The game is afoot

He’s on vacation so I’m back for the week. As per your… ever so enlightened orders, they have begun construction of the defenses as earlier mentioned. Fortunately they aren’t exactly labor or resource intensive since it is underground and surrounded by rock already.

Also Sakki managed to catch the manhunter, or more accurately Iraeka did. One hunter can find another I suppose. How fortunate for you that Sakki had a friend who could prevent your hasty decision making’s pitfalls.

In the meantime, the old coot has continued along the arctic border, this hasn’t yielded much else of interest as of yet.

As per the brilliant strategy of increasing the number of people we have present in drow territory, I have the useful tidbits of their reports here.

House Vaslochar, the most powerful house lays claim to also controlling the church, and as such are somewhat specialized in demonology. They call themselves priests, but from an academic standpoint we might consider them warlocks since they consort with demons. Though on the other hand warlocks are known for making deals for power, priests are known for being reverent so if you want to get technical about it they’re warlock priests I guess?

Anyways, a large part of Vaslochar’s power stems from the economic boons controlling the church yields them. Particularly in the form of labor due to the demonic servants, tributes offered to the church, and of course the power it gives them to just declare random shit that no one can really check whether or not it actually came from whatever demons they consort with. This gives them a unique ability to avoid certain compromise in disagreements by simply saying some demon or another won’t support it and there is nothing they can do about it.

In dealing with them we have to keep in mind that for better or worse they are the most powerful house. So it brings a measure of confidence to them, also they are prone to some unpredictable behavior due to their association with the church side of the matter. Though on the upside they are quite hospitable, for now. Unfortunately we only have so much information regarding the matters of demons and warlocks to work with. For our ambassadors, the Vaslochar stood out as the most confident and eccentric of the houses.

House Ghuan, the second strongest, is an arcane focused house. Specializing in the raising of wizards, this has made them appear quite wealthy due to the higher number of enchanted street lights and other shiny baubles that decorate their territory. They definitely presented themselves as wealthy to our ‘scouts’ but upon comparison to Vaslochar the difference is quite obvious. They have their own academy structure, as we do, and it is fairly impressive. They also chew through their mana resources like we do, possibly not the best potential ally for trade as they are always seeking the same resource we are. A good portion of their power comes from the illusion of power that placates their own people, hence all the shiny things around their territory. As Heseli’s prior report mentioned though, their primary issue is a lack of access to steel. While they are not devoid of it, it explains their preference for wizards. This is part of why I call it the illusion of wealth, they need to train soldiers for very long periods of time to turn them into wizards but an army of wizards will most certainly be destroyed by a more traditional force. If nothing else, just the sheer numbers that equipping a peasant levy with gives an advantage let alone the professional warriors still reign supreme on the battlefield.

In dealing with them, they actually have a pretty solid understanding of the arcane so whatever we tell them they will understand quickly and easily but it also means the gap between us and them is quite narrow. Also that if any house is liable to find a way around the tunnel defenses Heseli came up with, it is Ghuan. For the sake of security it might be best to make sure they’re pretty dead. On the other hand migration between us might be smoother with Ghuan due to the similarities in lifestyle. They did the same thing that Vaslochar did, project themselves with confidence and from a position of power. Though it was a lot less authentic, Vaslochar has real power and a level of faith that can make them delusional at times. Ghuan opted to put on airs and we noticed them being quite glib in their dealings with our ambassador, dodging certain topics for perhaps a day or two before returning to it. By our estimates, they were gathering information before speaking to try and figure out how best to handle us. They stand out as the most cautious and clever of the houses in our dealings with them.

House Eilsath is the weakest and poorest house…on paper. Now that we can compare, it is obvious they are the strongest house in spirit. Ironically, it is their poverty that makes them so mighty. They rely primarily on traditional roles due to their lack of access to specialties – which means people who are good with sharpened metal objects. Their power is expressed through traditional soldiers and also while we assumed all drow were treacherous, it has now become clear that Eilsath is the actual house of assassins. Without the demons of Vaslochar, they have to work their own fields. Without the arcanists of Ghuan, they have to train with traditional weapons. Putting all this together it is to be noted that in the event of full war the Vaslochar can produce more soldiers since their people are freed up from tedium by the demon labor, but Eilsath’s conscripts will be stronger due to…actually doing physical labor. Also more likely to defend what they have fiercely, never underestimate a farmer with a pointy stick who thinks you’re there to take away his farm. Because of Eilsath’s lack of wealth and difficulties with food they are still the weakest house in the event of military conflict on paper, but I would wager they will maintain the highest kill death ratio of all the available armies. They’d still lose, but they would definitely take someone down with them. That is assuming the conflict was very mundane though, a house of assassins can definitely change the odds if they can take out important people.

In dealing with them, as we have so far, they’re cruder then the others and a bit more primitively barbaric. Though now that we have a greater understanding of them we do see that some of these extremes are unique to their culture. They project themselves as violently as possible to dissuade the other two from making any moves against them, as a reminder that they are very willing to resort to violence and much more capable of it then the logistics would give them credit for. Now that we have contacted the other two to compare, the Eilsath stick out a bit more. As you know already, they killed our first ambassador and then took in Sakki in a way almost reminiscent of camaraderie. They’re the poorest and seediest of the houses and they know it, instead of projecting an air of regal delegation they opted for strength. Easily admitting to Sakki what they knew and didn’t know unlike the others. They stand out as being the most blunt and decisive of the houses.

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Phew, fuckin drow. This is the longest report I’ve ever had to give. I hope you got all that because I’m sure a wise king such as yourself wouldn’t want to miss any details, and I’m not repeating that. Moving on, the Oda have sent someone to help deal with this Faelyn, Ice Queen is a stupid name I’m not calling her that. Who keeps coming up with these stupid names? At the very least the Katara queen is literally the queen of witches. But you know what she’s even more the queen of? Fucking Katara. Whatever moving on.

There was only one great tomb that we awoke from, it is unlikely that any offshoots exist. If they do and I don’t know about them I am going to resurrect your predecessor and kill them again. Though that line of thought will be explored anyways purely because as you seem to have noticed, it is strange that despite us only being awake for two generations Faelyn is so sure of Gideon being one and us having a city to find.

Unfortunately despite the tip, Ankathi is currently busy on campaign besieging some fort or other. So she’s unlikely to come and see these darker skinned elves.

I’ll tell you right now with the golem suit thing, they would be a lot more fragile then you are thinking because fitting a person in them would not be easy without making their core power source exposed. To that end though, Essi had a similar project. She was trying to explore their uses in warfare, specifically mounting siege weapons onto them. She has one with a ballista on its back and it just bends over and gets on all fours and then a crew can use the weapon…it keeps falling over backwards when walking though. Work in progress. Though the university is near constantly trying to make advances in the field of golems, though I feel it is a lack of…something that prevents any major breakthroughs not a lack of ingenuity.

Now, give me a moment to find the stupid book. Here you go, an idiots guide to mana. Don’t mind the scratched out original title. Anyways, it develops generally as a byproduct of life I suppose you could say. Mana itself can create bizarre ecosystems, but the ecosystems existence will create more mana. This is why we can harvest it from people and animals ourselves as nalkas. This is also why it is plentiful in regions like the forest to the south and nearly missing in barren places such as the badlands. It tends to be most plentiful in the oceans, our coastlines benefit from this because of the ice. It sort of prevents us from having sandy beaches on our coast line which are usually slopes into the deep sea. The ice puts our docks right over deeper waters, reefs, and consequently – life. When we first found the north, the mana lakes were definitely strange. It isn’t barren of life, I mean we still have forests and the like, so it makes sense to have a fair amount here. It was bizarre that there is an abundance of it up here in some of the lakes. I say was because our new…friends have given us the answer. Those tunnels underneath us are very alive with fungi and moss. Along with some critters, essentially a second ecosystem. The lakes are pulling some of that up into themselves as well as pulling some from the surface. They’re acting like focal points for mana on both sides of themselves and benefiting as the resting place of two worlds at once. Compare our lakes to that of the fishing village to the south east the Oda have taken over. Their lake has mana aplenty, but nowhere near the concentration of ours….by a measure of half. This means that wherever there is a mana lake, there is an underworld. While Sakki’s report never mentioned tunnels under Uudistar, I guarantee you that if you start digging you’ll hit a tunnel network again. Though either it just hasn’t come up in conversation, or the drow don’t know that. As in, they never found this other tunnel network and there may be a whole other civilization under Uudistar. Have fun losing sleep over that one.

Essi is traveling to Uudistar slightly slower then you might expect…she packed up practically her whole lab. So she’ll get there eventually.

The golem experiment yielded mediocre results. It is notable that the wood is like a mana battery for the golem which is attributed to their higher efficiency from the old design. A smaller quantity of it definitely proved just as effective – buuut to little gain. The wood isn’t actually any more expensive then the original stone design, masonry is kind of expensive so even though they were plain rocks it took more effort to make the components then with the wood.

Also, Eamond has arrived at the isolationists village and begun the process of raping and pillaging them. Lost some men in the assault though that is to be expected. He has prioritized the artifact and secured it to be brought back. Not to mention some other loot from the raiding, its all in the economics report.

To wrap things up, during the Oda ‘training exercise’ we managed to construct more dockways and roads along the coastline to expand our influence over the area.

 

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

People are doing stuff they tasked to do with indeed. Also added that ship. To which end, one of our warships was lost at sea to a rather…big monster during the training run.

As for mage monks, we actually don’t have any that show such aptitude…but we do know it exists. That one nalkas visitor we had a long time ago who created a sort of arcane brawler style of fighting. I believe he was named after a drink, Sakki or something.

As for the druids, still not terribly much luck. We made some progress while Amare was in Tethalyn to help, but it is a difficult art to grasp. Because it draws from a conscious entity it has so far proven difficult to learn, as it is currently just the art of trying to convince the wilds that it is a good idea and that the people we sent are sincere enough. Though the fact that we literally sent them has also created an oddity in doing something like that.

Konya is standing by to meet the new people before heading north, they haven’t arrived yet but it is likely that this tiefling lady’s people will not be finding the Nalkas faster then they arrive anyways.

Iwanagi has found the bay that the coastal fort mentioned to him, it is indeed an impressive place. A few cities line the area with a strong fort at the tip to police the waters and a massive citadel lurking at the heart of it. He’s only just arrived though so that is all the details we have for now as he has yet to make landing in any of them.

As for sending out more scout ships, we’ll have to build those first.

To which end, Yuzuki has also found something of interest while exploring to the south east. A city named Moncayo Pass, it is situated between two mountains and kind of hard to avoid because of that. Apparently its half a trading outpost and half a bandit outpost. They are inclined to trade but they definitely don’t make it easy for non paying citizens to pass through their territory to get to the other side. Though we’ll see how long that strategy holds up if the orcs notice their presence.

Our fishing village friends have grown bolder since joining our nation, and have expanded their influence over more of the lake they reside by. To add to this our island friends did not previously know what to do with mana that much, our interest in such a resource has shown them producing additional efforts to procure it from their island. So their mana production has been going up quickly since there was so much unexploited resource to gain there.

And finally, remember how Iwanagi said the archdruid considered us all her vassals? We received a call to arms from her in regards to the orcish threat in the southeastern forest. Wynolwind being her chosen rally camp.

Euterna and Areti are on their way back, and Ankathi has made her way towards the mountain fort.

Also Christina and Marilena have made their way to the city of Lennecas, where they engaged in diplomacy with an elven prince. This meeting was somewhat precarious, though wound up being flipped in our favor by the sudden appearance of Amare who, I am told, smacked her own cousin and ordered them to shut up and take the help. Likely because the Gate of the Forest has officially fallen, and we’ve caught wind of the Orc Warchief’s presence. The elves managed to defeat one of the other orc warlords but lost two of their own commanders in the process. The orcish push has halted at the newly taken city to replenish their numbers and reinforce, as well as regroup with the massive army of the warchief.

However, the orcs making it into the forest seems to have sparked the Ire of the Queen of Wolves who is now on the move. To which note, apparently she really does consider herself empress of the forest because she sent us a call to arms. She also sent one to Oda, the elves, and some very confused independent villages right now. What is peculiar though is she didn’t specify what the actual demands are. So we could probably get away with sending just one of our armies. I do however recommend we send someone specifically to observe the archdruid just so that we can get a better perspective on who they really are.

She has made her way to Wynolwind and has chosen the elven city as the military camp. Civilians are being evacuated from it by the elves, also there’s been a distinct lack of monster attacks as of late. Scouts have reported seeing them migrate to the south east.

While the orc commanders are regrouping at the gate for the time being, hundreds of scouts and smaller scale officers have advanced into the forest to poke around. So it might no longer be reliable to predict where they will be attacking, the forest is quite vast and there are many orcs to trickle through it.

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