The Unfinished Story

Okay I cannot finish this story in any reasonable amount of time but it also might be important to the current state of Katara due to the context it gives. I expected to get to keep working on it for another month or two but goddamnit Tess. So in the style of classic chinese literature, here’s the whole thing in bullet point summary.

-A century ago Ankathi was some weird kid that was generally a loner that minded her own business but had a unique problem of escalating conflict very rapidly. Some kid shoves her, she bashes their head in with a rock and wins the fight. Her mother died when she was 6 and the various communal caretakers argued over who should have to take the weird crazy kid, unaware she was listening. At one point they floated the idea of knowingly sending her to die so the problem would go away. She burned the house down and killed them all then ran away to the outskirts of Sybaris (where no one lives because the city is a massive ruin with not enough people to fill it so plenty of abandoned neighborhoods for her to hide away in)

-Around this point she meets her first friend in a girl named Xeni. They’re basically trouble making thieves that steal food and other things they need/want from the more populated areas of town before retreating back to the outskirts to hide away.

-Winter eventually finds them and wants Ankathi to join the coven. This is largely of interest to the two girls because being a witch is one of the positions of higher prestige in the kingdom and they’re both homeless orphans. So that’s a significant upgrade. Ankathi will only go if Xeni can come with her though. So Winter obliges, then kills Xeni within the week to get rid of her by utilizing the dark spirits to drive her insane.

-Ankathi meets Vasia, they don’t get along very well. Winter treats Ankathi like a prodigy from day one with all the favoritism that comes with that. Vasia is a tad bit spiteful of that. Winter is convinced they should be best of friends and still sticks them together.

-Ankathi and Vasia become comrades of sorts over the years since Winter keeps sticking them together all the time. They are constantly insulting, attacking, and trying to 1-up each other but at the very least when its time to go to work they work well together.

-Ankathi has a daughter named Demetra, who she takes a great fondness towards. Despite not wanting her to join the coven due to the memory of what happened to Xeni, Winter sort of forces the issue and Ankathi spends years trying to train Demetra to be ready for it. The spirits reject Demetra and melt her from the inside out right in front of Ankathi, who Winter tells will get over it just like Xeni.

-Ankathi falls into depression over the loss of her daughter and loses progress. Losing all interest in her rivalry with Vasia and the coven for awhile. Only eventually returning when Katara’s hunters come under attack and a party is to be sent out to rescue them. Because Ankathi was the most skilled swordswoman in the coven and one of its main raiders Vasia goes to Ankathi for help on the mission since she doesn’t feel she can rely on the other one Winter assigned to take the job with her.

-Ankathi’s darker streak starts showing during the mission, she is more aggressive and brutal towards the bandits then she’s ever been before. Though given the nature of the mission Vasia considers it only natural.

-Vasia becomes one of Winter’s two council witches. Having pulled ahead of Ankathi in their rivalry due to Ankathi’s three years of retirement. The two are taught the ritual that allows them to steal the youth of others by Winter. With her renewed youth, Ankathi has another daughter who she forbids from ever joining the coven. Years go by and Ankathi remains more focused on her daughter then her job as a witch. Vasia considers the rivalry over now that Ankathi is just kind of a member of the coven on a more casual basis to assist others in rituals, research, and teaching newer witches.

-The Sotirios incident begins to draw their attention. Winter realizes she needs to create a new witchblade to kill the dragonborn katara. She devises a scheme to get Sotirios to agree to give his life for his children not knowing that Winter intends to create a witchblade with dragonsbane built into it using the half-dragon Sotirios’ blood. In deciding who to give it to she is reluctantly forced to have Ankathi create it since it is about to be used to fight dragonborn warriors of Katara and Ankathi is the only witch in the coven who is such a proficient warrior.

-Winter convinces Ankathi to rejoin the coven full time as part of her plan to get her to take up the new sword. Ankathi goes into training with Kataran knights to refine her dulled swordplay skills after all these years. Ankathi has reservations about tricking Sotirios into dying to create the weapon but Winter assures her it is necessary and that they are at war. Winter keeps specifically calling the dragonborn infections, diseased, and so on to dehumanize them to the already mentally quirky Ankathi.

-The night of the cleansing comes upon them, mass rituals are put in place along the walls of Sybaris to allow Ankathi to track anyone descended from Sotirios. An additional ritual is put in place to perform the “Empowerment” spell from the spellbook. Vasia oversees that one. The rest of the witches are sent after the younger less threatening dragonborn while told that Ankathi will be the one to kill anyone who looks like they can fight back.

-In the course of the cleansing Ankathi comes to discover the prince that fathered her second daughter was the grandson of Sotirios. Winter forces Ankathi to kill her own daughter. Afterwards she allows two children to escape while Winter is too occupied to notice. These would be Rena and Faelyn.

-The other council witche, Ulena, dies during the cleansing when she gets into a fight with a particularly skilled dragonborn.

-As the cleansing comes to an end, Winter has Vasia split the empowerment spell between Vasia and Ankathi. Naming Ankathi the new council witch and the coven’s enforcer. Unaware that Ankathi now plans to one day kill her.

-Ankathi begins to research the nature of Sotirios and why the cleansing had to happen at all. She finds out the origin of the curse and how its maintained.

-As a footnote. The curse all began at the height of Katara’s power before the dying night. Back when they ruled a third of the known world. A particular queen desired eternal youth and beauty, seeking the coven to help her. Despite being warned of the problems with that she still insisted they do so, and the king was no help in dissuading her. She made a deal with one of the entities of Chaos for what she desired, agreeing to give up her firstborn child to the entity when she should have one. Once she did she changed her mind and didn’t want to sacrifice her child anymore, trying to get out of the deal by offering all of her wealth, her life, and her kingdom so she would not have to sacrifice her child. Though the entity wasn’t having that and thus the curse began with her firstborn son. It wasn’t too notable at first that the genetic exploit was in her son, but over time it became prevalent through the entire kingdom.  The Dark spirits have made sure the curse was maintained by selecting one witch every time to give immense power in exchange for their cooperation. In the modern era, Winter was that witch.

-While Ankathi kept investigating into the matter, her spirits tried to kill her for becoming an obvious problem. Afflicting her with every possible curse and hex they could possibly cram into her. She somehow managed to survive, and through a mix of sheer will, rage, and witchcraft talent – enslaved the same spirit. This was the day her hair turned snow white from its original black. While she manages to silence her own spirit she is aware that she is completely alone in the full knowledge of what is going on with the coven and if she tells anyone about it, the spirits are likely to rebel. This is a problem because Winter is too powerful to really fight.

-Alongside this point in the timeline, she starts to become the Ankathi we know today. After the death of her second daughter by her own hands she became incredibly cruel, remorseless, and willing to do anything to achieve her own ends. She also met Ansa around this time and they got along suspiciously well. Inspired by the biomancer of the Nalkas, Ankathi starts abducting bandits and even other katarans to experiment on in her lab. This is part of how she became so proficient in plagues and other such things of the like and developed her reputation as the meanest thing in Katara.

-Vasia’s old rivalry with Ankathi flares back up as they both now occupy the same rank and Ankathi makes up the distance between them very quickly with renewed motive to do so, though Vasia is oblivious to what it really is. Winter also thinks Ankathi has just finally embraced being one of the biggest witches in the coven.

-Ankathi starts researching all manner of primordial links. She becomes exceptionally knowledgeable in matters of these entities over time, meeting Orias and starting to consort with him as well. Gaining knowledge of highly advanced magic over time. Revealing to our readers, who have godvision for the purposes of narrative, Ankathi has been able to do everything Nina would one day be able to achieve. She also knows how to cast druidic magic, which is tied to how she trained Amare later on. On her odyssey through the primordial entities, she becomes knowledgeable enough to access every possible time of magic based on ties to other entities. There was supposed to be a character who used divine magic from Cayetano she would eventually meet and train as well to foreshadow just how well versed in all this she is but then Tess happened. In summary, over the years, she became the most knowledgeable “pandem” style caster in the known world in her pursuit to find a way to thwart the curse, the spirits, and get her revenge on Winter.

-It is about 20 years later that Tess becomes queen, by this point Ankathi is a well known monster.

-Ankathi and Amare keep in contact after Amare leaves Tethalyn and we learn how extensive Amare’s involvement with the coven was and just how Ankathi recruited her and ran enough experiments to create a witch/druid hybrid.

-Ankathi and Orias decide to run some experiments. Which eventually become the blackguard.

-I mention again she was supposed to hybridize a divine caster too but Tess ruined my buildup.

-I was going to detail more of what happened in the Coven after Ankathi became the new elder witch. Basically she heads in to start cutting people off from their powers to stick it to the spirits. Several members of the coven attack her out of loyalty to both the spirits and Winter, they apparently missed the memo that Ankathi is the best fighter in the coven and the only one to still have her full range of powers.

In summary, the main plot line of Katara is about the curse and how to escape it. Ankathi being the key driving force of finding out how to do so, but unable to directly tell the queen about anything that is going on because of Winter’s control over Katara, which has extended to handpicking every queen for the last several generations. Winter would have some weird experiment to try, pick a queen to run it, and if it went bad she’d have the queen take the blame and be conveniently usurped by her next pet project.

I did not even get close to finishing the stupid story, but here is the text I wrote if you wanna see some scenes of 6 year old Ankathi and the epilogue with a bunch of stuff missing all over the place while I tried to hammer it out faster.

The Unfinished Story

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Beta™

Patch Notes:

Change to hero system:

-They are no longer recruitable at-will and must be created via deeds of note or hired off the marketplace. Governors have been removed. Removed heroes are having costs refunded.

-Special units such as Sohei, Blackguards, Witches, Monks, and Manifesters are now  generic soldier units until they are successful enough to convert into a heroic version. This affects their stats since generic will obviously have inferior stats to a hero unit. As a frame of reference, generic T1 (monk, witch, etc.) is player level 3, generic T2 (Sohei, Blackguard, Manifester, etc.) is level 5. Now that you know the generics here is a secret peek into the levels of your hero units of each class for scale:

Essi Virtanlen (Mage) – Level 11
Varpu Marttila (Manifester) – Level 6
Iwanagi (monk) – Level  11
Yuzuki Mihara (Sohei) – Level 7
Layla Sarkis (Witch) – Level 5
Vanessa  Priscalli (Blackguard) – Level 7

Since I’ve revealed that much meta information here is the status update on the big hitters who you have observed reasonably well enough to understand their status in the hierarchy of power:

Heseli Toivonen – Level 16
Ankathi Nikolaides – Level 14
Queen of Wolves – Level 24
Orias – CR 22

-Hero class rarity table reworked since it is actually used now that direct purchasing of them can no longer be made.

-Advisors can headhunt for specific types of heroes when needed, though results no longer guaranteed.

-Heroes no longer spawn as agent or commander, just “hero unit” you can make them commander if you want. I’m not redoing all the cards though so the old edition will still specify for no practical reason.

-Certain characters do have higher leadership based stats then others though, so pick the commander wisely.

-Mechanical clarification: They do gain xp for doing things. If they sit in your base all day they don’t level up. This is why Iwanagi has leveled more times then anyone else in the roster. He hasn’t been home since he spawned, just constantly seeking the next quest reward.

-Additional Mechanical Clarification: Tech points are acquired by people returning from adventures (alive) as well as some more global things. But as an example Sam banging his head against the wall for druids is going to take awhile if he never brings any successful ventures home.

-Note: Pure travel time doesn’t really affect rewards of adventures. You can travel across the continent and get 1 xp but if you actually get stuff done in the hex right next to your capital that’ll be worth more.

Changes to military units:

-Hunter ships being removed due to the amount of back end math they cause. All existing hunter ships have had their costs refunded, buy warships to replace them if you want or just go blow it on blackjack and hookers.

-New Hunter ship design added. Less power then warships but faster movespeed.

-Manifesters now have a mana expense cap of 250 and a baseline bonus of +5 army power. Hero units retain the 500 cap and +10 army power

-Sohei now a normal unit archetype. Rolls twice on attack and keeps highest result.

-Blackguards now normal unit archetype. They can reroll on damage taken, making them obnoxiously hard to kill.

-Witches now a normal unit archetype. They have access to the spellbook Tess already got in a previous update.

-Trailer for new nalkas unit that reveals nothing useful because mezzy is a turn or two away from unlocking them but is going to be salty if I don’t say anything while everyone else gets fancy new things.

-Armies have their own commander by default, they just aren’t heroic automatically. RNG might roll to see if someone of interest steps forth to take over it though. RNG is more favorable the less heroes you have in the active roster.

Changes to settlements:

-Hex system dropped as it wasn’t really supposed to be there in the first place and redrawing them to expand them is a pain. Cities are now marked with icons to denote nationality based on whatever the roll20 options provide, not as many colors available as I would like so some just have weird status icons to denote a nationality instead. Lone cities with no known larger conglomeration will just have no icon. Yes I’m aware the non-colored icons are kind of hard to see, but if you care enough to want to see it you can zoom your ass in.

-With the removal of recruitable heroes, all citys now just get a governor’s bonus by default. Also so I stop having to do rolls different based on whether or not they have one.

-New settlement defense increase option in buy sheet.

-New settlement type upgrade option in buy sheet.

-Citadel upgrade now available. Citadels have massive defensive scores while sacrificing none of the civilian resource production.

-New tokens and token system:

Village: Basic place for people to live and be productive. Cheap, easy, simple.

 

City: Large settlement with at least 100,000 population. 25% Enhanced productivity and population growth

Outpost: Basic military minded outpost. Takes 25% less effect from siege mechanics. Has 25% lower productivity and population growth.

Fortress: A large dedicated military location. Can be used to produce siege equipment. Takes 45% less from siege mechanics. Has 25% lower productivity and population grown.

Citadel: A massive combination of defense and civilian infrastructure. Requires a population of a 500,000. Takes 65% less damage from siege mechanics. Has 35% enhanced productivity and population growth.

 

Addition of Siege Mechanics:

-Reducing the city strength score of any place can now be done by parking siege weapons in an adjacent hex (now added to buy sheet). These weapons can be destroyed by an attack from an army and destroyed from range by other siege weapons, ships such as Dawnbreakers, or casters capable of artillery scale casting. These weapons have a movespeed of 1 and can only be created at a siege camp, capital, fortress, or citadel. They do benefit from roads, but with a movespeed of 1 a movement penalty of mountains will set them to less then one. Basically don’t even try to go up a mountain or cross rivers with these.

-Added Siege camp option to build in the field. Takes two turns to build the camp, then 1 turn per siege weapon produced. Has no defensive score, is easily destroyed.

-Infiltration actions can now be taken to disable city defenses such as their own siege weapons, assassinating their artillery casters, and other such things. Be careful who you send to do it though, these are some of the harder rolls to perform without a specific talent. Iraeka, Nyssa, KouKou, and Yuzuki have that specific talent. It is still a difficult roll, especially on higher tier settlements.

 

___________________________________________________

 

 

So…Katara just happened. The blackguards and witches went through a civil war. This is what happens when you are dependent on extra planar beings for power. There are a hundred desperate fools who came here looking for a kingdom where their people aren’t cursed by sickness. No one particularly interesting though, uneducated adult women whose physical strength is not comparable to the northerners we acquired in our previous raids. I arranged for them to work in taverns as eye candy, or as assistants to people who actually went to school. Someone is bound to like the muscular physique on their women at least.

Queen Eliana will be here in a few weeks, Ansa went south to help the Katara with their problem at the request of Ankathi. She’ll be back in time for the queen’s visit though, the trip only takes a cycle for her thanks to the roads and the fact that she is one of the few people to have her own horse drawn carriage.

Also it turned out the Eilsath were paid to do a side gig by Ankathi down in Katara. Though they did go AWOL, so yeah fuck that group in particular. Though no idea where they’re going next. They tend to be pretty good at disappearing.

I’ll ask Essi about the airship thing when she gets back, she’s good at engineering for what she calls the ‘RFC’ department.

I asked about the manifesters making a boat, it turns out the answer is yes. Hopefully that helps them get back sooner then expected and a boat made of pure mana doesn’t attract sea monsters. I’ll tell them to keep close to the coast, its a magic boat they might as well make it a tiny thing that can keep to the shallows.

Our people in the badlands went north to check out the town as requested. It is a village called Wajaaco. Village being relative, that is a pretty big population but they haven’t committed to urban infrastructure there yet. Actually they’re working on that even now as our people pass through, lot of construction going on. Apparently Wajaaco is home to one of the badland’s demon cult. They’re rather chipper fellows all things considered, and its making the men uncomfortable how many missionaries they’ve met with. It appears the badlands has a large demonology based population though they haven’t taken full root in the culture’s identity because of the mix of oddness that is the way the king has kept power.

We won that bid for the big monster thing. Similar to us it likes to drain mana from its victims but it being a monster that was pretty obvious given that’s how they function as a whole. So its a big flying tentacle monster that can shoot lightning. That’s pretty neat.

Alongside our other monsters we bought from the stock we will have to go pick them up from the southern section of the badlands. We can end our people near Wajaaco if you’d like. Apparently the road will take them the rest of the way.

Also the monster tamer failed to express interest in our offer to come work for us. Apparently he likes being his own boss and traveling the world getting into crazy escapades on his own.

So with the horses we acquired the concept of cavalry we have thus far is put a geared soldier in full armor with big weapons on a horse. Given how rare the horses are, we thought it should be reserved for the best soldiers we have. Its in the buy sheet. Also Aato says he wants a horse too.

We asked around about the giant cannon at the outpost. Apparently its owned by a warlord named Zahur Hamisi. We should probably keep that secret because if the Katara realize who is aiming the cannon they’re bound to try and jump on his cannon. He is the lord of Dhame, which is a bit to the west of that outpost. To be noted, to the west of that outpost are two cities, Dhame and Manche. Actually we need to pick up the monsters from Manche. Both of those cities together are known as the ‘southern wall’ and is the reason the orcs are trying to go around through the forest as these two warlords in particular have massive defenses due to a long history of their cities being so close together but not getting along. Apparently they get along better with the new generations but both houses still field very well defended cities.

So I went to check in on Ansa with her monster corpse collection. She said…

Ohh, getting curious about my endeavors now are you? Mr bigshot university headmaster still wanna be my wittle appwentice? Well as it turns out certain body parts of certain monsters can hold mana and thus enchantment extremely well. I have been figuring out what products can be made from them. Essi and I have been working on better golems in particular, as well as new siege weapons. You can thank our work for the special siege cannon. It’s construction involves particularly dense monster bones to lace the barrels with enchantments. I also have some ideas for new ships but we only have the one sea monster to look at so far.

So she’s getting richer basically.

Also we started building an airship dock as requested.

Okay so as for undead stuff here is the basic premise of how it works. You can create mindless undead that are just reanimated corpses that take advantage of the mana remaining in whatever is left of their bodies. This is why sometimes they have time limits and sometimes they are really fragile and other times they can be complete monstrosities. The amount of decay, but also mana dissipation, both affect these things.

Now sentient undead rely on two things. The first of which is the dead thing’s brain needs to still be intact, and the more it decays the less this will work. The second is a material component that comes from the primordial chaos and can only be acquired by dark spirits, kind of. The Primordial Chaos is the one responsible for death and its where -most- souls theoretically go after dying. Theoretically once you die and go there, your soul is obliterated from existence and shredded by the primordial chaos for food. The longer you are dead, the more you are destroyed. However, servants to descendants of different primordial forces can sometimes take a hard left when they’re supposed to pass on.

The way sentient undead are normally created is the ritual that makes them as such also is their cause of death. Means they are perfectly in pristine condition during the spell and don’t exhibit any strange personality changes from having their sense of self slowly torn apart. You remember how Kurisu said Eliana seemed a little crazy? She might be one of those resurrected awhile after death instead of converted by a direct ritual.

Now this means two things. First of which, we need the dark spirits in order to raise an undead Nina and just hope for the best regarding her state of decay. More importantly, if her soul took that hard left into demon-ville -which is not much of a stretch given she was pregnant with a demon king’s child- she might be accessible via demonology. Not quite as in she turned into a demon, as in her soul’s memory might not have been ripped apart by the primordial chaos and it is instead lurking in the primordial abyss and baptized in fire and darkness.

So if we get the components and a warlock we -might- be able to get back Nina. Though after even just a few days, something about her will have changed permanently. Its just anyone’s guess if it will be the chaos that has torn out chunks of her self, or if the abyss…adds something.

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

Serizawa is on his way back as ordered. Also the road construction has begun and Konya is on his way east with Yuzuki and the team. Yamoaka is out…looking for anything of interest.

As for Melun, the book is probably something of interest to them. If not just because they like collecting knowledge of all history as best they can. Trading is something more difficult to figure out. They are extremely self sufficient because they just don’t need things anymore, they’re all undead. I have to say I think they need a bard or something. Apparently most of the day to day affairs of the city are people sitting around doing nothing since they need nothing and have nothing.

Apparently the flight plans of Queen Eliana is to visit the Nalkas first, then visit us and Katara on her return flight. So we will have some time to prepare for her arrival depending on how long her stay in Jamsa is.

 

Uhh, so I guess I’m your advisor now. Give me a bit to settle in all this has been…a lot to take in. Ankathi is now waging a war against the spirits that we consorted with so…I have no powers now and the coven is shut down.  Which means now I can actually age…great. Fucking great. Anyways, I guess I should introduce myself properly.

 

I’m Vasia Kallili. One of the three…two…ugh I was a council witch. I have…had…shit this sucks. Whatever, I’m a hundred and eight years old, I’ve been around awhile. I was winter’s apprentice and I thought I was Ankathi’s rival. I guess now it turns out she’s been hiding what she can really do for decades and I’ve just been a yappy chihuahua next to her this whole time.

You know what, enough about me, this is depressing.

 

 

In the aftermath of the Sarkisa events, Ankathi is sort of off doing her own thing. Murdering Winter’s loyalists within the Coven, cutting us off from our magic, locking up the coven temple so no one can get in or more importantly- out. In retaliation the spirits are messing with us, and so at least a quarter of the population are pretty sick right now. New plague going around, so wear a mask when you go outside because its pretty infectious and is still spreading. We don’t know how bad it is, so far symptoms seem to be a bit mild for a dark spirit attack buuut I give it about a week or two before people start dying off. They’re pissed, really pissed.

This isn’t helped by the fact that Orias is also not happy with us and most of the blackguards are significantly weakened as well. Basically we have girls with spears, that is our entire army right now. Vanessa is the only one to still retain her full strength, oh and she’s upset with us about Nina.

So in the wake of the war the entire population is a little upset. The plagues and curses coming in are afflicting them directly and they’ve become aware of the full scope of the situation. The people are split between those who want to go back to the dark spirits and those who want to turn to demonology. A few thousand just ditched us entirely to go to Haven, the Badlands, Nalkas, and Oda.

Areti…Rena? Whatever, she left to the north and is heading to the badlands to go find her long-lost sister apparently. So…basically we’re militarily completely crippled. Ankathi is pretty much all we have to defend ourselves with. Nyssa, Ryo, Thyra, and Irini are doing fine. So are the girls in the badlands at the tournament. Magia and KouKou are sick though, really sick. They can’t even come back home in their current state, and as I said I think it is going to get worse.

Bagrak is just fucking gone. It turns out when all the witches and all the black guards and all the eilsath and all the town guards got into a big fight, she managed to escape off into the forest. We’re looking for her but like I said, people are really sick right now. We can’t really do much about it. Amare went to chase her down though, I can’t think of anyone better for that anyways so silver lining.

Speaking of which, Amare is now the second most powerful witch in the kingdom…because it TURNS OUT she found out how to perform witch style magic with the Wild spirits not the dark ones. So she was never really in the same boat as us, just learned some tricks from us. We’re uh…considering asking her to help us convert to her religion. I mean the empress is a druid after all right? Or maybe not…we never really took a stance on that whole thing did we?

As for the new hierarchy, I’m just your advisor since I lost all my powers and Ankathi is the Elder Witch since her spirits are so terrified of her they won’t really go against her even as she picks a fight with the rest of the spirits. Not sure if that title means much anymore since we don’t really have a coven anymore…I think she’s just ‘the witch’ now.

Look this might be a little biased, but we really need the coven back. Our whole identity is built on it, its a national treasure, and we REALLY need magic. I know we’re a pretty tough people but lets be honest, our women are not going to stack up against an orc without our magic. Anyways, Ankathi might be able to enslave more. We might be able to convert to Amare’s method, or maybe start a demon cult. I dunno but seriously we need something to work with here, if nothing else just to get some protection from this stupid plague. I’ve compiled a list of ideas we can pursue towards that end.

Option 1: We stab Ankathi in the back like she did Winter and beg the dark spirits for forgiveness and sacrifice some orphans as a show of good will, then we can all go back to normal.

Option 2: We beg Amare to help us figure out how she hooked up with the wild spirits the way she did. Maybe she can teach a little druidism on the side but judging by how long the Oda have been trying to pin that one down, that one might not be happening anytime soon. Though the archdruid has to owe us a solid for helping with the orcs right?

Option 3: We urge Ankathi to enslave us more dark spirits and we make them our bitches. I’m not even sure if this is feasible, the fact Ankathi did it at all is just…unheard of. I think her personality helped a lot, but not all of us are madwomen like her. I just can’t kill fifty children without batting an eye like she can. For all she’s done for us lately let’s not forget this is still Ankathi, she’s still the meanest and cruelest thing in our entire kingdom. The dark spirits make us sacrifice our own loved ones for power and laugh when we cry over it. Just what the flying fuck did Ankathi do to make them submissive through sheer terror? Lets revisit option 1 for a moment…

Oh god I just remembered all the quips I made at her and it turns out she holds a grudge extremely well. Don’t tell her I suggested anything…in fact I’m going to go send her some flowers. I know she likes roses…I think she likes roses…I hope she likes roses. I have no powers please don’t let her kill me.

Option uh 4: Maybe once the queen of Melun gets here we ask if we can borrow some of her spirits…maybe they’re less likely to curse us. In theory she draws power from a different population of spirits who might be able to write up a new deal that doesn’t include the curse on us. I’m honestly not entirely sure how this would work, but if she is a witch queen there is a chance she might know some way to help us get our powers back.

Option 5: We go try to suck up to Orias and convert to demonology. That’s actually not too far off of witchcraft, maybe we can invent demonic witch magic. That’d be pretty cool.

That’s all I got so far. Though I’m looking into more! Magia reports that her head is spinning from trying to get through the kindergarten version of Nalkas training in her quest to discover manifestation so I think learning their wizardry on a mass scale is out. Maybe we check out the monks and their whole ki thing?

Though the thing with all of these is we need to pick a team and stay in it this time I think. All of this happened because we were working for two different sides, the dark spirits and Orias. Spreading out our divine power sources might be a major way to cause conflict and as we can see it has fucked us big time.

Right right uh, the crossbreeding stuff I’m supposed to look into. I’m going to be honest, I have no children. I was never really into the breeding thing, I know I’m supposed to for the kingdom but I couldn’t stand the idea of it. So I have no idea where to start here. Ankathi says she called Ansa to come visit us and once she gets here we’ll be able to figure some things out. Though I’m kind of wary of meeting Ankathi’s best and only friend, I hear she’s as much of a bitch as-

Alright I made it. I cannot believe you had to call me all the way down here just to explain fucking to you.

Oh shit.

 

 

Okay so what you do, is you take the man’s penis, and you put it into your-

We know that part. We needed help with-

 

 

Oh you precious thing, I’m just messing with you. Ankathi explained everything to me. Now shut up and listen. If you want to crossbreed your people with demons, angels, dragons, and all that good stuff, there is a deteriorating effect on the dominant traits they possess. The closer a descendant you are to the real deal the better the effect. And yes, dragons a big and dragonborn are made through some VERY questionable relationships. Every half dragon has at least one parent who is absolutely disgusting. It all started when some woman thousands of years ago decided to be adventurous and ever since then people figured out that half dragons were ridiculously powerful. So that means that either Sotirious had a really freaky parent or two half dragon parents. So, precious here wanna take one for the team and see if she can fit it in? Because you’re all women sooo…you’re gonna have to do it the…heh…hard way.

I feel like you’re messing with me again.

 

 

Aww, it’s learning. They grow up so fast don’t they?

I am over a hundred years old…

 

 

Heh, cute. Sit down pup. You can only begin to comprehend how ancient I am.

You were asleep!

 

 

Look you were adorable at first but now the interruptions are getting on my nerves. Sit down and shut up before I tear your tongue out and attach it to your asshole. I know, I know, it sounds like it could be fun to be able to eat your own ass whenever you want at first but it gets old pretty quick even for a degenerate slut like you.

Holy shit there really are two of them…

What did I say about talking?

 

 

Good girl. Okay so the truth is dragonborn came from a primordial clusterfuck of magic. Dragons are descendants of the primordial forces, and just as Nina got pregnant from becoming a conduit and not taking Orias to the bedroom, an ancient cult of dragon shamans created dragonborn on accident through similar methods. Also yes, just fucking one works too. I tied some barbarian to a post and smeared her with some stuff and had a juvenile dragon have its way. She got pregnant, and boom, dragonborn. This was before the long sleep, so no I don’t have that dragon anymore and they’re a lot less common then they used to be. I think the rise of these new monsters has affected their numbers.

Tieflings and Aasimar also done via fucking, that one is way easier to wrap your head around since demons and angels are roughly human shaped and equipped. However, there is another option worth considering that I suspect might work. Never done this experiment though. If you contract lycanthropy it changes your race. So asking the archdruid’s wolves to start biting girls might do the trick in fixing your population up too.

Part of all these processes I can synthesize provided a proper specimen. By synthesize I mean bleached-her-skin-to-look-more-like-winter over here is gonna suck some dicks and spit into cunts with a bit of a container in between to store samples. Also because once you get started on this I can start taking samples and do some things that don’t actually involve having a primary specimen for sunglasses-at-night over here to blow and help the process along without you needing to find an absolute army of horny critters to plow through. Really that offer is only useful because these are rare pursuits and finding enough to deal with your entire population’s needs might not be the most feasible plan.

Now that we got the ‘how’ out of the way lets move onto why.  All the options can have dramatic impacts on your people but you should know that mixing them can produce mules, basically sterile offspring. So you don’t want aasimar and tieflings running around banging each other or you’ll just create dead ends. Dragons are slightly different as they just beat everything. I know some tieflings want to mate with a dragon so their children can end the cycle of corruption…even though its technically just a different cycle of corruption.

If you go looking for demons, your people will gain some mild physical increases. Strength, speed, and so on. Though what happens is their internal mana corrupts to being infernal in nature and they’ll make for really good warlocks but they will never be able to cast arcane magic or weave witchcraft again. Tieflings can only use demonology and hit people with sharp pointy things.

The aasimar route actually gives very little physical help compared to human but gives a lot of free range mana to work with. They’d be able to still practice things like witchcraft, probably even better then before, though physically they’d remain largely human. Actually I think they generally get slightly more frail to be honest.

Dragonborn have access to draconic magic as they then have draconic mana. Again not so great for their arcane prospects buuut dragon magic is pretty sweet so its acceptable. However, most notably, dragonborn have the most pronounced increase in physical attributes by a wild margin. Just look at Areti. One major advantage to converting a whole society into dragonborn is that’s pretty goddamned easy to build an army out of. With the other two you have to invest years of training into understanding magic and casting, which as the coven showcases is hard to do on a massive level. With dragonborn, hand them a spear and watch them go.

If you were to go with the lycanthropy option, physical stats increase just like with dragonborn, mana type stays pure, buuut you’re obligated to start walking around half naked wearing furs and have huge packs running around the woods on full moons. Not that the full moon actually forces a shift, that’s a misconception, but if you can why not run naked through the woods under the moonlight and attack every monster you see for meat right? No gaurantee they all become wolves though, the last lycan society had a huge range of transformations. Pretty sure I’ll-never-regret-face-tattoos over here will turn into a bird. I dunno why, I just bet money on it.

Other options! Fuck a fish. Maybe that’s how you get merfolk, that might be an interesting route to go while you have the option right?

Though in truth given your situation as I-spent-2-hours-to-make-my-hair-look-like-I-got-out-of-bed-like-this pointed out, your options are based on dealing with your own spirits turning on you…well turning on you even worse then before. It’s not really enough to just go find tieflings and start banging them, you need a patron to protect you from the spirits you pissed off. Whether it be a demon king, an archangel, a dragon, the wild itself, you can’t make it on your own. I am not an expert at extra-planar beings and primordial entities so I can’t help you with that. Ankathi might be the closest to an expert actually, given she was able to arrange a demonic temple and figured out how to mess with the spirits.

Anyways I’m here for a little while to look into the matter and conduct some experiments once you have made some choices on what to explore or look for. Though I’m headed back home for Eliana’s visit in a week or two, so come up with something by then and I’ll start workshopping it in my lab up there. Also I’m abducting maybe…ten of your people for experiments back at my own lab alright? Alright. Anyways peace, I’ma go find Ankathi and hit a bar.

Goddamnit I used to be respected, I used to be powerful, I used to be important. Fucking… *Grumble grumble sniffle sniffle*
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Stress Test Tess

 

Stories of Lore 12

 

As a brief mention, the allied forces to the south are on the far side of the orcs, so reconvening might be harder then it seems. On the flip side Oda and Katara have just returned to the home area so they kind of already have reconvened. Though all this aside, our Eilsath friends have gone mysteriously missing from Sarkisa and we’re not sure where they went.

Essi and the manifesters are heading up towards Tethalyn at the moment as well.

Road construction has begun…and completed because that was too many pathways for the DM to deal with for 1 and 2 hex increments. What fourth wall? Also with the new towns close to completion, it might be time to come up with some names for them.

On other news, Mikael and the fabulous five have left Lenahone and are on their way towards uh…here with the gatestone in tow. Apparently they found passage with the Oda through other means.  As far as they’ve reported they’ve found some lead to something they’re very excited about. I’d consider it ‘neat’ at best.

The mercenaries have managed to link up with our people and head out after the monster bounty, I suppose the point of mercenaries is to avoid posting losses so who cares. Monster is dead and the 10k mana has been sent to us since we had ten guys there to claim it. I’ll leave you to figure out how much to send to the witches.

Also the Oda tell me we’ll be receiving an important guest soon who is interested in our history. I leave you to make the call on this. Ansa is a bitch but knows our history better then anyone, actually she would have been queen if she had been more likeable but you won that one instead.  She might be useful for talking to this undead queen that is on her way, or she might get us all killed. So we could tell her a guest is coming and we need her, or find something for her to do far far away from Jamsä. Up to you my wise king. Yes I am intentionally absolving myself of all responsibility for this decision.

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. We’re just a cycle away from Haven’s construction being complete. Serizawa made contact with the city apparently known as… Kokettinen. I think I said that correctly. They are a coastal city that gets by fishing and keeping largely to themselves. They knew about the existence of other people but just never had desire to brave the wilds to make contact with them. This might have been due to the last people they made contact with being not the most conductive to invoking one’s social curiosity. They mentioned that to the south there is a large fortress called Alosne, their actual capital. Alosne’s closest contact to the outside world is Lieksä, and they are very familiar with Faelyn. Kokettinen is apparently part of a kingdom here in the north, what I couldn’t help but notice is that they have a very similar cultural aesthetic to ourselves. Apparently their foundation involved traveling up here and finding the mana rich world to their liking, as well as its isolation. They aren’t natives like the growling angry people we keep running into. They seem to be in a bit of a war with the native fur wearing folk. Apparently there is a lot going on up here in the north politically.

The navy ships can really only carry their own crew, they are warships designed with streamlined efficiency in mind. Though most of our sailors are well trained in melee combat. I present to you our dock worker’s newest design! The transport ship, a large barge made just to carry people who aren’t doing anything helpful to the ship’s actual operations. His word choice not mine.

We’ve hit a bit of a peculiar incident when it comes to settling the former home of the Isolationists.

This is Salehe Kamari, the lord of Ahedama to the northeast of the village in question. He is one of the badland warlords and apparently a rival of the one the Nalkas met known as Faelyn. From what we can figure, he is well liked by his peers for his regal demeanor and amicable politics. Apparently, this man is the reason the isolationists were isolationists. His grandfather came to power from a position of leading a band of marauders. Over time they settled down and made a home for themselves in what is now Ahedama. In the modern day, Salehe maintains a highly mobile military force that patrol his territory from other bandits. While no one has anything particularly bad to say about him, most of the people who could have done so are now dead or enslaved to the Katara so we may perhaps only have half the picture.

He also had intents to take over the village to use as an outpost. Though upon meeting us he became a bit more curious with our existence pushing so far east. We’ve been offered a chance to discuss the matter with him, he has invited us to send an ambassador to Ahedama.

Kaze and Hamano have arrived at Melun and described the place in two different ways. Hamano says the city is a quiet and unnerving place. Kaze said the place is freaky as hell. They’ve had opportunity to meet with the queen of the city.

The undead Queen Eliana Eve is a witch like those of Katara. While she is incredibly talented with arcane magic as well, she considers herself more a witch then anything else. She once tried to save her city’s people through a massive ritual that turned everyone into an undead as to survive the Dying Night. The years since then have perhaps eroded her sanity just a little. They are reclusive in nature but it is evident that they are one of the remnant empires, but unlike the Katara, Nalkas, and Aywin – their entire population survived the dying night. Well survived being subjective. Though they face an issue similar to the Katara, they have issues increasing their population since the dead do not reproduce. This has played a key role in their reclusive nature as every person they have is too valuable to lose. Now the reason she is particularly important, is she is coming to visit us herself…in person. I advise making sure we are prepared to receive such a guest.

I will commend you for impeccable time management skills. The road completed just in time to assure Areti could reach Sarkisa in time along with the road’s construction guards. The stars align less often then such efficient timing can be displayed, even less so during times of great import to take action. Also related to logistics, Ankathi says she won’t need to hire any soldiers for this, or at least that was what she said earlier. It’ll become apparent what may have changed in a moment. Though she says the mobilization of the Coven should be fine.

Unfortunately, despite such efficient administration on your part, everything else has become a chaotic mess. The first thing I will note is Vanessa suddenly left Marilens and is headed straight for Sarkisa without any orders to do so, and she has not reported in as to why. She left most of her army there to guard Marilens and watch over the new prisoners but left the newly anointed Governor Cybele Souli to command that. However, she did keep about fifty units of soldiers with her, and I can’t help but notice they were the platoons noted for being the most loyal to her.  She’ll be arriving soon.

Coinciding with this, the Sanctum wasn’t exactly sealed by a lock on the door -emphasis on the past tense-. But by ten of the blackguards standing at the door fully armed at all times. They’ve notably begun to situate a watch around the walls as well, no doubt due to a familiarity of how the coven’s magic can work from the outside. While they have done nothing outright hostile, Layla has been able to just walk inside past the guards with no problem, they will not let Layla see Nina.

Christina managed to enter the Sanctum without any trouble as well to discuss things with them. They said that they acknowledge the danger’s of the infection but they have no reason to believe Nina is in such a state. However, they have agreed to refrain from any breeding activities without much difficulty since they weren’t planning on doing that anyways. The blackguards stated they were on heightened security because they know Areti brought Bagrak back as a prisoner. They do not want the orcs to gain any knowledge about the cost of Nina’s display of power, it being best they do not know she can’t just do that whenever she wants to. They said matters of the infection and perhaps further discussion of the breeding issues should wait until Nina is recovered enough to tend to official matters on their behalf as they are not exactly administrators for the Sanctum.

This is where the problem starts, while Areti visited alongside Christina for her safety, she never left the sanctum itself. After Christina was escorted out Areti stayed behind to talk to them some more. Remember what I said about past tense? It was after this that the doors of the sanctum were closed and sealed, and Areti has not been seen since. Atop of this, one of the warriors normally stationed in Sarkisa as a guardswoman of some repute has been talking to the Eilsath mercenaries the Nalkas sent down here. The night after it was reported she talked to the drow, all of the drow mysteriously disappeared. One hundred fully trained soldiers, gifted in the art of stealth, just vanished in the night and we cannot find them.

To make matters worse, the plan to lure the orcs south towards the Sanctuary has apparently failed. Their entire army just suddenly started moving north, uncharacteristic of their battle plan as usually they garrison newly captured cities for a more extended duration. I’ve been told it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume they know where Bagrak, or more importantly her artifact, went. Given the value of those artifacts, I wouldn’t be surprised if that just made the top of their priority list. The artifact is on the way to the Nalkas but Bagrak is still in Sarkisa, I’m not sure which they’re actually tracking.

Perhaps directly related to the orcs moving, I’m not sure if this counts as a complication but Amare has suddenly showed back up in our kingdom. Mostly to inform us of the orc’s movements. She also mentions the elven army is moving towards Lennecas at the moment and will travel to Tethalyn from there by river in hopes of beating the orcs to…wherever they might happen to be going. The reason I felt I should mention Amare though, is despite not telling her anything about the situation she has taken to lurking around Sarkisa for reasons unknown. Though, she is technically a member of the coven now so perhaps she might prove herself useful.

Also apparently the Oda have a witch queen like yourself visiting our alliance soon, just in case you need more things to worry about.

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Perhaps wrote more then intended.

Stories of Lore 11

Okay turned around Mikael and had him and the rest of the team help Hillevi with her architectural research. Might be a little bit though, its a big city and a lot of rubble to sift through. Good thing we sent a cart with them.

 

As for the artifact we acquired from the orcs, we’re awaiting delivery. Might take a bit longer then expected as Ankathi had to go back to Sybaris for some meeting of the Coven. Also to add to that, one of the local barkeeps needs therapy now. So does your secretary probably.

As a suggestion on the front of portable and handheld weaponry, the badlands have those gun things that are somewhat decent at that. Though they do have a hard time piercing enchanted armor, I suppose we can look into ways to transfer more explosions into a crossbow or something perhaps.

We’ve actually managed to get a good amount of so called sacred texts from the Vaslochar by way of House Eilsath stealing shit from them. This may have also accelerated the looming conflict between them as now small skirmishes seem to break out quite a bit more frequently. Okay so in order to understand demonology in greater detail I’ll cover the primordial forces one oh one here.

There are five of them that we can prove exist, and there is a sixth that is a popular theory – especially with Hillevi I’ve noticed. Here is the quick summary. The primordial forces are a bunch of things thought to play a heavy role in the creation of the world and are otherwise semi dormant or at the very least extremely slow in doing anything. They have exhibited a sort of agency and ability to act on the world though not that much interest in it. The primordial forces are basically the closest thing we have to true deities. Demon Kings might pose as godlike figures but they’re just spawn of one of the primordial forces for example.

The Light is the origin of angels, the sun, and well…light. Cayetano like this particular thing and worship it, it also gives them their cleric abilities they hold in such high regard. It is the direct opposite of the Abyss, we’ll get to that one in a moment. Basically they come in pairs.

The Wilds is the one our druid friends to the south utilize, you could consider it the origin of most things. Earth, trees, wind, this one is kind of everywhere. It could be considered finnicky though.

Its direct counterpart is The Fire, considered to be the origin of magic, invention, and possibly mankind (this one is under debate, consult your local theologian). It’s not an actual blazing fire or anything that’s just what our ancestors called it and so that is what we call it. It is the laziest of all the primordial forces and is said to have given us the gift of magic and invention then fucked off to do its own thing and hasn’t really been heard from since.

There is also the primordial Chaos, the origin of the dark entities, all randomness, undead, and the unfairness of life in general. Though similarly to the other forces it doesn’t act on much, it created a concept and just let it run wild. So when Katara summons a dark horror to unleash the apocalypse, its that particular entities fault not really the primordial chaos. Its hard to tell if it acts on us of its own will because of its nature as chaos. Its either a massive dick or everything that came from it is and its asleep.

So the light is the opposite of the abyss, the fire is opposite of the wilds. This brings us to the mathematically logical sixth force, the primordial fate. We have no evidence of its existence other then pattern recognition. Some believe in it, others don’t, most don’t care because all these forces are barely worth thinking about on the day to day basis. It is theorized that the Fate is the origin of mankind instead of the Fire, but for that theory to hold true it has to actually…y’know…exist. It’s name is self explanatory, you can blame the entire concept of coincidences on it if it exists.

Okay so the important one here is the Abyss. Origin of demons – basically there exists a…thing of darkness and despair that produced demons though it is not a dimension or anything. It is just a force of nature that happens to exist, it is theorized that in the creation of the world the Abyss is responsible for shadows in particular. Communion with demons is not the same as communion with the Abyss. If someone is a high prophet of some demon king, okay we can handle that. If they’re a direct conduit of the Abyss itself, start running. Though that is unlikely, there has only been one conduit of the Abyss in all of recorded history, and all they did was sit in a dark cave and mutter to themselves while drawing on the walls. I mean they obliterated a few bandits that bothered them but as long as you just left the cave alone he didn’t hurt anybody.

Warlocks, clerics, druids, witches, blackguards, and so forth draw their power from different sources. Warlocks, witches and clerics get their abilities from entities spawned of the primordial forces. Demons, angels, dark spirits, so on and so forth. However, druids notably get their power straight from the primordial Wilds. On the totem pole of divinity they’re the highest ranked, though they have to deal with a lot of weird stuff for it I’m told. Ask the druids. Anyways, so in terms of demonology this is a very popular one because demons are always skulking around offering working relationships. Just as Nina received her powers for consorting with Orias and doing whatever he asks of her and so on. Demons have a unique talent for sharing their powers with others, rivaled only by dragons. hence when both start crossbreeding there are consistent themes and we name the hybrids tiefling or dragonborn. Both species can imbue others with their own brand of magic, scientifically speaking these forms of magic are based on corrupted mana sources. Infernal magic is demon mana, dragon magic is draconic mana.

As a bit of a sidenote, arcane magic is mana in its purest form, also why its so hard to utilize sometimes – gotta refine the stuff sometimes. If we go with the whole primordial thing, arcane magic is sharing a position with druids on the totem pole as it is the purified form of what the Fire gave to us. Though none of these mana sources are inherently more powerful then one another, just the beings they come from can have different levels of mana storage. Even though everyone considers draconic magic completely nuts, it helps to remember just how much mana a fucking dragon can produce on its own.

Segway aside, so the warlocks of Vaslochar draw from a demon lord named Galiviel, who is in turn a servant to a demon king named Melias. Sooo it turns out Nina outranks their archpriest. I thought that was funny. Though what is most peculiar about this information, is that both of those demons should be pretty acquainted with the larger world, yet they knew nothing of us until now nor how to escape the underdark and live on the surface.

Aside from that, the warlock priests of Vaslochar are baaasically delusional fuck puppets for demons. I mean, their high priestess is considered of highest regard for being permitted to regularly mate with demons. I don’t think they’ve fully done the math that their chosen priestess just so happens to be very young and the best looking. I have to wonder what qualifications she has to practice demonology other then demons wanting to bang her. According to all these ‘research’ books we got from Vaslochar by way of the Eilsath, they seem to really believe their own hype as a demon cult. I’m better at demonology then these fifth grade level notes they call sacred tomes, and I don’t even talk to demons.

So that is the long winded version of why these notes proved not at all helpful in what can be done for Nina. I already knew everything in here and am not as delusional as they are. This war between houses might be over a lot quicker then I anticipated in my initial assertions at the council of wise men. Hanlon’s razor eh?

Greetings Keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. In regards to the island with the demonic door, yes Cayetano considers that a bad idea. The demon is powerful enough that they had to seal it on an island far away from their main fortress because no matter what they try to contain it in, there seems to be some leaking of infernal magic now and then. So that is part of why there are no guardians as well, the last six all had some incidents.

Iwanagi is sailing along to the south to check things out as requested before he starts on his return trip.

As for settling the abandoned village, logistically it isn’t too hard. While a lot of the infrastructure is falling apart thanks to both the Nalkas and the Katara raiding the place, it is still a suitably good location with a lot of raw supplies available. Especially since our allies really seemed more interested in taking slaves then things, with the exception of the artifact we have on our ship now as it was. I estimate we could save about 125 gold on the effort by scavenging the available supplies there.

The small village near Serizawa’s location seems to be a bit more passive then the last one he ran into but notably quite peculiar. It is filled with tieflings and the like, apparently outcasts of other places who all gathered there on the farthest tip of the world they could find. They’re very hardy folk though to have migrated there in the first place and survived out there for so long, Serizawa notes that while they are doing okay for themselves they aren’t particularly well armed or defended.

Also speaking of his adventures, he has passed by another city hidden in a valley between mountains along the coast…very similar to Okushiri actually. It is quite a large city though that’s all he has been able to report from this distance.

Our navy has engaged with the horde of monsters near the bay by Sarkisa and managed to successfully defeat them, losing only one warship in the process. A very fortunate turn of events all things considering. We’ve claimed the bounty reward for the one leading it as well, 4500 gold and 1500 mana.

The place we’re building the druid Haven is doing nicely, though it’ll have about two more cycles to go before we’re ready to move people into it.

 

KouKou is doing fine now, she seems mostly recovered and ready to head back out again if you need her for anything. Lately she’s been spending her time around the Coven Temple doing various forms of study on her witchcraft under my supervision.

 

Nyssa reports figuring out what they’re building there. It appears to be a weapon, a very large one. It is the size of some of our mansions. Basically its an enchanted super-cannon that could wipe out half an army in one shot. Though they’re still constructing it at least, it does seem to be a very serious structure. She also couldn’t help but notice its pointed at the forest…so us. I’m not sure if its in response to the raids on the isolationists and our construction of Marilens, or if its in preparation for the orc threat. It seems immobile and a bit overkill just for our raiding parties so I lean towards the latter but doesn’t hurt to consider the angles here.

As for the council of witches, we didn’t really have any ideas for lost technology. After the dying night we kind of just lingered around the ruins of our empire, the survivors preserved what technology we had pretty well. The coven itself used to be more of a publicity stunt, a general warning about messing with us. Since the mass extinction it has become somewhat of a necessity instead. Also here is a list of potentially useful things in our archives that you might like to know we have access to.

Also given the events surrounding Marilens we figured we should hire that governor for it you wanted. More aptly put, the events around it have made it clear what kind of governor we are going to need.

Thyra’s voyage continues and she reports coming across a city in the north along the coast she is currently passing by, it appears to be quite large.

A former conqueror, definitely a rather strict and intense individual. She will be well suited to handling the abundance of the newly enslaved population, I expect she is the best fit for keeping things under control once Vanessa leaves and isn’t there to keep any intent of rebellion in check. Cybele is descended from the same prince as Petrina at least, so perhaps the family name will build into something at this rate. She is also an apt guardian for our outpost closest to the badlands all things considered.

 

 

Also apparently we’re saving 25g on the construction payments now since we don’t really have to pay prisoners.

Now on to other matters. During the council I brought to the attention of the coven some other things going on around our kingdom to be wary of. They’ve impressed upon me the importance of bringing the matters to you hastily as to be dealt with. Though first, a bit of a history lesson. About two decades before you were born there was a prince named Sotirios Damaia within our city. He was fairly cooperative, though we learned all too late the reason why. His offspring was an infection, the more of them there were the more we lost touch with the coven’s spirits. Their own offspring shared this same problem, the more and more of them showed up the weaker our people became.The curse we currently suffer under is one thing, combining that with losing our touch to the spirits caused us to become sitting targets. Suddenly the women lost their strength, our warriors grew sick, and we couldn’t figure out why for the longest time because we had apparently angered the spirits too much for them to tell us. By the time we found out there were already hundreds of these infected spawn. Ankathi was appointed to carry out the cleansing, killing Sotirios and his offspring to stop the spread. Not the most glorious days in our history when we put hundreds of what we thought were our own people to the blade, but if we hadn’t we’d have gone extinct by the end of the century most likely.

This brings up two problems. The first of which is the infection might have lived on in the badlands. We aren’t sure if Faelyn Damaia is a cousin, sister, mother, or if we missed one and she is one of his daughters. Either way, if she does carry the infection then we may need to kill her before it spreads anew. Also check the slaves Thyra is bringing from the badlands to make sure they do not have the same affliction as Sotirios had to offer.

The second of which is Nina has returned to the temple in Sarkisa for healing. She has been stabilized and is walking about with some assistance now. However, Layla reports they have started behaving strangely. As if they’ve suddenly become very protective of Layla in her injured state, more then should be normal. They’ve also stopped talking to her about the day to day affairs of the temple and stopped allowing visitors. Layla figured out why, that same infection is now present in Nina. When she manifested the power of Orias it suddenly occurred in her as well. Normally we could contain this by simply ensuring she never breeds, as the infection does not spread by most other means. Also maybe make sure the blackguards understand the price that comes with utilizing that power, though instead they’ve opted to try and shut us out from their temple while they do…who knows what.

Vasi and Ankathi have begun preparations to mobilize the coven to carry out a second one if you declare that it need be done.

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Whee

Stories of Lore 10

Well the immediate problem with recreating the gatestones is we’ve never seen the material they’re made from. It would feasible to replicate the enchantment for us with a bit of study but the enchantment has a side effect of putting a lot of pressure on the object in question. We need a material that can withstand massive compression without breaking yet still capable of holding and channeling enough mana. Typically the best mana retaining materials are a bit soft for our purposes. Rocks suck, tree amber is really good at it. We’re currently working on figuring out what the hell this stone is made out of. So updates on that if we make any progress.

Okay I want you to think about this. We’re sending a hundred drow armed with swords, spears, and crossbows to fight a swarm of sea monsters off the coast who are in -now I need you to stay with me on this one- the ocean. Anyways they’re at Sarkisa now.

The fantastic five over there are moving towards the coast as ordered, though they hit a mountain pretty quickly so they’re working their way around that now.

The villages have been sent garrisons to protect the workers, what a truely wise and forward thinking decision. I must commend whoever came up with that plan.

The nalkas we sent to team up with the mercenaries outside Maji to tackle the badlands monster will be there next week so expect updates on that one.

 

Greetings Keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Iwanagi has slipped away from the port and begun to sail back towards the west along the southern coast. Noting that in avoiding the newcomers, going further on his journey around the world is going to lead into more of the strangers.

Funny you should mention a horrific crisis. According to Cayetano that cave is sealing a demon they captured some while ago after it destroyed one of their villages. So yes, they say don’t touch it. They apparently lost an army trying to capture the thing, so it would be a significant problem if it were to get loose.

We’ve sent some design work up to Nalkas to work further on the artillery at Uudistar where they have apparently prepped a firing range for experimentation purposes. In the meantime Chinami’s fleet has retreated up the river in hopes of reaching the open ocean once again since the next battleground won’t really have river access for them. Though one of these days we should probably finish sailing down that river to see where it goes.

However, the exit of the river runs south of Sarkisa. We have reason to believe the Katara report of sea monsters gathering near the place might be related to us sailing up the river with a fleet of mana heavy ships given that the artifact is with the fleet outside of Okushiri. So that’s going to be…a peculiar engagement.

Serizawa is heading north along the coast to continue his scouting efforts, along with our other scout boats also continuing along their journeys.

We’ve sent some troops to help with the road construction. Though with Vanessa leaving Marilens to attack the isolationists now that construction team is dead, same problem as the roads.

Vanessa managed to assault the remains of the isolationist village, though poorly defended they were quite resistant to her invasion. Many of them fled into the badlands. Though Vanessa lost about thirty units of her army, she did manage to capture roughly two thousand of the natives and begin escorting them to Marilens, where they will likely replace the construction team.

Nyssa is now hanging out near the badlands outpost as requested, she’s set up a camp in some rocky areas to keep laying low. She reports that on her way there she noticed there were long lines of mobilized forces moving in that direction. Upon arriving, the outpost seems to have significantly more soldiers then the last time we passed through the area. By significantly, I mean there is a siege army near it including weapons of war we’ve never seen before. They are building some sort of new structure there that is quite large. Nyssa noted that pieces that look like they would match it were in the caravan she shadowed on the way here.  Something is going on.

One of our warriors has volunteered to lead the team headed up to Maji for the games. Irini is well accomplished in handling the monsters out there and leads a team who are normally a part of the city guard responsible for patrolling just a bit outside the gates to make sure nothing horrible happens to Sybaris because we didn’t think to check.

 

 

 

So on to the orc business. Nina managed to capture Bagrak as requested while the orc was still lower on troops due to the battle up north and being unable to reconvene with the warchief to replenish them. However, Nina is dying. Areti has remained behind with the remaining 400 civilian soldiers to help them in retreating to Sanctuary after loading Nina onto the Oda ships to bring to Sarkisa.

The retreat from Leylat has begun, and as usual we expect the orcs to settle in and hold it as they reinforce their numbers and regroup to prepare for their next push.

 

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I may have had a busy week and rushed on this.

Iraeka has agreed to try and train at the university to see if anyone can be taught her particular set of skills. However, I did have the foresight to actually ask her how she was trained. For this reason I have made her training a part of a military affair, people studying at the university should not even be allowed to train with her. The drow are a bit harsh and apparently she likes to go with the ‘learn by doing’ approach. Mark my words there are going to be corpses in the snow by the time she’s done. Don’t worry I only let the peasants join her training, so it won’t be much of a loss.

Also involving her, she doesn’t really have any useful contacts with house Vaslochar. She likes to keep away from them for the most part. Though in regards to demonology she points out that because they control the church they likely also keep all of the best notes locked away in there should any pillaging opportunities arise. She also reminds us that Eilsath are mercenary in nature, if we were to contact her mother with some sort of trade they could likely be convinced to send any Vaslochar writings to us they might happen to ‘stumble’ upon.

Though I would personally advise another route. It could take awhile before tensions get high enough between them now that Ghaun is gone there is less desperation for space. However, if we want to know about the drow demonology we should have the Katara come up here. Both the drow and Katara are matriarchies tied to dark powers. The blackguards in particular have direct association with a demon king. Nina is shockingly proficient in demonology already given her position within the hierarchy, if we could request her assistance I feel she would be the most capable of converting a ‘diplomatic visit’ into knowledge we can use.

In regards to all the new villages being built, I will bet you mana that everyone of those people are about to die if you don’t send an army to protect them. The outpost at least you sent some staff with and a militarized governor to direct it. The other two villages are just bait with no trap to spring as it is.

The excavation team has gone through but not come back yet, mostly due to Hillevi becoming spontaneously obsessed with archeology and combing through the whole city. Found some loot though, so that’s nice. However, they are a long way from home and though we gave them the mana needed to come back the stone will remain where it is. If we want to reposition the stone we will need to take the long road to do so, not to mention every time we use it where it is we will need to send mana to power the return trip. The ruins themselves are east of the elven gate to the forest, on the other side of the mountains. So keep in mind there are orcs in the way of the return trip, or the badlands which could be just as bad while transporting a valuable artifact. On the flip side, could flank some orcs if we wanted.

Also with the ten monks we got from Oda still on payroll we technically could try to build a monastery up here. Though honestly if you want a military that doesn’t cost so much mana to maintain we’d be better off capturing orcs or enlisting more of Eilsath. That or just some humans from elsewhere. Ansa could visit Faelyn to see if any arrangements could be made, as I suspect that woman will at the very least know how to find mercenaries from the badlands to work for us full time.

In that vein of thought, I have adjusted your sponsorship numbers because we can field more then 13 people for the price of the sponsorship. Its 90. Fortunately we don’t need to send a military to escort the ladies to the badlands given they’re all inclined to combat already, so I’m sure they’ll be fine.

Ylermi noted a peculiar series of events happening around Uudistar. The observation lab for the monsters has not figured out how or why but bits of beast keep turning up in the lake. They haven’t observed carcasses being thrown in so they aren’t really sure where they’re coming from.

Former military, then officer of the city guard, now the governor for the new outpost we’re constructing. Hannes was mostly hanging around Uudistar and was there as artillery crew during its construction phases. So he seemed a natural fit for the outpost due to the familiarity of the major threat out here in the frozen north. He’s a decent enough guy, very calm, likes tea. He graduated from the university several years back, he used to be a bit of a bookworm. Interesting to see how he has changed since then, I suppose contact with monsters does that to about anyone. Except me, since I grew up around a monster far worse then the beasts.

 

Also we do technically already have a female manifester, you could just drop her off on her return trip after the war, if she survives contact with the orcs. However, I must point out one problem with sending someone to the coven. They don’t use science in their magic, and more then half the people who join die during initiation. This is not a factor controlled by any variable we understand, so a powerfully talented wizard has the same odds of surviving the coven’s initiation as a small child. Largely due to the conference with dark spirits that are involved. Let us remember that Ankathi watched her daughter be murdered by those spirits, and if anyone would have had an edge in becoming a full member of the coven that must have been it. Speaking of the devil, she’s in the city right now and I need to go see about this whole orc specimen business.

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. The research team, if thats what we’re going to call them, are working on the weapon you mentioned. As for making a boat larger, that seems a fairly reasonable thing for them to attempt though these do get expensive once they start getting really big.

We’ve had the haven begin construction a bit to the west of the Katara’s location.

As for the upgrades to the buildings, nothing that really needs be done. The monastery in particular is already huge and serves a purpose that wouldn’t be upgraded through magic. Its really just a place for monks to train, all development in that field can be left up to them. The shipyard itself perhaps someday as new technological innovations are made requiring them.

The scouts have ventured into the abandoned docks more fully on the island to the south. It appears it was once constructed for a singular use. No infrastructure around it, and no signs of being intended to be a permanent facility. There is no road leading from it to anywhere, though by following the most naturally available path the scouts discovered a cave sealed with very large and sturdy stone doors with markings that appear to be in the aesthetic style of Cayetano.

Serizawa has contacted the northern village. The place seems to be hostile, several people attempted to attack him and steal his boat. When he got the hint and started to sail off they then tried to destroy his boat. Obviously not the most friendly people. They are reminiscent of the last northern village that the nalkas encountered.

As for turning the fishing village lake into a mana lake, I have no idea how we would do that in any reasonable amount of time or effort. Ecological science is not my strong suit, maybe after we build the haven we could eventually get a bit more insight on how that might be done.

Also we don’t really need to hire any of the Sohei just to train more of them with Yuzuki as it were. Mostly because as members of the temple they’re already somewhat obligated to do so if she tells them to until they find some job potentially roaming around.

Iwanagi’s contact reveals that the inhabitants are definitely rather naval focused. The outpost definitely seems newly constructed. They have extensive ship docks and have walled off the area around the coast, a fleet sits in the harbor with some sort of flagship that is absolutely colossal. You could fit a city block in that thing, and Iwanagi reports its guns are so massive in size that he could fit a dawnbreaker’s cannon inside the barrel of theirs. The entire outpost is even more technologically advanced then the nalkas, perhaps even a rival for the badlands. Though he couldn’t understand the language they were speaking, they had some people available to translate. Apparently they come across the sea from the east, and while they were amicable to meet him the people translating made mention that Iwanagi should start running. None of the natives in this outpost lived here before it was built, nor did they want to be there. They describe the foreigners as underhanded conquerors, notably they were all too interested in the prospect of trade with us and kept pushing for as many details as they could get.

 

As a potentially important note, the monster classified as the eighth bounty has been spotted very close to Sarkisa. Notably, with several friends.

In possibly related news the construction of the road to Tethalyn has been halted, the entire road construction team has been found either dead or missing. So assumed dead. Those who found them report significant evidence that the monsters of the jungle got to them, said evidence including a good few dead monsters so I would call that fairly convincing.

As for the war, another few hundred teams of our civilian army have been slain. No commander to show for it though, now that Nina’s flank is less of a surprise the orcs have been reacting to it. Given she is well outside the range of the elven artillery, as not to get hit by it, she has little help or cover while a rather large horde of orcs is fighting her back. Though she has managed to inflict very significant damages, we now know those damages don’t count for much if she can’t catch the commanders.

The city is on the verge of falling as well, the elves are preparing to retreat. The Archdruid reminds us not to lead the orcs away from the path to the sanctuary again if we aren’t prepared to finish that fight on our own.

Ryo is still exploring the badlands but reports that it is growing difficult due to roaming bandits, Nyssa has been experiencing similar issues.

Ankathi has made her way to Jamsa and is…doing whatever she’s up to over there.

Oh and some of our people are now headed to Maji under the Nalkas sponsorship to see about this tournament it appears. You may wish to send someone with them before they get eaten on the way or something.

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Travelin days

Stories of lore 9

Alright we found another two working on the whole manifester thing.

 

 

Eero is a former evocation specialist. You could say he had a bit of a mean streak. Early in his life he was considered very talented particularly for having as much mana control as he did. He was a natural choice for the new program, just look past the bar fights. He’s taken to the art fairly well. Despite his rough behavior he is at least a soldier so he’s not too hard to control. Just don’t ask him to talk to people, I can say he’s as charismatic as the manhunter. At the very least he is used to roughing it out in the wild.

 

 

Varpu is more of a well mannered intellectual, actually she might one day be a governor as she displays traits we tend to look for in our leaders. I don’t know how she puts up with people asking her dumb questions all the time but hey, I guess she’s good with people in her own way. She’s a bit more soft spoken and tends to be very passive, often observing before taking action. We recruited her simply because the third option for people who have taken to learning manifestation is not that good at it. So the military might be an odd job for her but its a nice salary and she’s not quite nobility. I think she actually used to be a bartender.

 

With the university going public basically the entire slave population has enrolled as according to that old bill and so production is down a bit as a result. There is a chance we see the labor shortage problem pop back up again sooner or later as a result.

In regards to the safety chamber, I saved us some time and effort and just used the incomplete tunnel we were building to Uudistar. That is pretty effectively sealed off due to our concerns about the drow – who still have not figured out their tunnel network goes right under Jamsa. Though we’re out of manifesters to send to help assist the fabulous five, however they’re heading down to activate it.

Aato is on the way and so is the katara ship.

Gideon has suddenly disappeared. I have pretty good reason to assume he’s dead or at the very least captured. His last report was at some village he found far to the east, saying he was about to start continuing his journey.

So in an amusing twist, the Manhunter was actually captured by Iraeka and dragged back here since she has nowhere else to go. As it turned out he failed every attempt at diplomacy with her possible and she just took him prisoner instead to bring back here for interrogation. It also turns out she’s a lot sneakier then he is. I guess she just works for us now since she has nowhere else to go. I’ll go over her profile real quick I suppose.

She is a member of the Eilsath house’s ruling family and also Sakki’s former traveling companion. You could more or less consider her a sort of ranger, has a crossbow, swords, daggers, doesn’t use magic, and is -as evidenced- borderline impossible to outmaneuver in the wild. Might need a tree hugger just to keep track of her in the forest. She has survived conflict with the orcs at the battle they had with katara.

Despite her heritage she has distanced herself from her home and family in search of as she calls it “literally anything else”. Escaping the underdark to explore the surface world in all of its vastness. To be noted, she still doesn’t know where Jamsa is. We only ever showed her Uudistar. So might want to figure out what to do with her. We haven’t hired her officially yet, she just kind of wandered back to us. As your advisor I suggest we hire her officially, we have enough wizards as it is. We don’t have many people with her skillset. May want to send her to catch up with Aato actually.

Also we expanded the influence of our district again.

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. On the scouting front, Iwanagi found another coastal village. Also our scouts have ventured into the docks and determined the place is definitely abandoned. Serizawa is making his way to the northern village to check it out. Unfortunately, Ocunnohaka has met an unfortunate end on his journey along the border between the badlands and the north. I have reason to suspect he fell victim to the monsters.

In regards to the village location that Yamoaka scouted, it appears the katara have already started building something there. Though for all intents and purposes we can just move construction a bit to the west along the river I imagine.

The fishing village, along with the help of its new town guard, have managed to expand their operations.

One of the dawnbreakers was lost in the war with the orcs. One of their shamans managed to destroy Chinami’s flagship. Chinami herself survived at least. As a similar naval note, the artifact has been delivered from the nalkas and has been loaded onto the new constructed dawnbreaker outside Okushiri.

Also Yuzuki has managed to create the Sohei soldier concept. Its basically the same thing but instead of kicking people out for not being up to her standards they just get shoved out to fight. Though it should be noted, the soldier monks cannot really upgrade their gear as it would disrupt their ki flow.

 

Oh before the show starts, Thyra found a new village along the northern coast in her trip.

Now back to the war, it remains raging as it was last time we checked. Our citizen army managed to reach the fighting lines but there are still simply too many of the orcs. Though Nina did manage to find and kill one of their commanders at least. Though the citizen army is down 25% so far.

We’ve been coordinating with Amare as she goes between us, the elves, and the Oda. Though for the most part it doesn’t seem that we’ll be able to hold the city for long, the plan might still wind up in a retreat to sanctuary. Also Ankathi can apparently exist in the form of smoke now. And take others with her.

((Ankathi feat: Can move self and up to 100 soldiers at speed 10 across the map, though she has to know where she is going. This ability does not suffer or benefit from speed affecting hexes such as roads or snow. It can however be affected by windy days.))

Also this is Magia, one of the coven witches. I’ve sent her north to investigate the manifestation magic at Jamsa. She’s a friendlier sort then most of those within the coven so I figured she would be a good choice. Not quite as talented as the likes of Ankathi, but significantly less wicked and less likely to start a diplomatic incident. That and she wanted to visit the north anyways to see how it was. I hope she heeded my warning about taking some layers though.

 

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The Grand Tournament

SoL 8

The tournament is an annual thing held in Maji. Though it is actually part of a larger entertainment business that is active year round traveling from city to city within the Badlands. The particular tournament that is about to take place is actually a talent showcase for a different game entirely, testing for similar skills while being less expensive to fund then the actual game. This open tournament includes a combat arena, a series of marathon foot races somewhat mixed with an obstacle course, an archery competition of some sort involving guns as well, a sort of scavenger hunt, and some silly games where they throw a heavy ball to see who can throw it furthest in a straight line. Each of these games are set up in such a way to be played with teams but I’m not going into that many tiny details for this stupid thing.

I get the feeling you’re going to ask so I’ll go into the actual game this is all for. The game itself at its very core is about putting a “ball” through a goal on opposite sides of the field. The ball is just a rock in the shape of a rounded off diamond so that it doesn’t roll very well nor is it easy to hold onto. The field is about a mile wide by nine miles long, it is held outside of the cities in the open badlands and the game is played with very few actual rules besides ‘get the ball into the goal’. This is where the sponsorship expenses come in, as one of those few rules is that no lethal objects can be used, so players tend to use enchanted weapons that assure the safety of the competitors. On top of that they are usually mounted in some form or another to actually traverse the huge playing field. You can look at it as basically being a cavalry battle though apparently fights on foot break out very often because the ball is not easy to pick up one handed while moving at high speed. Not to mention it keeps getting stuck in crevices.

Essentially its a game on high speed mounts with a combat element to it. Reportedly last year’s season a team won by using a couple war chariots with a ballista on them to pass the ball huge distances. They won by two points, the other team had flying beasts. So at the very least it gets fairly creative. So the sponsorships are necessary given the extensive expenses involved in outfitting a team for more or less war. Mounts, weapons, paychecks, travel expenses, entry fees, more weapons as someone gets a new idea, you get the point. Hence the open games Maji hosts to allow people to showcase their skills on the cheap to be picked up by teams for the actual game.

Most teams in these games are sponsored by warlords and merchants. It is apparently very expensive, especially to make a team from scratch. The market listing is basically an open ad for people to sponsor small teams for the cheap games coming up. That amount would basically see to 90 players being able to attend.

While the market listing is to sponsor existing but unsponsored teams for this exact tournament, if we were to field one entirely of our own people and start from there it would probably be more expensive. Though the only real reason to do that is if you plan to compete in the actual league. Which would see about 330g120m startup costs in order to be competitive with the real teams. Though I use the term competitive loosely here, basically this estimate can keep climbing the more and more ‘competitive’ you want to be for a stupid game. While we can easily afford it since we’re a government and our finances exist on a different scale entirely, funding a 50 man team isn’t exactly comparable to hundred man armies.

Though all that being said, I don’t see that much benefit to participating in all this. While the gamble on a team that could win the actual prize isn’t too bad in terms of risk to reward value, the odds of winning it are slim not to mention the players definitely keep a cut of it if we sponsor existing teams instead of our own who won’t be trained for this.

The league itself on the larger scale might have prizes to be won as well it is somewhat offset by maintenance and upgrade costs. Not to mention paychecks and travel expenses, all for…nothing really useful to us. We’re not exactly pursuing athletic glory here in the north. Though might be worth getting into the scene to figure out the tech behind it, could possibly sell them stuff. Maybe get access to those hovering bike things the Badland raiders have.

Now on to actual business. We’ve dispatched the soldiers to go and assist the mercs with taking down the bounty. We’ll have to see how that goes, travel time and all.

Next tidbit, we figured out what that black market artifact actually does. It is some sort of gateway, there is a second half of it that was not found. The two are linked together and utilizing the artifact basically opens a portal between the two to save on travel time. However, we are not in possession of the second half. We can activate the portal whenever you wish, but we have held off until your command in case it opens somewhere horrible. That way its your fault.

Also Gideon found another village along his way.

Faelyn’s scouts bought at least one of every thing any shop around here sells. So at least they aren’t freeloaders. They’re returning to Lieksä now wagons in tow with samples of all our stuff I suppose. As your advisor of the wise council I feel I should say, her scouting makes me nervous. We may wish to investigate her more as well just so we know what we’re dealing with. Also Ansa took off to Uudistar to go check in on the drow migration. They’ve actually started to move in, though they gripe about the cold a lot.

Meanwhile as an update on the situation at the drow city, things are still oddly quiet. Eilsath is working on planting crops on the surface but Vaslochar is just lurking around waiting for something while Ghuan is in the process of migrating. On a related note, the manhunter finally caught Iraeka enough to explain to her he was just trying to take her home. She thought he meant the drow city and ran off again. Charisma of 0. Reportedly he’s chasing her towards the Badland border. We’ll see if he’s made any progress in communicating his intent to her soon enough I’m sure.

Also, our hybrid program has finally yielded results. It appears that they have discovered a way to manifest mana physically in a variety of forms. Aato Jousen is actually the first to figure it out, we just didn’t realize it was a whole new type of casting until now. Largely because his earlier demonstrations just produced explosions of pure mana, which was a neat trick. He has since figured out how to turn his mana into a disfigured wolf that he can command, as well as a sharp pointy stick. He’s still working on it.

((Unit type unlocked: Manifester. They have a unique ability to spend mana to produce massive effect. They can spend up to 500 mana max to increase an armies power by 1 per mana spent for one battle. They are considered to be at +10 army power by default with their innate casting pool of mana, by spending treasury mana it can spike to 510. This applies even if they are operating alone as an agent. Aato Joutsen has been upgraded to Manifester))

 

Greetings Keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Iwanagi is working on talking to the people of the coastal village. Though they are interested in the existence of a wider populated world they are a bit difficult to promise much to due to the distance between us and them.

Occunohaka doesn’t understand trade routes well enough to really get much progress done at the village by the lake. He came from the island to the west as a warrior interested in exploring, not exactly an educated economist. Also similarly, our borders are too far away from them to entice them much into joining the Oda.

We’ve lost two more scouts, particularly the one’s far to the south. They were looking around the island mass we found there. Upon some investigation from Kaze and Hamano that south western area of the sea is considered…dangerous. The tribes refuse to go there since people never come back. North of that, the scout finished looking over the island cluster and has found no signs of people living there. The island seems empty, with the only evidence that anyone has ever set foot there being those lone docks mentioned before.

Kaze and Hamano are on their way to spookyville as you say.

Also the artifact has made it over and been loaded onto the new ships. Speaking of which, remember that thing that sunk Sarkis’ ride across the river? It may have taken an interest in our fleet. The hunter ships were successful in killing it, though two of the hunters were sunk. Fortunately, since the fleet was in the river most of the crew actually survived by swimming for shore.

Yuzuki has made it back home along with Yamoaka. During her recovery, Yuzuki kept training at the monastery and attracted a following of students of her own. Now considered a master simply because the trick she’d been using this whole time was proven effective enough to develop a new ki technique around. We picked one of her new students up for your scout to travel north to see how the concept works out.

Serizawa was always a bit of an…intense fellow. Not so great with the enlightenment, pretty good with the punching. Once Yuzuki taught him the core to the sohei methods he took a quick liking to it and is eager to travel and put it to the test. It seems fitting to give such a restless fellow a mission to travel to the most dangerous part of the continent. That and his skill in the water school has gone into a form of cryokinesis, so if anyone can take the cold its him. For some reason people kept calling him Sub-Zero around the temple.

 

 

In regards to your second hiring request, we actually can’t find anyone who fits that profile. We’re not the best when it comes to arcane magic or stealth, let alone someone who is specifically trained to counter divination. Yuzuki and Kyoko can be sneaky but countering divination is a whole other thing altogether.

Our navy has joined the battle at the city to the south with the orcs. So far our ships prove to be a difficult obstacle for the orcs to overcome. Granted we are just firing blindly into the tree line, but with the sheer number of orcs involved, that actually seems to hit things with surprising frequency. They definitely are avoiding the river our ships patrol.

((Sohei warrior monk unit type unlocked. These are monks who are less about enlightenment and more about war. Unlike the traditional monk, they have learned to channel Ki to their weapons as well as keeping up with their hand to hand training. They have dramatically higher combat stats and confer +1 to military power of any army they command. Specifically army, not so great at naval command. However, since they use specialized weapons and such they are not quite as cheap as pure fisticuff monks. If you are curious, the unlock condition was a monk had to go to war and return home alive. Yuzuki has been auto upgraded to Sohei as the founder of the school.))

 

So in regards to the tournament stuff that Heseli went on about. All that being said there is one potential benefit to competing for us at least. Its cheaper then going to actual war. These games are highly spectated and the players idolized. Katara women are beautiful and as a potential side effect there is a chance of luring men to become princes here if they were to see our girls traveling around for this game. Not to mention the katara are naturally suited to any athletic competition where hitting the opponent is part of the game.

KouKou is more or less fine, just a bit…shaken by the adventure. The forest alone is harsh, a forest full of orcs is bound to induce paranoia. I think she just needs to go with a group on her next expedition so she can adapt to the forest.

As for the warlord collecting units, we could attempt that. Though we don’t know much about the warlords out there, or how strong they are. The only contact we have is hearsay from Nalkas about this Faelyn character and they don’t even know whether or not she’s dangerous. So could try it, though it would be a bit of a gamble. However, a good opportunity to test the might of the badlands since their gangster politics would not provoke them to act upon us for striking at just one warlord.

We’ve sent the gold and hired the mercs, they’re all traveling and stuff. Also as requested we have had the Nalkas turn the golems back on and begun construction of the road to connect our territory.

As for the update on the war…as the orcs reached and began the attack on another city things have gotten even crazier then last time thanks to the arrival of Oda’s navy. So basically a bunch of boats are shooting fire lasers for miles across the horizon, a swarm of orcs are smashing their faces into the walls, werewolves are running rampant eating orcs, the oda navy have some weird girl on the boat who can fire pure explosion that wiped out a quarter mile of forest in one go, their commander is a hydromancer who keeps making the river literally eat orcs, and everything is on fire. Nina will be there next week, meet me by the scrying pool if you want to watch. I made snacks.

Also as a reminder, the son of Orias is still out there somewhere if we were going to get around to that. It might be best to look into that before Nina dies fighting orcs or something, even if Vanessa also works with Orias she is probably not as favored by Orias as Nina is due to the whole…crazy demon knight zealotry.

Now for some good news, Nina found Areti. Apparently she wound up behind orc lines during the all the fighting before and when the army was defeated she had no path to retreat along to get back towards home. With no KouKou to track her down or Ankathi she was just taking a bit of a long way around. She was on her way to Tethalyn when Nina managed to find her. Also we lost about 80 of our civilian army to forest monsters. Turns out they’re not quite as good as the professionals at navigating this place and Nina is having to do most of the fighting against those things. Though there is only so much she can do to stop people from being picked off the edges of camp. However, with Areti rejoining them hopefully that’ll alleviate the situation. As your advisor I feel it worth mentioning that after this whole orc thing, if Areti is still alive we might owe her a vacation with all she has been through.

 

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Tess with the Korean APM

Did you know the manhunter has absolutely horrible social skills? His attempt to retrieve Iraeka in the aftermath of the orc battle has been…clumsy. It also turns out catching an unwilling drow hunter is quite difficult. So he’s still working on that.

 

New commander, Aato. He’s one of them fancy boys born to an upper class and went to a bunch of private tutors as well as attended the academy. Has a good grasp of military strategy and tactics, though has a notable lack of experience since well, he never signed up to be a raw recruit. So different path to being an officer then the likes of Eamon and Firebeard who punched their way to the top. Generally a serious fellow with a lot to prove apparently.

He is one of the results of our monk hybrid research program. Not quite a Sakki but definitely talented in hand to hand combat along with arcane augments. Don’t mention the Sakki thing though, he had a bit of a rivalry going on there to try and catch up to him. With Sakki’s death he’s been a bit irritable. He is however the strongest hybrid caster…well now he is at least. He’s already working and drilling with the troops and the five man band.

Also as your advisor I feel it best to remind you that you still have Essi, one of only maybe five people in the alliance who can cast artillery scale magic, sitting around at Uudistar just chilling out with a free paycheck. I am reminded of this because her research has led to an improvement in the golems, so our gold income is up a bit.

The rogue katara are not particularly useful customers because they are mid march and already several days journey away from us. By the time we even got a deal worked out with them, let alone shipping and handling, it is unlikely they’ll still need it. Or even be able to afford it for that matter actually.

The Eilsath mercenaries are on the way south, we’ll see how long it takes them to get there.

As for surveying the nearby area, depends what you define as worthwhile. They are decent at the least, with the mountainous area still holding a lot of mines. Though the southern side of Jamsa is a bit more barren. No ancient relic discoveries that will lead to an unexpected burst of income though.

Relic is shipping down to Sarkisa where the Oda navy is currently passing through. On a similar note we have acquired the artifact from the badlands market, it is currently shipping to the academy where we hope to study it and find something useful about it.

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Yuzuki and Yamaoka are on their way back home at this point, they should be back soon.

Also Amare says that spot should be fine. Though Kaze and Hamano are a bit far away to find any further delegates to assist them in their journey. As for spookyville, it appears the islanders don’t know much about that place other then that Cayetano has advised caution in dealing with them. It appears they’ve never actually traveled to uh…’spookyville’ as you called it.

The third scout is still circling the islands it found, still no real sign of anyone living there in particular. Meanwhile the second scout has found another island of some sort further south of that. They’re still poking around to see how big these locales are.

Occunohaka has made his way to the lakeside village. It appears to be one of those mana lake things the north has a few of. The village primarily harvests it and trades it with the larger market of the badlands. One of the disadvantages to their location is the lack of access to wood and metals. Basically building materials as their particular lake seems to not be as strong as other ones as to sprout a forest next to itself. This would explain why it is such a small village harvesting the mana here instead of a large city like Lieksa or Jamsa.

Iwanagi made port at the coastal town. It appears to be another of those that suffer from isolation. Having never made contact with Cayetano or any nearby neighbors. Similar to the fishing village in the forest near us, these villages are usually unable to venture further then their own boundaries for fear of the monsters. As such it is a fairly self sufficient town, if a bit small. Currently they are in a mild frenzy of excitement to see Iwanagi, a living person from another society powerful enough to venture out.

Nina managed to catch up with the rogues, just barely. They are currently moving south to follow the commanders. However, the orcs appear to be retreating, or perhaps advancing, towars Leylat where the elves are preparing to make another stand. Given their past behavior, I assume they are looking to reinforce their numbers by linking up with the warchief. They will probably assault the city as well. Though this works to our favor since that city has a river running through it, the Oda will be there soon along with our own forces.

The elves report having now documented a strange occurrence though. The orcish warchief must be doing something strange, because each time he garrisons and prepares to march again he seems to replenish the numbers in his army. This is perhaps related to the commanders always reinforcing with the warchief. We’re not entirely sure that thousands of orcs are just coming from the east again and again, the scouts or druids should have noticed that. There is something awry with all this.

So we’ve never been to the badlands so finding a pair of agents who specialize in it was proving difficult. Though ever since the nomads collapsed out there, a few of them were…well nomadically wandering around. We found a tiefling named Ryo. Once one of our allies main commanders. He would be one of the few we could rely upon to visit the badlands, though it might be a bit of a waste of his talents given he is a skilled military commander. He’s a bit of a calm almost apathetic individual, he only agreed to work for us temporarily though who knows if he’ll decide to stay or not. I also offered him a position as a prince and he said he’d like to live to fourty so that’s out. He’s just in it for the paycheck I suppose.

This is one of the only people in our entire population who have at least visited the badlands even once. So that qualifies her as an expert as far as we’ve got. Nyssa is one of our scouts with a particular penchant for capturing our princes from the wilds. Actually of our current fifteen she brought in six of them. Technically twenty six if you count the dead ones. She’s a very energetic and carefree girl, she seems like so much fun to be around but she tends to punch a lot when she’s drunk. My arm is kind of sore from meeting her in the bar to be honest. At the very least she is a capable agent, especially given where we’re sending her. She and Ryo are moving along the road through the fishing village to depart into the badlands from there. Because roads.

The village plan will take a little while as we have to move both people and supplies. I’ve begun the process of looking for a governor but I’m screening more carefully then usual since either way it’ll take awhile for them to actually have the job. Also the dice of fate seems to leave us with a…well lets say desire to keep interviewing.

The new army has been taken under the command of Vanessa Priscalli, the newest blackguard to finish training at the sanctum. She is bound to the same demonic entity that Nina is, though she raises a lot of questions about Nina and the late Pelagia. I say this because she seems actually not crazy at all. If anything she acts more like a regal knight and if she doesn’t flash the demon magic people just assume she is of the nobility. She is younger then most of the other commanders we’ve had, but as a blackguard she has been specifically trained to undertake the task.

She is currently guarding the caravan that sets out to start the new village.

To take over the dreadnought we have enlisted Thyra Galanatou. Unlike Vanessa she is real nobility, for whatever that is worth. Really she was chosen because she already has some semblance of experience in that she used to fish on a boat and that was how low the bar is on this one. She was a member of the town guard up till now. She’ll definitely need some time to get a handle on how to utilize the boat though so I have opted to have her take the ten warships to the port they are to be sold at to get her used to being on the water. She’ll pick up the dreadnought and the slaves while she is there and bring them back, hopefully this will get her some sea legs as they call it.

 Also KouKou has made it home and seems a bit shaken by her experience. She hasn’t retired formally like Layla once did after such events but she does seem to be spending a lot of time in the coven’s temple staring at the wall and contemplating her life choices. I’ll go talk to her.

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Ow

Ansa has returned with our…guests. They are a definite mash of available races as reported before by Gideon. We couldn’t help but notice that for a force of scouts they are seriously well equipped. Their gear does still say ‘scout’ but the quality of it and their weapons are undeniably leaning on the expensive side. They were quite amicable though Ansa says she has a hunch that is outside their normal behavior pattern. While they’ve been nothing but polite, she says they are clearly more gangster’s in fancy suits rather then knights in shining armor.

After spending some time with them, they were quite curious to tour the city and learn of who we are. Not that we could do much to stop them given they are quite numerous and obviously well suited to gathering intelligence given their true profession. After some negotiating, Ansa has brokered an initial deal to trade metals from our mountain mines to them for pure mana. Exploiting the fact that the badlands considers this the real currency over gold. Though, this led to further offers of interest through our new contact who has access to the trade routes of the badlands. ((Market now available in buy section))

Diplomacy is an ongoing matter, I can’t help but shake the feeling they’re sizing us up a little bit. Doesn’t help our army isn’t here right now either.

In other news the manhunter has captured two orcs and thrown one in the river. It was able to swim, then he proceeded to drown it and bring the other one back towards Tethalyn. Sakki died fighting the orcs alongside the Katara though it appears his drow friend did not and is now somewhat horribly lost in the middle of the forest surrounded by orcs. So she’s probably on the way to being dead.

 

Greetings Keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. As per your advice, Yamoaka turned his ass around before all the fighting down there got started. As for discussion with Amare, we’re not really sure if she’s up for recruitment given that she’s an elven princess, heir to the archdruid, and now a witch of the coven. Starting to wonder if thats a good or bad thing. As for the process of becoming one with nature, she informs that it is a bit of a spiritual journey for enlightenment- kind of. It is a little difficult to force someone to become a druid. By her account both her and Neyth started down the path by way of walking into the woods one day and just really “digging it”. More specifically it helps to expose people to nature in order to nurture said interests. She says if you want to find people among our population suitable to becoming druids, it is best to build the haven first as if baiting a trap and let people just wander into it. Some of them will take a keen to it and start down the path of their own accord. When things flow somewhat naturally, that is when the wilds start to take more notice.

We’re just waiting for the Nalkas to send the relic down. Some day they’ll write that in their plans I’m sure. As for the navy, well…we found an artillery mage for you.

Her name is Isayama Eiko, despite being young she seemed to have quite a sense of direction very early on in her life. It seems strange but she actually can cast artillery scale magic, she professes her love for the art exceeds all other passions in her life. Ever since she was a child all she wanted to do was cast the biggest most powerful and destructive spells known to modern arcanology. She’s quite energetic, perhaps a little silly for the military environment given her age but she was literally the only person we could find within our population capable of casting such a high level of magic. Though I get a feeling there is something off with her that she isn’t telling us, but she won by default. For some reason the king of Nalkas just started snickering.

Our trading routes have improved thanks to contact with Pulauli, though it seems they are somewhat indoctrinated to the kingdom of Cayetano already as it were. So not quite as likely to join us, unless we put some effort into seducing them to our side over theirs.

I feel I should warn you that the dawnbreakers may have range enough for coastal bombardment, but scorching rays don’t penetrate water very well. So if the 8th bounty comes towards the fleet its up to the hunter ships and its more standard weapons to deal with that.

The scout ship is starting to look around the island it found. Seems to be more of a archipelago so far as opposed to the singular large masses of the other two we know about. As far as the scouts have reported, things seem very quiet on the island but there is a dock somewhat hidden away in one of the bays. There is no city attached to it nor obvious roads leading away from it, not to mention it is fairly decrepit.

Iwanagi found another coastal town in his adventures.

Yuzuki is on her way back from the battle between the orcs and Katara in the forests, somewhat wounded though she escaped earlier on before the orcish final push. Hopefully she makes the rest of the journey home on her own just fine.

 

Well that was bloody. Pelagia, Marilena, Euterna, Despoina, Inabi, and Eamon are all dead. Areti is missing, Ankathi was captured, KouKou ran before the fighting even started so she is okay. While the fighting was dramatically favorable to us in considering k/d ratio thanks to the river, the victory itself has gone to the orcs. On the other hand we have significantly weakened the orc commanders in the center area of the forest. Another battle like that and we might be able to wipe them out.

Though, Amare came by to ask if we noticed anything strange but unfortunately we haven’t had enough experience with them to contemplate the matter any. Apparently they have never taken a prisoner before, and she is very curious – and nervous- about them taking Ankathi of all possible people.

Though we feel this might have been because during the battle she was sadistically torturing and taunting them to try and get them to suicide into our troops across the river. Which did technically work, we just got overrun anyways.

In related news, the warchief has been regrouping in the ruins of Wynolwind. Though that has been a bit of a bloody attempt due to the people who stayed behind to make that difficult as possible. Most of the city is in ruins thanks to them setting fires and explosives. Reportedly about 600 of their men died to the sabotage efforts. Though the elves that stayed behind are definitely dead now.

Nina has started walking back home of her own accord in the absence of standing orders seeing as she is all alone now anyways. Apparently now that she is alone she is having some trouble with monsters along the way. We’ll just have to wait and see if she makes it.

In local news, our defeat to the orcs and the results of our losses has shaken the population. Approximately two thousand of our citizens have left the city. Notably holding spears and headed in the direction of the orcs. This has somewhat hurt our local economy but not much we could do to stop them since well… they had spears.

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