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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Beta™

Patch Notes:

Change to hero system:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changes to military units:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changes to settlements:

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

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

-New settlement defense increase option in buy sheet.

-New settlement type upgrade option in buy sheet.

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

-New tokens and token system:

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Addition of Siege Mechanics:

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

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

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

 

___________________________________________________

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So she’s getting richer basically.

Also we started building an airship dock as requested.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh shit.

 

 

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

We know that part. We needed help with-

 

 

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

I feel like you’re messing with me again.

 

 

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

I am over a hundred years old…

 

 

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

You were asleep!

 

 

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

Holy shit there really are two of them…

What did I say about talking?

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Stories of Lore 12

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Perhaps wrote more then intended.

Stories of Lore 11

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Whee

Stories of Lore 10

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Travelin days

Stories of lore 9

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also we expanded the influence of our district again.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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