Long Voyages

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

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

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

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

 

Iwanagi continues circling the island.

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

Also definitely not to channeling Ki through bikes.

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Surprisingly more text then expected.

Alright so we have some visitors from the badlands checking out the field we just finished constructing. Oh right, construction of that finished if you would like to take a look at what you just spent a fortune on for a silly game. There is already some expressed interest though the people here to look it over are not capable of making such financial decisions without talking it over with their lords. So, progress is being made at least.

Next up, our explorers in the north following along the road have found a town that harvests mana at the lake as well as the surrounding area. It appears to be Faelyn’s outpost, while it is not terribly well defended it is pretty close to her citadel so that’s a thing. They also noticed while passing through the area that Lieksä looks like its walls are receiving some repair and enforcement. Perhaps not terribly relevant but as part of general scout reports they figured to mention it.

Our ambassadors have arrived in Lennecas to talk things over with the elves after taking a ride with the boats carrying the cannons. For the most part it seems that the elven royalty aren’t too interested in breaking down their nation to just move into the frozen north. While times are bad for them, they do still control the southern range of the forest and are already deploying forces to reclaim their lost cities. Though it may be wise to instead go after the citizens who have to do the work, they might be far more interested in emigration then their rulers. For the most part Konya seems to be having better luck talking politics with them though.

Greetings Keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Iwanagi’s ventures continue, and he may have found a second island while he’s at it. He found two more settlements, a particularly large city, in comparison to those he has seen before at least, and a colony outpost of that same city it looks like. It seems that they realized they could sail the short distance across and found it convenient to be able to do so. It shows to the potential of the islanders, while their technology is far behind ours here on the main continent the fact that they have successfully voyaged and established a colony speaks to their strength. This particular settlement was more amicable than the last one Iwanagi encountered.

Following first contact protocol, Iwanagi has stopped off at their port to see what he might be able to negotiate. They do definitely seem to be interested in weaponry more than anything else given that the islanders seem to have difficulty in acquiring or working metal.

So far no signs of the foreign colonizers at least.

The dreadnaught has been constructed and deployed to assist with the village construction site. Construction should be done soon, might want to name it. Also that scout you sent to look around that area near Sanctuary and the Cayetano outpost is still out there drifting about if you wanted them to do something else.

In regards to the resources necessary to colonize the southern island, I do recommend we consider sending extra supplies to perhaps build a second one. It is becoming evident that it is actually quite large from Iwanagi’s journey, and he has learned there are more islands down there that form an interconnected world as far as its natives are concerned.

With the monastery reconstructed, Yuzuki has begun her experimentation as she had planned. Also we are already hard at work recreating the guns, though there is a quirk to it. While we are able to figure out the engineering behind it the problem is a type of resource that can hold the mana to fire it. While the gudwud can easily hold the amount, the problem is the discharge is so massive and sudden that most materials we have access to cannot be made to do so fast enough. In the guns we have acquired, it is making use of a small crystal in its construction. Similar to the ones in the anirace bikes we have observed. It is likely that the badlands have access to this material somewhere in their land, but we’ll have to see about finding some for ourselves to reliably produce these weapons here at home.

 

Konya has arrived at the elven city of Lennecas. He has managed to procure their interest in establishing an embassy in Haven for its druidic temple that also consist of the monks. They do have a significant recollection of events involving Shime, so Konya has leveraged her position at Haven to get their attention for the offer. Though it seems for the immediate future they intend to reclaim their lost cities and begin reconstruction to start rebuilding their nation. Though they would be interested in joining the alliance formally but they are curious as to writing out the terms of the alliance…they are also still a little wary of the Katara, who are still their closest neighbor. While the much-feared Ankathi is gone, Alexandria’s reputation did not travel slowly. Konya feels that involving Katara in these talks might make better headway since that is their primary fear. If Katara could be convinced to send someone to affirm the most obvious point of the alliance – the military aspects – it would do well for easing their fears.

 

Eliana is leaving now it seems, heading back to the city of Melun. I tried…so hard…to keep her from running into the inquisitors during her stay. She left us a peculiar bit of knowledge though. See I showed her the remains of the coven during her stay and she found the Black Bowl we’ve had in the vault for centuries now. She was able to appraise it and tell us exactly what it summons. If activated, it brings forth a monster born of the primordial chaos in physical form. It turns out the last time it was used, she was around to know of it.

Usually those kinds of creatures cannot exist in a physical body, but the one tied to the bowl can. However, it develops a serious case of amnesia each time it goes dormant. She mentioned that it could be used to create a sort of dark aasimar or tiefling, which would be unique as no one else has ever had access to such a creature. She recalled the last time it was around, the creature was known as the devourer. An all consuming monster filled with an endless hunger that could not be explained, having once eaten an entire city’s residents at the height of its power.

Because it is bound to whoever summons it, it cannot disobey them. The problem with controlling it comes from its…impulsive nature. Said creature’s amnesia makes it rather child-like. It isn’t malevolent so much as it is just an idiot and last it was seen in the body of a small child with tentacles and teeth. The records of the curse driving people insane for summoning it seems to be a hyperbolic expression of the fact that…well its a child with enough physical power to rival a small army. I’ve never been a mother so I can’t comment.

I have listed this information as top secret, you are the only person allowed to know about this thing. Because if word got out that it summons a primordial creature in physical form, then its likely a certain someone might take interest.

Moving right along, Ivan is still not quite here. He’s not too far away but I give it another week before he shows up.

Ryo is still just chilling out in Kirillobatov if you need him to do anything.

Also, there is a thing we could consider doing. So basically, we can impregnate a lot of our population for a huge spike in population growth out of nowhere but doing so might make productivity fall across all endeavors dramatically. Obviously we wouldn’t push it onto the military women, but you can technically order the population as queen to do its general duty to Katara with a bit more emphasis on the ‘right the hell now’ part of it compared to our usual traditions regarding this. Though we may see a sudden drop in our economics for a little while after doing so. A little while being years as suddenly every fisher, hunter, mason, cobbler, and blacksmith gets knocked up and then has to deal with the offspring and all. Though, as Advisor I feel its worth pointing out that doing so would leave the genetic exploit still in place for the most part. Even if we convince Ivan to become a prince…well he’s just one guy and all.

On to other matters, our people have arrived in Cayetano to look into this whole angel thing. They were…way too happy to tell us everything. Even going as far as to offer us an archangel for our current predicament. As for the general report of angels they went to learn about…okay so-

The angels come from the primordial light. If you ask Cayetano that makes them rightfully the most ‘good’ of the primordial entities. Though technically correct, there are still the occasional errant ones who go a little bad. So that isn’t exactly set in stone. They do look the most human-like though. They are the general masters of restorative magic, there is no healing in the world as good as theirs. Cayetano clerics even demonstrated this to our scouts by smashing a vase and restoring it in front of them. Spell called divine mending, which unlike the arcane version can be used for more then just fixing cracks. It is worth noting that the angels are physical unlike the dark spirits or demon lords. The archangel I mentioned earlier is a person you can see and touch…and uh…procreate with.

Also, it stands to reason that if angels are known for being physical…and dragons are known for being physical…then it stands to reason that both of the parents in Alosne are actually standing somewhere. Which makes it odd that we don’t really see either of them. Granted we haven’t had anyone spend that long there.

Also all the towns finished basic construction, need names.

 

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Travelin

Cannons on their way here and there, we sold the five to Zahur.

Okay so the drow situation. Irakea is on the way back to Jamsa to prepare for deployment to the island. I’ve looked deeply into it, she’s about a mile out of town by now. She moves pretty quick.

Oh wait you meant the other ones. Faelyn hasn’t yet assumed direct control over anything but her influence over their city puts her in position equivalent to either house mostly due to her control of their economy. While we predicted Eilsath and Vaslochar would eventually go to war with each other over the city, she has stalled it by reintroducing a third element to the game.

Vaslochar is reluctant to leave their ancestral home they are the dominant power over, and Eilsath isn’t so sure about leaving behind the city just as their position began to solidify within it. It is likely that Faelyn is aware of this and actually intends to turn the city into an extension of her own influence rather then abduct any of them by assimilation. Becoming sort of the mutual higher authority to both houses, many of their common folk are quite willing to humor this since historically the nobles are dicks.

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Iwanagi resumes his sailing adventures. We’ve also gotten everyone aboard the fleet to make the journey to the island, so the city is a little quieter with them all embarked.

Konya has also gotten a ride with the nalkas boats that are headed down towards Moncayo Pass so they will drop him off along with the Nalkas ambassadors once they all get there.

Also the reconstruction of the city is primarily complete. A few areas are still in disrepair but for the most part the monastery and the city are back up to normal. Though economically businesses are still resettling into place in the wake of the destruction.

As for your thoughts on the Sohei and Kineticists, it seems sensible enough to me.

Our colony on the island south of Tonarooka has halted its construction, the aquatic monsters there have managed to murder half of the construction team and force them to hide further in land.

 

Pretty simple week, everyone is going places and projects are still working to completion. I’ve had Alexandria reroute to avoid her murdering everyone just yet.

 

As for trade exports, well we do ship wood to the badlands as it were. Though that has been less lucrative then when we first started due to the siege of the mountain fort ending. Though they have to be somewhat confused over the matter. Other than that we lack for any unique resources though we do trade in the basic stuff here and there. Granted it has never been a specialty of ours due to our more isolated nature.

As a somewhat pressing matter, if we don’t find a quick solution we might have an economic collapse very soon.

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Movement, the update.

 

Stories of Lore 18

 

So we’ve made progress on the horse thing you had us start looking into. We can probably start breeding them reliably now, though it should be noted due to the climate it may be more expensive then its worth overall.

 

Aato mentions that reaching the northern island will definitely take a concentrated naval effort. Judging by the scout reports of the area, the shore is actually very dangerous. As you know, aquatic based monsters tend to be bigger and meaner then most, and the same could be said of northern ones. So here on this northern island, happens to be a nesting ground for one of the only true semi aquatic monster species we’ve seen. Basically, taking that shore is going to suck. Even after its taken these species are likely to keep sneaking up on the coast line from the water trying to return to its nesting grounds. While the dawnbreakers can make short work of that for securing a landing zone, the problem is when the one’s who aren’t on that particular spot of the shore come back from whatever they are doing in the water whenever we happen to arrive. This colony idea will require a near constant naval station in order to harvest the mana from the sea just to keep those things under control…until we make them extinct at least.

All that being said, we don’t know what is further inland. The scouts who sold the report never landed on it for all the reasons mentioned above. Aato estimates we’ll need a force of at minimum 2500 strength for both the land and sea efforts. He was very clear that was ‘the minimum assuming nothing goes wrong’. He then estimated the odds of something going wrong to be about ninety two percent. Aato also assembled something of a profile report on who he wants to go with him and why. Secretary girl wrote down what he said verbatim so…

Essi – “Because she’s nearly unkillable and will be needed to engineer the defenses of the colony.”
Nalky – “Maybe it can assert itself as the alpha. Also its a mana eater so it can find a good spot to set up without us having to send a team of scouts with test tubes who are likely to die without being escorted by the whole army. So it’d just be a good use of resources to have a pig find the truffle instead of an army of people with shovels.”
Iraeka – “practically born for this kind of job. Also she can see at night and that’s usually when everyone dies in these circumstances.”
Chinami – “Self explanatory.”
Iwanagi – “The most experienced sailor in the entire alliance who has somehow not died.”
Ansa – “If we’re going to encounter whole new species of monsters on their home nesting ground, this seems like something we might need her for. Without her talents we could wind up not knowing something important that gets us eaten. While normally not as big of a concern – we are investing a lot into this, we will be far from home, and this is requiring a full military invasion just because of monsters alone. She could save us a lot of pain.”
Literally any druid – “Just fucking because. I’ll take Shime too if that’s the best I can get, but someone write the elves a letter for me.”
Literally any pathfinder – “It’s in their fucking name.”

Iraeka has started skulking about the northern village and found quite a large tribe of aggressive fur wearing folk. Here is the weird part, despite attacking everyone else who has ever gone there they actually think Iraeka is some sort of ghost. More on that in a moment, but they were at least quite willing to talk with her even if a bit tentatively. The northern savages consider themselves part of an alliance known as the Skjöldal. We may have already enslaved a few of their alliance when we took the village near Uudistar. They are in an active war with Alosne, who they see as invaders of the northern lands. Okay, history time.

The true Skjöldal is a civilization that predates the dying night who once inhabited these northern lands. Through the during night they tried to keep ahold of it, doing surprisingly well despite how harsh this place is, especially without sunlight. Due to its abundant mana they were able to at least sustain themselves with various magical ideas. So I think you can see where I’m going with this. Their actual capital is a ruin of a civilization built on top of a ruin built on top of a ruin built on top of one of our ruins. A place we used to call Valkeakoski, though they call it Hellengdom now. This is why they were somewhat perturbed by the presence of Iraeka, they think she is a nalkas because she looks like the paintings. Perhaps more accurately, she looks kind of like Ansa – in terms of a broad racial profile at least. Dark tinted skin, pointy ears, white hair, really intense eyes.

From their point of view, the north belongs to them since they stuck out the hard times here and made it their home. Alosne are a people who just wandered in and decided to start taking over the place in their moment of weakness after the effects of the dying night. The problem has been that Alosne is much more advanced and organized so has been constantly taking ground. Not to mention they have entered into treaties with Faelyn, which gives them access to the badlands military technology. The north is vast, and there are many more villages however Alosne has never gone to the Skjöldal home. There exists an island to the north east, and this is where Hellengdom is. This is also where the barbarians are coming from, they came back to the mainland to try and colonize some of the land but ran into Alosne.

So here is the thing with that, neither of them are actually native to this exact stretch of snow. Skjöldal comes from an island and after the dying night came here to colonize. Alosne were nomads without a home who arrived in the north to find a place to settle down and colonize as well. They were both too invested by the time they made first contact and it escalated into a war. A series of raids into Alosne territory by the savages provoked Alosne into a more militant policy regarding them and that was how it all got started.

This is where I have heard an odd theory that holds up a little too well, but is none the less just an unproven conspiracy theory. It comes to us from our embassy in the badlands. See Alosne only started trading heavily during the escalation of this war, until then they were very independent. Also the Alosne were very well defended, it was hard to understand how a series of raids took place on them the way they did with so little facts in the aftermath having any real evidence. All the raiders disappeared and left no trace behind, which doesn’t actually fit the stereotype of these barbarians. So the conspiracy theory I’ve heard, is that the entire war was actually provoked and sustained by the badlands so they could profit off of it.  The rumors suspect it was Faelyn who did it as obviously it has made her very wealthy, not to mention that is her area of operations. Atop of that it is known she has influence over both of those factions, even having an Alosne and Skjöldal warrior as members of her elite guard collection.

Though I disagree. I get this nagging feeling as if my wisdom check noticed something a lesser man might have missed. Faelyn doesn’t play that way, she’s very direct and makes sure people know for certain when she is involved. Sort of the draconic pride I think, she wants people to know exactly who is fucking with them. When she found Gideon, she sent an army with banners in her name to us. Her antics in the underdark were also very overt. Recruiting in huge numbers, planting her flag in the corpses of the old matrons, selling them technology and so forth. In the badlands her puppet Laura is well known to everyone, she keeps Laura standing right next to her as a pet just like all the other people of interest she has collected. She just doesn’t strike me as someone who would use tactics so heavily rooted in subterfuge when everything about her seems to be equivalent to slapping her metaphorical dick on the table and offering you to measure it.

So make of all that what you will.

Started building the cannons and such, those take a bit of construction time but shall be ready soon. Might want to tell Alexandria to wait up if she wants the cannons though.

In regards to selling Anirace based stuff, actually that seems to be going well. Though they would like to see our field to see what we’re really offering and are sending some people to take a look. It should be done by the time they get here at least. Also our embassy finished setting up in full over in Maji.

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. In order to build a proper trade outpost in the southern isles we will need to send some boats. While there are plenty of resources we could process there, as all of colonization thus far has proven – you need to be able to protect any colony you try to start. That and also we just need to get the people to build the colony there in the first place, which means a long sea voyage. Which is also dangerous.

Our scouting boat has arrived near Sanctuary to scout out the area. It seems for the most part neither the archdruid nor Cayetano outpost minds too much if we were to set up in the area. However, in terms of the viability of the land itself it is serviceable if the location is of interest though it has no stand out qualities in its resources that might warrant immediate exploitation. It could do with more trees though.

With heavy heart I must inform you that tragedy has struck. One of our scout crews has disappeared into the depths of the ocean while scouting close to the northeastern isle, victims of a monster attack.

Iwanagi found another settlement…this is clearly a very large island. They are a little less friendly though, outright hostile even. They wore a lot of skeletal garments of humanoid fashion and didn’t seem to speak the common language. Fortunately he was able to escape their grasp though had to subdue at least a dozen before he could get his boat back out to sea. They pursued in smaller canoes, though he was able to deal with those as well. So they are apparently quite committed to not engaging in diplomacy unlike the other two we have found. It is worth noting that it was quite a large settlement for a people so violent.

In regards to Yuzuki and Shime’s ongoing scuffle, I wouldn’t say there is much risk of them killing each other. Though Yuzuki is upset that Shime has been so disapproving of the Sohei techniques, it all started when Shime made a comment about weapons not equalling better when kinesis alternatives are available. However, unlike her conflict with Serizawa, Yuzuki proves to be much stronger. Shime lost that fight by a significant margin actually, even when fleeing into the woods to demonstrate alternative solutions to actual fighting, Yuzuki ran her down and, in her own words “beat Shime into the dirt until she stopped twitching”. They’re not quite enemies over the matter, in fact Yuzuki is still Shime’s translator, but Yuzuki has displayed no interest in learning kinesis techniques. Instead she wants to refine the sohei further, and has requested that once the monastery is rebuilt that she be given funding to do an experiment. It might cost about 1g all things considered, quite an expensive project for the monastery to embark upon, though Yuzuki seems adamant. Shime for her part has returned to Haven to train others in her particular style, and continues to disapprove of Yuzuki’s path in turning the monastery away from enlightenment and peacekeeping towards militaristic warfare. Notably Shime has been training very hard at Haven, intent on being able to defeat Yuzuki once she has fully mastered kinesis to rival Yuzuki’s mastery of the sohei techniques.

Also I have a suggestion for the envoy to the elves. We could send Konya on the joint venture by the Nalkas and Katara towards Moncayo pass and have him just hop off the boat at Lennecas. This would ensure he reaches it swiftly and would have sufficient protection for the voyage. He could then just wait for their return trip to bring him back.

Also reconstruction is going well! We hope to be done within the next cycle, at least done enough that we can resume life as normal.

Eliana is here visiting now. She seems quite interested in taking note of how we abandoned the practice of witchcraft so recently. She maintains her “don’t care” stance towards everything, or at least she did. But see…she happened to arrive on the day that Alexandria was burning cultists in the street and it was…awkward. Petrina had to stop Alexandria from doing anything to Eliana it seemed, who is definitely not amused over that. I have Eliana staying here in the palace with us obviously if there was anything in particular you wanted to talk to her about while we have the opportunity. If…your earlier plan to uh… commit necrophilia as you put it still stands then um…you know what you’re on your own for that.

As another bit of news, the Knight’s Sanctum has finished its first wave of training under Petrina now that she’s had time to focus on it since the cult problem has come to a close. All the cavalry under her command have been converted to Knights.

So we picked him up from the badlands, well financially speaking at least. He still has to walk over here. The mercenary goes by the name Ivan Sabantseva and his former city was destroyed by the orcish warpath some time ago. We had to assure him that the curse wasn’t still lingering over our city. Then we found out he’s an actual dragonborn and is a native of Kirillobatov who wandered off to the river city that got destroyed.

Basically he is even stronger then Areti physically speaking and judging by his age he has quite the experience to go with it. A veteran of many battles and skirmishes. He is somewhat refined and reserved in his mannerisms, very professional.

Also we sent up Christina though you may wish to put a more elaborate thought into what you want her to do up there given the complexities of the political situation in there as we’ve seen with their first contact with the nalkas.

Ryo has arrived at Kirillobatov and talked to the elders there.

Also some elves moved back into Tethalyn so the population has gone up a little there, it appears that the people who were fleeing from the orcs are more scared of orcs then mad at us and didn’t trust something that is going on in Aywin’s politics or something to that effect. Also with Ankathi gone even Neyth is a bit less wary of us. So…here is the problem. They came back to Tethalyn to reclaim the druidic temple there and have sort of set up an elven ghetto in that neighborhood. Which means they still have some reverence for the wilds and that temple. Which means they don’t know about Alexandria…and Alexandria is about to pass through there on her way to Moncayo pass. Not to mention she will also pass through Lennecas. Where there are actively practitioning druids. We just gave her an army of snipers.

Oh and the roads are done.

Also our girls made it to show up for their first Anirace game in Ahedama! They did not win. At least it wasn’t an outright humiliation, they did pretty well for their first real game. Juma says going up against the Ahedama team is a tough first match as their team is composed of professional marauders. Though since we own the team we got some of the revenue anyways. We got about 1724g for it. Apparently there was a good turnout as it was the first game of the season and people were curious about our girls.

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Reconstruction

Did all the transfers and paperwork stuff. Though to be noted training the other manifesters in the style that Aato uses is both harder and less useful then you might expect. Aato’s style comes from a certain level of preference, creativity, and a rather long rivalry with Sakki. He told them the basics of how he does things at least, we’ll see if they can remotely perform though. This is largely due to the manifesters being a difficult practice which they have spent their time mastering. Aato is the only one who is comfortable with fighting in melee while casting. Its why we know his name off the top of our heads and not the other bulk of them.

We loaded Mikael and squad with their bikes onto a boat to make the trip south, its a long trip. We’ve elected that in pursuing the southern lead they’ll start with other nearby islands in the neighborhood of where Iwanagi has been finding islands. Given that by Eliana’s description The Eye itself would basically just instantly kill the whole team.

Essi is back at her lab in Uudistar working on Aato’s project now as well as seeing what armor can be made for Nalky. The rest of the monsters who came along with Nalky have been put within their underground enclosure we were working on. Though it is worth noting that there are a few peculiar caves down there we dug into. No one really wants to squeeze through them but judging by what we know about mana lake formation now, odds are there is another underworld down there somewhere.

We’ll see how meeting with the elves go once the diplomat gets there.

We’ve sent some units to Maji to start establishing our embassy there. Bit of traveling involved not to mention some setup time on that one.

Can’t give the magic seeds to Ansa since she’s in Alosne at the moment. Though I’ll have her look into it upon returning.

Iraeka is traveling back north to resume scouting, she’s overtaken the note to scope out the northern village since that is more or less her thing. The soldiers have been sent off and told ‘just look where we haven’t already and draw some maps’.

So we went to check in on the drow… Eilsath continually grows stronger ever since they started growing crops on the surface to handle food. Though it isn’t what we projected. They’re a lot stronger then they should be, with the bright light of technology littered throughout their whole city. It seemed inevitable that Vaslochar would go to war earlier to prevent a loss of power since Ghuan was not there to prey on any moments of weakness and that Eilsath might be able to come out on top if they stalled long enough to make use of the tech we offered. What seems to happen instead is that the city is now under Eilsath control, with their Matron being the city’s ruler. While that was what we planned, we had figured Vaslochar would die in the fighting. The high priestess and the matriarch of Vaslochar are indeed dead now, the rest of them are not. Things have been moving slowly and more politically then expected. Then we figured out why.

When Faelyn passed through she recruited them by the hundreds to her own forces and we found she has active agents in the city to alter the flow of the political games down there. It seems that just as we assimilated Ghuan, she is also up to something. The original Matron of Eilsath is dead, so are the next three that were in line.

She took over their economy by introducing badlands technology that both sides desperately wanted at a markup they didn’t know was incredibly unfair until she controlled more of their money then they did. Alongside other clever manipulations.

This whole process is still ongoing and Faelyn hasn’t yet taken direct control, but it doesn’t take much to see that the drow cannot deal with her. Despite how hard it is to siege their city or make plays of subterfuge against their paranoia, they seem to fall quite easily for deals with the proverbial devil. Just as we took Ghuan in this way, Faelyn is doing something quite similar. Though we’re not sure what her end goal is. We did find out that the current high priestess of Vaslochar is escorted everywhere by Faelyn’s people instead of her own though.

Really? You really wanna let Essi build a sports field? That’s a lot of money just for people to ride around in and throw a rock at one another. Fine if you say so. Maybe it’ll at least keep the peasants amused.

Smaller golems…to sit inside and power machines? At that point why not just make the machine in the first place so it doesn’t need a tiny golem.

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Iwanagi has found a rather large city as he continues to circle the island. Well…it looks like they think its a fortress but its made of wood so I am just going to say a fortified city. By now Iwanagi seems to just assume you want him to make contact each time and see if they’re open for trade and such.

They do seem quite interested in trade…oddly enough with the other town we found. It appears the island is quite dangerous to traverse and while their people have boats they aren’t terribly pristine boats. We could just have a few ships travel up and down between them for a simple but fair profit. We may want to consider building an outpost down there.

The city he found shares a more primitive and tribal aesthetic just as the one further north along the island. Talking with them reveals this island isn’t exactly small, and there are thriving civilizations there. However, they don’t necessarily like each other in some cases. The two locations we can trade between consider themselves to be at war with one another, even though they are too far apart to do so actively. It is also part of why trade between them isn’t happening on its own and that’s just an easy route we can take over.

We held the appropriate services for all of our fallen heroes and every soul that died defending their home.

Construction of the southern village has begun.

Chinami reports that Nemnas is most notably a native to the ocean and moves through it at a speed no boat can dream to achieve. He can also eat things, a lot of things. Not to mention due to his size he can take down most ships all by himself and in very short order.

Also Shime and Yuzuki were last spotted chasing each other around the forest playing tag. On a completely unrelated note, reconstruction is going quite well with all these trees we find already felled in the forest for us to just pick up and process!

In regards to your question about the guns and monks. The answer is pending the reconstruction of a Sohei monastery where they can practice techniques and study the application of the idea. We’re working on that. I expect reconstruction to take another two cycles.

In the wake of the war people have found a sort of unity I suppose you could say. Lot of flags hanging outside of homes, and people have pitched in to help with reconstruction so its not costing as much as we might have expected. We disposed of the orc bodies out in the fields to act as some fertilizer. The monks were kind enough to undertake that grisly task.

Yamoaka found another particularly interesting lake between the border of the badlands and the north, it’s not really a mana lake but has great natural scenery.

To wrap things up, our new trading outpost to the badlands has been quite lucrative. We’re already seeing a significant rise in profits on our trade route.

Forgot to mention, the map and scout details we acquired from Esperanza regards to an island in the far north. The scout reports mention that it is filled with really mean monsters and that may be the reason the map was for sale rather then in active use. There is no indications of civilized life, at least not from the initial pass over by the people who found it. However, whosoever claims the shores will see a massive yield of mana harvesting. The entire coast line has been undisturbed for so long that its just oozing the stuff. The problem is the monsters here are very serious as a result, and the island nature means no one has really tried to take over it. It would take an army to colonize that place. Not a small one either, I mean that the entire Oda navy might be needed just to reach it through the sea creatures. Then you have to deal with the ones on land. I see why they just sold the map instead of trying to take it for themselves.

Anyways! I went ahead and got our field properly registered and have some girls working where I registered it to make it a bit more playable. Such as reinforcing some spots and sweeping the streets so it looks nice. As well as adding seats and a member of the league will be visiting from Maji soon to set up the scrying enchantments so it can be properly broadcast. I’m not sure I should suggest this but…maybe we hire some people to uh…dress a certain way when the games come through? Maybe be super enthusiastic and likeable and lead people in the cheering just to make our city look all the more tempting for immigration.

Also the dreadnought is home now. Slaves princified. They seem quite happy with this arrangement considering they thought they were being sold into labor. I mean its still laborious but y’know. Also Thyra has gotten quite good at navigating the seas in her journey, though she was a little disheveled upon returning. Apparently her major complaint was she didn’t realize how many supplies she needed in particular for soap. She has the dockworkers scrubbing every inch of that ship down to get the smell of sweat out of it and refuses to get back on board it until they finish. We also have to repair the ship a little as it had a few run in with sea monsters, fortunately its a big ship and Thyra figured out what to do fast enough but there are still some chunks missing.

In further relation to this, it turns out building dreadnoughts is really complicated, really hard, all our engineers are different, and heavily affected by available materials. Seems everyone has their own take on how to get a ship that big and what it should do. Though Thyra seemed to have a lot of optimizations for mixing it with the idea of transportation due to her trip on the way here. We call our new design the Harbinger! Made for transporting and landing regardless of whether or not people want to see us there.

As for Moncayo, Nyssa just arrived. The place remains basically an extortion toll gate and a haven of bandits and outlaws. Honestly its what I expected the badlands to be more like. Just booze, drugs, and rape in every alleyway. It used to belong to a smaller settlement of people who happened to find the ruins of an old fortress they made their home. Buuut then bandits happened. Apparently originating from Cayetano a long time ago after a huge prison break type of affair happened. The invaders managed to take control of the fort and make it their own home. The civilians were practically enslaved. Turns out it doesn’t do that well as a toll gate because…well when was the last time the forest got any visitors from Cayetano? They just seem to try and get money however they can. They are quite well fortified there given the circumstances of its society.

Another notable mark, abyssal cultists from the badlands have shown up here. They don’t seem tied to or even interested in our active demon cult. If anything they seem to look down on them. They seem to be a sort of missionary type, offering us to explore their own magical methods. I at least heard them out. Notably the cult doesn’t draw their strength from any demon king, they tap directly into the primordial Abyss. So while they’re prone to less explosive demonic powers, such as the likes of Nina’s super demon form, they have a lot less weird voices in their head to deal with. I have had to place them under some protection while they’re visiting though, not only were they targeted by the coven cult but…we kind of made a problem. Getting to that.

Also the sickness has been alleviating, it seems the Archdruid was able to finish the exorcism. Though I’ve seen her hand twitching a few times since then…I’m concerned it may have left some impressions on her. KouKou seems to be up and moving again over in the north. Though I’ve sort of retired her. Without her witchcraft she’s just a young, admittedly adorable, scamp. With the whole spirit thing resolved, she’s just a civilian. I can’t in good conscience let her keep in the danger of our employ.

Petrina has effectively eradicated the cults around Sybaris as much as possible. Their leaders were publicly executed alongside many of their members in a brutal cleansing. That is the short version. The long version is…we may have done a thing.

See we were kind of in a hurry to get the cults dealt with so the Queen of Wolves could do her thing and it was starting to make us look bad with Eliana right around the corner for a visit. Not to mention we needed to be able to take in the people from Thyra’s trip. Atop of all that you diiiid say ‘all forces needed’ to ‘wipe out’ the cults. So Petrina conscripted an old acquaintance, and that friend had two more friends. We call them the inquisitors, there are three of them right now. We’re kind of scared of them.

They follow the Lord Inquisitor Alexandria. She is actually a former comrade of Areti and Talia, she has long held a distaste for the coven and we just accidentally handed her a state license to do what she is apparently freakishly good at. Though is a bit too fond of public executions. She…she..I don’t want to talk about it, but I didn’t have this gold tooth before I met her and I had all my fingernails. She is one of the most talented commanders we’ve seen in a long time, and her ability to find things out about people is unrivaled.

 

 

((Alexandria gives +1 strength per tier to all forces under her command and can disrupt special abilities of other commanders. She has a bonus to capturing prisoners. If ordered to perform exterminatus her army strength bonuses double. But expect that hex to turn into a scorch mark.))

Alexandria butchered cultists in their homes and workplaces alike. This was a second cleansing. We can’t even verify everyone she killed was a cultist, she just assures us that they were, and the results turn out that the cult activities have definitely stopped. When I said ‘publicly executed’ I mean Alexandria burned them alive in the middle of the town square by the dozens. One of these executions involved something called an iron pear and I don’t want to get into further details. They were left to die of infection and blood loss in a cage. I told her to stop but she insisted the people needed to know the price of consorting with demons and spirits.

That being said she has a notably important skill in dealing with the powers that others have. I’m told she hates Ankathi in particular and intends to hunt her down, a little ironic considering I would have sworn they were sisters. Notably with Ankathi’s specialties she showcased, Alexandria might be the only one who can take her on. Though she will definitely try one way or another and I’m not sure which of the two I’m more scared to make an enemy of.

As your advisor I feel its important to note this woman is very dangerous, not just on a personal level. Simply employing her means she’s going to start some shit with people we might not want to be picking a fight with. She stared at the archdruid a bit too long and a bit too intensely for me to feel comfortable. While she seems to share your view on the vassal of other entities thing, she definitely believes in it with a much greater intensity.

Perhaps the worst part of all this is that she has popular support. The people, who aren’t her victims or related to her victims, love her and consider her something of a savior alongside Petrina. Her rise to power seems to be a dramatic reaction to the events surrounding Ankathi, the plague, and the subsequent cults. It appears that in the fervor to be rid of the witches, the people turned to a new kind of monster.

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Tutorial Complete

Stories of Lore 17

 

Okay so maybe I didn’t go with everyone else. I had to grade some papers. Anyways they had some clever plans too. Though for the most part Okushiri is still standing, so that’s all good. Matleena and Pasi didn’t make it though, and we lost almost the entire army we sent down there. Only ten units of knights and twenty units of soldiers remain. Though all the manifesters lived since they were on the boat. Aato also retrieved a peculiarly powerful enchanted item that makes its wearer almost unkillable with a looping heal spell. Though it exceeds its passive mana abilities and has to be charged manually or it would take a few years for it to recharge on its own. You could probably sell this in the badlands for a few thousand mana, I’ve never seen anything like it. The recharge cost of it is only ten mana if you wanted to have someone use it. Though on the bad side, Ankathi showed up and took both of the orc artifacts present at the battle for some reason. She seemed very interested in it. I am sure nothing horrible will come from this. We still have Bagrak’s though.

Also as a sort of note from the battle, we’ve learned just how Aato uses mana different then other manifesters. He tends to super charge his own soldiers instead of summoning a proxy army. He has put in a request for a study on his own armor design to take this technique to its logical extremes if you’re interested in funding Essi’s lab to conduct said experiments. Would be about fifteen mana for the testing at least.

On to the tech division. The crystal the katara sent us is very interesting. From a material perspective the amount of mana it can hold is particularly relevant, which means either big enchantments or just…can transport it from place to place really conveniently. For initial ideas from the academy, this thing can be used as the core piece for a particularly powerful ship. The advanced wood of the Oda dawnbreakers allows them to even utilize the scorching ray ballista for more then one or two shots. If you put this thing in a ships hold you could make a massively more powerful weapon. Especially if you make the ship out of the fancy wood, basically the most powerful ship ever conceived of. Largely with some help from the katara’s new dreadnought we got to take a look at. Alternatively you could make a more land focused monstrosity if you let Essi have it, it’s one of those moments where you’re wondering what crazy idea she’ll have and then she just does something ridiculous with it. She promises it would be really cool though. For my own notes, this is the only material we’ve ever gotten our hands on that could be used to make a third gate stone. As I mentioned I can replicate the spell but just didn’t have any material that would sustain the enchantment. You can also come up with any specific requests if you have any ideas, that was just to get the gears spinning. Do note though, any of these designs would still cost a lot of mana to build and maintain but at least with the crystal they would be plausible.

So in regards to the guns and stuff there are some ways to go with this. We can produce fairly useable soldiers very cheaply and efficiently by handing them a gun, takes very little effort to train them to use it. The alternative idea is to just hand it to a soldier trained in multiple forms of combat to create elite units who have both ranged and melee training and weaponry. There is also the obvious “lets put all our eggs in one basket” type of soldier where we hand a knight the gun and stick them on the hoverbikes.

Ansa reached the city of Alosne, I’m starting to notice a recurring theme all these empires are named after the first city they managed to settle and expand from. Alosne is ruled by a sort of theocracy, worshiping what Eliana referred to as their ‘thingamajigger’. To be a bit more clear, they worship a specific person.

This adrogynous mess is named is Sakae, and they are very uncomfortable being worshipped. That doesn’t seem to deter their people any though. Ansa did a close up study and this is where it gets a little…okay completely stupid. The people think Sakae is a demigod descended from the primordial wilds and the primordial light as a sort of hybrid, despite his own admission that he’s just a normal person they won’t believe him. To be fair though, he’s eighty years old and clearly doesn’t age. According to the people Ansa talked to, he has been witnessed to survive being executed…by the people who now worship him. I warned you this was about to get stupid.

So basically he was executed for being too effeminate and making men feel uncomfortable. As well as making all the nobles wives fall in love with him on sight or something stupid to that effect. The official reason was theft but Ansa notes you don’t execute people for stealing fruit off a tree that’s hanging over the public street. So after a formal execution they found him sneaking off towards the badlands. Upon realizing there was only one person in the whole village that looked like Sakae, they did the math that he survived after his body was unceremoniously dumped into a frozen river. So of course the first response to this by the peasants who discovered him? He must clearly be the messiah, let’s take him prisoner and make him king.

The noble originally responsible said that if he’s really a demigod they should get to execute him a second time just to make sure. Saying that if Sakae lived a second time he would offer his whole estate to Sakae as penance. The peasants said that was sacrilegious to even suggest it and burned his whole estate down and then executed him. This whole time Sakae was kept prisoner by the peasants who supposedly worshiped him because he kept trying to sneak off to the south. Seriously they had him in chains while claiming he was a demigod that they needed to bow down to. They were afraid he would run away to bring divine judgement back on them if they didn’t repent while he was still there or something idiotically superstitious.

Okay so now lets get into what he really is and isn’t. Turns out Ansa’s mastery of this field makes her pretty good at figuring it out before anyone can tell her otherwise. He is not a demigod. He is a….dragonborn aasimar? A dragon fucked an angel and he popped out. He’s half dragon half angel. For that kind of mix you would expect something on par with a demigod right? Turns out no, he’s quite frail and kind of sickly. Ansa points out that if you don’t have a humanoid as the midpoint, crossover genetics tend to be…not great. Instead of inheriting the strength of a dragon and the power of an angel he’s just lucky to be alive. He is nearsighted, allergic to almost everything, his bones are brittle, and apparently he is always sick. He’s not good with magic or with ki or with draconic magic or anything. He’s just some kid who can survive being stabbed and thrown in a river at least once and has a very long lifespan.

This is Alosne’s demigod. Because its peasants are fucking stupid. That being said, he’s actually a competent ruler. Alosne went from being a medium sized village to a civilization that spans the north under his guidance. While he’s not that powerful, his parents are. This is about to get even more moronic so hold on to your seat. See the reason they worship him is that neither of his parents talk to each other anymore. Kind of a bad divorce you could say? However, they are drawing powers from both. As long as Sakae is there neither will straight up destroy Alosne to spite the other and instead try to outdo one another as both want the favoritism of the kid.

I shit you not this is happening between an angel and a dragon. Except on this scale that means instead of buying him candy, they give his country massive boons. The smart priests figured this all out, and realized as long as they have Sakae his parents won’t try to fight by way of making the followers enter civil war. So they worship Sakae instead of either of his parents to prevent a schism. It is literally illegal to build a temple to either the dragon or the angel, it all has to be dedicated to Sakae who is just trying to not die from a cough.

I can’t…I can’t deal with an entire kingdom coming to power based on this scale of dumb luck. They were lucky he didn’t die when executed given a slight breeze looks like it might do him in, they were lucky his parents really liked him, they were lucky he’s actually a good king, they were lucky that the clergy were smart enough to figure out the long con and prevent total civil war. We saw what happened to Katara when they tried to mix two things at once, and yet they somehow managed to escape that based on the fact the peasants just happened to be dumb enough to think Sakae was a messiah with such fervor that they forced him into being king even if they had to chain him to the throne.

As a final note, the Archdruid sent us some gift for helping in the war. We’re out of her normal reach so she just sent some seeds to us. They’re glowing so I’m pretty sure they’re neat.

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. We’re still alive after all. So war report, in my defense it was the best plan to cut the fighting short and the losses just as short. It just happened to mean we broke a lot of the city in the process. The nalkas manifesters took over the bulk of the troop work, though we still lost most of the recently recruited soldiers. The orcs also managed to kill Motsqueh who decided to try and punch the whole horde to death. Serizawa met an unfortunate end alongside him as well.

We managed to kill both commanders though their artifacts were taken by Ankathi of all people who showed up just towards the end to snatch the things. Though we might not have been able to kill the warchief without her so…make what you will of that.

The city is extensively damaged as a result of all this. But the Archdruid has overgrown the empty fields outside of our city so we have easy access to the lumber needed for repairs. She also chose to make it all the special wood from Tonarooka we were trying to harvest since that was what we happened to have planted. So our trade route is looking great and we might have some very fancy houses soon. As a final reward she left us with this thing.

This is Nemnas, a sea monster that is apparently fairly intelligent. Though it definitely improves our control of the seas. No one would even think to look under our fleet for such a thing. It’s also quite good at dealing with other monsters. However, there is a bit of a catch. Only certain people are capable of commanding it since we aren’t exactly druids. Chinami’s hydromancy allows her to, it is also suspected that Shime could as well.

 

 

 

On to other news, we’ve finished reconstructing the village in the badlands. Though it will take some time for it to really get moving because we’re currently fixing the capital up and there was just a big battle with the orcs. However, its colonists have decided to invest their efforts heavily as a trading post. We can expect great returns on this I feel.

Iwanagi continues to sail the island’s coast to see what he’s come across. There’s another island right next to it that he spotted as well.

Kaylen pointed out there aren’t really maps to the orc lands simply because they are a nomadic people. Its just known that they are most frequently located in the plains south east of the badlands.

 

 

Okay so lets start today off with the anirace team. We’ve managed to pay off all the gear to get them set up, and they’ve taken to hiring Juma as their full time coach. He might have originally intended to be a competitor but apparently the cushy job of yelling at a bunch of half naked women to do things with his anirace balls is good at making him consider new options. We haven’t told him the curse is broken yet. I’m debating telling them to never inform him about it just to see how long it takes him to cave because some of our girls are a bit…lets say ravenous.

As for the home field, do you want to use the actual forest and just laugh as people try to use those mounts to cross through it or do you want to register it in the abandoned outskirts of the city itself? We easily have enough abandoned urban environment to make a field of. I mention it because the forest is full of monsters and it will definitely take a lot of resources to keep it safe for use and play during the games for spectators especially. Clearing out every inch of nine square miles can be a bit of an invested effort.

Since we’re throwing this much money into a sports team I figure maybe I should mention the team captain. Elpida Remelis is formerly a blacksmith from Sybaris who more or less had a pretty well adjusted and normal life. I was going to make a joke about that being exhilarating and shocking, then I got depressed when I remembered that actually is kind of unusual around here. She used to work in the eastern section of the city and was primarily just hired by the people for day to day things like nails, tools, and so forth. Not quite Iliana from the south side but still a useful part of the civilian economy.

Perhaps due to her rather normal life she is a fairly upbeat and optimistic girl. She wound up going on the trip to Maji to play in the games just as a break from her somewhat monotonous day to day life. She became team captain slash manager because she’s one of the few there who can both read and write. She’s not the best player on the team, but the best player is a cranky former soldier who just keeps to themselves and you can repeat that story for pretty much every player better then her that we have. So she makes a better captain for the public to focus their attention on.

Also now that the war with the orcs is concluded, the Archdruid has come by to help with our spirit problem. Yaaay and of course someone had to go and fuck it up. The demon and coven cultists decided, the instant she got here, to try and kill her. So…that didn’t make us look too good. I have spent all of yesterday apologizing and trying not to piss her off before she destroys the entire city as her method of fixing the problem. On the upside they failed to hurt her at least. On the downside they are actively fighting back against the exorcism and making things hard for her…so she is leaning towards that mass destruction thing out of irritation. Amare has been working with Petrina to try and eradicate the cultists. Notably Amare vouches for just murdering them as they’re found instead of taking them prisoner as Petrina prefers. Especially since Eliana is supposed to visit next week and the cultists might do something stupid again.

Oh also, we still have Bagrak, and she is still blind and chained up.

While we’re at it, though Petrina is busy trying to keep Sybaris under control she has declared herself the knight-commander. We weren’t really in much position to object and now the trainees are here in Sybaris with her helping hunt down the cultists. Bit of a hit the ground running training style I suppose.

If there is any positive news regarding local affairs its that Thyra still has all those slaves we got from the badlands awhile back. So once she’s done stopping off at Oda’s docks to let them examine the dreadnought we can start fixing the prince problem assuming the spirits are gone by then.

In relation to the orc news, Ankathi was seen at Okushiri to take the orcish artifacts. I mention this because I can’t help but recall she is the one who originally figured out how they work and how the mindless orcs were being made. So…she’s going to have an army soon one way or another it seems. Just not sure what she wants it for or where she would build this army.

So with the guns we got from the badlands the military division figured out two routes to go with it. The first of which being we just give some girls guns and tell them how to use it. This is vastly cheaper then normal as it requires far less training for us to reach a level of competency with a gun as opposed to all the physical conditioning and difficult training our warriors normally face.

Though one of the lieutenants came up with another concept she calls the pathfinders. Training scouts to extremes as a special force and equipped with magic trinkets to prevent things like scrying so they can move with a level of sneakiness she said. Essentially the stealthy template stamped next to it means that they are not normally possible for enemy scouts to notice. Causing them to either have no idea where the units are or how many are really in the army if its a mixed force. To be noted, druids can still find them in forests because druids are extremely good with spotting things in a forest. The pathfinders would be trained in guerilla tactics as well as close quarters weaponry to fulfill a variety of tasks.

((Mechanics note. Guerilla template gives them the ability to surprise attack a hex then make an opposed roll to disengage before any further combat rounds can begin. The 2 is a bonus to the roll because they have long range weapons so they have a bit of a head start on running away))

We sent the crystal up to the nalkas, also we received the other strange artifact. As far as any of us can tell its some sort of religious historical artifact, that or just a really weird and ornate design. It’s a small statue like thing but its so worn down and cracks have flaked off over the years but its embedded with gold and jewelry, notably a chunk of them are likely missing if this was a symmetrical piece due to the earlier mentioned things.

Finally, Ryo noted that he can see orcs in the area he is passing through. He’s not quite sure where they’re coming from and is making a distinct effort to sneak around but it is worth noting those are the plains we heard about the orcs coming from.

 

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With horn and drums

Stories of Lore 16

 

So we offered the book to Eliana for information about the dragonborn and specifically the old dragon shaman cult that Vasia wanted to look into. She spent about three hours reading the book…which I remind you is filled with boring tax records and information, and then decided to tell us what we wanted.

For all the build up of finding the remains of a dead civilization to point the way towards dragonborn, she just drew it on the map instead. According to her after the dark years they became a fallen empire and stopped being so nomadic once resources became too scarce to justify it.  They live near a river in the forests north of Cayetano, a place called Kirillobatov. She also mentioned they were a bit reclusive and liked to keep to themselves, so be prepared for difficulty in diplomacy. They once tried to expand but were crushed by the orcs until they were pushed back into their capital where they have since lived. They have also gotten into fights with Cayetano.

Iraeka and company are on their way to Okushiri and riding hard about it. We have also learned today that Iraeka is not good with horses, it was quite amusing.

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Iwanagi set up a trade route with the islanders he encountered, they seem quite happy to export their goods at least. Recruitment might be a bit more difficult however for similar reasons to the last villages Iwanagi encountered, this far out from our holdings makes their willingness to join us a bit smaller. We may need to start expanding our outpost collection to do such things.

Salahe has agreed to help the people of Haokim take sanctuary while the orc invasion is going on if they should wish to come by his place.

Quetzali said a second settlement isn’t necessarily a bad idea its just that a lot of her people have been traveling to Okushiri leaving quite a lot of open space within the city of Tonarooka. So it is unlikely for its population to be all that high unless people from the rest of our holdings start moving over. That being said that isn’t necessarily a hard sell given its a paradise island…I’m sure we can convince some fishers that moving out there isn’t such a bad idea. Especially after this whole orc business.

The inspection of the monastery does reveal a potential split in them already on the verge of occurring and Shime is clearly a major catalyst for it. Those who disagree with the use of the weaponry of the sohei due to it straying from their lifelong training of less violent solutions to their problems. Sohei are very talented at warfare, and the younger members seem to take a liking to its less spiritual and more direct path to violence. Though the elders tend to prefer Shime’s concept stating that it is in keeping with the teachings of harmony.

Konya traveled to meet with Kaylen and chat for a little bit. Currently they are staying with her as a guest.

Eliana arrived and promptly proceeded to eat at every street vendor we have as guided by Kaze. The Queen of Wolves also made an appearance and has integrated herself into the battle plans. Neither of them had any particular ideas for steering the orcs away from Okushiri, largely because our attempts to manipulate their movements thus far have repeatedly gone awry ever so slightly. The orcs are not entirely mindless, and the will of the warchief is definitely playing a role in their choice of actions.

Yamaoka reports that so far his findings don’t show anything necessarily extraordinary but the lakes he passes by in the north are consistently nice areas, he is continuing on to see what else he might find.

At least this week is a little easier…WITH NO REASON WHATSOEVER FOR ANSA TO VISIT. *checks over shoulder*

Anyways we gave fifty of the soldiers some horses and armor to create the whole cavalry thing. We used the ones in Sarkisa so they can study at the new training facility.

So the conversion from a blackguard facility to a proper knight training grounds cost us…2g. Had to make some new banners and put in some new furniture, though for the most part the building is still fine for the purpose of training armored people with sharpened metal sticks.

The anirace team might be more expensive though and I’ve had Irini look into the markets around there to see what to expect. While the team only needs to be able to field thirty the other girls wouldn’t be too bad to have around as support staff and B-string players. Not like it is safe for them to come home anyways. So registration as a formal team is actually free if you can present your team to the registration agency. There are actually a few independent teams just scrapped together who get mauled in the real games but keep signing up for fun and they just register the field right outside in Maji for simplicity.

The actual team itself however needs gear to play with any level of competitive possibility. As we learned before these games get a little crazy and you have to pick where you want your home field to be. So expense wise they need mounts, nine mile long field and all. You can just get war horses in the badlands and those are pretty good, and quite frequently used. Though the top of the line bike things the big teams used cost uh…a lot for one sports player. Irini got us some market prices which are over in the buy sheet. Keep in mind that teams are a total of thirty on the field, but this is a game where damage occurs. So backups aren’t the worst idea.

We sent a scout down to Cayetano to see what they might learn, we’ll hear back from that uh…who knows how long that voyage takes.

Ryo spotted some city along the river on his way south.

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Pretty sure this is a new record

Stories of lore 15

 

Faelyn says we can go poke around Lieksä if we want, though she’s keeping the artifacts she already collected. Given how old Lieksä is though, I don’t think they’re worth much. For all this jive about our ancient technology being so valuable, fact of the matter is that its all pretty outdated. However, she mentioned something odd. Apparently she finished construction of her new road and offered that it would be easy for us to reach her. She built a road straight to us without ever mentioning she was doing so apparently. It also runs through the drow castle. So…convenient but I’m a bit wary of her. Also she said we should send her an ambassador she would like to introduce to the Alosne.

So with your idea for the aniraces, I have an observation. The best contending teams are…well teams obviously. They tend to already have their sponsorships sorted out in order to form the team in the first place. Also the badland sponsors probably wouldn’t be happy if we snatched them up. So if you are so intent on building a field and entering into these silly games you will have to build it up from a bit of a lower point. Though we could ask the katara what is going on at the tournament to find some solid recruits. The official size of the teams is a minimum of fifty. Though a few more are recommended in case you need to swap players out between rounds.

For my own advice, there are a few routes to doing this. The first is prioritizing tourism and a tech showcase to maybe sell it to the existing teams. Doing this would be best done by specifically recruiting players from the badlands since they’re liable to go back and forth between here and home to incidentally ferry stories and goods back and forth. Good advertising basically.

The second route is if you want to win. The monks of Oda and the mercenaries of Eilsath are likely extremely talented in a game like this due to it already being aligned with a lot of their skillsets. Once they learn the whole riding part of it. Though the second reason they’re the best chance of winning is because if they aren’t playing in the tournament or registering their own teams you can get the best they have to offer instead of competing for players that are all being offered positions at the games. While they might not be as prepared and I wouldn’t expect a win in the very first season, I’d say this strategy would have the best potential. Also obviously take anyone who is actually good and tries to sign up regardless of origin, it is fifty people after all, but starting the hunt with those two would be profitable.

Third, if you want to just blow people’s minds with our arena and team. Get the manifesters and golems in there, its not illegal to use magic spells. Manifesters can summon things on the fly that would be wildly close to cheating, though I checked the rules and summons are actually allowed. They’ve just never seen a summoner like a manifester. It might be worth mentioning Nalky is a legal mount, and as a mount would not count as a player. But I do advise against that. Its a violent game and Nalky might not be quite tame enough to avoid taking that the wrong way.

As for the playing field designs, I have two options for you. The correct option is some basic mining and stadium setup, pretty solid playing field that is at least interesting to see. Shape some rocks as we’re mining, add some seating along one side, maybe a snack stand too. It would cost roughly 300g150m and take probably three cycles to get done.

Option two is the completely impractical showboat Essi designed that will essentially be slapping our collective dick on the table to the badlands. She wants enchanted obstacles, massive levitating stands with a long a rail to keep even with the game, mirrors all over the ceiling, illusion projectors to act as a close up shot of the action, lighting the whole place with magic runes along the cave walls, a modular system to alter the obstacles every game or season, etc. It would be 2200g1800m over the course of four cycles and be completely unnecessary. This is why we call Essi the leader of the “RFC” department and many of her ideas are completely impractical…you’re considering it aren’t you?

Also they already have a system for mass viewing of foreign events, the game is the only mass entertainment around really. All registered arenas have representatives from the king sent to set up enchantments to make high powered scrying possible from linked viewing pools around the badlands. I can make a better one though if you really want. They use the basic principles of scrying to make water reflect an image and then levitate the water upright as a sort of viewing pool that can be seen from a bit more of a distance. I can make it work via illusions for a more three dimensional projection that scales up and down as necessary. I should rephrase, I know how to tell a student to do it so I don’t have to waste my time with it.

We got around to doing some deep researching of the orcish artifact now that the katara quarantine is handled. As suspected its tied to primordial magic. The weird part though, is that its creation involves the primordial abyss, not the wilds. We already know from Melun that the orcs are shamans at heart and trust in the wild spirits. While the object itself looks like something they would make, the power within it is definitely not theirs.

So remember how the katara have a genetic exploit to the dark spirits? Ansa says the orcs we’ve been fighting have one to the abyss and this artifact as well, but the orcs we’re fighting might not be the same as the orcs in command. In essence, they’re a fabricated species to give the orcish horde its footsoldiers by the thousands. But they’re dumb as bricks and fight everything they aren’t directly told to leave alone by someone who holds one of these artifacts. So the artifact and the berserker orcs were made alongside each other for this purpose. However, it might be that the true orcs are just….well orcs.

The queen finally arrived here so we all had a chat with her. After her…abrupt arrival she spent the week just hanging out and asking people strange questions or surveying our brickwork. Though in regards to regular politics she has been a bit difficult to work with. Largely because her city is based on independent isolation with a stagnant undead population who want for nothing. The only thing she ever seems to want is historical information and documentation, that is also the only thing she seems to export as well. Ansa went over the history with her while she was here. For access to the library someone has to personally visit the city to gain access to it and its publicly available texts, but to access the rare collection one has to trade something to add to see anything from within it. This is what I meant by that is her only import and export she is interested in as you can see.

She specifically has little interest in increasing her population’s numbers by acquiring new undead, as she feels that could disrupt her stance of neutrality and get her involved in a war. A lot of cultures get a bit uppity if you raise their soldiers as zombies and take them back with you as it were. This is also related to why she has refused to use the airship to help in the war with the orcs, noting that they have visited her before and she is not going to get involved in a war with them.

Essentially she’s so neutral that its almost painful. Though in line with all this and your other question, we could probably trade the tax book for at least one useful thing from her. Spend that option wisely.

Alright fine you wanna know the badland politics? Here we go. ((GDI mezzy))

The King of the badlands, also known as “the shaman” for reasons we cannot comprehend. Seriously he’s not a shaman he’s an engineer, we have no idea why they call him that. He can be described as an eccentric, energetic and happy person. Given how grim most people in powerful positions are, the fact that he’s just a ball of optimism and good times actually stands out enough for me to mention it. His brilliance as an inventor is unrivaled, though he doesn’t always take time to explain his ideas. Just throws them at his underlings and tells them to replicate it. He tends to stay out of everyone’s business and spend most of his time in the western citadel of Maji where he has made his home. He came to power through economic strength, when you get paid by every city in the kingdom to build their roads, street lights, aqueducts, transportation, doors, wells and so on – you tend to make a lot of money. One day he just started calling himself the king as an eccentric joke, the warlord who previously owned his citadel got offended and picked a fight. After they were blown to pieces The Shaman took over the citadel and everyone just said ‘yep he’s king’ and it stuck. A large factor in this was everyone liked him. He had been dealt with extensively as a merchant of technology and no one had ever had a problem with him. Once he took over the citadel it became clear that fighting him was suicide just by the nature of the fact that all of the peasants liked him. If some guy advances your quality of life by centuries within a decade, you tend to like that guy. I get the impression he just blunders his way through life by pure accident and keeps getting really lucky with it.

As a trivia fact, people find it hard to give gifts to the king. Because he seems so happy about everything that no one can tell if he actually likes their gift of if he is just super polite. This became a problem to some because the gifts he gives out are apparently the kinds of gifts people would have traded a city to acquire and its very hard to show appreciation to someone who seems to just love everything. Its a weird culture thing over there.

Abasi is a tiefling, though a very peculiar one. Instead of being the usual maximum of half demon and half something else, he’s 87.5% demon. That is how demonic his family line is. The remaining fraction is apparently, I am not making this up, Vaslochar. However, his family has lived in the badlands for centuries so he is very removed from them by now. He is one of the three lords of Maji and rules the southern citadel. Abasi is also the leader of Maji’s demonology cult on the grand scale at least. A cult which is the dominant source of power in Maji, with a few outlying exceptions. Abasi holds a hereditary position because no one has dethroned any of the three citadels in centuries with the exception of the recent takeover of the Shaman. However, it is interesting to note that the cult is tied directly to the primordial abyss, not a demon patron. Abasi is possibly the most talented demonologist in the world if you don’t count Euthar’s actual demon king.

Abasi himself is very relaxed, a little evangelical but otherwise minds his own business due to being well situated in his power as one of the three lords of Maji. However, he has seen to the rise and fall of other warlords from afar utilizing the influence of his cult. He was thought of as the superpower of the badlands until The Shaman rose to power. To his credit though, Abasi just shrugged and moved on with his day despite losing the #1 slot.

As a trivia fact, people have tried to assassinate Abasi a total of two hundred and sixty eight times. No one knows why its so hard to do. But if you’re going to try and take sabotage actions against Maji, do not target him.

Kaylen is an elf and she is also apparently the only one among them who believes in formal attire. Seriously the recurring fashion of the badlands is to be half naked and covered in jewelry. Kaylen is the military backbone of the entire badlands, holding the title of Grand Marshall. She lives in the northeastern citadel of Maji. It is the most fortified of all three citadels consequently. Her house sees to the training of soldiers and often deploys them around the badlands as she sees fit. Apparently her house, along with house Kjama, are two of the three founding forces of the badlands. She is descended from exiles of the elven lands, and her family has been the element of stability within the badlands that keeps it from going completely crazy with banditry.

So basically, she does military stuff. Makes weapons, trains mercenaries, and employs a massive army that does its best to curb the banditry and keep the other houses in line. She also has regular investments and taxes as well. While its true that the inner circles and officers of each warlord will likely be people they recruited on their own, most footsoldiers and town guards are coming from Kaylen’s house.

Okay now trivia facts time gets really…interesting. Like this might be worth a whole section if I wasn’t in the middle of briefing about the badlands. Kaylen is actually kiiind of an Oda. Before Oda became Oda they were just wandering people trying not to get eaten by monsters, their tribe split in multiple directions. Kaylen is from the group that took a right instead of a left. I’m just…going to send a letter to Oda for Kurisu to look over this went a lot deeper then I expected it to and I have the rest of the badlands to get to.

So those three are the major pillars of the badlands government and control the three citadels of Maji. Now to the regional lords.

 

We’re familiar with Faelyn but from a political standpoint lets go over this again. She is the ruler of Lieksä in the northern badlands and acts as a trade conduit between the badlands and northern settlements. She also has access to northern mana supplies, she apparently owns a mana harvesting town by a lake near her. Given mana is the currency of the badlands, that is a pretty significant source of income. The Damaia clan is particularly known for its work as traders and occasional loan sharks. While she doesn’t pick fights directly, she is known for being one of the more dangerous warlords. Upon investigating that, its largely because people don’t know her real race and as such every assassination attempt has failed due to underestimating her. Her military is also quite powerful, Gideon never really saw it because apparently they’re often deployed in the north hunting monsters but according to local hearsay she has the second largest army in the badlands cutting close to the actual largest.

I’m out of useful trivia facts for her given how familiar we are with her already. So a pointless trivia fact, her hair takes the labor of three servants every morning to get done.

Salahe is the lord of Ahedama, the land closest to the Oda. Family tree wise, he comes from Alosne, though is multiple generations removed. He is rather feared in the badlands due to a known history of being rather dastardly towards business partners that were not amicable enough to his demands. Odds are if the Oda tried to disagree with his deal for the village he would have attempted to ruin Okushiri. He doesn’t like people saying ‘no’ to him. While his business deals are never terribly unfair or anything, he is of a mindset that he gets what he wants. Militarily he would rank near the middle, but he uses his forces as marauders for extra income. Despite how problematic he can be to deal with, he is otherwise a perfectly nice guy until you aggravate him in some manner or another.

Salahe came to power by straight up murdering a dozen important people until everyone got the point and stopped saying ‘no’ to him. He declared himself the new lord of Ahedama and everyone just nodded quietly and shuffled along.

Interesting trivia fact I discovered. He has katara and oda women as slaves in his harem collection, he owns the bandit party that has raided into the forest several times over the years. To which note, he is also the most prolific of the warlords in human trafficking. I also learned he could sell us members of almost any race.

Zahur is fairly laid back, unlike most of the warlords he was hand chosen by the king to take his position after his predecessor died. His job is essentially a field general and is directly associated with Kaylen. I believe he’s actually her suboordinate. He serves a specific role for the badlands as an enforcer and border guardian along the south. He is the reason the orcs were trying to flank through the forest in the first place, because coming in through the south puts you up against him immediately at his fortress and main city, which are heavily defended. This would also be tied to why he is the one building that giant cannon at his outpost near the western border. Foreign invaders are his responsibility to deal with.

He is the lord of Dhame and its two military establishments. Because he has a specific role not based on economical power or fighting for territory, he tends to not be too difficult to work with. He knows his duty and carries it out. I’d say he is the most trustworthy of the regional lords. You don’t mess with him, he doesn’t mess with you. It is interesting he is considered a regional lord despite being under Kaylen’s direct command. He does technically manage the finances of his holdings independently from her, though he also accepts troops and orders from her. It sounds like an arrangement that came about from the fact that their hierarchy is all kinds of weird and this was just an easier solution to a problem then having a revolution in the hierarchy.

Trivia time, he has a foreign orc for his right hand man. It seems he recruited one from the horde a long time ago and this might be further related to why the orcs really didn’t want to fight him head on.

Esperanza is an Aasimar who rules over the port city of Gisenwe. Despite the “disarming angelic appearance” she’s one of the more cutthroat ones. Exploiting trade taxes and fees heavily to sustain her wealth. Odds are she marked up that dreadnought Katara bought by fifty percent or something to that effect. While she has the only navy of the badlands, she is not too significant militarily and has to rely on diplomacy. She could afford a powerful army but refuses to pay the upkeep on that if she doesn’t have an active war to fight with it. So she is very money obsessed you could say. She is also one of the more diplomatically talented and has contact with more external nations then any other warlord, likely due to her navy. However, she is very secretive in these arrangements so its unknown just how many people she is connected with. But strangers from foreign lands tend to show up in her city a lot, and sometimes problems for her just coincidentally disappear around the times of these visits. It is suspected she is quiet about her foreign contacts to avoid any other warlords disrupting her deals or getting in on her trade routes. I’m fairly certain any of the other lords who are interested have been able to find out by now, but we’re a bit behind the game on that one so I have no idea who else she’s trading with.

Trivia: Her grandfather was from Cayetano, she has never been there herself. Also her headpiece of choice looks stupid.

Laura Cecada, lady of Bito and the actual most feared warlord purely based on personality. We found out Laura is actually a katara descendant, three generations removed. She is also a witch to rival Vasia back when Vasia still had powers. Though without the support of a coven the spirits in her head have made her a little unstable and that is why everyone is so nervous around her. Her brutality is only unimpressive to us because we met Ankathi. While Laura isn’t one to initiate genocides as a first response, she is still quite a monster in her own right. She came to power by practically holding a city hostage against itself using her magic, eventually convincing the guards that anything was better then it continuing and being allowed to just walk in and murder the previous lord. Bito owns the town of Kitaza to the northeast which helps her finances due to it having a mana lake she can harvest from. While she is not too high up on the totem pole for her military strength, her personal abilities and erratic behavior make people unwilling to mess with her.

Trivia time: She has a strange phobia of other witches. We’re not sure why but she has specific defenses in her city just for dealing with other witches…she has never in her life met one. I suspect there is something strange going on with the dark spirit that inhabits her and its association with Katara. I also suspect this is an old broken plot hook because it was meant to be found earlier then Katara having that whole mess happen.

Usian Sefu is the lord of Mache, tiefling. Originally from the land of Euthar he found his home here and acquired power through his sheer charisma. People liked him, people did things for him, and tah dah – new warlord. A technical historical account is that he was a regular bandit at first. Then he was drafted to play aniraces and became a star player, gaining him great popularity. Then he went back to banditry on the side and rose to power bit by bit. He isn’t much of a military threat but he’s an incredible businessman who owns large numbers of raiders. As well as one of the top contenders for the anirace seasons every year. However, the bulk of his city’s defenses are actually under the employ of Zahur since Mache is near to the southern border. Usian is a recurring wild card in the political field because its hard to tell if he’s a malicious schemer or just a regular businessman. He is very popular with the people though.

As another bit of trivia, Usian is not a demonologist at all. Actually he seems to have a distate for them and keeps his distance from Abasi and the cult. Notably he prefers the wild spirits, even if he cannot be blessed with their magic because of his heritage his city has been pushing others to pursue shamanism and druidism while he sticks to just using conventional weaponry.

Okay so now that you know all the players. We’ll start with our friend Faelyn. She seems to have the most enemies brought on by the fact that she is the most successful of the non-central lords. Basically they all want her territory. She has a standalone citadel with access to Alosne, and now us, as well as the mana harvesting of the frozen north. She gets along fine with the King and Zahur. However, Abasi doesn’t like her…at all. Its suspected she and Abasi are at war with each other in the shadows.

She has a sort of puppet lord in the form of Laura, which I’ll get into in a moment. Given her sheer military power and control of the northern border, Zahur seems to keep in close touch with her as one of the main wardens of the badlands. Despite Zahur’s liking to her, Kaylen seems especially wary of her. It is worth noting that Faelyn’s army, despite its strength, did not hire any of its people from Kaylen. It is the only house in the entirety of the badlands not to do so.

Kaylen takes this as an indicator of just how powerful Faelyn can be as an independent and singles Faelyn out to be the riskiest factor in the land if she were to try something fishy. This has become more apparent as of recent because Faelyn suddenly has an army of Eilsath in her fortress, alongside members of Alosne, bandits from the badlands, and tribal warriors from the north as well. Also, as a special mention because I only noticed this upon going into an in depth investigation per your request…she has nalkas. Some of ours went with her scouts that came to visit and took up a job working for her. She beat us to arcane knights by several cycles, except hers are on the badlands hover bikes instead of horses. She has an elite warrior from every land she has contacted as her personal retinue right now. So…I should say its a good thing we started investigating her because she apparently knows fucking everybody.

The access to the north has made Faelyn very capable as an independent and it threatens to destabilize the badlands if she decides to stop being a trader and start being an empress. Oh not to mention Areti was with her at the tournament. Making everything just a bit more tense because Areti beat up half the guards in the palace lobby single handed then showed up the next day wearing Damaia’s emblem at the tournament.

Salahe is allied with Esperanza. Apparently their business dealings align with one another’s interest quite often so they tend to work together. They both especially don’t like Faelyn and seem to be a bit more jealous of her then most. However, neither of them are militarily her match even combined so they remain scheming from the distance.

Esperanza has a secondary ally in the form of Usian, though Usian doesn’t really talk much to Salahe nor want to get close to the man. Though it is rumored that all three are part of a larger conspiracy together but Usian wants to keep a distance from Salahe as not to marr his public image.

Laura is kind of Faelyn’s puppet and understudy. They’re both katara and Laura’s family left Sybaris three generations ago…during the cleansing. Both had a mutual hatred and healthy fear of Ankathi and apparently that led to them talking easier. Though Laura is too young to actually know Ankathi, she knows the legends her family passed down as well as the first hand account of Faelyn. Faelyn helped Laura start her mana harvesting town to the northeast, though claims some of the tribute. Because Laura has a hard time making allies with the others she is forced to hide behind Faelyn for protection from Esperanza’s schemes for the most part.

Zahur only really deals with other lords on major border areas. The others seem to be people he deals with out of pure necessity of his job. Though they are often actually drains on his resources due to him having to offer help with fortifications and manpower quite often. Because Faelyn is the only border force with enough military power to not need his help he seems to like her more since she doesn’t make his job any harder. Though there’s that whole thing going on between his boss and Faelyn as I mentioned earlier.

 

Did you get all that? Here I made a quick graphic to help.

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. So to get administration out of your hair first, we’ve agreed to the arrangement with Salahe, and the road into the badlands has been constructed.

Iwanagi made contact with the coastal town he came across, and took a closer look. The town as quite a sizeable population though spread over a huge expanse in the jungles of the island. They are somewhat primitive though have hints of advanced technology, particularly in their weapons. They have weapons of properly forged steel, but they otherwise have huts and loincloths. He suspects there is a more advanced civilization trading with them for something in particular.

However, this means they’re quite open to trade! We could easily trade some of our modern conveniences with them for raw supplies they have in abundance. These tribal folk appear to be hunters by trade, and thanks to the nalkas woman…Ansa I think it was? we know about the value of such materials from monsters that these people hunt for a living. It should be noted, they made a civilization based around teams of monster hunters which is their primary source of food. For having so little in the way of technology, I can’t help but mark that as quite impressive! They are most interested in tools and fabrics. They don’t have the technological know how to refine iron so they don’t have so much as a proper hammer and have to use machetes…which aren’t quite felling axes. So that should be easy enough to arrange.

It may be worth noting…while Iwanagi can only see so far the island seems to be big. Really big. Judging by talks with the natives, there’s a lot going on down there. Perhaps such a place should be further ventured.

Also Serizawa has returned home as well.

As for setting up a lake in Tonarooka, the problem with that is the island is volcanic. Its central point is at a higher elevation and water is liable to flow out of it more then into it, which wouldn’t really help with mana collection. However, building a settlement on the far side of the island would put it closer to deep waters so that might yield some results. I also suspect that lake in the forest near the mountains would be ripe with mana were not for the orcs in our way at the moment.

We’ll have to wait for Eliana to come visit to really ask her any furhter questions as she is now busy visiting the nalkas, though I know she plans to come here next.

As for the omni elemental cannon, they can technically make it work but it is of little value as it is right now since its just four cannons strapped together, which is not good for weight in particular. Though at least refining the idea is coming along.

I should mention the orcs have reached Haven, and we might want to keep ourselves alert to their movements. While Haven currently stands empty, thus preventing them from destroying it. We do have a road leading from it to us.

Now, onto other affairs. Shime recently returned, albeit somewhat tired. Reportedly she got into a fight with Serizawa at the monastery. Afterwards she went to visit Haven, and revealed she learned a new trick called KInesis…hehe good one. Her time with the druids taught her to tap into the wilds. So…okay we didn’t quite get druids out of Haven but we did get wild monks. She can now perform hydro, geo, pyro, and aerokinesis feats with just her ki to augment her abilities. This is an astounding achievement! I would have discussed it at length with her to help inform you better but as you know she doesn’t talk. She also didn’t stay here in Okushiri very long. Yuzuki is currently away so we’ll have to exhibit some patience on that one. Might want to let some people go train with her.

I received a letter from Heseli of the nalkas recently regarding his investigations into the badlands and I felt perhaps you might like to hear what he has uncovered.

This is Kaylen Yuriko, an elven warlord in the badlands who occupies the northeastern citadel of Maji. She came to his attention when he discovered she knew how to use ki. Quite proficiently I might add, she’s at the grandmaster level. Remember that kinesis trick I told you Shime had learned how to do? Kaylen has been able to do it for decades apparently.

Now, the more interesting part. Kaylen is apparently a descendant of our founders. Here have some tea, this is going to be a long one. I had to look up some history scrolls and speak with the elders to piece together this story for you.

Many years ago, before we decided to settle down in Okushiri, the Oda were a wandering tribe looking for a place to call home. Preferably a place where monsters didn’t try to eat us all the time. We had picked up an eclectic assembly of various people after the events of the dying night. One of these splinters included a group of elven exiles we must have met in the south before moving on. The story is murky but apparently we didn’t like the elves much, they had some sort of dark secret involving cannibalism. I feel we should maybe ask someone to look into that…but some of their people were exiled and traveled with us. Some of our ancestors wanted to settle down in the first convenient place they came across, some others wanted to search for better prospects. There are ruins in the forest of villages our forefathers must have tried to build only for the monsters to inevitably come. However, those of us who were hopeful of a promised land eventually went on to find this valley we call home today.

But before we found this valley, our people were beset by tragedy in the form of a powerful beast. Many of ours fell, and the tribe that remained scattered, never to see each other again. From this accidental schism we found Okushiri, but those who went the other way would reach the Badlands. Almost as if guided by fate to find the home of all exiles. This splinter of our tribe would take hold in the safety of the Badlands, and it is from this splinter that Kaylen descends. Her people were stragglers, exiles of their homeland that we took in, but they traveled with us. They fought with us, they struggled and prevailed alongside our ancestors. She wields a blade, an accent, a name, and the ki of our ancestors. I should say, she is one of our lost children. Given she is an elf, I would not be surprised if she is only one generation removed from those times, if not an actual survivor who may have known our elders in person. Okushiri is not even a century old after all.

It is no coincidence her family name is Yuriko. We named Shime that because of the elves our ancestors knew, it seemed properly fitting to give to her. I don’t think they are actually related, we just sort of named Shime that because she couldn’t talk. Though who knows, maybe the day she wandered into our city was after a lifelong journey alone in the forests separated from the others.

 

It’s only my third week! Don’t I get a breaking in period? Ugh, alright well lets run down the list.

So we’ve been having issues tracking down the actual leader of the coven cult. Not to mention four town guards have gone missing during the investigation. Supporting evidence we had previously that a real witch is at the head of this cult, possibly multiple. I think they were Winter’s loyalists who were actually smart enough not to openly oppose Ankathi. So they are of above average intelligence and proving difficult. I have gone through the former members of the Coven to set up a list of those who would have the training to do this, I am currently working to eliminate suspects as I can. For example Layla is unlikely be behind it, because she’s not even in the city and has a consistently strong alibi of being busy with her own stuff. So that’s one down…a hundred and sixty suspects left to go.

The scout boat made its way to the island with the abandoned docks finally. So far there isn’t much risk of Cayetano finding out since they didn’t appear to leave much in the way of guards besides the door itself. Though, obviously that door just had to be a fucking problem. Its sealed with magic, probably their best lock spell they could come up with given what we figure is in it. It simply will not open without magic, we already hit it with every rock we could find and shot it with the small cannon that was on the scout boat. It’s not that we need a specific type of magic to unlock it, its just that we need some sort of  magic to break it the brute force style. Might be worth asking Amare to look into it. Either way, we’re not getting through that door with raw firepower. Though alternatively maybe we could get through the mountain its buried in with a mining team, might take a little while though. Also that was the last report we received, the team went crazy and have gone missing since then.

Speaking of away teams, the tournament has concluded. None of our players placed in the top twenty though so not much for prize money there. Some of the people there are reportedly quite impressive…plus have been training for these games longer. Our players managed to place in the top half of entrants though at least, with Chara placing highest among them at 42nd. For perspective, there were over ten thousand entrants. Though some were interested in maybe taking some of the girls onto their teams none the less. Obviously the best ones though so if you plan to host your own team might not wanna let them do that.

I asked Layla about the Sanctum. While they can manage the budget and any necessary repairs, with no demons its just a big building. While some of the blackguards have remained behind in Katara, actually most of them did, those that remained have just gone back to being our soldiers for the most part, if they didn’t join the demon cult at least. I think one of them is a high ranking member in that conspiracy though. Back to the main point, the blackguards will not return without a demon master to consort with. On the upside, it was largely a fortified training structure with some unique features to suit the blackguards but those rooms could be repurposed. We could just convert it to be for a different order. While our ‘knights’ were largely rich girls who could afford armor and had formal training they were few and kind of meh. Sure you got the likes of Ankathi and Petrina from the namesake but the culture of knights has never been particularly prominent for us. With some investment and perhaps government funding – particularly for the armory, we might be able to start something with that building at least.

So, Petrina and Cybele aren’t witches for the record so they have little idea of what to do about the spirits. I don’t either. Judging by how Ankathi explained it, we cannot replicate the conditions without resorting to schemes on the level of what Winter was doing. Someone has to suffer immensely and convert that into enough rage to lash out at the spirits, but that someone has to already have contact with the spirits. Which none of us do anymore. The next idea is to get a bigger meaner incorporeal being to pick a fight with them. So that does loop back to your idea with the wild spirits or the earlier mention of demonology.

Also Christina managed to make contact with the archdruid, who says she will agree to come help out with the rampaging spirits problem but she has no idea about the whole enslaving spirits thing. All she can do is sort of exorcise the area, and she can’t do that until she’s done fighting the orcs. However, that would still help us a lot and give us some breathing room on this running timer to our extinction.

Also yeah, calling Orias hasn’t been particularly doable lately. Even the demonology cult trying to rise against us, and the coven cult for that matter, hasn’t actually contacted Orias himself. They got some smaller demon lord. Orias on the other hand will take more effort to contact. I don’t think its entirely due to lack of response though, I think we just don’t have anyone who knows how to contact him. If we find his son we might have better luck on that front, alternatively the demonologists of Vaslochar to the north might have some useful ideas. I think there are quite a few demon cultists in the badlands too for that matter.

Now the quest for a dragonborn is technically easy. We know where two are, but they’re both females and don’t think the most highly of us I believe. Finding a male, or an actual dragon, is a much tougher challenge. I went about reading and found a potential lead though, there was a cult of dragon shamans before the dying night. They were nomadic and well traveled. We don’t know what happened to them afterwards as we all lost contact with all other civilizations equally. There is a chance their descendants are still out there, if not there is a chance their remains might provide some additional leads. Though here is the solid part, the tax book thing we got? Their tribe is listed on it when they traded with whatever empire this book came from. On the list of things they traded lines up to be something that Melun was once known to produce. So the short version is that Eliana might actually know who they are and where they were last seen or at least something more substantial then ‘they used to exist’. *sigh* alternatively…

Okay so we sent the letters to Areti and Faelyn as requested. Areti appears to have chosen to stay with her sister. Maybe we should have been pushier, but apparently since dragonborn can utilize draconic magic she has opted to stay in Lieksä to learn those abilities from Faelyn. Faelyn sent a response as well. However, it is practically dripping snark and scheme. She mentioned that the Nalkas were already free to visit, given Gideon had already passed through and such. Additionally she mentioned that if we need a new patron deity she can help. The problem is I have to mention this purely because she mentioned that she knows where to find a dragon. Not dragonborn, an actual full blooded dragon of the primordial chaos that could destroy Sybaris if it felt inclined to take a morning stroll here. Apparently it was her tutor that taught her the draconic magic she is now teaching Areti. Remember when I said dripping with scheme though? In order to procure her help she wants every witch who was alive during the cleansing to be sent to Lieksä as an offering of apology so she can personally kill them. Sort of a badlands gangster justice I assume. That would be about twenty eight of our former coven members, the others who were around back then died fighting Ankathi just recently. Atop of that she wants you to allow her to establish an embassy in Sybaris, she was very specific on what building it would be too. While its just an empty manor on the outskirts, I did some checking because I don’t trust her. That manor would give her access to the underground tunnels and an ability to move throughout the entire city with a great deal of subtlety specifically because its out on the outskirts. I almost forgot she knows the layout of our city until I had checked that.

In the interest of being a good advisor I came up with all the pros and cons of what she’s saying if she is telling the truth about the dragon at least. I don’t think she would lie about something that major just because that would be obviously the first thing we would notice was fishy if she didn’t deliver on that. She is also a trader, which I feel is the real risk.

However, okay – objective pros and cons. A chaos dragon is tied to the primordial chaos the dark spirits are from. It could actually enslave all the dark spirits. Just by showing up they would be inclined to obey it just because its a fucking dragon. Also it being a chaos dragon means we’d pretty much have all our powers back, I’d go back to being able to reverse the aging process!  The siege curses would work again, and we’d be a pretty legitimate kingdom with the backing of something like that. Not to mention if its true, and it is out there, it might be beneficial to be on its good side should it decide to fuck us all up someday. Here is the catch, if it really is Faelyn’s mentor then the odds that it decides to fuck us all up can increase dramatically. Simply saying no to her could result in this being a problem. For perspective on how powerful a pure dragon is, Orias is a being so powerful that he can destroy Sybaris merely by being summoned into the physical world – by accident. That fight is 50/50 odds on either of them winning. Atop of that, her having an embassy here would actually boost our economy and probably tourism. She is at her core just a very successful trader.

Downsides. We have no idea what that dragon’s personality is like and something that powerful is bound to also be very dangerous. It was Faelyn’s teacher, supposedly at least, and is liable to like her more then us. While we managed to rebel against the dark spirits…a dragon is another story. That thing could theoretically destroy our entire alliance on its own, there is no rebelling against that kind of creature. It is worth noting that Orias does not exist physically in our world, so we have some distance against people like him. Dragons on the other hand do. Next, the strange placement of Faelyn’s embassy is a wild card. I don’t think she would set the city on fire or anything, but I do think we’d see a mysterious increase in illegal activities. Also I hope you are fully aware just how dangerous Faelyn actually is. Dragonborn we screwed over aside, she’s a badlands warlord. All of those people are exceptionally clever, whatever nefarious schemes she might truely have are beyond me and I have tried very hard to predict her. It might be as benign as her wanting access to Sybaris for its port or the forest, or even just to sell us a ton of stuff so she can make more money. It could be as malicious as wanting to kidnap our children and sell them as slaves in the badlands labeled as ‘exotics’. Perhaps maybe even cause our extinction I don’t fucking know.

As your advisor, I personally say that we need to be very cautious regarding her no matter which way you might feel on this. She’s a badlands warlord known for being rather clever. We are built on strength, which we have a lot of, even if we’re not idiots we still (as a whole) have a significant vulnerability to someone as good at scheming as her. Hell look at the damage Ankathi caused just by being patient. Also ever since Ankathi… I’m wary of underestimating how well people can hold grudges.

That being said, I also think we need to find out as much about her as we possibly can right now. Because now she has Areti, now she knows -everything- about us. She didn’t come for us while holding onto a grudge for decades, but all of the sudden she just took an interest because we sent a letter? If this woman can really contact a pure dragon, she should be queen of an empire by now. Something is fishy.

On to other matters though, because apparently I just can’t have an easy first month. Anyways, interrogating Bagrak has been interesting. As is part of my job, I will mention that it was Petrina who got any answers out of her. Bagrak doesn’t really respect anyone who isn’t a warrior, and is practically immune to torture. According to her the orcs are probably looking for her artifact. Which means they might not be going to the badlands, they might be going to the Nalkas.

However, Petrina also learned something interesting. See the orcs just wanted to loop up through the Badlands but ran into the elves at the gate. So you remember how stubborn the elves were when we first met them? Yeaah…..yeaaaaaaah. So most of this war is the product of how stubborn the elves are combined with how inept the orcish berserkers are at accepting diplomatic envoys. The orcs are part of a larger horde that intends to assault the badlands from the south, they are also likely to be sending reinforcements to the western forest soon after we eliminated so many of their commanders.

Okay, angels, right that next. Wait did you want paladins or aasimar? I guess maybe both. Either way, we have no idea. Though we do have a lead once again! Cayetano specialize in this, we could send someone to them to see what they might be able to tell us about the entities of the primordial light. If nothing else at least visit some libraries there to see what we can learn about such creatures to get more leads on where to actually find one of our own.

Also we managed to rope together some people to send south and work on the new village.

We sent the letter to Ansa, along with the book – bulk delivery and all. Ansa responded with a fairly rude –

Hi.

HOW ARE YOU GETTING HERE SO QUICKLY?

Stagecoach plus road.

 

 

Why? Wouldn’t a letter suffice?

I’m going to be honest, I just like calling you names. No one else has made as many terrible life decisions as you, its just so easy. It’s sort of become a hobby miss-daddy-issues.

I’m katara. I barely knew my father.

 

 

I don’t know if you don’t see the problem there or if you are genuinely that mind numbingly stupid. Does your mind just go blank whenever you need to invent a comeback or are you always an imbecile?

Ow ow ow that hurts let me go! I feel like you’re being meaner then last time.

No more Ankathi, I don’t need to even pretend to tolerate you guys anymore to avoid saying something racist for the benefit of her feelings.

You are all an incredibly, stupendously, amazing cavalcade of human fuckups. Quite frankly I am astounded to actually encounter an entire civilization of people dumber then the barbarians we killed in the north for being too stupid to tolerate. The only reason I’m even here is because princess-of-darkness over here is just too cute when she tries to put together coherent thoughts.

Okay I get the point can you-

Alright alright I’ll get to the point. The only reason I’m so nice to you is because Ankathi liked you. I gotta be careful about spoiling you though.

 

She liked me? Wait this is your idea of nice?

Yeppers. If I wasn’t you’d be dead for interrupting me. Pet peeve of mine, killed one of my students for it too. You might not realize this, but I just got promoted recently!

 

. . . uhh…wait you could even be promoted? Promoted to what?

With winter dead and Ankathi gone, I’m the most powerful person in the whole alliance. I could kill you right here and now and your guards couldn’t do a damned thing to stop me. Wait your society says that if I just straight up kill the queen over there I’m the new queen?

Please don’t kill the queen.

Ha, don’t worry. I turned down becoming queen of the nalkas already, not going to suddenly lower myself to queen of the dick seekers. I’d have said suckers but lets be honest you girls could never waste a drop of that white gold, I bet your men aren’t even cursed. Just dying of boredom in the bedrooms they’re confined to.

Anyways, the plague. Definitely constantly perpetuated by the spirits. If they were to let it run it would still be a problem but the reason its increasing in its spread and symptoms so rapidly is they are actively afflicting it again and again. As for becoming immune, no idea. No one has survived it yet. By the way Magia died. Hood-is-totally-for-the-rain-not-to-look-edgy, what is the local death toll up to?

*sigh* Well it was a few hundred after it started, then a thousand…this week five thousand died.

 

 

Yeah, it is getting out of hand. It can’t be good for local politics that the offshoot cults popping up are immune to the plague since they have contracts already. So anyone who joins the coven copy or the discount demonologists gets immunity to to it and that is definitely part of their recruitment pitch.

Anyways, enslaving spirits. You guys can’t do anything, don’t even try. Your people will keep dying by the thousands until you find a prince to introduce some other genetics and your whole civilization will be reduced to their offspring alone within the decade. What Ankathi did was a first throughout all of known history. Before you ask the hows and the whys and the whats – you can’t do it. It’s that simple. That is all there is to it. I can explain how she did it in step by step detail, and you can’t do it. You can spend the next three centuries trying, and you will fail. You can ask Eliana to do it, and she will fail. You can ask the entire coven of Katara and the entire coven of Melun to get together and gang up on one poor juvenile spirit, and you will fail. Spectacularly I might add.

. . . okay by that look I guess you want more explanation. Basically, she was inhabited by the spirit she enslaved when she did it. You have all been cut off from them now, so you’d have to remake your contract with them to even have the opportunity. Problem number two, they were actively trying to kill her when she pulled it off. You have to engage something that has a direct link to you in mortal combat and just fucking hope you have whatever it was that enabled Ankathi to do it.

So here are your options, you can all rebind yourselves to the dark spirits then stage a mass backstab on them and see if literally any of you survive. Remember, once in all of history, which means that statistically you all die, orrr you can find a new patron. I believe all those options were already covered. But the important part is Orias, a dragon, the wilds, a new bigger dark entity, whatever the fuck you want – are capable of counteracting the spirits. The more powerful the better. However, the longer you take the more you decline. The introduction of primordial genetics might help you, but you can’t logistically produce two hundred thousand in time to prevent literally anyone from just walking up and taking over your city, and someone will if you decline that far. If not Faelyn, then maybe Ankathi, or maybe myself, or just some random bandits.

Oh don’t forget you only can pick one, otherwise they start fighting with each other. See the whole spirits vs orias debacle, and yes Ankathi did that part on purpose knowing it would start a war. She had literally told Orias it was going to happen and that she wanted him to be ready to escalate it as fast as possible. It just went faster then she expected.

Actually, the archdruid has agreed to help us remove the spirits so that we won’t really need another patron.

 

 

I suppose that works too actually, didn’t know druids could exorcise things. So ignore half of what I said then, pick the correct half. However, I do admit I am not an expert on this topic. I do more…real magic. You know, the kind where you have to be able to do it yourself instead of depending on something else like you parasites. Anyways, I’m headed out now. See you later.

I hate her. I hate her so much. Can we please stab that fucking woman. Ugh, I need my herbs.

 

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This kingdoms on fiiiiiiiire

Patch notes:

Cavalry movespeed reduced from 5 to 4

Boat movespeeds increased.

Warship/Dawnbreaker: 4 to 6
Scout: 5 to 8
Hunter: 6 to 9

Thyra given 22 free hexes of movement to compensate and to move this damned thing along.

 

Stories of Lore 14

Our men have made their way to the southern cities of the badlands to pick up the monsters and have started bringing them back. They sent one of the party members ahead with a sign informing people not to be alarmed over the monsters…yet.

 

So far the witches are quarantined…though I feel it might be relevant for me to inform you that their quarantine rooms are in Ansa’s lab. Fortunately her lab is her entire manor so its not like they are uncomfortable. Though KouKou seems scared of Ansa for some reason. Can’t imagine why.

She has also taken over monitoring the refugees and giving some of them jobs working for her. I initially thought she was being nice since Ankathi is her friend, then I realized that I was being silly. She’s keeping them close to her for the purposes of long term study and I am about ninety percent sure at least one of them is going to have something weird slipped into their food within the next year.

Why is it when you request a habitat for the captured monsters my concern is that the next idea you’ll have is to open up a petting zoo? Though Uudistar proves an auspicious location because the Ghuan are there and good at burrowing. The monsters don’t really like the cold, and so the most cost effective -long term at least- solution was to include underground caves in their habitat to keep them cozy.

Also I do not need a horse. I have no intent of leaving Jämsä in the forseeable future and I have other methods of travel that are far superior. I know how to levitate if I’m ever really too lazy to walk.

Aato seems to adjust well to being geared up, I went ahead and just threw every shiny thing we have on him. Best armor, best weapons, best horse, best horse armor. Since he is the most prominent of our commanders in the public eye, I figured it would be good to make him fancy as hell. He is already born to the upper class and puts on a good show of a respectable general. I may have done this partially for show when Eliana gets here.

Iraeka is now on her way east with her team alongside Manhunter. We’ll see what she finds out there. For now they will be taking a ‘don’t be seen’ approach since neither of them are great diplomatically but the whole team is meant to be a bit subtle. I mean lets not forget, Iraeka kind of raped Sakki when they met. Also shot our other ambassador before exchanging any words. If they find anyone we want to talk to, we’ll send someone more talented with words and first impressions. . .
As I review our roster I realize we only have one person qualified for that. So Aato, we’ll send Aato if we want to talk to anyone.

The engineering team won’t really be able to do much with the platform until Nalky gets here as its a weirdly shaped critter and might take some special measuring and designs to achieve that.

Speaking of engineering, Essi has returned and had some ideas based on her field experiments. Largely regarding golems. We’ve managed to come up with some upgrades to the existing ones Katara is using to harvest resources so that has gotten a bit more efficient. But Essi also figured out how to make war golems. It turns out she had Varpu and Eero manifest her design ideas while she was down there to see which ones didn’t immediately fall over on themselves. As well as field testing her existing ones. They’re big hulking monstrosities that can definitely help in a fight but they are a little slow when moving. Not good for chasing, exceptional for sieging though I have to say, or against any enemy that intends to actually fight them rather then run away. They have a high initial construction cost but the maintenance fees are lower then most paychecks so you get a return on investment there. However, they have a quirk. They’re dumb as hell. They need real people with them to command and maintain their groups or they’ll just stand there like idiots.

Greetings Keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Iwanagi has discovered another piece of land in the southern sea, along with a new small coastal town along his journey.

Konya, Yuzuki, and their retinue have made it to Ahedama to negotiate with Lord Salahe over the matter of the abandoned village. The deal Konya managed to procure is that we can have the village if we pay a 15% tribute from that village’s income to him and he will be stationing his men there. His interest in the village is its position as a border defense location and is more concerned with placing his military assets there for that purpose. He will leave us to colonize it from the civilian standpoint as long as the tribute is paid so the military station he is interested in will be funded. On the upside of that deal, it means the settlement will be well defended without us having to manage its defenses ourselves. On the downside it will be Salahe’s forces so any conflict with him could become very involved.

As a second part of the deal, Salahe intends to register his anirace team’s home field in the area this season dead on top of the meeting point between the three borders near the village. That part wasn’t that big of a deal Konya figured.

The road to Haven has been completed, and people have begun to move to that area. Hopefully we’ll see some results soon.

Also in regards to your question about Faelyn and Salahe, I’m told the general mood is one of regional lords serving the same king. Though if given the chance they’d kill each other to take over their territories and business. The badlands appear to be a little cutthroat. So while they can be described as civil with one another, any hint of weakness and one will destroy the other.

We do have bards around the city I’m sure. They like to hang out at local taverns. I don’t think Kaze can sing though, not that I’ve ever heard him try for that matter.

As for creating the mana lakes, according to Eliana that requires an obscene amount of ecological manipulation, labor, and dumb luck. Adding plants under a lake is maybe 3% of the requirements. The mana lakes in the north occurred because the underdark is its own massive and sprawling ecosystem several times the size of the lakes. It would be easier to create a mana lake by finding a mana rich environment and digging pathways into a man made lake rather then trying to take a lake and building up the area around it.

As for mana production we could try to place a colony on the islands we found to the south. I mean suuure the abandoned docks are ominous but we’ll just stay away from that spot. In particular the highest mana yields tend to come from places near large bodies of water with a lot of life in them. As well as forests and other areas with expansive ecosystems. You will notice Tonarooka and Haokim are significant mana producers, though it was not previously being harvested since their civilizations were small and had little use for it. As infrastructure for harvesting it is implemented they are growing rapidly.

 

So the sickness is getting worse. After Ankathi left they seemed to find a second wind in making our lives difficult. Every prince in the kingdom is dead or will be dead by the end of the month. I advise we make sure Ryo Soo-Yeon doesn’t come home until this is all dealt with. He might be a tiefling but its a bit risky and I kind of like him not dying. He’ll be fine out in the badlands for now anyways.

The civil unrest is also getting out of control with many of the people starting their own cults. Including a faction of wannabe witches who have sided with the spirits and are now acting as sort of domestic terrorists. The guard have dealt with a few of them but we’re aware more are out there. We think they’re being led by a former member of the coven but the bulk of their members are just civilians who have no idea what they’re doing. Meaning there is only one real threat among them.

Petrina has returned to Sybaris to help deal with the matter. She said in these times of  need she is needed here more then managing the small population of Tethalyn and has taken control of the local loyalists. It’s been convenient for us that she happens to be a well known former general of high repute as it has done well to help calm the unrest in general. The regal personality doesn’t hurt either compared to when the people had Ankathi the terrible to look up to. So, some silver lining in all this at least.

When Ankathi left I went to say goodbye to her, and I noticed others she bid farewell to were a bit more upset to see her go. Vanessa and her fifty loyal soldiers have left the kingdom to follow Ankathi.

Cybele has started to lead the slaves of Marilens to Sybaris to avoid the orcish war path, and Christina is on her way down to meet with the druids. I say the druids generally because during war time the archdruid is hard to really locate apparently. She was last spotted near the moving orc parties fighting them still.

Oh and Amare actually managed to recapture Bagrak, despite the opportunity to escape she is still a blind orc in unfamiliar territory being hunted by a druid on home turf. So we have Bagrak back as a prisoner. Amare just dropped her off and then left to go fight the orcs some more.

On the upside, the archdruid’s forces managed to kill another of the orcish commanders and destroy their artifact.

As for the Oda we can negotiate to buy the dawnbreakers from them I’m sure, just at a slight markup most likely just as with the Nalkas armor and weapons.

Thyra has arrived at her destination and picked up the slaves and the dreadnought. She will be on her way back soon.

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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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