans of Kirillobatov who were passing through on their way to Sybaris. Apparently the next stop is to go further south.

Hamano, Yamaoka, and Konya are all en route to their destinations.

 

I told Ankathi its probably a no on assisting with the dragonborn thing then, she has opted to stick around and watch us attempt to do it without her. She seems a little too amused. Also our other problem child Alexandria is on her way north towards the border fort as requested.

Also our anirace game against Usian did not go…shall we say well. I think we lost 0 to 9. Though he is someone who came to power based on his popularity as an anirace star, and was the sponsor of last years champion team as well so I guess that thrashing was to be expected. Still got paid though.

Ivan has reached Jamsa’s gate stone and made his way to the island outpost to take command to relieve Commander Aato of the Nalkas. Reportedly the place is still quite dangerous and he’s already lost some of his units defending against night attacks. Most interesting is the report of more strangely horrifying and powerful undead, these seem to be the biggest problem. While the monsters are enough to deal with, the undead attack at such oddly opportune times with such force that responding to them causes openings for the monster assaults. Basically its rough up there.

Now for bad news. Remember how it was mentioned that the orcs real force was still on its way to assault the badlands? Well they still really like the flanking strategy and we have some new fucks approaching the gate of the forest. Notably though, they have some tieflings as commanders. Big ones…probably some sort of crossbreeding experiment. I’m not really sure what is going on with all that buuut…yeah we might have to deal with some shit soon.

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Oogity Boogity Boogity Amen

Stories of Lore 21

Mikael and the gang found a fallen civilization in the southern isles consisting of sentient golems that apparently are another runaway effect of Ansa’s creations she left behind before the great sleep. They are quite interested to meet with us, and likely desperate as only we will be able to fix their deteriorated state. They mentioned having knowledge of the witch we were searching for, but won’t tell anyone other than Ansa herself. Apparently it is highly guarded information, I told Ansa to expect guests soon. Fortunately they have some interesting improvements on naval technology after living on the islands for so long so the return trip should be faster than the trip there.

Speaking of all this, Ansa are there any more rogue experiments I should expect us to find or even start looking for?

Probably. I made a lot of things.

 

. . . Ansa what are the chances that all monsters are your accidental creation?

 

Embarrassingly high. That’s why I keep putting out bounties on specific samples. Aside from researching them, I’m looking for indications that they are mine. I should say specifically, indications that they aren’t -all- mine. Nalky is definitely an evolution of one of my own creations. More predatory, my original design was for farming mana. They would extract it from natural sources then we could extract it from them.

So the hellscape of monsters we live in…is because your farm livestock we left behind got free? Actually that explains why all of them are attracted to mana.

 

I believe that to be a factor in it. However, the monsters were not this prevalent for thousands of years while we slept. It was only after, or perhaps during, the dying night that they became so populous. I think my creations are the origin, but that there was another catalyst that made it a “hellscape”. It’s only been a few thousand years, they shouldn’t be this big, varied, or prevalent.

So what else of yours might be out there waiting for us?

 

My old facility was the size of Jamsa. By the sounds of things after our disappearance they evolved. The elves make total sense to me, that one was designed to be a life form. But if even my spy golems could evolve, there is no limit to what might have come out of my lab. Thousands upon thousands of creations were in there. I honestly would not have put my money on those golems making it, but life finds a way I suppose. This means that its a roll of the dice which of my creations were fit enough to carry on into the modern day. Also what form they might take. Speaking of the elves, not enough of them are immigrating all the way up here. When the manhunter gets back make sure to send him my way.

Also, lets talk for a moment about you having made spy golems.

 

I actually have a lot of spy gadgets. The pen I gave to you as a gift when you graduated keeps me up to date on all documents  you sign. The king’s throne is a listening post, the dragon pens in all three kingdoms are seismographs, Eliana’s new book I gave her keeps an eye out, Faelyn’s nalkas bodyguard is wearing a special necklace, and the sword the monks are about to make Kaylen will also have some nifty features. Really the only problem I’ve been having is the Archdruid. She has no need for any item I can slip something onto and won’t accept gifts. Problematically she’s also the most important one to keep tabs on. This all has various limitations but at least I have more information than most.

I feel you left me out of some lessons.

 

I taught you all you need for this stuff. You just haven’t been aggressively creative enough. Anyways I’m off to get tea.

 

Well that’s something to ponder. Though at least this explains how she keeps showing up whenever anyone talks about her. Anyways Iraeka’s physical therapy is going well. She has some coordination issues but it has inadvertently served to test just how strong some of her limbs are. The answer is pretty strong. The enchantments on them affect the entire user, otherwise they’d be stupid to enchant on necklaces and rings after all. Also she put in a special order for a new weapon since losing her crossbow if thats relevant. The team at Uudistar is having to specially make both her new bow and arrows. The bow goes to an insane draw weight, which requires special arrows or they would break just from the force of being fired. Apparently she found that she can use a bow that powerful by hand now with her new limb, despite the enchantments giving her higher strength overall that specific arm is even more amplified. If she draws with it, evidently she can go far beyond any human record.

So far the dragons are…difficult to work with. Ansa has them properly caged up so they don’t cause any problems but only she has been able to approach them. A problem she complains frequently about because it means she -has- to do all the chores regarding them or the servants will get eaten. As such it is unlikely she will be leaving on any more expeditions any time soon. So don’t plan on sending the biomancy expert to investigate new places for awhile.

Conveniently, our embassy and gatestone in Maji means that we receive our mysterious artifact purchases much quicker. Though…we still have no idea what the hell this artifact is. It’s a perfect cube eight inches across made of solid jade. And I mean perfect, the surfaces are so smooth it slides across the table with the slightest push. It contains enough mana to rival a gatestone but even jade should not be able to do that in such a small object. It is clear this…does something. We just can’t figure out what as there are no signs of enchantment that we can activate. I gave it to Essi to poke at.

Related to magic artifacts, the seeds we got from the archdruid are taking well to the growing house Ansa made for them. Just not sure when that will become anything we can harvest.

The tome we got is peculiar in that I can’t tell if its fact or fiction. Its written like a explorer’s journal, but it contains plot holes like a fairy tale. Its primarily about a sailing explorer’s encounter with a fish woman who he fell in love with and kept visiting at sea. She claimed she came from a kingdom that lived at the bottom of the ocean, though he could never visit it. I’m inclined to say that it was just a symbolic device of the explorer’s inability to reach his lover’s home. Though at this point I’ve seen some weird shit enough to say there might actually be some sort of underwater kingdom out there somewhere. Notably if it did, judging by the surprisingly detailed description of the stars, this would have been somewhere in the sea west of sybaris. We made a copy and sent it off to the Oda.

Also Aato finished his drink and headed back to the island to work on securing the new outpost. To his credit, he is one of the only people who seem unshaken by the experience. Though now demands everyone call him dragon slayer.

As a lab update, we still have no idea how the hell the badlands built these bikes. The king must be using some sort of fourth dimensional warp fuckery, we can build something similar to them with no problem so far but we can’t hit the speeds that theirs can nor the durability. Though our prototypes are slightly better than horses so far at least, they just break down easier.

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Chinami went westward to visit the tiefling village as instructed on her search for the drunken master. She had to ask almost every single person there until at long last one of them had some idea of who she was even talking about. It seems Maeng passed through on his boating trip and stopped off to trade for supplies and helped out around town for a little while with a monster problem they were having.  The reason no one knew who Chinami was talking about is they didn’t consider his drinking to be abnormal or excessive. Though they drink a lot too in this town. Though the trail continues westward along the coast, given that it won’t be long until we’re in Nalkas territory the odds are he could have gone quite some distance in this direction. That or he’s in the Nalkas cities and no one really thought to take notice of him.

Iwanagi is sailing westward though it may be worth checking in on the Nalkas reports of the fortress as they have already managed to visit it. It could be useful in establishing the goals of Iwanagi’s visit. I assume trade.

As for our dear guest Kaylen, she is visiting the Kensei monastery and seeing what she can learn from them. She has also already defeated the entire school in sparring, she is clearly several leagues above most monks. It seems her long years in the badlands as Grand Marshall have hardened her into a true master. She has been staying in the guest quarters here at the palace of course. I insisted on such, it would be improper of us to leave one of Maji’s three lords to a mere inn in town.

Kaze arrived in Lennecas to find a rather chaotic situation brewing. We have kept out of the ongoing politics between them all for the most part and just kept handing out immigration pamphlets. We may want to pull out of the area if we’re not going to get involved in the ongoing situation though, tensions appear that they’re about to boil over.

Master Soshu says that Shime needs time to meditate and center herself. Her trials at the expedition have left wounds on her that will never truly heal, and guilt has consumed her. It doesn’t help that no one seems to know how to talk to her given her lack of speaking. However, Soshu noted we have a guest who can speak without speaking. Within Okushiri is a nalkas agent who hails from the drow to the north. They are extremely adept at non-verbal communication. We might be able to ask this visitor to try and speak with Shime, they share a common experience on that island and may be able to find understanding with each other. However, our guest has been noted to be very brooding and might not be the most empathetic towards Shime.

We have constructed a proper enclosure for a dragon as requested, following the designs provided to us by the nalkas. Though for my own thoughts, I think we shouldn’t use it. Nothing says ‘lets be friends’ like a jail cell. Dragon’s are highly intelligent, often thought to be even more so than humans. They can also hold grudges for centuries. Even if the risk of it just flying away is high, the risk of it reaching adulthood with any anger in its heart is far greater. If nothing else, I think Faelyn might be a better consultant than the nalkas on this topic. Ansa is a scientist and a noble. She owns everything she touches and seeks to understand it, but not coexist with it. Faelyn has apparently had contact with dragons before. Though if you feel we cannot trust her, it is a longer voyage but the people of Kirillobatov might also be able to lend their advice.

 

I’m not sure how much you thought a dragon lair would cost but the budget you gave them was vastly overkill. Which the woman we hired happily used all of. Give an architect a budget and watch them go I suppose. So the dragon’s palace is nicer than yours now…though actually its attached on the western wall so maybe its just the same building. Our palace is now one of the great wonders of the world I suppose.

Speaking of dragon lairs, Ryo reached Kirillobatov. They’ve immediately offered to relocate their entire population to Sybaris to keep after the dragon. Actually offered is too soft a word. They demanded we allow their entire population to immigrate here and look after the dragon. As in they’re already on the way regardless if we want them or not. We could have Alexandria cut them off though if you’d rather they not, as they will have to go through Moncayo pass to reach us.

Ryo was also able to contact Kaikane, who proceeded to ask him about fifty questions about Haziel and warn that the Queen of Wolves was really dangerous. So that old story again. Though with some additional details. Apparently there are two archdruids that all other archdruids fear, the other one being Haziel’s sister. Haziel being the bigger meaner one, known across the entire continent as the greatest threat to all civilization. Largely because she’s the one who controls monsters as well as non-mana hunting beasts. The younger sister is called Raven or The Raven. She holds domain over the southern isles that the Oda are wandering about. Kaikane noted that those two sisters are the only two archdruids who have no territory overlaps. The others tend to be close together and poke into each other’s territory now and then as is convenient and get along well enough. Haziel and Raven both killed other druids for setting foot in their domains. She did not have much comment on the dragon thing, so that was useless. Other warnings include that the sisters might be the cause of the dying night. As it happened at the height of her war with civilization and the other druids, and notably made her the winner. However, Kaikane had nothing useful to say about dragons so that was pointless.

Speaking of druids though, we have noted some odd occurrences around our new villages. Animals lurking in the woods keeping a close eye on the colonists and so on. Not to mention the two teams that disappeared around sanctuary. Some of the colonists and their guards keep disappearing into the woods as well. These aren’t unusual events for colonists to face, many die in the wild after all.

Ivan took his troops up towards Jamsa to use the gatestone and head for the outpost construction site. Will take him another cycle just to reach Jamsa though.

The elves got around to reclaiming Leylat with a small reconstruction team to get things started. Our settler teams never made it that far so not much trouble for us.

Alexandria managed to take down the monster as ordered though lost almost all of her troops in the process. We may want to send her some reinforcements if she’s intended to keep a hold on Moncayo pass.

Speaking of the pass, reconstruction efforts under Alexandria have completed and now the pass is securely under our control.

Finally, Ankathi came by to visit. Not much we can really do to stop her from doing so since she keeps turning into a cloud of smoke all the time. She’s offered to help with integrating the dragon’s blood into our people, and has notably already conducted experiments to prove she can do it. Alternatively we could ask the dragon people who are on their way from Kirillobatov.

All that being said, Ankathi and her followers are here in the city for the week. So…let’s make sure Alexandria stays riiiight where she is just a little longer.

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When cheeky dialog moments get too long and I should have just written an SoL instead.

As this will take less time to cover, Mikael has found a town living among the islands in the south where he has begun his investigation. Though they don’t know much about the golden witch business or what to make of it. However, Cayetano once came through the area and asked about something similar. They were told to visit the fortress to the west and speak with the Seni, as if anyone would know anything on these islands it should be them. A year or so later they saw the Cayetano fleet, which these island primitives referred to as “sails dotted the horizon as far as the eye could see, looking as to be clouds moving in the distance” so not a very helpful headcount. Though apparently it was a massive naval excursion in these waters. Whether or not that is at all related to what we’re after is anyone’s guess. Mikael is headed to meet the Seni next.

Now on to the bigger matters, the expedition has successfully found more mana and managed to return to Jämsä through the gate stone. With the exception of Ansa, most seem traumatized by the experience. The general sentiment is the island is one of the worst places in the world. I’m sure they’re exaggerating but it just goes to show the effect on morale wandering into such uncivilized lands can have.

So as for a general update. The base camp at the cave won’t serve for our colonization too well. While it is defensible, it isn’t so great for harvesting mana. We will probably want to go along the coastline for maximizing yield. An outpost is still recommended, if not an outright fortress. The high quantity of mana will definitely continue to attract more monsters than we can ever hope to kill.

We never found any further details on where that strange undead came from, we also never saw another one. It is likely that some more exploration of the island will be necessary to find any clues on the matter.

In other news, dragons. Large jars of the chaos dragon’s blood were brought back. Ansa says the stuff can be used to make all kinds of things due to their mana properties and has taken a bunch of the stuff for material sciences. The dragons themselves are in a holding facility in her house to be properly trained. She said since there are three we could give one to each of our nations since it was a joint assault. Though laughed when I asked how hard they were to keep under control. Apparently the general rule is that dragon’s know they are the biggest baddest thing in this world by natural instinct. If they sense weakness they are liable to strike, either physically or mentally. If anyone does take them on, whoever manages them needs to have a certain level of heroic quality. She also warns that if they grow bigger…well they’re dragons. Though the plan was to hold them all with Ansa until everyone could be briefed on the appropriate risks, Petrina took her share already and is on the way to Sybaris with orders from the queen. I can’t help but notice she had the enclosure already built and waiting though. I’m not sure if it was just a general purpose thing or if she had been waiting to find dragons specifically.

 

Iraeka is back up and working. Essi did something to her after resurrecting from her phylactery and making it back to her lab. Iraeka is still enlisted to continue her work and despite what happened doesn’t seem interested in a career change. Though she’s a lot broodier than she already was. Apparently having your arm and leg replaced with necromantic prosthetics makes you a bit gloomy.

While she laments the loss of her crossbow, she has demonstrated new abilities. This may be because we foolishly entrusted her health to Essi. She keeps her new limbs hidden as they are quite literally skeletal, making people uneasy around her. Though the experimental prosthetic has illicited some questionable expenses and-

I had a thought. What if I enchanted every individual bone? Now they are near indestructible, with careful application of mending to repair any damage it might somehow take. Then I gave them bull’s strength, bear’s endurance, cat’s grace, eagle’s splendor, fox’s cunning, inflict critical wounds mass, chill touch, ghoul touch, ghost touch, darkness –

Woman what did you do to her? Is that why she’s so gloomy lately?

The RFC department says that is normal for those experiencing the loss of a limb, especially multiple. She’ll bounce back.

Wait why no Owl’s Wisdom?

 

 

I only had so many bones to work with and that didn’t seem necessary. None of her abilities rely on it.

You turned her into a living weapon and did you put any sort of restraint in place at all? What if she goes rogue?

She was already a rogue.

 

 

I feel like you are much more meta than I am.

Anyways I loaded a bunch of arcane and necromantic stuff into her new limbs so she will never be…unarmed.

That feels insensitive.

 

 

What? She can’t hear me.

I will bet my own money you would not be able to tell if she was in this room with us right now.

Fair. Anyways, she needs a lot more mana to stay functional now than before, but that just makes her like the rest of us anyways.

Okay so Essi turned Iraeka into a science project and now she’s some sort of hybrid super soldier. Still a bit of a gloomy loner though, and she already left the city towards the south. She said she intended to train with the Oda to get comfortable with her new limbs. Which seems odd to me given I am ninety percent sure she can’t use ki through them.

That or now that she has arcane power she’s training with them to follow in the footsteps of her beloved Sakki.

And now I’m sad.

 

 

Okay that’s enough. To summarize, Iraeka is recovered and awaiting her next mission. While waiting she is wandering around the kingdom. Also I can’t help but get this feeling I am for some reason incapable of properly quantifying her new abilities in such a way that would properly tell us how to best utilize her skills and abilities. I am inclined to say that her feats have marked her as a prestigious member of our military.

 

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Kaze is headed south, though I did some administrative assisting on that one. Instead of hiring more kensei, I just sent Yuzuki’s team since they have recently returned from the expedition and had nothing else to do. Hamano and Yamaoka are actually on the way back home as guides for Kaylen. Iwanagi has completed his trip around the other island and has mapped it’s edges properly.

Shime has returned from the expedition, though Chinami is still in transit along the northern coast. Shime is now in Haven and her students say that after a few days passed she became non-responsive and just stares into the distance most of the time. Apparently events were fairly traumatic for her, though problematically no one could understood any of her gestures upon her return.

Chinami stopped off in the north as requested to pursue details of the drunken master. With a stroke of good luck, it turns out this was the exact place he was exiled from. So they know quite well about him. His name was Maeng Seung-Ho. He was by all accounts a lovely fellow most of the time, its just his drunken antics eventually aroused the ire of the local powers that be. Apparently he had a habit of stumbling drunk around town and then stealing stuff from nice houses and rich people in the street. Apparently its hard to tell a drunk is pickpocketing you, by all civilian accounts his drunken antics were well calculated. He gained notoriety as time went on and people started to piece together that Maeng’s drunken stupors seemed to keep taking place very close to where valuable things went missing. He would then fence his ill-gotten gains to help feed and clothe others in the frigid winters. If you ask the officials Maeng was a menace, if you ask average civilians he was a local hero. When he was exiled he apparently stole the judge’s entire wine collection, got in a rowboat, and was never seen again. Though they do mention he was last seen rowing towards the west.

Oh my you got here sooner than expected. Welcome to Okushiri, I hope your journey went well?

It was fine, the road helps when you have bikes. So I can come and go a bit faster than such a journey might imply. I would have come in earlier but Hamano insisted I try the local food after our journey. He was right though, the fish is pretty good. Oh, and my respects to you Keeper.

That is good to hear, I hope he wasn’t too overbearing. He has a habit of trying a bit too hard to be hospitable sometimes. You’re in good timing though, it appears we are all here now. Welcome back Master Soshu, how has your time here in town treated you?

Master Soshu!

 

My respects to the keeper, and my goodness Kaylen! How much you have grown since I last saw you. You don’t need to bow, get up. I should bow to you, you’re a grand marshall now! Though you’ll forgive me if my back makes me hesitant to do so.

You never need to bow to me Master. I am only what I am today thanks to your training.

 

Oh you two are already acquainted? Wait, Master Soshu how old are you?

 

It’s impolite to ask that you know. Though if you are curious, I knew Kaylen’s mother before we split up in the forest. Apparently Kaylen’s mother sent her to find and train with me having remembered our interactions.

Would I be correct then, to imply that Kaylen has actually been to Okushiri before today?

 

I trained with Master Soshu in the monastery when this city was still just a small town. The monastery was little more than a series of grass huts on a hill. I wasn’t a name of note back then though, and I spent most of my time training with Master Soshu as my mother wanted.

Well you trained with me for so long I ran out of things to teach you.

 

This is interesting, I thought Kaylen was just a lost descendant. I had no idea that you had actually returned home once before. May I ask why you didn’t stay?

Well my father lived in the badlands and refused to leave. My mother wouldn’t leave him either. So I had to return to my family eventually. As much as I appreciate the inclusion, this place isn’t really my home. I was born and raised in the badlands after all.

Well we have gathered here some of the greatest masters of Ki in this world. I thought since you were visiting to investigate the Kensei, you could also come share your thoughts with us on a topic that has been of concern to the Keeper. We were curious if any training could be implemented to help the monks deal with the undead due to a recent incident in which one of our most esteemed monk fell victim to one such foul creature.

Careful with the foul creature thing. If Eliana hears you say that you may fall out of favor with her.

 

Ah yes, excuse me. I of course did not mean to include her in such a statement. So you know of Queen Eliana as well?

All the lords know Eliana at least by name. I have never met her myself, though I tread cautiously around her name. Eliana is one of the powers that we fear the most. She has so much information she could topple kingdoms with just a letter and a carrier pidgeon. Many of the warlords live in constant fear that she might decide to do just that. A lot of them have a great deal of skeletons in their closet.
But not yourself?

 

Fortunately no. I am very direct with everyone, also my job is appointed by the King. Not to mention my job is just to maintain our standing forces as well as train soldiers. I don’t get involved in the shadier aspects of our culture.

Returning to the topic at hand…

 

Yes, sorry Master Soshu.

 

I do not know of any manner by which Ki might be especially different against an undead than any other weapon. Though many techniques we already know are more than enough of a solution. If anything we are well suited to the challenge more so than those who brandish blade and spell. A broken bone is a broken bone after all.

Shime was almost killed by one all too recently though. It was only by a miracle that Ankathi saved her just in time. Unfortunately she did not arrive in time to save Varpu. I am told the creature could devour mana and steal spells to empower itself by eating people.

Had it not been Shime to fight it, could any soldier or wizard have handled such a fiend?

Well, reportedly the blackguards of Ankathi had no trouble with it.

 

Wait do you guys know who Ankathi is? I keep hearing rumors about her but never anything much to go on.

While I will certainly divulge the information to you, first I am curious as to what the rumors say about her.

Well I hear she is a demonic witch. Both figuratively and literally. They say she is both chaos and malevolence incarnate. I figure they’re stretching it a bit but-

No that’s correct.

 

. . . So why would she save this Shime?

 

Self interest of some sort.

 

Back on topic, before we draw the ire of the poor keeper who must listen to us old folk jabber so long he might turn old himself! In theory undead have a specific lack of ki, so there isn’t much to exploit. They are held together by pure magic. Though they are easy to make they are not necessarily sturdy, so a simple application of force might be all that can be done.

I agree. It is just a matter of overpowering them. Due to their undead state most weapons don’t work well, but simply smashing them will cripple them piece by piece. The only real problem are liches. This creature you describe that defeated Shime was one such thing yes?

No, it was simply a thrall.

 

Well…that’s not good. How many of them were there to overwhelm a manifester and a monk?

One.

 

Oh…well have you tried calling someone else to handle that kind of thing?

 

Who are we going to call?

 

Cayetano.

 

Fair point. While I have you both here, the keeper was also curious about infusing Ki into objects in some way or another. If the Kensei can do such a thing to their weapons surely there must be a way to use it on other objects?

Unfortunately I have never heard of such a concept working.

 

I’m here to actually meet with the Kensei and see what all that is about. I might have more of an answer after learning whatever technique they have created is.

 

 

Ryo found a city called Matanaro that he went poking around in. They were quite surprised to see him, as they have not seen a foreigner since the dying night. While some of the major continental powers seem to be a bit more aware of one another, especially our kingdom in particular, it is interesting such a large city has never seen anyone despite being between Melun and Cayetano. I guess the world is still quite large. Though what’s also strange about that, is the dragon people of Kirillobatov knew about the larger world through contact with Archdruid Kaikane in those forests. Yet a city as large as Matanaro apparently hasn’t. Though Ryo did mention an oddly high amount of monsters in the area.  Luckily he’s kind of hard to catch.

The expedition force has successfully returned from that forsaken island, and our additional troops went to relieve them as not to lose control of the base camp we have managed to establish. Petrina is apparently quite injured from her journey but alive, though she is currently in Okushiri. Having stopped off there to rest before finishing the journey home from the gatestone in Jämsä. So we’re currently holding down the fort in that area, though it is likely the token force is not liable to last too long if we just leave them sitting around up there.

Ivan left of his own accord to assist Petrina in bringing the dragon back to Sybaris. Given Petrina’s current health it is likely for the best that he help out given Ansa’s warning about their behavior. Ivan has that sort of…alpha’s presence about him. Probably comes with being an old grizzled war veteran.

Christina is on her way back to Sybaris since whatever the purpose of her visit to the drow was never really expanded upon and it wasn’t of much interest to us anyways.

We definitely need to work out what to do with that dragon once Ivan brings it back. We received a warning from Ansa that this thing is young and containable but will eventually grow. Once grown its a pretty big deal, though we have quite a bit of time on that. We could just chain it down to help produce dragonborn, we could try to build it a cushy lair and hope it just takes a liking to having us around raising it, we could ask the dragon shaman’s in Kirillobatov what to do with it and hope nothing goes wrong until we sort that out.

Though I do say we could use it to scare the missionaries out of town, the cult of the abyss from Abasi are still here and they’re getting annoying. Though to be noted, they left Sybaris and started preaching around the smaller villages. Their movement is actually gaining some traction especially with many affected by our brief civil war.

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Expedition week 2, more terrible things

Stories of lore 20

 

It is a tad unfortunate that both people most likely to be talented with cutting edge prosthetics are away on the expedition. Though she’s at least alive and should remain as such in the foreseeable future so we’ll see about the Iraeka project when they get back. I mean I can make a golem arm but I have no idea how to make sure she can actually use it as an arm. Though I could make it slap her every now and then. That would be amusing.

The expedition has seen some more losses and manpower is starting to dwindle. Varpu died, Petrina is almost dead, Essi was torn in half but is now back here in Jämsä for it, and Shime is catatonic and won’t leave the cave. Aato is really the only name of note still left, unless you count Ansa but she’s not really doing colony operations, she’s keeping tabs on the dragons and managing from a command table. They still haven’t managed to amass enough mana to activate the gate stone again.

Call it a wise hunch, but something is wrong on that island. Recent reports say they encountered an undead. An abnormally dangerous one, such things do not just exist. All undead must be made by a necromancer with the only exception being self propagating vampires and zombies. Though even those are made by necromancy to get it started. The report is unfortunately unclear on the full extent of its abilities, because the only person who fought it -and lived- is mute and catatonic.

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. As for the matter with the elves, asylum is more or less what we went to offer in the first place. Along with the nalkas, though not everyone is so interested in fleeing across the forest to us given the danger of the trip and the unfamiliarity. Though a few have here and there.

Kaze has returned to Okushiri to resume his duties and is sufficiently caught up on ongoing affairs.

We lost our other scout boat in the far east as it patrolled the other frozen landmass we came across. Though we do not know the cause of its disappearance.

The ongoing scouting in the southern isles revealed another of those tribal towns but more interesting we found an actual settlement that could be called a fortress. It could be a little better defended but it does appear to be island natives instead of colonists from Cayetano so we are impressed none the less. Our scouts didn’t approach it though, saying they would rather wait for Iwanagi to come check on it, as they found it by being told by island natives of the town they found across the water from it. The fortress of one of the most significant places in the southern islands to the tribal cultures there. It is known as the last stretch of land men could set foot on before approaching what they call the edge of the world. This may be their lack of understanding of what is actually west of that fortress and why no one ever returns from it. The Eye, which we learned from Eliana is quite possibly the most dangerous place in the known world, is directly west of this fortress.

Of further relevance, this fortress is suspiciously desolate. Despite observing for several days from sea, our scout reports that they saw nothing. Just a statue at the docks they mistook for a person until they realized it didn’t move for three straight days. This place is supposedly home to a group of women known as the “Seni”. A group of oracles who manage the will of “The Goddess”.  Of note, this fortress is in a very interesting location. Due to the layout of the land around it, a channel sees the constant flow of ocean water right under the fortress that spans between the two island masses to either side of it. Seriously this is a massive structure they’ve built. It’s mostly wood and honestly likely vulnerable to having its supports destroyed, but it is impressively large and well defended despite being so desolate. However, the constant ocean flow, and its access to a great range of shallow waters makes it ideal for harvesting mana. The exact spot it is sitting on might be capable of harvesting so much mana it would make the badlands start drooling a new oasis into existence just looking at this place on a map.

Whatever the Seni do here, they have access to a huge continual source of mana. The scouts are too scared to approach it, they say the place gives them the creeps. Perhaps we can send Iwanagi by once he is done circling the island, or those nalkas in the same area might be inclined to brave it.

Next we have Hamano’s trip to Maji. It turns out that Kaylen is very interested in this kensei stuff. It is notable she does use a sword after all. She’ll be visiting us soon to look into it. On the elven matter, she said that in times of danger it is natural for elves to seek security. Human’s tend to go towards danger a bit haphazardly and band together in times of strife. She mentions elves tend to become more selfish instead and are likely trying to toss blame around and find the best solution for their own interests. Something of a side effect of their long lifespans. This is also why the nobility are likely going to try and cling to power as hard as they can, giving it up could render them poor commoners for a century instead of just a few decades. In their weakened state what they need to be cautious of is outside influences. Just as our alliance has a sudden keen interest in taking them in for our benefit, that I would argue is mutual, the badlands warlord Usian is likely to be meddling in their affairs. If an individual in power can be offered comfort, they are liable to crack rather than stand their ground for the betterment of the whole. Exception going to the druids, as they are the least motivated by such self interest. Likely due to the fact that they are perfectly comfortable living in poverty since they can survive in the wild as if it were a custom tailored home.

Also you may be pleased to know that finding the hermit master is actually quite easy. I know where his house is. I used to have tea with him now and then when I was younger. I’m somewhat concerned that I’ve grown so many gray hairs and his have remain unchanged. Upon request he has agreed to come and pay us a visit to answer your questions. Speaking of which, greetings Master Soshu.

My respects to the Keeper, and to you as well Kurisu. It has been some time since I’ve come down to the village, it is good to see how it has come along.

I do believe it would be more apt to call this land a proper city now. Keeper, Master Soshu is quite old. I hear rumors he has mastered his ki to such extent that he has ceased to age.

 

Just a rumor. One cannot stop the movement of a river. Merely redirect its flow. My old bones still creak, if such were the case I lament not to have discovered it a few years sooner. Were I in such good health as not to age I might visit more often after all.

You’re two hundred years old.

Just a coincidence.

 

 

Does redirecting the flow include just building a dam?

Yes.

. . . Well we wanted to ask your opinion of the latest discoveries in Ki. Between the kineticists and the Sohei we’re seeing the monks achieve things never known to be possible. We were wondering your opinion of it, and if you might know any other techniques we’ve yet to see.

I find the innovation of the generation enlightening. The achievements that can be accomplished with true mastery of the self prove themselves vast. It is suspected that among the ruins of this world there lay greater secrets still. We are not the first to pursue the path of the self. I have heard rumors that once the masters of ki were able to do many things. My favorite is holding your breath underwater for abnormal durations. It seems the least far fetched, and I have spent time testing the limits of this idea.

How long have you managed?

Three days. A fish kept tickling my nose and caused me to sneeze however, and I had to surface afterwards. Also my fingers were quite pruned and I feared they might fall off.

You seem to consider this achievement quite mundane despite the obvious uses of that to a nation of sailors.

 

Were our sailors monks who had the time to practice something then maybe it might be worth exploring further.

Some of them are actually. Iwanagi comes to mind, he has been sailing for some time now.

 

 

Oh I see. Perhaps you should have him practice the technique. Though I have heard stories of monks who could simply live underwater. I have been studying turtles and whales in regards to this.

 

I will trust our keeper to use his best judgement with these stories, but before I divulge them I will caution some secrets can be dangerous. Send only those you trust to search for answers. The Sohei are formidable, but they fall to the temptation to use their ki for the gains of power over all else. They see strength in war before strength of self. Exposed to such old mysteries they might take a perilous path.

The most substantial of these myths is a monk that lives today. No tome hunting here, though they come from another land to the north. After being sent into exile no one is sure where they went, though they were last seen on a boat. He was known as the monk of spirits. By spirits I mean wine. Supposedly by imbibing he became so loose that when ki flowed through him he could do spectacular things. Coincidentally he was exiled for too many bouts of public drunkenness. They say when he was drunk he would be impossible to apprehend by the local guard. Any effort to do so would see him slip through their fingers, attempts to use more violent measures of force were useless against his incredible strength. I’ve no idea where this drunken master is now, or what use such a technique could hold, but you wanted to know.

Another story is of the fallen guardian. A ki user so powerful they could defeat an army…easily. The story goes that they were born during the dying night, a sorry time to be a child for sure. This child learned the art of ki on accident as a necessity to sustain themselves on so little food. In these dark times necessity pushed them to become more and more powerful. Their students protected the village they grew up within from such beasts, allowing the people to eat more plentifully than most in these times. However, the story has two versions that notably splits around here. According to one tale, they became so powerful that they became a tyrant. Destroying any who opposed them and demanding tribute. They laid waste to the village they once protected in anger and slaughtered their own students. Only to disappear in search of a worthy test of their strength. Convinced they had become an apex predator, and that all monsters were merely prey. The second version says that it was actually their own students that betrayed them. Fearful of the master’s power and what they were becoming. It is said their body was twisting, showing signs of becoming the very monsters they defeated and fed from. While no one else in the village showed such signs. In fear the students ambushed the master in the night and killed them with a rock, for no metal could pierce their skin. The master’s own techniques were said to be similar to the kineticists we have now, though notably referred to repeatedly as lightning. The stories also mention they used a sword, meaning perhaps they had learned both the elements of a kineticist and a kensei. Finding any remains of this village may help you learn more about your own discoveries. The village was built along a lake, but hidden within a mountain. Make of that what you will.

The last I have heard of is the one for which my warning carries grave significance. There is said to be a power so great that any to learn it shall become consumed by it and become a monster themselves. Perhaps related to the second story? When you are told an insult, when you suffer a punch, you tend to get mad. Kyobo is to embrace that anger, to throw all ration to the wind. To desire nothing more than dominance and superiority, and take these dark thoughts to their extremes. It is known as the ‘berserker’ style in some stories. It is merely a ghost story, one told to younger monks as a cautionary tale of why they must harness their emotions and seek inner peace. To never fight in anger, the usual. Every monk knows of this potential downfall and how it leads to suffering and loss of the self. Though…I have found there may be truth to this story. There was supposedly a master of kyobo, which shouldn’t be an actual style. Merely a state of mind. This master passed through a town. He was quiet, he minded his own business. He never spoke a word, merely passed through. When villagers went about their day, they found along the route he must have come from were dozens upon dozens of monsters and a few of their own villagers alike laying dead. While they believed it could not be the work of the stranger, it was notable every corpse had been savagely bludgeoned to death. Some suspected a bigger monster had hit them all, or that maybe if that stranger had done it he must have had a club hidden on his person. Though I disagreed, and conferred with a nalkas historian to the north-

As a side note, Master Soshu is the one who first found and introduced us to the nalkas. Before you and their current king’s time.

 

 

Haha, yes it seems not too long ago that I met that woman gifted with a fiery indomitable spirit adrift among the snow.

That is not how most people would describe Ansa.

 

 

A shame, Ansa is a woman of great will and determination. I hold nothing but respect for her.

We prefer to call it a healthy fear.

I call it burning, passionate, unquenchable, unfiltered, raw hatred.

 

Careful child, such things will give you wrinkles.

I’m over a hundred years old, I think I’ll be- oh shit I don’t have my powers anymore.

Wait how did you get here? No matter, you are welcome to stay. Continue with your story Master Soshu.

Oh right. Well we were near the end anyways. Supposedly the master might be a true master of kyobo as a technique. Such unbridled aggression allowed him feats unknown to any mortal man. He sought strength at all costs, including his humanity. It is why he never speaks, never stops minding his own business, always presses forward seeking greater challenge. I notice this is a recurring theme in some of these stories. The pursuit of power for power’s sake is a dangerous road to take. These rumors and stories of the Kyobo master come from the south, near a place called Moncayo Pass. While they may be old, and certainly age would have claimed such a being, perhaps he left something behind to give clues to such a method? If nothing else, it may help explore the answers to what techniques might still yet be found for ki.

 

Alright so…the expedition is coming along. People are dying left and right, ground is being made, and we can sufficiently say the island is extremely dangerous. Though this does put into perspective what the island to the south called “The Eye” must be like.

 

Did all the recruiting as requested and deploying them to the new villages to begin construction sites in particular. Though notably those sent a bit further south reported worse monster attacks than usual. The guard teams and their settlers were wiped out before they could even abandon the trip. They were run down by the werewolves of Sanctuary, evidently having entered into their hunting range. Werewolves are not monsters and can be much smarter. Not to mention more ruthless.

Nyssa and Ryo have started moving again through the forest to look around, though nothing of interesting yet down there.

As for the dreadnought, definitely not. While you could theoretically build something of use of it, it is still in the water which tends to be rather dangerous. Even the Oda navy has abandoned the island for safer waters. I imagine the expedition team might be able to use it for spare wood at best.

Also as one of those friendly reminders, we still have a scout crew in Cayetano just hanging out there. They describe the place as, not necessarily the most inviting given that they’re still associated with witches even if we lost our last set. We kind of cultivated that legend for a few centuries after all.

Oh and about the elves, they still seem to be recovering and are a little wary despite our offers. Though not wary of us. They said that they feel it would be dangerous to retake those cities now that we’re expanding so far into the forest so dramatically, because it might anger their druids. There’s also all their political shenanigans going on that the Oda are keeping tabs on.

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Land ho, oh god everything hurts

Stories of Lore 19

 

The landing is underway. They were able to activate the gate stone to bring troops over but had to use the reserve mana to fight a big thing so they are currently stranded there. No worries though, the island does indeed have plenty of mana to harvest. Our people will certainly have the skills necessary to extract it to turn the stone back on. However, it is likely that they are in for some rough days as they work on that.

In terms of losses, all of Essi’s soldiers died and so did six teams of monsters but she has six more remaining. Twenty units of Aato’s knights went down as well, along with 20 golem units. As well as all of his footsoldiers. Eero died diving face first into the goddamned kraken. I’m not sure if I should commend his heroism or call him an idiot. I suppose his soldier instinct took over on that one. At least he bought the gatestone time to make it to shore. Several other manifesters are dead too. Iraeka is alive but barely, she looks like she might never be able to move comfortably again let alone move through the wilderness on a cane. So we might count her as retired soon, even if she technically lived.

As for the anirace things, the offer was intended for a smaller team though we actually attracted the interest of a larger one. Potentially to play as the opponent to the first team we find if not our own. In keeping with their interest to buy the technology behind our field, some of the bigger teams wouldn’t mind a chance to play on it just to see how it behaves when turned up to its craziest. Though the Shaman King has stepped in before they get any ideas. Putting forth that if they do buy our field technology it has to be a rule that any “shifting elements” have to be set to randomize so a home team doesn’t just memorize a complex choreography script no one else can figure out. That did seem to diminish a little bit of interest, I guess that was what they were planning. Very sportsmanlike of them.

Oh also remembered when you said “maximum mana available”? So we’re low on that now. Well, relative to how much we had before at least. They used full resources multiple times in the landing, so it added up a bit quickly within the week. On the upside, if they get the gate stone turned on before anything goes awry, dragon loot. I’ve estimated that if they can bring it home before something terrible happens, we have a big payday coming.

Mikael and his team have made it to the southern islands but they have no idea what or where they’re looking for and are cruising around a large cluster of islands poking around for anything of interest.

Also the mana worm has been productive now that we’ve gotten a handle of taking care of it.

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. In the assault on the northern island we lost eleven warships and four dawnbreakers. It is also unfortunate that Yuzuki an Kyoko lost their lives in the icy wastes. The navy is on its way back to Okushiri with the ships it has left.

We’ve started harvesting silk from the spiders, or at least attempting to. They’re feisty little things, and we’ve never had to process this stuff before. While its slow going, our trade route has seen a notable increase in value as the little we have sells easily. I’m sure as we refine our methods it’ll be a much bigger component in our trade income.

Iwanagi is setting off to check out the eastern island. We have also raised the expedition force for the southern colony and placed it under Takei’s command. He has already begun to sail south.

As per your orders a few cycles ago, Kaze was sent home to spend time with his wife. So essentially he is just on vacation in Tonarooka. Though notably has expressed some suspicion about the appointment when he wasn’t sent on the expedition to the northern island. I think he is concerned we might retire him. Hamano is on his way to meet with Kaylen.

Shime is currently away with the expedition force in the north so we can’t have her advise on Haven at the moment.

As an update to elven matters, our efforts to convince some of them to emigrate have become a lot more complicated. This comes with a growing faction of discontent within both the nobility and the civilians, albeit two separate factions. The nobility are angry with Amare in particular since she was recently confirmed to still be in contact with Ankathi as her mentor in witchcraft. They seem to be getting annoyed with her constant bouncing between apparent loyalties and want to remove her from power. Though the king and queen quite like their daughter who is something of a war hero and their primary contact to the archdruid. This is uncomfirmed but the nalkas ambassadors are very insightful- it seems some members of the nobility might be planning to assassinate Amare and blame it on Katara. Specifically on Alexandria who is passing nearby with an army of professional ‘not be seen’ types and is known to be liable to attack a druidic witch without provocation.

The civilian side of things is a different type of discontent, they actually want Amare to take full power over the kingdom and to remove the other nobles. This will lead to a druid led state for them and there is some thought that if they truely became a druidic kingdom that the archdruid would then take more interest in looking after them. This party even talks about destroying the current elven cities as they are not very druid friendly. The idea at its core is to become assimilated into Sanctuary so that they will be safer. This particular plot is more confirmed because the elves who went to Jämsä were the ones hinting around and looking to see if our alliance might help since they’re afraid of Ailduin in particular.

However, these tensions are not unknown to the royal family and they are allowing Ailduin even more power to keep people in check. As well as another elven hero, who I’m told is very spooky, being assigned to figure out which nobles are plotting to kill Amare. Ailduin has always been their own darkest champion, similar to Ankathi or Alexandria but not as extreme. Just a comparison to point out why the political factions are scared of him and why him being given more power has resulted in a greater level of fear for the kingdom.

Now for another complication that is not quite confirmed, but the Nalkas are again very insightful. While the civilians want Amare to take power, the nobles might be correct in their suspicions of her. Amare’s ongoing relationship as a student of Ankathi might lead her to other motives than the people who support her expect. We have long since lost track of Ankathi and what she is doing but the fact she maintains ties to powerful people indicates that she is up to something that requires it.

 

Welp, good news is we’re not bleeding gold anymore. Bad news is eighty teams of pathfinders dead, fourty knights dead, our ships are gone, and Thyra is fish food. On the upside we found dragons on the expedition, so thats neat. Too bad everyone is stuck on the island and shit has gone so far sideways up there that I’m not even optimistic that it’ll reach us at this point.

Moving along, Alexandria is holding Moncayo though we have to get the builders out there. Speaking of which, I’ve decided to hold off on sending ambassadors to Lennecas since our settler teams died in transit to the monsters of the forest. Also I named the stupid towns for you so my paperwork isn’t confusing. The new slaves have been delivered there to help with constructing them.

On to some more lighthearted news. We had our first home game! Won it too, apparently no one has ever fathomed playing the aniraces in an actual urban environment. So we’re two to one on our team so far which isn’t too bad. Turns out home games are decent money, doesn’t boost tourism as much as we might have hoped just yet due to distance but we did get some interesting visitors. It is liable more might come next time as rumors spread of our city’s take on the games and that the curse is no longer in effect. I may have urged some of the local townspeople to really reinforce that point to any visitors. Inn may have been a bit noisy that night too. Not to mention members of Oda came by to watch out of curiosity since they’re just right up the road.

Due to her distinguished service at the northern expedition I’ve recognized Rena as someone we should keep tabs on. She’s one of the pathfinders and really managed to hold her own up there. She actually goes by “Just Rena” though obviously I went through the effort to find out her real name. I see why she doesn’t tell anyone her family name. The relationship is very distant, I don’t think she’s ever met Ankathi but they happen to share a name. Likely a common great great grandparent or something as there are actually at least two hundred citizens with that name. I’m at least relatively certain that there is no secret power behind that name like there was with Damaia.

Oh hey Ansa didn’t show up, oh right she’s stranded at the island right now. I can say whatever I want and she won’t interrupt me for once…I don’t know what to do with this freedom.

♪Weeeeeeeellll Ansa’s a bitch she’s a big fat bitch…♪

*You presume the weekly debriefing is over*

 

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Land masses everywhere!

I am not delivering official reports calling it a mana pooper. Anyways we’ve started setting up a living space for it at Uudistar alongside the other critters. The village constructions have begun largely along the coast and established the home guard between all of them in a more organized military force. Roads also under construction.

In other news, our scout force venturing eastward found another of those northern villages filled with angry fur clad folk. However, not long after that we lost contact. I should note though, they did report the discovery of the village before they went missing. Which indicates that said northerners may not have actually attacked them, even if that is the usual pattern. Generally when such hostilities break out our people are able to at least evade and report back. I suspect the monsters got to them instead, that or some foul conspiracy.

 

Also I’ve had the order put out to the armies to recall in and stand ready at the capital with the gatestone. Next cycle we will be landing, if all reports are correct then this will be rough.

In regards to the politics going on within the elven city, our ambassadors have taken a new approach. While the Aywin are preaching for emigration we’re now offering something closer to a refugee deal. Because Katara and Aywin are liable to go to war soon, and we imagine the civilians might be tired of that. They’ve opted to try and predict future events rather than charismatically convince of current situations.

Greetings Keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people.

In regards to the monks, I’ve discussed recruiting the kineticists with Shime. She notes they aren’t really aggressive warriors, so if you order them to join an assault on anything they are liable to abandon their duties. Though they do make for great scouts at least. It is noted they are not actually the best fighters, but their ability to manipulate the environment around them makes them quite dangerous depending on the location they fight in. The more ‘stuff’ is around them, such as within the forest, the more powerful they are. They might not do so well within cities though. On the upside, in terms of defense, we could just place their weapons of choice strategically around the city. It is unlikely that a cauldron of water would be useful to an invading enemy despite being a dangerous weapon for a kineticist. So with prep time we can maximize their impact.

Yuzuki heard of this and opted to pitch her newest advancements to me…I think their competitiveness might be getting out of hand. But Yuzuki’s experiments have yielded results after constructing several dozen swords until one worked. It utilizes the gudwud as a core and backing of their blades in some peculiar arrangement. While it might slightly compromise the durability and integrity of the sword it allows her students to channel their ki through it. Resulting in what she calls the Kensei, they can channel their ki through their signature weapons which gives it remarkable benefits. While the Sohei were able to create a fighting style exploiting utilizing their ki to move the weapon in their hands, the kensei have become one with their weapons. Allowing it to serve as a true extension of themselves as evidenced by their ability to pour ki into the weapon. While it does not work with enchanted weapons as it relies on the pathways normally used by magic to be open for ki, they seem to produce similar effects. Rivaling at minimum third tier enchantments.

She has drafted her best student to us for testing.

Takei is a bit on the young side though that seems to have advantaged him in learning new tricks. He also showcased the greatest natural talent, besides Yuzuki herself, when it came to mastering these new techniques.

He is a bit of a serious sort though it doesn’t suit him well given he looks like a sixteen year old girl if you ask me. Though I’m told that’s normal for students this early in their monastery training. They haven’t quite gained enough footing to feel the pull towards self expression over being a well disciplined student to appease their teachers.

Through is innate Ki his sword has a similar effect to the true strike spell. In the demonstration Yuzuki arranged, I witnessed Takei split twenty arrows loosed at him simultaneously with just his sword. Well that might be a bit of an exaggeration, he dodged some likely due to them being too close to impacting at the same time as another arrow, but still quite impressive!

In my frank assessment, Yuzuki’s Kensei are vastly superior warriors to the kineticists as it stands now. Though they do have the advantage of learning from the way of the Sohei and improving upon it, along with Yuzuki’s military minded advancements in fighting. So they are technically a generation ahead in their fighting style.

Yuzuki asked you to find something for Takei or herself to do in the field, believing that the techniques can only be further refined by practical engagement with an enemy.

In relation to monastery affairs, Amare has since left Haven to return to the south I believe. Not entirely sure however, she is a hard one to keep track of.

Moving on to Naval matters. Iwanagi has finished navigating the perimeter of the island. As far as he can tell they are in large a much more technologically primitive society across the entire island. Though they do have boats and the ability to travel to other nearby islands they never took the much longer voyage to the main continent, likely due to sea monsters.

Speaking of the nearby islands, our scout boat that was traveling along this way found more island clusters west of the area Iwanagi was exploring. To add to that, another island was found in the far northeast when passing by monster island.

As to your question regarding the dreadnought, it’s always had a captain.

Moving on to political subjects. We’ve initiated a public relations campaign with the elven people, urging them to come visit up north and consider settling down here as requested. Though we will see the results of that over time.

 

So we’ve sent the settlers, done some economic conversions, and as your advisor I’m stopping you from recruiting Vaslochar before we have a second civil war. They’re the demonology house, we JUST had a big fight over the blackguard’s demonic ties and it produced Alexandria who is liable to just murder them all.

Moving along, Ivan isn’t terribly princely. I’ve noticed his distinct lack of interest in becoming one, something about a warrior’s pride and spirit. Hence his constant lingering around with the knights. Can probably order him to father at least  a few children though.

Our forces have reached Moncayo pass in full now, with the Nalkas cannons arriving and opening fire immediately. Despite its convenient location it definitely lacked a standing government and the place was reduced to a ruin within the day by the cannons. In the chaos most of its people fled south into the forest to avoid…well being on fire.

They didn’t put up much of a defense afterwards, while they might have been able to they  opted to flee outright. So through shock and awe I suppose Alexandria has taken over Moncayo with no losses. The place is in a bit of a ruined state now though so might take some effort to repair but it still has some houses for now at least.

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Long Voyages

Our scouting force moving eastwards through the north found one of Alosne’s outposts. It is apparently the edge of their civilization’s eastern reaches and after that there are no roads anymore, we can expect to encounter some of the more violent northmen from there on out.

Ansa has figured out the magic beans. Basically they’re capable of growing into the mana tree we have seen in Tethalyn, so that wouldn’t be too bad. Though it will end up costing about twenty gold to plant the thing since the north is not so hospitable to it, meaning we’ll have to arrange some shenanigans in regards to getting it to grow.

Also you may want to specify what you want to do in regards to the elves regarding the last report on the matter.

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Torogawa has finished its basic construction and the process of getting a nice stable city is well underway.

 

Iwanagi continues circling the island.

As for the elves, they’re generally a bit tentative about the alliance, thanks to the Katara as mentioned before. Also they haven’t responded yet about coming to the talks. For the most part we can assume their desires involve not having to fight for the time being given the state they are in. However, Konya has been careful about how to approach a certain topic. The Elves are aware of our naval strength after Neyth visited Okushiri, not to mention our involvement in the war. However, they do not fully understand the Nalkas and the advantages of being allied to them. Also the Nalkas emissaries that accompanied Konya are not the best when it comes to explaining such things to them. They also, along with most people, do not understand their own relationship to the Nalkas as their ancestors. So that could likely be leveraged depending on what angle you would wish to approach that. A gentle approach could be a good way to ease them into accepting the alliance, though perhaps if the Nalkas and Katara sent more aggressive diplomats assimilation might be more plausible.

Also definitely not to channeling Ki through bikes.

We’ve begun shipping towards the southern isles as you requested. Might be slow going with the distance and all.

Who is Vlad? Also you still didn’t name all the new villages. In other news, the Oda are requesting us to visit the elves in Lennecas to assist in diplomatic negotiations though the entire goal of which seems to vary. I surmise they’re looking for whatever exploitation they can get, whether an alliance or annexation. We could just go finish them off and enslave the elves to save their politicians the effort. I’m sure Alexandria wouldn’t mind a detour on her way back.

Speaking of which, she and her forces have started setting up camp in the forests outside of Moncayo pass, the Nalkas siege crews are arriving a little later so that will be underway by the next cycle.

Also Ivan has finally arrived after his rather long journey. It did not take long for him to be properly cared for…as in our agents to receive him were interrupted by every tavern keeper. Though all things considered he seems a bit of a solemn sort and while he hasn’t been isolating himself he is notably not invested in all the social interactions others are towards him. He spends most of his time since arriving inspecting the barracks and sparring with Petrina’s knights and Petrina herself.

 

 

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