The Avernum RP, IC Thread

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AuthorTopic: The Avernum RP, IC Thread
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--Fort Dranlon--
It had been a few hours since the young scout had returned to the fort. Krynt knew that the Lady was devious, but he never suspected that she would kidnap one of the apprentices. Worse yet, apparently they demanded assistance in reopening the portal at Fort Avernum. Master Krynt sighed to himself.

Opening portals was a difficult task at best. Mages untrained in proper techniques can easily find themselves in great danger from the powerful energies being woven together. Krynt was indeed powerful; however, his expertise was in barriers, not portals. Krynt walked slowly down the stairs to the meal hall. He felt his gut turn as he realized what he had to do.

"I need two volunteers," the aged wizard said to the young mages and apprentices. "One to head back to Fort Dolthar and bring back Acrio Sulfi. The other is to head to Fort Avernum." Almost all of the crowd stood up to volunteer. Krynt knew they would, most of them were tired of waiting around for something to happen.

Krynt chose Anthony, the scout who had been kidnapped to return to Fort Dolthar. A young female mage, Erika, was chosen to head to Fort Avernum.

--Fort Dolthar--
It had been a few days since Acrio Sulfi had left the medical ward. Colton had also healed and was busy mingling with the other mages. It seemed like things were slowly getting back to normal. There was still the matter of what to do about the ruins to the south; however, Acrio decided that the best action at the moment would be to help Denrich realign the barriers around the fort.

With Master Krynt gone, this job was no easy task. An invisible network of magical energies flowed around the fortress supplying the barriers with their power. Through some workings unknown to Acrio and Denrich, Master Krynt created a device to monitor the barriers. A recent check showed a growing disturbance in the energy distribution. Acrio and Denrich had hoped that realigning the nodes responsible for dividing the energy would fix the problem. However, as they had little to no knowledge of what they were doing. Only minor adjustments were possible.

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Amadis struck an unforgiving match to the Pheonix Empire's reply. He watched in satisfaction as the parchment withered into a pile of soot.

As the last embers faded away, a tall, thin man stooped in the doorway. "Message from Howard Shears , your Ingenuity."

Amadis gleamed with contempt at the courier, "Well what are you waiting for, give it to me!"

" Greeting Amadis,

I am pleased to inform you that construction of the city is complete. I have promptly named the city Amadis, as you would wish. Local resources are currently being processed for supplies

With all respect, Howard Shears.

Amadis smiled briefly, only to be interrupted again by the arrival from Ferrrald and Shamgar.

"So" Amadis inquired, "What have you with Tinraya?"

"All was clearrr, Amadis. Skirbbane isn't an option though."

Shamgar removed several pouches from his tunic. Amadis nodded in appreciation.

"Now Shamgar," Amadis addressed the two, "Head south. The Hunters make me nervous, but I've also learned of another presence there. Investigate."

"But Amadis," Ferrrald whined, "Surrrrely I'd be severrred by their blades."

Amadis scoffed,"They're called cloaks."

Ferrrald walked nervously with Shamgar. The two of them having their faces veiled drew some attention, but they continued regardless.

"What's the deal here," Shamgar asked.
Ferrrald shrugged.

Ferrrald caught sight of a lonely stall. An arrangement of various missiles lay on the table, under keen watch by its owner. A wicked looking bow caught Ferrrald's eye, his covetous thoughts turning into action.

"How much," Ferrrald asked.

"Say, I don't quite recognize your accent, almost sounds like kitty," the man said humorously.

A strong gust of wind lifted Ferrralds cloak halfway off his head. Seeing the danger, Shamgar sprinted to his aid. The man, meanwhile equipped a quiver.

"You one of those religious folk," the man sneered, trying place an arrow upon the notch.

Ferrrald remained silent as adrenaline permeated his veins.

The man fired. Ferrrald dodged it easily, while Shamgar went into action. The shuriken he threw found its place in the merchant's jugular vein.

Guards rushed to the scene, overpowering the two thieves. They were jerked down the street and promptly tossed into a cell for questioning.

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"...and I decided to accept their offer." Bekath finished his report.

"I see..." Iocabe said carefully, seated at the head of the council room. Then, oddly enough, he smiled. "Well, we might as well make the best of it. However, I'd start evacuating non-humans from the city immediately."

"Already done. I got Dewiss and a few high-ranking nephilim out of the city, and we've got plans to eventually get every non-human out. If all goes according to plan, they'll be safe and cozy within the walls of Aminro or Angel's Rest within the next three or four days, and the Hunters will be none the wiser. Oh, and speaking of non-humans, there seems to have been a small incident in one of the Hunter bazaars."

"Incident?" Iocabe asked warily.

"Yes. As I was leaving, I noticed a small stream of guards rush past. When I got there, two people were getting hauled away, a human and a nephil. Additionally, a merchant was dead with a bow in his hand and a shuriken in his throat."

"Were the pair set up or do you think they actually killed the merchant?"

"I have no doubt that they were who killed them, but all considered, it looked like self-defense. There was an arrow embedded in the wall which corresponds with the trajectory the merchant would have fired. But if the Hunters get their way..."

"...they'll cover up the evidence and execute them." Iocabe finished. "And what's more, it'll rile up the Hunters as an example of how non-humans are barbarians, despite the fact that it was likely the merchant who initiated the fight." Iocabe leaned back and sighed. Then he straightened up and added, "Were the pair Sanctuary civilians, or are they foreigners?"

"I've only seen Wraith dress up the way they did, so unless there's some covert mission I know nothing about in Sharimik, there's no way these people are from Sanctuary. And even if there was, I doubt a Wraith would be clumsy enough to be so easily captured."

Iocabe leaned back once again. "The only reasons a non-human would go to Sharimik is if they were unaware of the new regime in place, suggesting they're from a distant land, or if they were on orders to do so. Either way, this could present an opportunity. I'll have to send a Wraith there to investigate and see if it isn't possible to bring them to us. Discreetly, of course. We don't want to overly aggravate the Hunters at this stage, not when a war would be this costly." Iocabe's gaze wandered, then suddenly fixed on Bekath. "Now, for your next orders."

"I'm going back to Sharimik?" Bekath ventured cautiously. He was not enamored with spending another minute in that cesspit of bigotry.

"No. I want you to gather ten of the best clerics we have. I want you to train them in combat, drill them as vigorously as you once were. Drill them in their holy rites as well. You are to become a direct conduit of my will."

Iocabe stood and approached Bekath. "Kneel, Bekath." Bekath did. Iocabe stood over him. "Do you solemnly swear everlasting fealty to Sanctuary? To be unwavering in your devotion to our god, to not be swayed by the forces of evil that surround us? Do you swear to be of courage and resolve, to boldly battle any enemy, even those that other men would dare not cross?"

Bekath contemplated briefly, wondering why Iocabe would question even for a moment his loyalty. He then stated, "Yes."

A gleam appeared in Iocabe's eyes. "You went to knee as a humble priest; now rise as a Crusader of Sanctuary!" At this, Iocabe signaled a guard, who promptly stepped outside. He then, on a wheeled stand, brought in a full suit of gleaming battle regalia. Bekath stood in awe. Iocabe had spoken occasionally about forming an elite group of paladins, but never had he dreamed of this.

"I'm a Crusader?" Bekath asked, stunned.

"Not just. You will lead the Crusaders that follow." Iocabe approached the battle regalia and gave a gleaming suit of plate mail a tap. "All finest steel armaments, blessed by our greatest priests. I in fact blessed the plate mail myself. You should be honored."

"I am, sire..." Bekath said as he approached the armaments. Not a single piece of armor had been left out, and a sheathed broadsword was attached to the belt around the plate mail. A cyan emblem in the shape of a sword was emblazoned on the breast of the plate mail, the front of the large shield, and on the shoulders of the plate mail. Bekath turned once more to Iocabe, bowed, and then wheeled the armaments off to his quarters to change.


Wevern and Faenelle spoke in quieted tones while walking through the halls of the Angel's Rest church. "The crystals were benign. They house no magical power or aura." Wevern stated to Faenelle. Ava trailed behind the duo, wearing a new silver necklace. Faenelle thought briefly. "Do we have any use for them?"

"Not really. But we could likely barter them for supplies and coin. However, I'd like to keep a few for myself, for magical study. Also, I gave one to Ava here for her work in bringing them to me." He waved his hand idly at the priestess. Indeed, one of the white crystals was set in the necklace.

"Make sure to present the crystals you do not need to our quartermaster." Faenelle increased her pace slightly.

"Consider it done, noble priestess."


A small Sanctuary patrol was keeping watch on the road between Aminro and Angel's Rest. Brigands were horrifically common in these troubled times, and it was their job to make sure that the scum didn't intrude on Sanctuary or its people. Which is why, when the patrol leader heard sounds of combat, he signaled to his men to speed up.

The patrol came around a corner in time to see three brigands ganged up on what looked like an imperial soldier. The soldier was better-armed, but the brigands were not to be denied. A blow to the head left the soldier prone. However, as the brigand stooped to pick the unfortunate soldier up, a blast of holy energy impacted his back. The brigand crumbled as the other two whirled on the approaching patrol. Another brigand was downed by a gout of flame, and the last attempted to flee. He only managed to take a few steps before he was then felled by an arrow.

The patrol then grabbed both the soldier and a surviving brigand and took them to Aminro.


A small detachment of soldiers and priests watched over the plains to the north. A Wraith had gone to Dellston to examine the situation, and bring word on Looter strength in that city. She had been gone for over an hour, and some of the soldiers were getting restless.

Nevertheless, they waited.


The Wraith hadn't tried hard to conceal herself. In order to properly evaluate the situation, she wanted to see just how much attention she drew. If the Looters tried to come down on her en masse, she would know that a full army would be required. But as it was, the only thing she drew was either pitying or pleading looks. Allison wondered whether this was because they were worthless when it came to surveillance, or whether they just weren't interested.

Eventually, she headed off into a back alleyway, where she got her answer. Her peripheral vision had picked up the bandit about a second before he pounced. He jumped her and pinned her against a wall. "Ain't we got a prize 'ere." He said, grinning stupidly and holding a small knife to her throat. Several teeth were missing from his mouth, and the rest were either yellow or blackened stumps. His attire held similar decay. "You just figgered you'd walk on in 'ere like you own the place, didn't you? Well e'll see how you feel about it 'fter we're through with you. You see, this here's Looter turf, and we decide 'oo goes wh-"

Unfortunately for him, the priestess had had enough. She swiftly swung her arm up, wrist connecting with the hand that held the knife to her throat. The knife was sent flying. The bandit tried to retaliate, but his swing connected with empty air, recently vacated by the priestess's face. A blow to his sternum caused the bandit to double up. The priestess lunged forward, delivering a single punch that sent the bandit stumbling into the wall behind him. The priestess yanked a concealed dagger from her robes, and as the bandit turned around to face his attacker, she plunged it into his heart. She then removed it and let the brigand fall.

She stalked past the city gates with a smile on her face. Sanctuary would encounter little resistance to expansion here.

Hz'ii'zt a'iiencf coxnen a'bn'z'p pahuen yzpa'zuhb be'tt'phukh'kn az'ii'ova mxn't bhcizvi'fl?

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Formello Caves

Why did his Lady seem to have so little regard for his life? Sss-Kai asked himself this question over and over again as he waved the white flag of truce before the city of Formello. He approached the gate, all alone, just as his Lady had commanded. He knew it was madness, but for some reason, he trusted that Lady Calpurnia’s stratagems would prevail in the end.


“Arrogant fools!” The Mayor of Formello, a thin man named Ilic, fumed. He had done so well all this time, governing Formello despite it being cut off from the rest of the Kingdom. Now there was what seemed to be a bandit army at the gates, his mighty gates, and they have the gall to send a single slith to parley with him? Was that all he and his city were worth to them? Laughable! What could these brigands possibly hope to gain?

“Should I send your secretary and a contingent of the guard, Lord Mayor?” asked his loyal captain.

“Nonsense!” Mayor Ilic thought for a moment, fingering the necklace at his chest, “I will go myself. We will show these bandit fools that we do not fear them. I will need only two guards. This slith won’t try anything, trust me.” The captain knew it was a bad idea but he couldn’t help but feel confidence in his beloved leader. Mayors of Formello had that effect on people.


Mayor Ilic and his two guards arrived before Sss-Kai could think of anything to say, “Uh…”

“Silence bandit scum! Is it seriously your intent to come here and attempt to intimidate us? Formello has maintained a full garrison of highly trained soldiers, and with me leading them, we will never be conquered!”

“We… er…”

“This city survived the Empire War! It withstood the blows of the best warriors the world had to offer! It’s people endured during Rentar’s mad assaults, and were unphased! To think that a small army of vagabonds would stand a chance against this unconquerable bastion, ha! You are a gnat compared to me!”

“I…” Sss-Kai was overwhelmed by this man’s confidence. There was something about him that made the slith feel uneasy. He fumbled around in his armor for the second of the Lady’s three commands. The guards drew their weapons but lowered them when they saw him pull out the piece of paper. He read the second note:

Take the necklace, harm no one.

Dear, sweet heaven. Was this how he was going to die? Sss-Kai briefly considered pulling out his spear and surprising the three, but his chances of success were slim. Why had the Lady been so specific about not harming anyone? Damn it, she didn’t hire him to think, she hired him to take action! That was what he would do!

“What is that you have there?” The Mayor motioned to the note. Sss-kai threw caution to the wind, grabbed the Mayors outreached arm, pulled him forward, and grasped at the necklace. Sss-Kai prayed that the damned trinket was worth it.

The clasp broke easily, and the necklace was his. He turned and ran with all his might. The soldiers rushed to make sure the Mayor was unharmed, only to be scolded, “After him, you fools! Don’t let him get away!” Luckily, Sss-Kai was fast for a slith, and the guards gave up their chase early to avoid approaching the mercenary encampment without reinforcements.

Edward was there to greet Sss-Kai when he returned, completely out of breath. “What the hell was that? Damn my mother’s confidence in your negotiating skills. Let me see the note.” Edward read the note and smiled. “Ah, it wasn’t your negotiating skills she was interested in. Let me see the prize!” Sss-Kai held up the necklace, but quickly pulled it back when Edward reached for it. “Damn it, slith, give me that!”

Sss-Kai finished catching his breath before speaking, “What’s so special about it?” Edward said nothing. He was hiding something.

A horn was sounded, Formello was rallying troops to attack. Sss-Kai scanned the caves surrounding them. “Rrr, we are not in a defensible position. If we fight Formello’s troops here on open ground, we will lose.” Then he remembered something, and pulled out the third and final note the Lady had given him. It, too, had the simple script he had learned to rely on:

Nephilim fortress in the West. Give the necklace to Edward.

Of course! Sss-Kai was familiar with this “nephilim fortress.” Garrisoning there was sort of a taboo to brigands like himself, given how many times that place had been burned to the ground. But if his men could just reach the ruins, he could set up a defense there and repel the enemy. He might stand a chance after all!

“Well, what does it say?” Edward folded his arms again. He hated being left in the dark.

Sss-Kai looked at the necklace in his one hand, then to the note in the other. His Lady had yet to fail him. Who cares about a stupid necklace, anyway? He threw the necklace to Edward, who fumbled to catch it.

Edward’s eyes lit up. He knew all too well what he was now holding in his hands. He bent the clasp back into place and hooked it around his own neck. An aura of power immediately engulfed the boy. All looked to him, astounded by the calm and commanding presence of the young lord. How could it be that they never recognized it before? Even Sss-Kai was temporarily stunned.

“What are you all staring at? Let us show these Formello fools the folly of resisting the will of the Lady!”

Almost involuntarily, the group let up a cheer. At Sss-Kai’s command, the small army made way for the ancient nephilim fortress.

Fort Avernum

“What manner of treatment shall we afford this new arrival from the Disciples of Khoth, mother?”

Disciples of Khoth? Was that what they were calling themselves? The Lady knew who Khoth was: a treacherous dragon who allied with the Empire during the Avernum War then fled when the tide turned against the them. Surely he wasn’t their leader? They would need to learn more. “Our best vittles and quarters to import. Spend all thou can, this fox we must impress. Assay our foe thyself mine gentle son.”

“Yes, mother. I will learn all I can, then smother this emissary with luxury! She’ll never want to leave us. We’ll make her wish she never had to go back to whatever hole they run their operation our of!”

The Lady and her son shared a lighthearted laugh.

You lose.
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Gathin was sat behind his desk, facing Sister Clarice and Battle-Mage Brand - he had chosen these people not just because of their diplomatic prowess, but also because of their position in their respective fields. He had stronger mages, and more devout priests, true, but no word had come from Krizsan, and he wanted his best men behind him, not scaling the continent.

He read through the letters in front of him once again, one for the new Church in Sharamik which he had heard of on his journey south, and one for the Dominion of The Learned, which he hoped still existed in these troubled times, if only to be a thorn in the side of the Hunters.

"The Magister of the Dominion of The Learned.

I, Dervish Gathin, protector of The Phoenix Empire would like to extend the olive branch of friendship to you and your people. In these troubled and difficult times, I feel the way forward is not alone, but together. Please, feel free speak to my emissary, Battle-Mage Asconsin Brand, who will be pleased to tell you about us and our aims, and also please share your philosophies and intentions - we would wish to learn more of you.

I very much hope that our people can become allies, united in a desire not only to survive, but to improve the world.

Yours, Victor Gathin."

Gathin checked it again, quickly, and then sealed it. He handed the letter to Battle-Mage Brand. "Good luck, friend. Make all haste for the Dominion. I trust I don't have to tell you to try and avoid all Hunter patrols, but if you do run into anybody, I'm sure that you will do what is right."

Brand nodded, and left the room, eager to meet up with his small entourage and head east.

Gathin glanced through the letter to the "Sanctuary" Cult now...

"To the leader of the The Sanctuary of Telkavoth,

I, Dervish Gathin, protector of The Phoenix Empire would like to extend the olive branch of friendship to you and your people. In these troubled and difficult times, the way forward is not alone, but together. Please, feel free speak to my emissary, Sister Clarice Beumont, who will be pleased to tell you about us and our aims. Also, we are particularly interested in hearing about your philosophies and ideas.

I very much hope that our people can become allies, united in a desire not only to survive, but to improve the world. I greatly look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours, Victor Gathin."

It was almost a carbon copy, true, but Gathin was decidely interested in what this Cult made of the Empire, and the Hunters. He sealed the letter, and passed it to Clarice.

"I wish you all the luck I have, as well. But, for you, I have an extra message. Find out how these people feel towards the Hunters. And, if it reflects our view, do not hesitate to share that. Offer them military aid if they need it - we have enough men to send a reasonable force if needed - but do not offer it lightly. Use your common sense - I trust you will serve the Empire well. Now, make all spead for Aminro, and take special care - you are very likely to run into Hunter patrols, or worse, up there."

Clarice bowed, and left to meet with her (larger) delegation, leaving Gathin alone. Now, he would just have to wait for word to come back. He stood up, and headed for his window. Gazing east, a single thought flashed through his mind.

Why haven't I heard from Krizsan yet?

[ Tuesday, January 22, 2008 06:23: Message edited by: Hey, Jude. ]

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It's been far to difficult to travel this short distance. A few years ago, a single person could travel this river unmolested.

Thomys' army had lost 6 men in fighting with rogue Sliths and Nephils on the way up the river, but finally, Fort Dranlon was almost in sight.

Why have we seen no people since entering the Eastern Gallery?

It was indeed strange that there were no fishermen or traders out on the river. This area was heavily populated, and yet the only signs of habitation was the occasional abandoned hut along the shore.

"Sir, we're approaching Fort Dranlon now."

"Thank you, Lieutenant," said Thomys.

He peered ahead and could just make out the shape of the city's walls. There was smoke rising from the buildings inside.

Thank God. People at last.

[ Tuesday, January 22, 2008 21:56: Message edited by: Tyranicus ]

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--Fort Dranlon--
It had been a remarkable coincidence that Acrio Sulfi arrived at Fort Dranlon on the same day that Thomys had arrived with the soldiers from the Kingdom. This gave Master Krynt the opportunity to address them both on the plans of The Lady. In addition, the soldiers turned out to be extremely helpful in the construction work around the fortress.

"The kingdom will send you whatever support you require," Thomys added after being briefed by Master Krynt.

"The thought is appreciated; however, we have no choice. I will have to go to Fort Avernum alone. If they suspect anything they may harm Erika," Acrio mentioned. "Besides, it's been quite a while since I've had a chance to manipulate any portals."

"Are you sure that is wise? If you fail and the portal becomes unstable the entire Eastern Gallery could be obliterated. Worse, if you succeed, they'll be even more difficult to contain," Thomys was growing irritated of the younger mage's arrogance. Sulfi didn't appreciate the tone in the older mage's voice and was also looking visibly irritated.

"He's right Sulfi," Master Krynt chimed in. "Heading alone to Fort Avernum would be extremely dangerous. Erika knew the risks when she left. Now you need to accept them as well. Thomys has offered you a small group of fine soldiers, I suggest you take his offer." Annoyed, but finding no fault in Master Krynt's argument Sulfi accepted. The three men then adjourned their meeting to go help with the work around the fort. Acrio and Thomys both seemed annoyed; but Master Krynt was pleased.

Later that evening, as Acrio left with seven of the soldiers, Thomys agreed to remain with his men at Fort Dranlon until Sulfi returned. Master Krynt was glad to have them. This meant work on the fortress would progress even faster. However, at the same time, he was deeply troubled by hearing of the disturbances in the barriers at Fort Dolthar.

--Fort Dolthar--
With Acrio Sulfi gone, Denrich found himself responsible for managing most of the daily activities. It wasn't something he couldn't handle; however, he began losing touch with students at the fort. One student in particular seemed to always elude him...

[ Wednesday, January 23, 2008 15:27: Message edited by: Lt. Sullust ]

Lt. Sullust
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"In a world of chaos, many people are forced to draw their information from outdated sources, like the Encyclopedia Ermariana. Long has its ability to spread up to date information passed, or even its ability, and the common nation can now only grasp outdated tomes. These tomes, often in archaic oldspeak, lead to many embarrassing wars, all because of a misunderstanding in information.

And so, the Hitchhiker's Guide to Ermarian has been started. Our field researchers are poor, but rich in knowledge of the world, and cleverly disguised as hitchhikers without any money. The way we disguise them so is by taking away their money and transportation. They travel the lands of Valorim, Pralgad, and to an extent Vantanas and Aizo, gathering information." -The Hitchhiker's Guide to Ermarian, Preface

Zarniwoop smiled reading the words he had written so long ago, at the Fall.


The scribe again took note of Barleycorn's carefully articulated response:

"To the Most Esteemed Imperial Dervish Gathin,

In a fortnight's time, the Hunters will have been able to send a proper diplomat to Silvar for the conference. In the meantime, I will outlay the proposal I have for the partioning of Silvar. As you may or may not know, the Hunters are only in real need of the harbors, and so I propose an artificial island be built, a riverside district of the Hunters. (OOC: Think Dejima/Deshima)

Unfortunately, our scouts discovered some bandit or another burnt down the bridge between out territories. As such, I have commissioned my men to rebuild it, of stone this time, so that trade may continue properly between our states. Until that time, I'm afraid trade will have to happen via the sea. This, to an extent, is better, as this way the Hunter Proper can send and receive goods with the Empire.

It Will Be Your Pleasure to Receive this from,

Hunter Commander, Johnathon Barleycorn Alcohol the Second, Liberator of Aizo, Protector of Pralgrad, Hope of Vantanas, General of Valorim, and Master of Avernum."

With the message inked, the words came true. Workers, after having done a great deal of work rebuilding the major buildings of Krizsan, the library, city hall, barracks, shipyard, and other various buildings, now marched out in swathes with granite to rebuild the bridge. Fortunately, the bridge had had stone abutments, and thus the workers had a place to start. Already the skeletal framework for the arch bridge was up.

Meanwhile, in the harbors of Krizsan, three compact merchant ships set sail flying the Eye. There destination: Delan. They carried various important goods, mostly trade goods, but also had Barleycorn himself onboard, carrying his message. Now, the townscape of Delan was coming into view from the foggy sea the three ships were on.

Brother Evergreen

"Interesting. It's good to hear that the Dominion does not train in the darker arts of magic. And I and my masters will be most pleased to hear about the free movement agreement, and the alliance. I believe that..." Brother Evergreen stopped midsentence, a strange look crossing his face. Hesitantly, his hand made its way to his ear, where to everyone's surprise, he pulled out a piece of parchment. Reading aloud, curious and surprised, he said:


Looking dumbly at Boris, he stated quite redundantly, "So, how are the portal systems of the world going? Apparently my master would like to re-establish the portal system Ernest made in Nexus. You know, the one with portals to all the major cities of Valorim. I went there as a child, it was somewhat of a historical site. Run out of business by the Surface Portal, you know. Would this be at all possible?"

Rapid Waters

At Camp Supremacy, the flotilla made their last stop in friendly lands. Beyond, lay the unknown.

The unknown started out rather cheerily. Sure, there were a few rapids here and there, but there were no problems for this first leg. Other then the goblins hurling rocks down at them, but the archers soon taught them to give them a wide berth.

Then, as prophesized by the expeditionary leader, there was a bend in the river, marking the boundary of peace and war. As soon as this boundary was rounded, things got pretty ugly. Overhead, the tribes of warring goblins had been enslaved by ogres from the south, and the goblins here were fiercer, fighting with the nephil, nephar, and ogres. While a war of projectiles took its toll, things got worse in the waters.

Slithzerikai swam in numbers like fish in these waters, killing all they saw. As they noted the five foreign crafts penetrating their lands, they lashed out. First, they attempted to destroy the ships by poking holes in the hull. After finding the ships of better design than their own craft, they adopted a second plan: to board.

The first of the lizards was on the rear ship, leaping gallantly over the ship to land. Seeing this, Nameless Soldier quickly grabbed a javelin and impaled the Slith on it. Ripping the dying abomination from the javelin, he then flung it into Slith jumping from the waters to the walls of the ship.

An alarm was sent out to the other ships, and soldiers not otherwise engaged in fighting the overhead attackers swooped to the peripherary of their respective ships. Taken by surprise, the Slithzerikai lost ground, so to speak. Spears and javelins prodded them away, though they slowly advanced, the blood of their fellows washing over them.

Soon, the monsters leaped on board in a large, unstoppable wave, and assaulted the humans unorganizedly. Gathering together in a phalanx formation, the humans weathered the attacks of the lizard beasts, finally the last of the boarders lay dead. The Slithzerikai seemed to have suffered a large loss, and a very large Slith to Human death ratio.

The abominations fled back into the river, apparently to lick their wound. To help rub salt in their wounds, the Slith dead on board each ship were stripped of everything, and their naked corpses cut up and thrown into the river. The blood was everywhere both in the river and the ships, and the rotting corpses would no doubt infect the waters in some way.

Declaring victory so soon proved to be foolhardy, unfortunately. Enraged at the despicable acts by the Hunters, the Slithzerikai attacked again, throwing javelins, rocks, and anything at all at the ships, harassing them.

Then, everything was calm. The Slithzerikai stopped decisively at some imaginary line, the attackers from above had thinned out to nothing. A fork in the river was presented, a dead end one leading into the canyons with a coast at its end, and the main river. The choice was obvious, the resting spot.

As the ships sailed down the river, they began to notice things. Scratch marks from powerful claws in the canyons, newts, then giant lizards, and finally wary drakes. No attack was made by either side, although bows, javelins, and fiery breath stood at the ready.

As the ships landed, the newts, giant lizards, and drakes all kept a wide berth. Then, the dragon came to them.

The Sleeve - New Sumar

Black waters crashed gently on the sleek, black craft as it made it hugged the coast. Black wolves howled out bleak tunes about the blackened forestry about them, and a black figure stepped out of the black ship onto the rough, black sands of the Sleeve. Squinting into the sky, he was satisfied by what he saw, blackness. No moon tonight, and black storm clouds covered the stars completely.

Walking through the woods, he eventually reached a hilltop of black silt. In the distance, the black outline of New Sumar could be seen against the jet-black skyline. Casting out his mind, he found his target: A black cow in a dark barn, with a boy in black as his witness. Extending his black gauntleted hand, he filled the cow with black ilk. Just kick the black, sooty lantern back into the hay, and blacken the whole city...

Expeditionary Force

Awakening rather jubilantly, the Commander roused his soldiers, and cooked lizard meat for morning meal. Then, when the army was ready to march on its belly, they left the Sleeve.

It had taken some time, as the Hitchhiker's Guide that the Commander kept with him was rather vague on the location, but eventually the pass was found between two boulders. Here, they were surprised to find that Unicorn Pass actually had unicorns... Driven underground before the Fall, emerging as civilization crashed. Now, after a brief engagement, the unicorns avoided the expedition as the pass was scaled.

And as the pass was ended, the men found themselves in more of what they left behind: forests. Everywhere, as far as the eye could see. Unicorns also graced the area, grazing contentedly. Both groups ignored each other, and for now the expedition split majorly for the first time. A quarter of the soldiers went along the mountains to the west, to find Fort Submergence, while the rest went on to Fort Blades.

Of course, this was not the first time the expedition had fragmented. Small garrisons of soldiers had been left to wait until the colonists arrived at the three camps and Nexus, but that was just a handful of the weaker soldiers. This was more important. Of course, it was hoped that the fighting was finished as both groups moved out of the wilderness.

The Sleeve - Colonists

The encampment was coming along quite nicely. Wooden buildings had been erected rather quickly by the wood masons, and later they would be replaced with more durable stone. A quiet life had descended on the city, Tribulation, as the first crops were being planted in the warm soil. Interestingly enough, there had been found a flock of lost sheep wandering through the forest, and these were taken to start the city's major industry, textiles. Other then that, a mill was made and powered by the powerful easterly winds to make flour, along with the farming and timber industries.

South of Tribulation, in the other two camps, a more central economic pursuit was taking place. The two camps were still there, and the tents were used as the towns, along with subterranean buildings in the mines. The two camps were providing several various veins, those of crystals, iron, and tin. The veins weren't very deep, but they would put some extra money in the Hunters' pockets.

Fort Submergence

To say that there was a battle field where once was a fort was a lie. To say that the fort was damaged was a lie. But to say that the fort was leveled in an epic battle between the Avernites and the Rakshasi, and that both of the sides of the horrific battle had ghosts wandering, torn, still fighting maniacally. The corpses of the fallen were reanimated, and no matter how many times they felled each other, the zombies and skeletons always rose again.

The soldiers were horrified to see this. A powerful mage would need to visit this place to remove the curse on these lands, someone like an archbishop. Someone like the Sanctuary or the Anama.

A boy's corpse was found near the mountains near the fort, clutching a journal to his chest, setting the boy to a proper rest, they read the journal interestedly:

"The Council of Upper Avernum has made up their mind. Through scrying and spying, they have found out that the Rakshasi have sent two continental armies to Valorim, one to invade Upper Avernum and use it to get to Avernum Proper, the other to pillage Valorim. To prevent this from happening, the Council has decided to trap them in Upper Avernum. A whole army of Rakshasi, caught here! They will try futilely to hold Fort Submergence, and then Fort Emergence. When they fail, I am to sever the bridge between cave and surface from the surface side. They wouln't be able to go through a pool of lava, no matter who strong they are. The Council has already destroyed the portal crystals, and scattered the remnants where they wouln't be found. The filthy Rakshasi will win that bloody battle in Portal Fortress, and then rush back to Fort Emergence. Only to find themselves trapped! Poor Upper Avernum will be ripped to shreds, but an entire Rakshasi army trapped to starve, and Avernum saved! Now, just to make it to Fort Blades..."

Jubilee Island

"And to the Assembly of the Hunters, let it be known that the construction of Jubilee is complete. The farms are now producing a crop to feed the inhabitants, and meat products are becoming less important. Copper is being harvested with great success, along with herbs. Skilled merchants now built various high quality wood goods, most importantly warships for the Hunters. As promised, the return for the withdrawal to pay for building this city, as well as the first taxes."


Walls. Barriers of wood or stone meant to keep someone or something in or out. This definition was fulfilled to the fullest in Sharimik.

First, the walls had been hastily, but expertly, built on the perimeter of the city. Conveniently boxing in the Sanctuary embassy, all though a gate was given to let them come and go. Second, lower walls were made at the border of Greater Sharimik, the edge of the farmlands. The walls served the purpose of isolating the Sanctuary ideas, and the spread of these ideas. Preventing the Hunters, or the Non-Humans from fleeing from Hunter territory to Sanctuary held territory.

Meanwhile, as the walls were being built, a man paced back and forth patiently. Before him, two men were strapped to a table, one a nephil. With a knife to the nephil's throat, the man spoke harshly, "We could kill you both right now. Theft, murder, crimes against humanity, but we won't. We've reason to believe you're both from a foreign nation. And that is valuable to us. Tell me the nation you're from, and we'll let you return to it, after a few further questions. This needn't be bad, my friend..."

[ Saturday, January 26, 2008 08:40: Message edited by: Goldenking ]

"I'm happy I'm the mentally disturbed person I am." -Nioca
"Yes, Iffy is a demon." -Iffy
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Posts: 1186 | Registered: Friday, June 18 2004 07:00
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Shamgar remained silent. Having his companion in danger encouraged him to refrain from speaking. Ferrrald on the other hand was terrified.

"Midori Province, Kingdom of Midori," Ferrrald shrieked, careful to avoid rolling his "r"s.

The man pressed the knife harder, "And?"

"Harrgh, I...I work with Shamgar," Ferrald responded haltingly. "We...we...we work for Amadis. He sells...Skribbane."

Shamgar trembled. He felt unsecure about leaving out the rest of the matter, but he was to frightened to speak up.

The man seemed satisfied for the moment. Ferrrald breathed rapidly, overtly exposing the line of naked fur ripped away by the knife. Then the man seemed to begin another set of interrogation.

Amadis walked with Howard through the fresh cobblestone streets. Several Guild members pulled heaping carts, ready to set up shops in the downtown district.

"You know Howard," Amadis said, "I plan to extend my hand over the Keep of Tinraya."

Howard nodded, "Amadis, we've had our current santions for a long time, but Tinraya is a new misadventure. How are you going to dispose of the head of the guard there? I've heard they're patrolmen are some of the best in North Valorim."

"Shamgar does his job adroitly," Amadis replied.

Decca Records - "We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out."
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Formello Caves

The battle proceeded marvelously. Once Sss-Kai and Edward reached the nephil fort, they had only a few minutes to set up defenses before the army of Formello arrived. It was all that was needed. Edward rallied the troops, and with him leading them, they felt unstoppable. He insisted on fighting in the battle personally, despite Sss-Kai’s urgings. Enemies quaked as they watched Edward fight, and even his own men stepped back to avoid his fearsome weapon, a curved blade of a design not familiar to Avernum, something of a shortened halberd. Either way, within ten minutes, the grand army of Formello was driven into retreat.

There were actually few casualties on either side, the enemy simply lacked moral. Most made it back to Formello, but when the Lady’s army arrived, they did not bother with putting up a defense of the city. They were broken. Military officials even brought Mayor Ilic, bound, before Sss-Kai and Edward, offering him in exchange for the lives of the citizens. Edward accepted their offer, and the former Mayor was swiftly executed. Sss-Kai, who had hoped to have left such things behind when he have up his life of banditry, was concerned by Edward’s brutality.

Edward sat upon the throne of the Mayor of Formello, taking in his victory. Sss-Kai approached, “My lord, should I to make the nephil fortress a permanent ssstation for our troops? It may come in handy for the future.”

“Don’t be a fool, slith. We will waste no resources on such a project. That place is cursed anyway. I have already set my sights on a greater goal. Fort Draco shall be the next conquest!”

“Aye, m’Lord. I’ll have the troops readied in a few weeks.”

“You’ll do nothing of the sort. Your work here is done. You are to return to my mother. I will handle things up North from now on.”

“The Lady gave no sssuch order!”

“You will listen to me, Slith! You will go back to Fort Avernum, tonight! You will not question my bidding! You will obey!”

Sss-Kai could not help but feel intimidated by Edward. He did not understand why. The boy was always just a spoiled child to him. Now, there was something more. The battle, perhaps? Oh, well. Best not to anger him. Sss-Kai would go back to the Lady and receive further orders from her.

Fort Avernum

“You have very beautiful hair.”

Erika choked on the bit of cave cow steak she was chewing on for a second. The journey across the Eastern Gallery had left her somewhat mangy, but the bath the Lady’s attendants had offered her had left her cleaner than she had been in months. Her hair was in rather nice condition, but it seemed inappropriate somehow for Angelo to remark on it like that, “Excuse me?”

“You wouldn’t happen to be named for the famous Avernite mage, Erika, would you?”

“I am.” Erika rolled her eyes, “I’m surprised you know of her. I would have thought the Empire would have tried to erase such a figure from their histories.”

Angelo laughed, “They often try, but I was very lucky to be privileged enough to get less censored versions. These caves have always fascinated me. I, and indeed my whole family has read much about your ways and history, especially recently. I believe it is very important for one to be knowledgeable in the history and culture of a great variety of places, to always have an open mind and be willing to try new things.”

Erika found herself nodding, “Indeed. That is our way, in fact. The preservation of knowledge above all else. And,” Erika smiled, “I suppose trying new things is always nice.”

Angelo smiled warmly as Erika made eye contact with him, “Have you ever tried chocolate?”

“When I was little. Supplies have been a bit tight lately, though. I couldn’t even imagine such luxuries when all we’re getting are those stupid meal and wine shipments from the Great-“ Erika stopped herself and looked down at her plate, cursing silently.

“That is most unfortunate.” Angelo signaled to a servant and was quickly brought a wooden box. The servant opened to reveal several rows of chocolates, in a variety of pretty little shapes.

Erika shook her head, “I couldn’t.”

Angelo spoke in the most calm and soothing voice, “Please, you are my guest.” Angelo popped one in his own mouth, and Erika found she could no longer resist. She snatched one and placed it on her tongue. The sweetness overwhelmed her. When she bit into it, she was surprised to discover the fruit filling, unlike anything she had ever tasted before.

“Music!” Another servant pulled out a loot and readied to play, only to be stopped by Anjelo, “No, no, the special music.” Yet another servant brought yet another wooden box, a small, carved one this time. He opened it to reveal a crystal. “I’ll bet you’ve never seen anything like this before. It is Vahnatai magic.” Angelo gently took the tiny crystal out of the box and held it to his ear, then he held it to Erika’s.

“Vahnatai magic is not my specialty, but… oh.” She was instantly speechless. The crystal whispered sweet music into her ear, unlike anything she had ever experienced. It was not Vahnatai music, however, but music from the surface, a fantastic opera singer and what must have been an entire orchestra of instruments. There had been a bit of advancement in crystal research over the past years, but it was still far to expensive to be cost effective. Thus, a device like this must have cost a small fortune to create, and it didn’t even have a magical purpose! It was a luxury item! Was this ‘Lady’ really so wealthy as to be able to spend time and money on things such as this? Still though, the music was beautiful, and Erika listened for a good while, finding herself gazing into Angelo’s gentle eyes from time to time.

You lose.
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The interrogator turned around. He had just started spending some quality time with the (now bleeding) Ferrrald when the door swung gently open. "Yes?" He barked. No response. Mumbling choice oaths under his breath, he crossed to the door and closed it. Just as the door slammed, his head suddenly pitched forward and impacted the wall next to the door. He dizzily stumbled backwards and turned around, only to have another blow to the side of his face send him reeling. He collapsed into unconsciousness.

The two captives looked toward their savior. Honestly, if he hadn't appeared out of thin air, the duo wouldn't have taken him as much of anything. Black cloak with dark undergarments, with dark gauntlets and boots finishing the dark attire, he could easily be mistaken for an amateur thief. As it was, the man fumbled with the chains on Ferrrald's wrists. Revealing a keyring, he eventually found the right one. The locks on Ferrrald's wrists snapped open, followed shortly by the ones around his ankles. Shamgar, still in decent shape, was freed next. Something about the gaze of this man, despite being nondescript, was frightening.

Shamgar was relatively uninjured, and able to move under his own power. However, when Ferrrald attempted to stand up, he ended up staggering and falling to his knees. He looked up to see the man standing over him with an icy stare. It caused Ferrrald to shudder more than he already was... The gaze of this man would leave even the most passionate Hunter to shame. It lacked even the slightest bit of compassion and mercy, or even any glimmer of kindness. Just being in the presence of it made him feel insignificant and shameful. The man then finally spoke, but it wasn't to anyone in the room at all. It was a low mutter, as if he was reciting something under his breath. A blue light illuminated a gauntleted hand, and then washed over Ferrrald. Several of his wounds sealed up, and his shaking stopped. However, the man didn't give Ferrrald much chance to savor the new-found healing; he roughly dragged Ferrrald to his feet, then spoke in a low and lethal tone to both of them. "If you wish to live, you will follow my every instruction. If you so much as speak without my consent, I'll abandon you to your fate here... and I can assure you, at least, that it'll be slow and excruciatingly painful." He finished, nodding at Ferrrald upon reaching the word 'you'. Both of them nodded to show they understood, though Shamgar started thinking something over... the man's voice sounded somehow familiar... but why?

"Follow me." He barked, turning swiftly and marching toward the door. He threw it open as the thieves huddled behind him. Not caring to see whether the two he rescued were following, he paced down the hall, passing a sleeping guard with a mug of ale in his hand, then marched boldly into the antechamber. Another two guards were in this room, but their heads were firmly on a table, snoring peacefully. Oddly, the front door was closed. The man stood in front of the door and gently opened it. It was with great fortune that the door opened so as to block the main city from view. The man peered through the small gap between the door and its hinge, watching the passing crowd. When he was content that no guards were in the vicinity, he signaled to his entourage to come closer. He then pointed at a nearby alleyway. "Right there. See it? When I give the signal, one of you will run to that alley and stay hidden there. You," he said, pointing at Ferrrald, "will go first." He went back to watching through the gap, then gave a swift jerk of his hand toward the alleyway. Ferrrald pelted off, making it safely. The man signaled again, and Shamgar covered the distance. Then he finally bolted, leaving the door open for appearances. He made it into the alleyway, where Shamgar stood idly with an uneasy expression and Ferrrald leaned against a wall, panting lightly. Not all of the wounds had been healed, and that spoke nothing of the weariness he was starting to feel. The man gave a sharp signal to follow, and lead them to a small, awry sewer grate. "After you." He stated, pointing down into the sewers. They both hesitantly climbed down, with the man following after. Once the man cleared the threshold, he grabbed the grate and slid it back in place.

Meanwhile, the guards started to come to.


Faenelle spoke lightly with a few other high-ranking priestesses. Unlike her husband, she enjoyed having a close circle of friends to chat with. Today, however, something was off. "Where's Ava?"

An older priestess spoke up. "She claimed she was sick, Fae. Really snappish she was, too. It's as if someone were to have sucked all of the goodwill out of her and replaced it with venom. Youth these days," she chuckled. "Happy one day, hostile the next."

Faenelle thought this over carefully. Despite Greta's comment, Ava had always been a happy-go-lucky person. She could see the good in even the most morbid of events. And now she was acting hostile? "We'll check up on her tomorrow and see if she's feeling better." Faenelle concluded.


"You have been treated and sold as cattle. Forced to live in fear, with harsh taxes and even harsher masters. Forced to live in poverty while cruel men grow fat on the grain you harvest. But now, that will end." The speaking priest signaled a standard-bearer holding a flag of Sanctuary. He brought it forward for all in the plaza to see, then promptly thrust it into a soft plot of earth. The flag waved gently in the breeze. "I hereby pluck you from these foul overlords, and claim this town for the great nation of Sanctuary!"

Silence greeted these words. The townsfolk weren't too sure of this new regime that had suddenly been thrust upon them. The city guard was similarly restless; they were under the employ of a mayor who did not wish to anger the Looters, for fear of having them come down upon him. And he was rightly worried about it as well, for at that moment, several well-armed thugs punched their way through the crowd, shoving aside people who didn't get out of the way fast enough. A well-built man lead the group, with a vicious scimitar hanging at his side. There was a total of 15 men including the leader, meaning that the Sanctuary forces in the plaza were outnumbered three-to-one.

The leader of the Looters spoke in a harsh growl. "You come to our cities and have the [censored] to claim them as your own?!" The brigand leader yanked out his scimitar and pointed it at the priest. "Surrender now, and we'll make your death quick. Refuse, and it'll be a week before you finally meet your god. If you're lucky."

The priest stepped forward. "You scoundrels have profited off of these folk long enough. Your reign is end."

The Looter scoffed. "Fool. Do you see those rooftops?" He pointed at two nearby rooftops, and a pair of filthy archers revealed themselves, bows already drawn back and pointed at the priest. "You'll be pierced befo-"

A clamor from one archer suddenly drew everyone's attention. Allison had slipped behind the archer and slashed the bowstring on his bow. The arrow was flung uselessly sideways as the tension released. The other archer whirled and aimed at Allison, but just as he released the arrow, she snapped the now bow-less archer up. He screamed in pain as the arrow struck him in the chest. Allison tossed him aside, causing him to tumble off the slanted roof, and raised her palm. A tiny bolt of light flew from her hand and struck the second archer in the head. He too tumbled from the rooftop.

As the lead brigand screamed, "ATTACK!", another priest stepped from the shadows of a nearby alley. Raising a reptilian hand, Dewiss recited a terrible ritual. Eight of the brigand simultaneously clutched their stomachs as a burning fire seemed to consume their bellies. As they started to retch, the other Looters tried to regroup. The head priest leveled three with holy flames, and the soldiers around him charged forward. The head Looter turned to Dewiss and snarled, then flung the scimitar at him. It delivered a glancing blow and drew blood. Enraged, Dewiss raised his hand for another incantation, and the Looter was felled by an obscure and fast-acting disease even more deadly than the earlier one.

The battle was over long before it began. The Sanctuary forces sheathed their weapons as they looked upon the pathetic resistance the Looters had offered. The two living bandits weren't for long in this world, as the disease now had them twitching and coughing up blood.

The townsfolk finally applauded. Hope was at hand.


The sun set behind the mountains as Iocabe flashed through the day's events. It had started on such a high point with Bekath's informal coronation; how had it gone into a downward spiral so fast?

At noon, he spoke with the imperial soldier that had been rescued by the Sanctuary patrol. Sarrin was her name, if he remembered right. She informed him of how the Krizsan province was in chaos, and of what she had done. While Iocabe personally detested such a disagreeable act as desertion, he realized that a well-trained soldier could prove to be a valuable asset.

Then a messenger pigeon brought news of the Hunter's walling off of Sharimik. Iocabe showed irritation as he read about the Hunter's attempts to wall off Sanctuary's embassy from Sharimik. His mood was further dampened by the arrival of Nedar's hawk. The negotiations with the Order of Krell went abysmally.

But probably what did the trick was the Sanctuary patrol returning late afternoon... with the body of a mangled priestess. They had found her just outside Sanctuary territory, brutally attacked and left for dead. By the time the patrol found her, she had already passed on. Her robes lacked the usual tint of cyan which marks off a priest of Telkavoth, indicating that at least she wasn't one of their own. But the patrol did find something on her body: a letter. Between the bloodstains, it read:
To the leader of the The Sanctuary of Telkavoth,

I, Dervish Gathin, protector of The Phoenix Empire would like to extend the olive branch of friendship to you and your people. In these troubled and difficult times, the way forward is not alone, but together. Please, feel free speak to my emissary, Sister Clarice Beumont, who will be pleased to tell you about us and our aims. Also, we are particularly interested in hearing about your philosophies and ideas.

I very much hope that our people can become allies, united in a desire not only to survive, but to improve the world. I greatly look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours, Victor Gathin.

Iocabe looked sadly down on the mangled corpse. "I suppose speaking with the poor girl is out of the question. Damn those Hunters! They are as surely as I draw breath demons with human masks." Iocabe tried to calm himself. Meanwhile, an aide spoke up. "How do you know it was the Hunters? Ordinary brigands could be behind this."

"This was too opportune. Brigands brazenly attacking someone out in the open in Hunter territory who just happens to be a priestess and a representative? Not possible. The Hunters are behind this, I have no doubt." Iocabe thought on the matter some more, then spoke with the aide. "Bring Sarrin back in here. Her knowledge of southern Valorim just became useful." He then sat down and wrote a letter of his own.
To Dervish Victor Gathin,

It is with great regret that I inform you of the passing of Sister Clarice Beumont, who was brutally murdered earlier today. It appears that a faction of butchers known as the Hunters intercepted her before she could reach Aminro, where they killed her and left her for vultures. I apologize for your loss.

I am sending this with someone familiar with southern Valorim, a soldier by the name of Sarrin. She is not an representative of Sanctuary, but these times call for warriors rather than diplomats. I request a face-to-face meeting with you in a location of your choosing, so that we may discuss these matters in person rather than easily intercepted letters. We also can discuss burial arrangements of Clarice Beumont in accordance to her wishes.

Please send your response back with Sarrin posthaste. War is on the horizon, and these matters must be discussed before the conflagration of battle begins. Additionally, I suspect that, due to a mild indiscretion on her part, Sarrin may not be very popular in your lands.

Cordially, Iocabe Havala
Divine High Priest of Telkavoth and Sanctuary.

Iocabe looked up and saw that Sarrin had arrived. He sealed the letter and handed it to her, saying, "Wherever one would set up a command post in the Krizsan province is where you need to go. You're looking for someone named Dervish Victor Gathin. I'll have a horse brought from the stables so you can ride there with all haste. The patrol here," he said, motioning to the standing patrol, "will take you to the edge of Sanctuary territory. From there, you're on your own. Good luck, and Godspeed."

"But... but..." Sarrin stuttered, stunned.

"Consider it righting your earlier mistake." Iocabe added with a smile.

Sarrin reluctantly turned and left, followed by the Sanctuary patrol. Iocabe spoke again with the aide. "Order any engineers, fletchers, and stonemasons in the area to stop whatever they're doing and fortify the town. They are to strengthen the walls and build four bastions at the corners of Aminro. Each bastion is to have a ballista mounted in it, along with crenelations for archers. Speaking of which, have the military start conscripting soldiers from the untrained populace and drill them in combat. Especially ranged combat, we're lacking in archers. Send a runner to Angel's Rest with the same orders."

"Yes, your divinity." The aide bowed and left.

Now Iocabe stood at a stained glass window, watching the last light drain from the sky. No longer was war with the Hunters a matter of if.

It was a matter of when.

[ Saturday, January 26, 2008 15:34: Message edited by: Nioca ]

Hz'ii'zt a'iiencf coxnen a'bn'z'p pahuen yzpa'zuhb be'tt'phukh'kn az'ii'ova mxn't bhcizvi'fl?

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Amadis trudged sheepishly after the long horse ride he recently endured. However, the sight of his city counteracted any feelings of regret he possessed.

As he paced towards the glove shop he became aware of an unusual amount of conversational exchanges among the townsfolk.
Amadis half dislodged the door upon entering, prompting Luscinda to roll her eyes. Amadis sneered in response.

"I suppose you've already updated on current events, yes?" Luscinda mocked.

Amadis muttered several invectives while apparently prodding her to continue.

"Dellston was captured yesterday," Luscinda said discreetly, "Don't think about sending Ferrrald there either, he and Shamgar have not returned yet."

Amadis' expression changed from that of disgust to that of bewilderment, "I'm not two worried about my two greatest assets, I mean they are my two greatest assets," Amadis said, clearly addressing Luscinda. "Now tell me, before some guards take my most wanted personage, who captured them?"

"They hail as the Sanctuary of Telkavoth," Luscinda replied, "but don't ex..."

Amadis cut her off, "I'm in danger of capital punishment. If these people can wipe out the government of Midori, I'm in a fine position. I help them, they help me."

"Amadis, if you hadn't interrupted," Luscinda scolded, "you'd have known they wish to conquer the whole of Valorim."

"Doesn't everybody? Anyways, I'm heading to Dellston. I'm sure Shamgar can take care of dirty business when he returns," Amadis said, dignified.

Amadis skulked to his back room, where he composed the following letter.

"To the Sanctuary of Telkavoth:

I hail as the leader of what is often considered as a shady type of entity. I have you know I am a wanted man here in Lorelei, because they have complete disregard to those so adroit as I. Perhaps your interest is more related to our group's skill in assassination and other forms of cunning offensive maneuvers.

A bit about myself shall we? I'm interested by your brazen actions south of me, as you seem fit enough to overcame even more territory. I'll have you know that I will aid in any movements upon the Province of Midori, in return for my flock having exemption from the legal system. I in fact have a skilled assassin returning from Sharimik who can help us in such an endeavour, but be aware: I do not forgive those who spurn my aid.

The Ingenuity, The Leader of the Thieves Guild.

Amadis felt uncomfortable in peasant garb, but doing so was necessary. A Telkovoth acolyte stood several lengths away. Amadis approached covertly, neatly placing the letter in the man's robes without arousing any attention. With that Amadis creeped away, not to be seen for the time being.

[ Sunday, February 10, 2008 19:14: Message edited by: Excalibur ]

Decca Records - "We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out."
Posts: 1384 | Registered: Tuesday, February 6 2007 08:00
Member # 3442
Profile Homepage #62
New Sumar

Pyke was awoken with a shout. Bleary-eyed, he got up, and hastily pulled on a tunic and some trousers, before heading outside. As he opened the door, the deadly flicker of fire played across his bemused face. A dozen workers, maybe more, used pails of water from the sea to douse the flames, whilst another, smaller group stood alongside, making sure the fire didn't spread to the crop. Eventually, the flames began to relent, and a thick, black smoke poured over the settlement. They had been lucky, he thought, still half-asleep. The fire had destroyed a barn, and maybe ten or twelve cows, which was a great loss, but the crop had survived.

Gathin would have to be told in the morning.


The dockyards of Delan were ill-prepared for the small fleet which arrived from Krizsan that misty morning. Whilst most of the goods were very welcome, Barleycorn was not. Gathin himself had seen him off the boat, and suituated him in the best guest room in Delan, after posting a small escort outside the inn. They had not had much time to talk, but Barleycorn had passed on his letter almost immediately, and Gathin read it now, in the darkness of his office.

The fact that these people thought they could negotiate, as well as thinly veil a threat if they weren't given half of Silvar confused Gathin. It was almost as if they didn't have one clear objective, but rather a mix of them that shifted in order of importance. What struck Gathin as most confusing was the rebuilding of the bridge to the east. If the Hunters hadn't destroyed, who had? A "bandit", in plain sight of both Silvar and Krizsan? Unlikely. But, if they had, why would they rebuild it? Maybe as a way of showing that were friendly whilst at the same time plotting behind the scenes?

Ah, the Hunters, Gathin thought, I don't think I'll ever understand them.

He and Barleycorn were due to meet the next morning and discuss Silvar, as well as the less important details of the Hunter-Empire alliance, but Gathin intended to give little away. If anything, he wanted to see what kind of resources these people had.

And, he wanted to know why Silvar was so important. He wasn't prepared to give up the city, especially when the Hunters had two main port towns already.

* * *

The next mornings planned meeting had to be held. Just before sun-up a single rider had arrived at the gates of Delan, somewhat anxiously - Sarrin. The guards saw her, and opened the gates to the city with bemused expressions. She'd left, and now she's back? What's going on?

As Sarrin rode through the town, several people came out to have a look, and soon, the entire population was talking about her return. As she made her way to the barracks and her brother's office, she dismounted, and began climbing the steps.

She met no resistance as she knocked once on Gathin's door, and entered. He had his back to the door, but as it opened, he swung round, expecting it to be Barleycorn. Instead, framed in the doorway was his younger sister, clutching a letter to her chest.

"I didn't... I mean, I had heard, but... you're here, brother."

Gathin moved around to hold her, as tears welled up in his sister's eyes.

"Celsa... Where have you been? What's happened?"

* * *

Gathin had re-read the letter, and thought on his response. He hated sending Celsa back through Hunter lands, but she seemed to have a rapport with these people. Rather than risk a letter, he relayed his message to Celsa, who made shorthand notes on a small piece of paper.

"High Priest Havala, thank you for this... distressing news. Clarice was a gifted woman, and it is terrible that she fell foul to the people who profess to be our friends. We are currently hosting a small delegation of Hunters, in the hope of securing a non-agressive treaty, but know that they have acted in ways that work against our very survival, and any peace between us and them is purely pragmatic." He paused. "You know how I feel about these bastards Cels, just tell them how it is. Anyway, erm, We of the Phoenix Empire wish to meet you immediately. I propose that either you make the journey to Delan, or I visit your temple in Aminro. Know that if it is the latter, though, I cannot leave until the Hunter delegation leave. Umm. That should do."

He rubbed his chin. "Offer any military support they might need. We've been able to train a fairly large number of pikemen - it's not terribly difficult to wave a big stick, after all - which we can share if it means less Hunters. But, use your common sense - you have plenty."

Celsa smiled. "Okay brother. Anything else?" Gathin nodded, and we moved to embrace her. "Good luck, and come back as soon as you can." She smiled, and left to meet her escort.

As she left, the smile faded from Gathin's face. So they murdered a citizen of the Empire? We'll see what they have to say about that...

[ Monday, January 28, 2008 04:34: Message edited by: Hey, Jude. ]

Nikki's Nook - forget about your house of cards, and I'll deal mine.
Posts: 2864 | Registered: Monday, September 8 2003 07:00
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #63
Fort Avernum

“Ohhh…” Erika had never been touched in those ways before. She bit her lower lip in pleasure. Suddenly, there was a quick knock at the door and one of the Lady’s personal female guards entered. Erika was so embarrassed. Luckily, the silk canopy covering Angelo’s bed hid her naked body.

The guard yelled out, “Young lord!”

“Blast! What it is? This had better be of monumental importance!” Lord Angelo grabbed a robe, covered himself, and approached the guard.

“It is, young lord. Another mage from the Disciples had arrived, the one that can open the portal for us. The Lady has requested you’re presence.”

“Ah. Glorious. We shall be with them momentarily.” The guard nodded and left. Angelo looked to Erika, “Come, my love, I wish you to be with me.”

Erika smiled and reached for her own robes.


Meanwhile, the Lady entertained Acrio Sulfi in Fort Avernum’s main dining hall. Acrio didn’t like her at all. She was bursting with pomp and even her words were barely decipherable behind all that noble gibberish, “Methinks this realm be not devoid of wit. Be glad we stand not on our ancient nick.”

Acrio was not too sure what that last part meant. He looked around, hoping there was someone else he could talk to other than this purple-clad daint. He was pleased when Erika entered the main hall, escorted by a young man with a very pointy mustache. Angelo approached his mother and kissed her on the cheek. She smiled, rose, and moved for the door behind her throne, “Mine gentle son shall see to all thine want, his wit may match thine and he canst not daunt.” With that, she was gone, and Angelo approached Acrio with a cheerful smile.

“Ah, Acrio Sulfi, is it? Erika has told me much of you. I am Angelo, elder son of the Lady Calpurnia. Might I interest you in some fine cheeses from the surface?” Angelo signaled to a servant. “Ah, the very best Solarian brie. Aged to perfection over four different-“

“That will not be necessary. Look, I’m here on business. I may be able to open this portal for you, but we really should discuss terms before I begin.”

Angelo spread his arms, “Right to the point then. Wonderful! Shall we move our conversation outside that we might bask in the glory that will be our gateway to the future?”

“I… whatever.” Acrio shook his head but obliged. The three of them as well as a decent entourage of servants were soon outside by the portal ruins. Arcio was disturbed to see Erika stand so close to Angelo the whole time rather than himself, but said nothing. When they reached the portal hill, Acrio gazed at the ruins looming above them.

Angelo smiled at Acrio’s reaction, “Magnificent, no? Once the source of so much strife, soon to be a tool of peace and union.”

Acrio was much too distracted by the energy in the air to hear Angelo’s words. The reports were correct, the rift was still there, and still very, very powerful. This portal must have once been just as big, if not far bigger than the one at the Tower of Magi, which was where Acrio himself had learned most of what he knew about portals today.

Angelo continued, “You said something about terms. I believe that the Lady has already assured the safety of your holdings in the Eastern Province. You need not worry about them any longer.”

Acrio tore his eyes from the portal and faced Angelo, “Fort Dranlon does not concern me nearly so much as you think. I was actually hoping that-”

“That you could use the portal once it is open? Of course you may! You will find that the Lady is most magnanimous. You’re people will want for nothing once goods begin to flow in from the surface. We will require small compensations for such things, naturally, but let us cross such bridges when we reach them, yes?”

“I’ve little interest in the surface, either.”

Angelo was confused, “Well, what is it you want, then?”

Acrio searched for the right words, but he really wasn’t a politician, after all. “Will your… people… be leaving once the portal is open? Will you be returning to the surface for good?”

Angelo’s smile, which he had maintained this whole time, faded slowly. “I don’t understand. Why would we leave? The people of Avernum need us. We are a bastion of light in this pit of darkness. So long have these people known only suffering and death! It would be… unconscionable for us to abandon them now, in a time when a call for heroes is paramount!”

Acrio shook his head, “I passed through Cotra and Silvar on my way here. The people there live in fear of your mercenaries! Heroes… pffah! You are nothing more than a band of thugs dressed up to look like proper soldiers!”

Much to Acrio’s surprise, Erika burst out, “That’s not true! Angelo really does have the people’s best interst in-” She quickly covered her mouth with her hands, then bowed her head in shame. Acrio did not know what to say.

Angelo continued, “Those ‘thugs’ are the only thing keeping those cities together. If they seemed a bit… rugged… that is only because they were recruited from among your own people.”

“Oh, they’re my people then, are they? So you acknowledge that you’re the one out of place here? Why don’t you just go back where you came from when the portal is open? We don’t need you here, no matter how much you keep telling yourselves we do!”

Angelo was about to rebut, but fell silent when Lady Calpurnia approached, surrounded by her attendants, “Thou dost not speak for those we rule today, for they to us have come to find the way. Thou needst not gast afore our sovereign might, together we may still recure the blight. For us you must bring first to bear mine gate, then only hence shall we resume debate. One thousand Northern troops eftsoons return, pray they this gateway prest to slake their yearn. Though I, thine Lady, try to yield inland, I can not swear they’ll hit to heed mine hand.”

Acrio tired of the Lady’s strange dialect, “Does that even mean anything?”

Angelo held Erika close and spoke slowly to her master, “We are expecting our army to return soon from the North, victorious, of course. With our forces so bolstered and restless for more combat, they will need a place to go once they arrive. If the portal is not open, well, we shall simply have to send them to conquer something else then, won’t we?”

Acrio glared long and hard at the Imperials, stubborn as Imperials always are. Then at Erika, grasping Angelo’s arm like a child holding on to a parent. Then at the old Avernum portal, the tingle of energy palpable in the air. Finally, after a long sigh, he spoke, “I will have a list of equipment I will require ready within the hour.”

Angelo’s grin returned.

You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Member # 6670
Profile Homepage #64
The day was unseasonably warm, and many of the students had doffed their outer robes as they made their rounds from building to building. Not so Demetrius. He strode across the grounds, snake-head staff in hand. Appearances had to be kept up, periodically. Besides, a simple cantrip kept him from getting too warm. He glanced over his shoulder. "So. How have our Hunter friends changed over the years?"

Archmage Boris trod alongside, the sunlight gleaming off his balding pate. "Changed," he answered slowly, "changed enough. Before, it was an army running a city and its environs. Ruled by one man, who used his charisma to keep the populace in check. But now... There is still a leader, and still an army, but their greatest strength now is their people. And the people are more than willing to risk their livelihood for the Hunter cause. This Evergreen alluded to new settlements being constructed in North Krizsan at an alarming rate. It's a human migration, Demetrius." He paused for effect. "And they want to send men into the Dominion."

"They won't do that, if for no other reason than logistical. I cannot imagine that they have the population to focus on rapidly constructing more than several settlements at a time. Besides, they will soon depend on us for the portal, so angering us by sending a mass of settlers into our lands will be against their best interests."

Boris nodded thoughtfully. "Has the team left then?"

"No, Archmage Tychius and his men leave in the morning." The west side of the College was a bustle of activity, as the Dominion's small collection of priceless power crystals were loaded into sturdy covered waggons. It was unfortunate that the location of the new portal had to be so far from lands firmly under Dominion control, but Tychius had determined long ago that it would be incredibly difficult to erect a new portal on the lands near the College. "The defence of the crystal during the trip will be overseen by Agent Celeste. She's done this sort of thing before, and she knows Krizsan province like the back of her hand. I don't think her absence would be missed among the party of Agents we're sending up north."

Boris tsked. "That noise again. What are you planning up there?"

"Not much... for now. A diplomat - probably Archmage Cara - will be sent along to finally get in direct contact with this Sanctuary. As for the rest... Agent Denise and her company are going to get acquainted with the workings of this new cult."

"Sending your Agents in first to soften things up. The same tactics again," Boris grumbled. "They didn't work for you last time, and they won't work this time either. And I wouldn't be so quick to incorporate the Hunters into your plans for North Karnold. For all we know, they plan to focus their attention downwards after the portal is completed."

Such insolence, Demetrius thought. None of the council members would have had the spine before to speak such things to his face. But the previous failure up north had been often attributed to him overextending the Dominion's reach. Still, there was no better path to be had than simply proving the naysayers wrong.

Something Boris had said left Demetrius puzzled. "You know, you're one of the few council members who hasn't disagreed with the Hunter alliance on the whole. You're even the one who made it a reality. And yet, you don't think we should rely on them in our expansions. Tell me, if you don't see the Hunters as tools, what do you see them as?"

"Simple." Boris clasped his hands behind his back. "I see them as neighbours. Forget your dreams of restoring the Empire, Demetrius. They are as unattainable as the Hunters' goal of racial purity. We should forget that which we cannot conquer, and focus on what lies within our own borders."

The magister smirked. "Oh ye of little ambition. As for restoring the Empire, I don't plan on tackling that monumental task myself. It will take care of itself. I just plan on seizing as large a chunk of it as possible in the name of the Dominion." He chuckled. "You know, I've always thought that the Sun is as much an emblem of the Empire as of Avernum. Looking through the lens of history, the Empire has been constantly plagued with rebellions and coups. But ultimately, the sun rises again and the body emerges intact, often changed, but still the same monolithic symbol of control."

He would have continued, but he was hailed from across the courtyard by an apprentice. The young man tentatively approached the pair. "Ma-magister Demetrius, I-, y-you weren't in your study..."

"I can take a break and enjoy a walk around the grounds as much as anyone else," Demetrius responded, bemused.

"Yes..." The timid apprentice paused for a moment, then gestured behind himself to a dark skinned man Demetrius hadn't noticed. "This is an emissary from the Phoenix Empire. I was told to bring him to you, but you weren't in your study-"

"Well, you've found me now. Thank you for that." As the apprentice scurried away, Demetrius quickly sized the other man up. He was garbed in light leather armour - clearly a battle mage. Unsurprising, considering the Phoenix Empire was run by an army regiment. He approached the other man and gave a slight bow. "Greetings, friend, and welcome to Redmark College. I am Magister Demetrius, and this here is Archmage Boris."

The battle mage bowed in return, giving a nod to Boris. "I am Battle Mage Asconsin Brand, of the 51st Regiment of the Imperial Army." Clearly, the Imperial army (or what was left of it) didn't carry on the tradition of mages ceasing to use their surnames when they reached a high enough rank. "Myself and others are here to represent the Phoenix Empire, and its goals of restoring the Empire to power."

Behind Brand's back, Boris rolled his eyes. Demetrius ignored him. "Truly, a lofty, though difficult, goal. You said you have come with others? I think I know where they will be housed. Come, we can talk on the way." Boris excused himself, and the two remaining mages began walking toward a building on the south side of the College. As the other man did not speak up, Demetrius began speaking. "So, I trust your journey east went well?"

Brand grunted, eyeing Demetrius. "Uneventful enough, considering we were passing through Hunter occupied territory."

"I was not aware that the Phoenix Empire and the Hunters were on hostile terms."

"It is not that far gone yet, though relations are most certainly strained. Suffice to say that we have reasons not to trust the Hunters." The man eyed Demetrius again. "And I hear that the Dominion of the Learned had recently struck an alliance with them."

Well, he certainly isn't one to draw things out. Demetrius passed a dozen responses through his mind before settling on one. "We were not aware of any duplicity on the Hunters' part." Toward the Phoenix Empire, at least. "Besides, I believe I hold many of the same views as your Dervish commander. We are trying to promote a return to unity. I cannot see how refusing an alliance with the Hunters would aid the Empire."

They had reached the building where Brand's compatriots were housed. The battle mage responded, "We shall see is either of us can dissuade the other. Might as well start the talks now; there is much to be discussed."

At long last - an explanation why I am too lazy to give my characters surnames.
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
Member # 4574
Profile #65
Crystal Caravan

They came from the west, and they were met at Porter's Retreat by gratitous Hunters. A hearty meal was given to them, and then escorts of Hunter soldiers were sent out. They travelled north on cobblestone roads, soon arriving at Gidrik. Here, the soldiers went back and were replaced by a new shift. As they set out westwards to Farport, they saw farmland in all directions, along with quarries, rest points, and more. Then, eventually they reached Farport, where the soldiers were switched out one final time, and the caravan started travelling into dense woods...


"HALT!" screamed the guard, chasing a band of seven nephil. At their head, Mrrhrrphrr the Third and his son Jake were fleeing rapidly. News had trickled up along the slave lines that the Dominion was sending a caravan of crystals to Nexus, where there was still some residual portal magic. Once they did their job, the deportations would happen. Chances to be free would be lost, the Sun would be lost, good food would be lost, safety would be lost. Many would rather die trying to escape than let this happen.

And so, as they had nothing to lose but their chains, the non-humans fled as quickly as possible. The guards had noticed, and had shot at them with darts that seemed to do nothing even though they hit. Then, seeing this, they gave pursuit. Now, they had arrived at their only escape: The Sanctuary Embassy. "OPEN THE DOOR, THEY'RE COMING!"

As though they were a well oiled machine, the clergymen opened the door and ushered them in. Thanking the priest, they shook hands, and made arrangements to flee to Angel's Rest. While here, a fine layer of nephil fur, near unnoticable, covered most of the temple. The next day, they were taken on the coach service that carried refugees from Sharimik to Angel's Rest, packed in close quarters with the coachman and the rest of the refugees.

Once in Angel's Rest, they found themselves working at different parts of the city. Two of them began training to become priests of Telkavoth in densely packed monk quarters, Jake and Mrrphrrhrr the Third picked up a job in the very busy market place at a food stand, another one of them did needed repair to the city's main well, his hairs pooling at the bottom, unnoticed, and the final two worked in a bakery.

In one week, they started showing signs of illness. Fur fell off in large clumps during worship and didn't grow back, they became pale, food didn't stay with them. These symptoms worsened as time went on, and with nary a week to go until their one month liberation mark from the Hunters, they all had to go to the infirmary; though no priests could fix what ailed them. Finally, on the one month mark, they all died, victims of a new disease utilized by the Hunters.

But this was not all that they did. Everywhere they went, everything they touched, or shedded onto, or were close to, they were infected. And with this, the clergy of the Temple at Sharimik, the coachrunner, and much more were infected, not knowing it for another week, sufficient time for, say, a merchant caravan to travel to Aminro.

It was the beginning of the Great Game.

Expeditionary Force

The Dragon was massive, and as the soldiers debated what to do, it was decided that trying to kill it would be suicide. Instead, they listened to it, and its tales of hunting Slithzerikai, of the history of the Perghas, and how he was hoping for an alliance. After telling the Dragon about the ideology of the Hunters, purging the impure, it agreed. A campsite was built, Fort Draco, and under Green the Dragon's protection, they made their way through the rest of the waters unimpeded.

Then, at the southern end of the Rapid Waters, the ogre, nephil, nephar, and goblins of the Perghas attacked them. All was seen as lost, as the arrows, spears, and spells were not killing the swarm fast enough, and they looked like they could kill them by throwing bodies at them. Landing on the other side of the river, they continued their attack, even as the stronger ones forded the river, carrying the weaker ones. To their surprise, reinforcments from Fort Delta and Fort Blades came in, but still the militia was not strong enough to repel the enemy. Green had even joined their desperate stand, but it was not enough to kill the foe.

Then the Goblins suddenly screamed in unison, and their daggers drew blood of the other non-humans. The humans stopped, and stared as the ogres, nephar, and nephil all fell to a stab in the back. When the carnage was done, the still massive goblin army stared at them. Then, breaking the heavy silence, a filthy figure walked out of the mass.

She was at first not recognizable as more than a tall goblin, but as she got closer, the wind blew away some the dirty water on her face, revealing her as a human. She spoke with a strong, yet halting speech, as though she were not familiar with Imperial Standard, "I am Marion, Queen of the Pergha Mountains! These Goblins are mine, loyal to me in all things, and I rule these lands! State your business!"

After negotiations, a treaty was established making Queen Marion and her powerful army incorporated into the Empire. They would be better killed as allies of the Empire than as the enemy of such. This was, frankly, a historic negotiation. Not only was a nation consisting of nearly one hundred percent Goblins spared the wrath the Hunters, but it was allied with such! Little did the Commander know the Revolution this would start in places like Farport...

Meanwhile, the Freemen met up with the expeditionary forces that combined at Fort Blades. With the tired military outposts of Fort Blades and Fort Delta converted for survival purposes, the Freemen were in trouble. And as such, they wanted to make ammends and join the Hunters while they could, as well as get revenge for Silvar. They were accepted, and together the force marched south to Silvar.

The Phoenix Empire


That night, the expeditionary force, militiamen, and Freemen arrived at the north of Silvar, and the Freemen continued west, to Delan. Meanwhile, the main force stayed here, hiding the Eye from view, and simply attacked. With the presence of a few Freemen uniforms, they would hopefully think this was retribution from the Freemen for seizing Silvar. As a solid wall of shields was formed, arrows, slingstones, javelins, and spells were shot over the walls of Silvar to do some damage. Thus began the Battle of Silvar.

New Sumar
(OOC: For some reason, I feel convinced to call this place New Amuda. So, if I say New Amuda anywhere, know I mean New Sumar)

Not as great of a force had been assembled here to destroy New Sumar, but it was still enough. The Imperial Navy deposited several former adventurers in the region to protect Meineke the Mage as he rained brimstone on the villagers.

First, as the villagers began to retire for the night, a black flame appeared on the crops. Second, moments later, various pest beasts were summoned to create chaos, goblins, rats, bats, and a nephilim or two. Third, a mighty shade appeared in the town square, and attacked like Death itself, its robes of black, died scarlet in places, and its weapon a long, bloody scythe. Taking control of the minor pests, it directed the attack on the unfortunate villagers.


While New Sumar and Silvar were under attack, Pergies went about its business as usual. Why wouldn't it? News of New Sumar hadn't yet come, and there was no reason to be worried. Pergies was one of the better strongholds of the Empire, and the source of precious metals! How could bandits, Hunters, or animals make it to Pergies to destroy it?

By sea, that's how.

The Imperial Navy arrived near Pergies soon after they dropped off their cargo at New Sumar, and here they let loose the Naval Corps. Soldiers landed on the shores and marched towards the Pergha mountains as the fleet proper sailed south.

Arriving near dawn, they saw lines of miners filing into the deep, deep mine network to work. Waiting until they had gone through several soldiers slipped in unnoticed to do their grizzly work on the miner scum.

The rest of the troop, thinking that in this morning haze and with the miners away now was perfect, attacked the city. Like the other attackers elsewhere, they formed a phalanx, their back to the Perghas. Once again, spells, arrows, slingstones, and javelins arced into Pergies to start the battle. However, being from the fleet, the city had stronger guns shaking the city as well. Stonethrowers* and a ballista, to be precise.


The attitude was similar here in Pyrrin, one of the four cities of the Empire, a stronghold of the Imperial might. Here, the Hunters had come through south from Fort Submergence to lead another sneak attack on the Empire, at Pyrrin.

On horseback these troops came, with a wolf pack from the goblins of the Perghas to aid them. The presence of calvary was critical to this battle, and from the densely packed woods they arrived in Pyrrin, nearly at the walls. Their mighty steeds encircled the city, firing arrows and javelins at all they saw, their wolves running up to the walls and howling wildly. The only mage in the group waited in the safety of the woods, guarded by a shieldsman, as he sent arcing blazes towards any farmlands and, of course, the walls of the city.


There were no soldiers attacking here. No armies amassing outside of the gates, nor were there any wolves howling for Imperial blood. Outside, farmland was not burning under a sadistic mages watch, nor were projectiles arcing with deadly precision into the city to kill schoolchildren on the streets. However, there was a single attack come dawn, from sea.

Outside the city, the Hunter fleet hovered like a plague. For a while, nothing happened, and then, like a plague, they unleashed their attack with ruthless efficiency. Stonethrowers, ballistae, spells, and precision arrows flew like omens into the city.


[ Thursday, February 07, 2008 15:57: Message edited by: Goldenking ]

"I'm happy I'm the mentally disturbed person I am." -Nioca
"Yes, Iffy is a demon." -Iffy
"All (Spiderweb) servers should be taken down, erased, and then subjected to dissolution by alkahest." -Alorael
Posts: 1186 | Registered: Friday, June 18 2004 07:00
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #66
Fort Avernum

No one came to greet Sss-Kai when he arrived back at Fort Avernum. On his way in, he noticed the fort was painfully understaffed. He would have to remedy that later. He did not find the Lady in her usual place in the main building in the fort. Instead, she had since set herself up outside, so that she could keep an eye on the portal at all times. Sss-Kai approached her, and noticed she was wearing a new dress that did not cover her arms and neck. When he got closer the reason became clear. The portal was beginning to form, and the heat coming off the thing was intense. It made the whole fort a good deal warmer. Sss-Kai noted the strange mage working by the portal as he approached his Lady.

“I sssee much has happened since I have gone. I would never have thought to see that portal open again.” Sss-Kai stole a look at the Lady’s arms, almost perfectly white, even though she was not a native of Avernum, strange. She wore her hair up in funny buns and did not break a sweat, despite the intense heat. Too bad, the slith thought, he would have liked to see what she looked like wet.

Suddenly, the Lady pulled some kind of orb from out of nowhere and held it in front of Sss-Kai’s face, “We’ve made first cross with yond, our surface kin. Behold, the fruit already bourn within.” She laughed at this statement, then held the strange orb even closer to Sss-Kai, who backed off. She simply advanced on him, "Already trade has hence betided nigh. A simply message met with gifts from high.”

Sss-Kai was wary of the alien object in her hand, “Yeah, that’s great, pleassse don’t hold that thing so close.”

Suddenly, the Lady came to a realization, “Hast thou mine son surrendered to the North?”

“Yes. I mean… no? We were successful, m’Lady. Formello now fliesss your banner.”

Lady Calpurnia shook her head, “Without thine spear he may yet know defeat. Adversity shall loom, pray he not fail.”


Once again, the Lady’s was correct. The initial assault on Fort Draco was a failure. Edward had lost several soldiers in the attempt, and so he had the leader of the vanguard swiftly executed for the defeat. The black armored lord paced across his throne room in Formello. With him were the various military commanders of his small army. He rebuked them. “Incompetent fools! A simple frontal assault on a fortress that has never before withstood a serious attack… and you fail!” Edward sat down in his throne. “My mother will be most displeased. Ha! If she were here, she would have probably thought up a brilliant stratagem and took the fortress without any casualties. Hmm, it falls to me now, then. Must I do everything?” The commanders jumped a little at Edward’s reprimands.

One captain was brave enough to speak up, he was the captain of the Formello guard, “My lord, perhaps if we parleyed with the captain of Draco we could-“

“Silence! If I require your worthless input, I will request it. To parley now would make us seem weak. Tell me, who here knows the local caves the best?” The brave captain raised his hand, “Figures. Prepare a battalion and meet me at the front gates. Even now an ingenious plan takes form within my head.”


Edward and his battalion traveled through the Formello caves, looking for something. The captain had no idea what Edward was hoping to find, but he was not so brave as to question the Imperial. Eventually, Edward ordered the men to cease their search in a tiny village in the far Northeastern corner of the Formello caves region.

“Captain, tell me of these lands.”

“Well, these lands were once full of prosperous mining towns. The mines were depleted years ago, and now only a few villages like this remain. It takes good, rugged people to live in lands like this, isolated as they are. They are true Avernites.”

Edward frowned at the pride with which the captain made that last statement. “Just how isolated are they?”

“Completely self-sufficient, my lord. They live out here completely free of contact from the outside world, content in their solitude and all too happy to be away from the chaos that has gripped the land. Truly this is what life in Avernum was meant to be like.”

Edward smiled. “Perfect. I present to you my very first stratagem, and what a brilliant one it is! Formello resists us because they see us as brigands, not as the peacekeepers we truly are. We must show them that we are capable of taking care of our people by destroying a large bandit outpost and parading the heads of the villains throughout the streets of Formello!”

The captain spoke up once again, “Pardon, my lord, but there haven’t been any bandits in the Formello caves in decades. Mayor Illic even managed to keep them at bay after the fall of the Kingdom.”

“What nonsense is this, captain? I see a whole army of bandits right before our eyes!” Edward motioned to the small village.

The captain suddenly understood Edward’s intentions, “You are mad! You can’t possibly mean to…”

“Heads are heads, captain. Formello doesn’t need to know who they came from. I have the people’s safety in mind, you see. These few die so that this entire region may continue to live in peace. Fort Draco will see that our intention are good and they will have no choice but to-”

“I would sooner die than take part in such an insidious plan!”

Edward advanced on the man, “My good captain-“

The captain put his hand on his blade when he saw Edward coming towards him. Edward paused, infuriated that the captain would do such a thing. He grabbed his own weapon and both drew their steel. Edward parried the captain first blow, then, with his massive steel tipped boot, he stomped down hard on the captain’s kneecap, shattering it. The captain cried in pain and fell to his knees, causing even more pain. Edward disarmed him, knocked off his helmet and gripped the captain by the hair.

“First one to step forward and slit this man’s throat is the new captain of Formello!” It took a few good, long moments before a large man with a thick beard stepped forward to do the deed. Edward smiled as the blood sprayed on both of them. Edward let the former captain fall to the ground, “Good work. Commence the ‘quelling’ of these bandits, captain.”

“Aye, m’lord. What of the children? Little heads are not the same as big ones.”

“We can leave no witnesses, captain. They must be dealt with as well. There are lots of abandoned mine shafts around here, yes? Be creative.”

“Aye m’lord.”

[ Friday, February 08, 2008 08:56: Message edited by: Emperor Tullegolar ]

You lose.
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Nature's power cannot be shaken. It cannot be turned aside, for the laws of life and the world are immutable in the long-term. - Teachings of the Order


Gebra Ruins - Sister Quartz stared out across the clearing, standing perfectly still. Her tattered cloak had been patched with woven grass, and was in part held together by small twigs. When she wasn't moving, it was hard to distinguish her from a patch of shrubbery.

Before the Time of the Star, Quartz had been dispatched to Valorim along with a small crew of druids and warriors to fight the Hunters*. They had landed among the Karnold Isles, and had barely gotten to dry land before the rakshasi stormed the islands. The people were unable to put up any sort of fight, but Quartz's band had gone into hiding in the more heavily-forested islands.

Cut off from the Order, they never learned of the Hunters' demise, or of their return. Facing the rakshasi head-on, their methods grew more and more extreme... Quartz had been a pacifist before her grandfather was killed in the Hunter takeover of Kriszan, and now her peers on Krell would never recognize her.

She stood stock-still, and a shrill whistle floated through the forest to her, accompanied by the sound of unevenly-paced running.

The rakshasa burst through the trees into the clearing, with a wall of thick brambles close behind it. The cat tried to burn them away, but the damaged sections simply closed up and continued pushing. Tree roots surged across its path, trying either to trip up the beast or to slice its legs off.

Sister Quartz drew her staff, a movement which finally caught the cat's attention. It glowed bright red for a moment, the same color as the rakshasa's eyes. Then, nothing. The cat laughed, a grating sound that Quartz and her crew had learned to ignore over the past few months.

Then the earth opened up and swallowed the beast, closing with a flesh-rending snap. Sister Quartz smiled and called out to the woods, "That's the last of them!"

Now they could turn their attention back to the Hunters.

*Proof that I'm not making this up.

Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.
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Caught unaware, the Imperial watch was slaughtered almost instantly by the barrage of arrows and rocks that flew from the city walls. Slowly, as the the a horn was blown to awaken the remaining Imperial soldiers, they began milling out of their barracks, grabbing arms. It was only when they were outside, in the clear night sky that they saw the sheer numbers against them.

Unwin looked around, as still more arrows flew into the city. There was no way out, but he sure as hell wasn't going to go down without taking out a few Hunters with him. He held back his men, until the arrows stopped and the invading army began it's march into the city. As the first Hunter troops entered the gates, he shot forward, followed by the rest of the Imperials. As spells flew from the priests, and arrows shot forward into the column of Hunters, Unwin drew his sword and charged, determined to make them pay before the banner was torn down from City Hall.

New Sumar

Meineke strolled through the singed crops and blasted corpses. The village had not stood a chance, and the "battle" was over in minutes. As the shade had descended, the villagers had locked themselves inside, hoping to hide from it. And, it had worked. Whilst the soldiers fell before it's scythe, it was the balls of fire that had done for the villagers, burning them in their own homes. The breadbasket of the New Empire was nothing more than cinders.


An earth-shattering thud resounded around the mountains, and a cloud of dust rose to the heavens. Caught unawares, the miners had suffered many losses, but these folks were hardened to live underground, and weren't going to wait to be slaughtered. Whilst several of them took their picks to the Hunter soldier's skulls in the main cavern, a small group collected the tiny amount of explosives residing in the mine. Setting it up around the entrance, they lit the fuse, preventing anybody else getting in. Or out. They ran forward, eager to die at the hands of the Hunters rather than die of hunger like their attackers.

The city of Pergies didn't fall so quickly. Despite the heavier fire-power of the fleet, the city had a large force of soldiers and weaponry of it's own. Despite being surprised by the attack, the city watch fought back with vigour. Broken bits of masonry were flung back at the ships from the one catapult that the city had. The few battle magi in the city threw fireballs at the attackers, and the villagers were evacuated into the mountains through tunnels dug out centuries ago for this purpose. The tunnels led away to the west, where the villagers could regroup and head south to Delan.

As the last of the villagers left, the tunnels were sealed, and the remaining population prepared for the ground attack, determined to hold their ground...


The city burnt. It had only been a farming town, and there was no great military presence there. After most of the farming had been moved north to New Sumar, it became a primarily residential town, and it was only townspeople that were slaughtered by the Hunters. Within the hour, the city had fallen, it's flimsy stone wall breached and it's buildings gutted.


The attack on Delis was the least successful of all the attacks. Whilst it was no fortress city, like Delan, it was still a city that had stood the tests of time, and grown stronger for that.

As the spells and rocks, arrows and bolts flew into the city, Imperial mages began retaliating, firing bolts of fire at the fleets sails. The wooden fleet would not last long under this sort of retaliation.


Gathin knew nothing of the attacks. A sour expression played across his face as he marched to Barleycorn's room. Barging in, he began accusing the visiting delegate of the murder of Clarice.

Bemused, the Hunter defended himself, stating that bandits were rife in Krizsan at the moment.

"Well, I have no evidence to suggest that bandits are active in an area so close to the Sanctuary, and so I have nobody to blame but Hunter forces. And until somebody else comes forward, I am holding you responsible, Hunter. You will await your punishment in the town's dungeon."

He signalled for the two soldiers outside Barleycorn's door to bind and restrain him. As he was led away, Gathin sighed and sank into a nearby chair. It looked as if war with the Hunters was inevitable...


Sarrin finally reached the gates of the Sanctuary city. Dismounting from her horse, she strode forward, ready to deliver her letter...

[ Sunday, February 10, 2008 04:34: Message edited by: Nikki. ]

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"Sarrin has returned, your divinity."

"Then bring her in."

The doors to the hall opened, and Sarrin stepped inside. "What was Gathin's resp-", Iocabe started, only to notice that something was wrong. Sarrin was visibly shaken by something. "What happened?"

Sarrin spoke, trying to control the shaking in her voice. "I was on my way b-back from Delan. It was l-late at night, and j-just as I got about a mile from the city..."

"Were you attacked?" Iocabe asked.

Sarrin shook her head. "Delis and Silvar were attacked. And when I looked back, I saw smoke rising from other cities." Her voice started shaking again.

Iocabe paled. "Thank you for this... disturbing news. Go get some rest. You've more than earned it."

"But what abo-"

"That can wait until later. If what you say is true, we'd be sorely pressed to get a messenger of any kind through Hunter territory now. Let alone a target such as Gathin or myself."

Sarrin nodded and left. Iocabe turned to his aide. "Gather the circle. If the Phoenix Empire is under attack, we'll certainly be next."

"The circle?"

"Yes, the circle. We need to convene on this now."

The aide nodded, his face grave, and then left the room. Iocabe got up and started searching through records.


Several guards climbed down into the sewer system to look for the escaped thieves. Shamgar, Ferrrald, and their mysterious rescuer all picked up their collective paces. Then they found it. A service ladder near the front of the city. Unfortunately, two guards were going to reach it first.

The Wraith signaled the thieves into a small alcove, and started a ritual.

The two guards saw a figure suddenly burst into sight, headed for the ladder. Upon seeing the guards, it turned and fled. The guards pursued the figure to the alcove where the thieves were hidden. The figure, a shade, was briefly visible to the thieves before it continued around a nearby bend. The guards careened after it, and the Wraith, once they were out of sight, signaled Shamgar and Ferrrald to head for the ladder. They clambered up as quickly as possible, surfacing in a small hut.

The hard part wasn't escaping the sewers, though. It was getting through the front gate. Thankfully, the Wraith had a plan. He located a horse with a cart attached, posted outside a nearby tavern.


"I need to search your cart, sir." The guards were standing with hands on their weapons.

The man stammered. "bu-but I don't have-"

"The cart. NOW." Weapons were drawn. The man waved his arms in the air, and his horse was starting to get spooked. Several annoyed civilians stood nearby, trying to get through the gate. But the chaos was just beginning. Suddenly, a horse with cart attached came careening around the corner, barreling at full speed toward the crowded gate. Screams erupted as the speeding horse tried to jump the cart with the merchant, and the two carts collided catastrophically. Debris, horses, and people flew everywhere, strewn about the utter chaos. The horses attempted to bolt, getting tangled up and trampling guards and civilians alike. People fled in all directions. And three cloaked figures slipped in with the panicking crowd fleeing the gate.


"Ava, I know you're in there." A priestess pounded at the door. She was accompanied by two other priestesses and a priest. One of the priestesses bent down, examining something. "Look at this..." She said, motioning her fellows to a dark spot on the ground in front of the door. "Is that a bloodstain?"

The priestess who had previously been pounding now just turned to knob and opened the door. "Ava? Are you all ri-" The sentence ended in a shrill scream as the priestess was tackled by a large orange hairy beast. Pearlescent fangs snapped towards her face, but thankfully, the beast's momentum carried it past her.

The priest of the group raised his hands to cast a spell, but was swatted aside, flung over fifteen feet. He didn't rise. Another priestess managed to get off a bolt of holy energy. It impacted the creature's chest, then rebounded back on the priestess, blasting her into unconsciousness. The creature then reared onto two feet. It was a hideous abomination, a massive 7-and-a-half foot humanoid monster covered in orange, bloodstained fur. Its claws were almost a foot in length, as were its fangs. Red hatred and hunger burned in its eyes.

The mauled priestess got up, attracting the beast's loathsome attention again. It started to charge her, only to roar in agony. The last priestess of the group, seeing how spells had failed against it, had drawn a short sword and plunged it into the beast's side. The monster whirled on her, slashing her with its teeth. She fell back with a cry. The monster then bolted, running off at speeds to shame a horse. It threw itself over the city wall and ran into the wilderness.


A few last stragglers entered the council chamber. It was a large room, dominated by a long table. A massive sword emblem was at the back of the room, illuminated by two torches. At the head of the table sat Iocabe. Bekath, two high priests of Telkavoth, and a Wraith sat on one side. The other side was occupied by Faenelle, a healer, Sarrin, another high priest, and an engineer. The rest of the seats were occupied by Crusaders-in-training, and a couple of ordinary priests.

"I brought you here because our situation is dire. Word is that the Phoenix Empire was subjected to a full-scale attack on multiple cities." A couple of gasps were heard. Iocabe pressed on. "Now, I think we can say with some certainty which force is behind this. We need to prepare in the likely event that we're targeted next, and also take steps to slow the Hunters' progress."

At this, Bekath stood up and spread a map on the table. It was a map of Valorim, somewhat outdated. "Our first step will be to stop any Hunter-bound trade caravans from the north. Deploying a few 'brigands' should take care of that problem. I also recommend contacting the Thieves Guild in Lorelei. They might be able to help us further that end. As for logistics issues, we need to recall all our men from the Troglodyte Castle. We'll need every able-bodied soul we can get to fend off an attack."

Bekath returned to his seat. Faenelle then stood up. "Conscription is going well, considering the short notice. We're training mostly in archery, and are pushing the training for acolytes up. Our priests are all getting drilled in their rites and rituals, and we've ordered our healers to brew up a surplus of energy elixirs. We've also had Wevern take a few apprentices under his wing, though we are praying that he doesn't blow up part of the church in the process." Faenelle finished with a smile.

A high priest across from Faenelle added, "We've been doing about the same in Aminro, though we're not sharing Fae's confidence in archery. We're working on building a larger base of swordsmen, and of course, we lack a mage to teach young apprentices about the arcane arts."

Iocabe nodded, then turned to the engineer. "How long is the fortification process going to take?"

"Longer than you'd like, and shorter than you would expect. The bastions you've requested will require about four days apiece to build. With eight bastions needing to be built, it'll take a little over a month to complete. Thankfully, the other fortifications you requested are simpler, and should take only a few days. A week, at most."

"Is there anyway to speed that process up?" Iocabe asked. The engineer shook his head, stating, "We're going as fast as possible."

Iocabe sat down. Another high priest then addressed the group. "What about the Embassy in Sharimik? We still have people over there."

Bekath replied, "We'll have to get them out of there. But we'll need some sort of distraction to do it without endangering Sanctuary lives."

"Oh!" Faenelle chimed in. "That reminds me, some Nephil refugees arrived fro-" She then doubled over slightly. Iocabe got up and prepared to rush around the table, but Faenelle shook her head, straining to speak. "Don't... bother! It'll... pass... shortly..." A few moments later, her breathing evened out. After catching her breath, she picked up from where she had left off. "Nephils arrived from Sharimik. We're trying to find them jobs and such, but I thought you'd want to know."

Iocabe scrutinized her for a few more moments, concerned. Then he slowly seated himself again. But he refused to take his eyes off her. Bekath spoke again. "The crusaders are coming along fine. Two were already skilled in combat, and should be ready shortly. However, I do need to ask you something. Is it strictly necessary for each Crusader to wield a sword? Because one is adamant to use a spiked mace."

"I'm not particularly concerned about the weapon of choice for a Crusader, so long as they can wield the weapon and a large shield at the same time. They all will also carry a short sword as a contingency."

A rather massive priest in heavy chain mail near the back flashed Bekath a smile. Bekath ignored it.

"So what do we do if the Hunters decide to launch an attack? Strike back?" The speaker this time was the Wraith. "And additionally, why was I brought here?"

"The second is easy; our two best Wraith, Allison and Amarfrra, are both on assignment. Amarfrra should be back from Sharimik within the day. As for the first question, we fight a battle of attrition. Even if we did take Sharimik, we'd take severe casualties only to lose it again. The Hunters, unlike us, have a navy. It'll be far easier and more efficient to press our innate advantages and deny them theirs. As a nation, we're better set for fighting defensively. So let them send their best soldiers; we'll take them out with ease, and when they've worn their resources and morale down, we'll then deal the killing blow."

"And if that doesn't work?"

"Telkavoth will see us through. He has yet to fail us." Iocabe thought some more. "We can't afford to let the Hunters find that tunnel from Karnold to Midori. We'll split the group at the Troglodyte castle. The larger group will come back to aid in defense efforts, while the smaller will head to Midori to assist the expansion efforts and to tell them that under no circumstances is the tunnel to be used until further notice."

Sarrin then spoke. "What about the Phoenix Empire?"

"We don't have many options about that. We can't get messengers through without the extremely high risk that the Hunters will intercept them. We certainly can't send reinforcements or aid to each other, because our men would undoubtedly be intercepted en route, and the Phoenix Empire needs every soldier they can get. And unless you can conjure an armada out of thin air, we can't get to them by sea either. So in short, our hands are tied. Anything else?"

Sarrin shook her head.

"Good. All orders issued here today will be carried out. This meeting is adjourned." As one, the group stood and started filing out of the chamber.


"These Thieves Guild members aren't too bright, are they?" Sarah remarked.

"How so?" Dewiss was standing opposite of the newly instated mayor of Dellston.

"They give us a letter, say that they want to contact us, and yet give us nothing. Not a meeting place, not a name."

"Lorelei has been a hideout for the Thieves Guild for decades. It shouldn't be that hard to find them if we actually look."

"Nevertheless," Sarah replied testily, "we cannot go chasing shadows. We'll deal with the Thieves Guild later. For now, I'm sending Allison to Poulsbo for reconnaissance."

"I'm afraid that won't happen. I've already sent her to Lorelei to make contact with the Thieves Gu-"

"What?!" Sarah jumped to her feet. "What do you think you're playing at?! You can't just supersede my authority whenever you so please! All orders-"

"I think you'll find that I can, Sarah."

"Oh? Do explain."

"While you control this town, I am now the second-in-command of this expedition. And it just so happens that Bresnen agrees with my decision. And I'd keep my voice down, if I were you. It isn't seemly for someone in your position to lose your temper, especially considering you've been mayor for all of five hours."

Sarah was fuming, yet she knew arguing with Dewiss was a lost cause. She sullenly sat back down. At that moment, an acolyte entered the room. "Mayor Watson? The deposed mayor is trying to incite a riot."

Sarah looked at Dewiss, a smile creeping across her face. "Don't worry. Dewiss here will take care of it." Upon hearing that, the acolyte nodded and shut the door.

"That's just passive-aggressive. And what makes you think you can order me around?" Dewiss growled, affronted.

"Because," Sarah replied, unable to keep the smirk off her face, "it isn't seemly for someone in your position to lose your temper."

Dewiss glared at her, but the moment was interrupted by the acolyte again. "Um, Watson? The deposed mayor just got stabbed by an angry peasant with a pitchfork."

[ Sunday, February 10, 2008 21:34: Message edited by: Nioca ]

Hz'ii'zt a'iiencf coxnen a'bn'z'p pahuen yzpa'zuhb be'tt'phukh'kn az'ii'ova mxn't bhcizvi'fl?

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Amadis patrolled the streets searching for prey. He didn't receive the same thrill since acquiring the title of a wanted man, but the same hormones still did the trick. His tricks, though, were far superior to that of the biological.

Among his skills included a keen eye, one so keen he took special interest in a woman in the distance. Something about her was similar to the Telkavothites in Dellston, yet he kept his position. She moved closer and he caught sight of several identifying features. Assured by his conclusions, he stalked her from a distance.

However, she appeared to possess a keen sense of her surroundings. Amadis took note of this, only to lose sight of her all together. Frightened by his situation he sprinted away from his current position.

The woman materialized in front of him. They exchanged dumbfounded expressions for a while, halted by the woman speaking, "Perhaps you are The Ingenuity?"

Amadis glared, for he knew she had the answer. He replied with a fib, "Excuse me, but my name is Derek, and I have no chance of ever acquiring a title."

"I tell you sir, I have little time for excuses."

"I happen to know of a nice glove shop near Hawkes Manse. Why don't you go there? I don't have time for this."

Karnold Province/Amniro
Ferrrald has acquired a child-like fascination with whomever trail-blazed through the trees with him. However, inspite of numerous questions, he received little more than the name Amarfrra, spoken in a seemingly automated voice.

Shamgar seemed fascinated as well, particularly interested by his cloaking abilities. Meanwhile Amarfrra guided the two a small brook.

"Drrrink," Amarfrra stated. His voice expressed absolutely nothing, which was quite frightening to the other nephil with him.

The two thieves complied obediently. After a few minutes they left and headed south.

Hours later they arrived in Amniro. Amarfrra remained with them, seemingly waiting for something. Shamgar remained tense, keeping his hand near his precious shuriken. Ferrrald meanwhile stared mutely at the other of his kind.

Amadis sheepishly opened the door to the glove shop, not surprised that this mystery woman was present.

"Alright," Amadis stuttered, "What have you here?"

"I seek The Ingenuity," she replied.

"Yes, yes I am he," he answered, "I'm sure Luscinda here can attest to this."

The woman approached Luscinda, reaching under the counter. The wall in the corner receded, leaving Amadis very impressed.

Luscinda tagged along with them, for the purpose of security. Amadis babbled formally for a time and then said the following, "I have little else to say besides what was contained in my letter, but I insist that you explain your purpose here."

The woman simply stated her name as Allison and replied, "You seemed to have quenched Telkavoth's curiosity. I shall be leaving now."

Amadis and Luscinda followed Allison out of the back room. As they entered, the sound of rattling metal became evident. Guards crashed through the door, wielding their arrogant sense of authority.

"Amadis Ducante, you are under arrest for numerous crimes. All those not affiliated with the town guard in this room shall be detained unt..."

Battle ensued. There were about six guards, leaving Amadis and Allison widely outnumbered. The guards had their interest on all three in the shop, which was proceeded by unsheathing of weapons.

Amadis withdrew his dagger, which still held the same wicked green glow. He quickly dispatched two guards assailing him, fatally stabbing another. Allison smote two others, the remaining guard standing over Luscinda.

Amadis removed his dart gun and fired. The guard fell lazily. Afterwards Amadis went about slaying the unconscious guards, while Allison sat behind the counter.

"She's wounded," Allison said.

"She can wait," Amadis retorted, "I have plenty of room to stuff these bodies."

Several hours passed. Allison had used her weak healing powers on Luscinda, while Amadis took bodies into the conference room below. With Luscinda unconscious, Amadis resorted to scrubbing the floors himself. Allison left shortly afterwards, followed by Luscinda waking up. Luscinda attended to her wound quietly, while Amadis had summoned several amateur theives to finish the mess.

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The gates were opened, and the phalanx marched in triumphantly. Raining on their parade, the soldiers charged desperately, in a last stand sort of way. Pity they didn't know about Hunter military tactics. In this narrow corridor, the Hunters raised their sheilds in a nigh impenetrable wall of wood and metal, and their spears were brought into attack position. The poles of wood and steel lunged forth purposefully at the charging Imperials, soon becoming red with blood. That is not to say that, in the initial charge, some lives were not lost, but it was saying that the charge was mostly suicidal.

Meanwhile, on the south side of the city, a small elite task force of fifty men crept into the city, while the attention was on the northern assault. The sheer power of the assault should insure that there contributions were not needed, but you could never tell when a good flanking was needed...

New Sumar

After the charred ruins had been inspected, Meineke left the same way he came, by boat. Tossing a final, explosive fireball into the burnt out shell of a village, his ship sailed purposefully to his next assignment: The Sanctuary. Eventually, when the war ended, the Hunters would use the ruins to build up a refugee settlement, but until then, New Sumar had outlived its purposes.


Those who resisted were killed. Those who were at arms were killed. Those soldiers who didn't surrender were killed. Yet the rest, they were spared.

And so, the entire remaining population was taken out. Everything of the Empire was taken, and burned. Flags, symbols, accounts ledgers, law codes, and many other things, with a few exceptions like military tactics. The bodies of the dead were thrown into the inferno too, and as the stunned crowds turned away, they were lead into the town hall, where a small garrison was left behind. The rest took to their horses, and with their wolf pack set out to Pergies.


Their lives were forfeit, and they died desperately in the mines, struggling to reopen the passage to the surface. Miner's picks, spears as levers, and more were utilized to try and move the boulders, but it was hopeless. With the miners impeding their efforts until their last death, they worked up a lot of breathing and sweat. Eventually, when the last miner died, they did make some major progress, but the last one died of suffocation just as a crack in the wall of stone let air back into the mines.

Meanwhile, on the fields, the catapults dueled. Soldiers rapidly supplied boulders from the Pergha mountains to throw at the catapult, and the larger buildings. The men were scattered, using their slings, crossbows, and javelins to their full advantage. As attacks from the Pergians came at them in force, the Hunters simply hid behind walls of metal and wood, their sheilds. When a bit of masonry was flung from the catapult, people scattered. When that bit of masonry was arcing towards the catapult, a mage would take special effort to blast it away, or apart.

Then, like the horsemen of hell, the Perrinian conquerers came unto the city. They again pulled out their mighty bows, and began sending powerful projectiles into the city. As the horses pounded near the walls of the city, they begin encircling the square, shooting anyone they saw on the walls, as well as sending arrows deeper into the city. From this point, they were relatively safe from the catapult, too close for the catapult to hit them. The wolves charged, filled with the bloodlust, to the gates, pushing at them, clawing at them, and trying to dig their way under them.


The mighty wooden mounts on the sea fought back. The catapults were timed off into groups, so that at any point in time there were rocks being thrown into the air at the city. A similiar method was utilized with the mighy ballistae, and both systems were firing at the sources of fire. Small arms, crossbows and the like, were mostly abandoned, as sailors now scrambled about madly to put out any fire the moment it landed. The sails were swiftly put down, and those that were burnt were dipped in water and used to combat other flames. Mages on the fleet redirected water from the sea to the air in an attempt to defeat the fire bolts, and they had some success.


"I tell you now, Dervish, that you will rue the day that you imprisoned the Ambassador! Just look to the skies!" Curious, the guards and Victor turned their eyes skyward. Fortunately for Barleycorn, the smoke of the battle scenes had not yet reached Delan. Dismissed as crazed, the guards threw Barleycorn into an empty cell, under constant surveillance. Little did they know, he had a dagger in his boot. How that would come into play was unknown, for now.

Crystal Caravan

Eventually, after a night at Farport, the Dominioners and their precious crystals arrived in the ruins of Nexus in a half-day, which was located in the Unicorn Pass. Military workers from Farport were now half heartedly building up the fort walls. The ruins of the city had been taken down, with the exception of Ernest's manor, and been used to build up the new structures of Fort Nexus. Captain Vidican showed the magi into the manor, and gave them a tour of what the Hunters had found.

OOC: I moved Ernest's hut a little to a more geographically sensible location.

Halfway between Softport and Sharimik

That same night, Meineke stepped onto the crisp shores of Karnold Province for the last time. Here, he drifted forth into the Sanctuary Lands, the wilderness. Here, he would make the Sanctuary Plagues, and the disease was just the start of it.

"I'm happy I'm the mentally disturbed person I am." -Nioca
"Yes, Iffy is a demon." -Iffy
"All (Spiderweb) servers should be taken down, erased, and then subjected to dissolution by alkahest." -Alorael
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The city was silent. Almost everybody had left for the north when the smoke from Delis became visible. Only a handful of people had escaped from Delis; after destroying several of the Hunter's warships, the city has attacked by infantrymen, and razed. Pergies had suffered a smiliar fate, but no survivors made it from Perrin or New Sumar.

Gathin had given the order to leave after mulling his options for a while. He had sent a small force to both Sanctuary and The Dominion, telling his men there what had happened and where the Empire would be taking its people for the time being. After word that the Phoenix Empire had been temporarily dislogded from Krizsan province, and was preparing to leave, Gathin had taken Barleycorn and executed him by firing squad. The pitiful man had tried to stab one of the jailers, but was quickly subdued. As the arrows found their mark, a cheer went up in the town sqaure - one small act of revenge against the Hunters.

A few flags fluttered in the breeze, a reminder that the Empire would return one day. For now though, almost all of the population were winding their way around the mountains, aiming for Sanctuary, and the land beyond.


The advance group that Gathin had sent to Sanctuary had arrived at the gates. It had been a struggle to get through Hunter land without being seen, what with the increased number of patrols, but they had done it. A wiry fellow named Fleet marched up to a soldier at the gates, and asked to be taken to Iocabe. The soldier nodded - word had already arrived of the Hunter's attacks with Sarrin, and he was in no mood to stop these heavily-armed soldiers from entering the city.

Fleet recited his message again, under his breath as he waited to be granted audience. The Phoneix Empire is making it's way north. Once there, it will help bolster the armies of Sanctuary, and settle in the northern spaces of Valorim. It wasn't an offer of help so much as a thirst for the blood of the Hunters, but the priests didn't need to know that...


The second group Gathin had sent had a much more difficult time getting to their destination. Ambushed by Hunter forces, they only just managed to escape, with minimal casualties. As the reached the Dominion capital, they slowed down. Their job was just to tell Battle Mage Brand that the Empire had relocated North, and then leave for Aminro.

The "negotiations" so far between the Empire and The Dominion had drawn blanks. Neither one was prepared to fully accept the other's point of view, but with news of an open attack on Imperial people, maybe that would change...

Nikki's Nook - forget about your house of cards, and I'll deal mine.
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A gate. Sanctuary had a small army, along with a few soldiers from Dellston, attempting to take Poulsbo. And they were being thwarted by a simple, closed gate. To add insult to injury, a skinny, buck-toothed Looter was sneering at them from the other side.

It wasn’t for long, though. A Sanctuary soldier managed to lure the Looter close enough to grab ahold of him and smash his head against the gate. The unyielding iron met with his skull, and the iron won. The Looter sank dizzily to the ground, unconscious. Bresnen managed to convince the guards that they weren’t here to kill everyone inside the town, and with the help of the soldiers from Dellston, the guards reluctantly agreed to let them in. It only took a few hours more to convert Poulsbo.

Sanctuary had achieved yet another victory in Midori.


Faenelle laid prone on her bed, eyes tightly shut with a cool, damp cloth draped over her forehead. Thankfully, the dull pain in her temple was finally starting to be subdued. It was not to be, however; someone knocked at the door. Faenelle groaned, then shouted, "If it isn’t a potion for headaches or Telkavoth himself, go away!"

There was a brief pause, then the door opened and Wevern stepped through. "I apologize, ma’am, but one of the Healers and an apprentice want to see you."

Faenelle groaned again, then sat up. The damp cloth fell to her lap, causing water to soak into her gown. "About what?"

"Something about a potion."

"It better be for headaches." Faenelle grumbled as she stood and followed Wevern out of the room.


To Faenelle’s dismay, the potion was not a headache cure. The bottle of deep blue liquid ominously swirled, seemingly of its own accord. "What is it?"

"We aren’t exactly sure yet!" said a rather excitable apprentice mage. Faenelle noted that Wevern had bypassed the typical years of silence that go with apprenticeship. The nearby healer stepped forward and intoned, "I was endeavoring to realize a more effective healing elixir; a brew that repaired, emboldened, and empowered the imbiber. And I became aware that I knew of a singular reagent that had every of aforementioned qualities: Skribbane."

"Skribbane?!" Faenelle yelped, shocked.

"Indeed. Naturally, I had to discover an herb that neutralized the more... undesirable effects. And while I may have not succeeded in realizing such a philter, I did stumble across something far more… potent. Behold," the Healer said, striding over to a cage with a rat, "a rabid, ravenous rat."

The rat snarled and attempted to bite at the healer’s fingers. The healer grabbed the bottle, uncorked it, and poured a drop in its mouth while it snapped at him. Within moments, it became docile. The healer gently opened the cage, lifted out the now-calm rat, and held it in his palm. "Complete, utter submission. The fortitude and fire have been sapped out of the feral beast within a moment, leaving it stunned." As if in response, the rat squeaked lightly and looked around blearily.

"Great..." Faenelle muttered. "But how does that help us?"

"Watch." The healer got another rat, just as rabid, and poured several more drops near the rat. While the rat didn’t ingest it, a cyan mist seemed to rise from the drops. The drops evaporated quickly into mist, and the mist dissipated. When it cleared, though, the second rat looked as stunned as the first. "When inhaled, the haze created by the elixir has a similar effect, albeit with reduced potency, to drinking the potion itself. And when disturbed, it evaporates even more quickly, unless in a closed container."

"And I had a headache before." Faenelle mumbled.

"Ma’am," the apprentice spoke up, "if I may be so bold, think: what would happen if a bottle of this was thrown into a crowd?"

And suddenly, Faenelle got it. "How potent is this?"

"It depends on the dose. But it is extremely potent; I had a single drop earlier, and was delirious for about 5 or 6 minutes. But we need more Skribbane; it’s the primary ingredient, and we can’t get it from ordinary channels."

But Faenelle realized that Sanctuary might already have the key to getting more Skribbane.


"Ah, I see that you once again do Sanctuary proud, Amarfrra." Iocabe looked at the two ragged people behind the Wraith. He merely nodded in response. Iocabe then added, "I also see that they are in no condition for idle banter. Let them have accommodations, some nourishment, and perhaps a nice bath. And maybe send a healer to tend to the nephil’s wounds. We can save getting acquainted for later." At this, a soldier guided the ragged pair out. Iocabe quickly conferred with Amarfrra. "Anything important I should know?"

"Only that they’re from the Midori Prrovince, and that they’re definitely the shadier type." Ever since Iocabe knew him, Amarfrra always had an unusual tendency to keep his nephilian accent out of his voice; it was a rare occasion when he rolled one of his ‘r’s. All considered, Amarfrra was an unusual nephil by any standard.

"I’ll keep a guard on them, then. Next order of business?"

An aide approached. "Someone named Fleet, sir. Claims he’s from the Phoenix Empire."

Iocabe brightened. "Let him in." At this, a wiry soldier entered the room. "I heard of the attacks on the Empire. You have my condolences."

Fleet looked rather nervous. To be safe, he decided to stick to what he had rehearsed. "The Phoneix Empire is making it's way north. Once there, it will help bolster the armies of Sanctuary, and settle in the northern spaces of Valorim."

"That’s good to hear. Anything else?"

"Erm..." Fleet looked unsure.

"Know that you can briefly have your host rest here, to re-spirit and regroup. We offer whatever hospitality we can afford, which, while limited, should be enough. Sound agreeable?"


"It’s settled then! Tell the rest of your forces that you are very welcome inside city walls."

"Erm... thank you?" Fleet staggered away, desperately confused. Iocabe hadn’t quite been what he had expected. Iocabe chuckled to himself. As Fleet left, a messenger from Angel’s Rest ran in, handed Iocabe a note, and left. He scanned it briefly. "Amarfrra! Are you feeling well enough for a reconnaissance mission?"

Amarfrra nodded in the affirmative.

"Good. We need to contact the Thieves Guild in Lorelei, for it seems we have a need for Skribbane. I suggest, once they get rested up, that we question our two guests from Midori to see what they know. After that, you’ll be off to Lorelei." Amarfrra bowed and left.

[ Saturday, March 01, 2008 22:25: Message edited by: Nioca ]

Hz'ii'zt a'iiencf coxnen a'bn'z'p pahuen yzpa'zuhb be'tt'phukh'kn az'ii'ova mxn't bhcizvi'fl?

Nioca's Citadel - A resource for BoA graphics and scripts, as well as my scenarios.
Posts: 2686 | Registered: Friday, September 8 2006 07:00
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Profile Homepage #74


"Skrrribane you say," replied Ferrrald. "I happen to know of a place."

"Go on," Amarfrra stated silently.

Ferrrald stroked his neck thoughtfully, "There's a certain glove shop in Lorrrelei. Perrrhaps I can get you situated."

Shamgar regarded the conversation with dull intent. "Perhapssss then, " he said, deliberately adding an accent, "We should go now."

The actions of the other two agreed. They left the small barracks and walked off towards their destination.


"So the Hunters have the bulk of their army in the Phoenix Empire. Ha!" Amadis remarked. "You know Luscinda, Softport would be an excellent location to moderate Skribbane shipments from Bigail. If Ferrrald and Shamgar ever returned any time soon, I'd have good sanction in the Keep of Tinraya as well."

Instead of her usual behavior around Amadis, Luscinda stared in admiration. Of course, her share in the Guild would benefit, but nonetheless.

Amadis stared thoughtfully at the ground, "We need Shamgar and Ferrrald to do this. Curses!"

[ Sunday, March 02, 2008 11:45: Message edited by: Excalibur ]

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Posts: 1384 | Registered: Tuesday, February 6 2007 08:00