Prince Ekot of Kerrak announces that his coronation as King of Kerrak will be held on Sunday, Feb. 27. All citizens of Kerrak, Ambassadors to Kerrak, and other dignitaries are invited to attend, although no weapons will be allowed at the ceremony.
A number of cities and towns have noticed that the priests of the Gatherer of Souls have been vacating their temples. Rumor has it that the priests are gathering in Ald Miles for some sort of convention.
The nation of Ceczo has begun its five-day tournament to determine the new Queen of Ceczo. The winner of the tournament will sit on the throne for three years. The favored contender is Ilyani Nassar.
Rumor has it that the Syndeche have summoned the Justiciars to Syndic to deal with "a sudden emergency." The nature of that emergency has yet to be revealed.
The King of Grivllos has sent political emissaries to all the countries of the Empire, offering to open diplomatic relations.
The tournament in Ceczo is over; Ridanna of Cziban (southern village in Ceczo) is the new Queen, succeeding in a blinding display of axework against popular favorite Ilyani Nassar. Ilyani Nassar's ashes are being plowed into the fields this coming morning.
The race in Pavane is tomorrow. The three favorites are Silver Dancer by Thumper out of Mist Bay, Second Opinion by Red Bird out of Steam Derby, and Will o' the Wisp by Dream King out of Goldbug.
The Syndic problem with rampaging hordes of undead seems to be under control. Timlin Blue Winslop is offering mementoes of the Undead Invasion for the low price of six yellow chits, with a 10% discount if one of the yellow chits has a star guildstamp. Heinrich Freedmanson, Lord Justiciar, was awarded the Gold Chit of Valor, for the first time in generations that the chit has been awarded outside of Syndic itself.
The coronation in Kerrak is still Sunday. All potential assassins please mention this to the GMs.
Lord General Devrim Akkat and his first lieutenant travelled in a great hurry to Yakut, Hviviveros, to meet with Ghoras today. At least, the Hviveran who says he's the new Tyrant, having swapped with Ghoras not long before his death. Sources say he is now planning on marching his army past Tzalmir and into Tavat Mien.
A rash of suicides has hit Soren; details are sketchy.
A gentleman appeared in the Arbyt of Triel not long ago claiming to be a new Listener. Things started shaping up nicely, until someone whispered something to the Arbyter and he was unable to say what had been said. He was stoned to death shortly thereafter, and the Triellienas have expressed confidence that their Hero will solve the problem soon.
Prince Ekot was crowned yesterday, amid much spectacle. The rumor says that Geskekelud Himself came to the coronation, and caused the horses to sing, and King Harad to appear behind King Ekot on his dragon. In addition, a great and terrible mage appeared and tried to kill Ekot with a DeathStick, but was cut down by Ekot and the Necromancer.
Another fraud showed up at the Arbyt of Triel and tried to convince people that he was a listener; when they tried to stone him, all their rocks turned to daisies and he escaped, and the dogs in the vicinity of the Arbuter have been howling since then.
Gee, the sun looks a little dimmer today.
Will'o'the Wisp won the Pavane horse race.
In Tzalmir, panic over the lack of a king has been steadily mounting. Yesterday, a mob of peasants stood outside the Great Palace chanting "Where is the King?!" This did not help materialize one. Hushed rumors about the implications of a vacant Tzalin throne abound; some speculate that the prophecy of the ending of the Tzalin line and the supremacy of one god over all is coming to fruition. Others suggest that the vacant throne simply signifies the end of the world.
The Ladysblood River ran red last night.
This past week in Regros, a number of strange flying things have been spotted: Ariels, Rocs, Wyverns, and strangy wormy white things.
The Grivllos ambassador to Mounch was badly beaten in a peasant riot recently. Rioters were not at all clear what the problem was, but they were sure it was his fault.
The number of stillborn infants this week has been unprecedentedly high.
Vendilon has closed its borders, not allowing travellers to enter. Vendilon residents are also refusing all incoming nonnig gates.
Berke Sweetwinde, the new Bard of Ro Palis, began his new post today. His Inaugural Ballad was interrupted by a sudden attack on the city by a pack of wraiths. His first official action was to contact the Justiciars.
The Fracc Archipelago of the Isle of Verne has declared war on every other island. It seems that the high command, a bit disorganized by the surprise death of their Commander-in-Chief, have chosen to play it safe, avoiding sneak attacks from other islands by attacking first. Upon being asked his tactical objective, the new Commander-in-Chief was said to have replied, "Arrrr!"
NOTES FROM THE GMS
Starting tomorrow (saturday) we will by SLOWING DOWN GAME TIME. Here's how it will work:
And lastly, make sure any game mail you send to one GM is sent to both. I'm feeling neglected :)
The OTHER Tzalmir GM
Prince Alphonse has returned to claim his throne in Cliffsfall, and been crowned King Alphonse. Morlan Blanca has agreed to take the post of Warleader.
Alkynia has crowned a Queen, Eliza of Holbar, wife of the late King. Eliza is the first queen in Alkynia's history.
Aaric di Mosoli has been declared Duke of Ald Miles.
the Arbyt of Triel has a Listener or two, supposedly a mother and daughter team that has been commuting from Tzalmir. Kelkyag, their Hero, found them.
Terese and Borric il'Drake are proud to announce the birth of their son, Niron. (for those just joining us, everyone in the past two weeks has been stillborn).
Lots more people are dying in Ro Palis, including the recently created Bard.
A great big meeting of church people (as well as, supposedly, the ubiquitous bard Ilan, the Necromancer, the head librarian, and a nonnig trapper) took place recently. Ingram, the librian, also had a squad of his own Justiciars. Whether he mind controlled them or was in their custody was not clear.
Hecaia, the high priestess of Anz, has been trimming all the trees in Tzalmir, into orderly shapes. She hasn't gotten very far, there being many trees...
The mobs shouting about how they want a king have quieted, having heard that Ghoras is back.
The trees of Tzalmir that Hecaia has been trimming have been behaving oddly, such as growing strange fruit (such as lettuce), making odd noises (such as a wet snuffling sound).
On the equinox, at night, lots of six-pointed stars were seen to flash on and off on the sides of buildings in Tzalmir. Investigation revealed them to be camouflaged flashing starfish...
Ilan the bard has been wandering the streets of Tzalmir searching for descendents of the Tzalin King Rashir, or any of his line, which is believed to have been rendered extinct by Ghoras the Conquerer.
The wraiths in Ro Palis have left as quickly as they arrived, leaving behind the lifeless corpses of countless Ro Paliteans, including that of their recently-chosen Bard, Berke Sweetwinde. The contest to determine the new Bard will begin tomorrow; it is expected that dirges and requiems will dominate the performances. It is rumored that the wraiths have moved to the other edge of the world, and are wreaking havoc amongst the warring Isles of Verne.
An unusually large number of priests of Nirian have assembled on the Neffik side of Dern.
People who save at least five of their experience points will earn 20% per month in interest, within reasonable limits. See a GM for details.
I note that I have now accumulated close to 700 pieces of Tzalmir mail since the beginning of the game. I also note that the VAST MAJORITY of these messages have "Tzalmir" as their subject line. This is, needless to say, highly ambiguous, and it would help us GMs out greatly if people could have more descriptive subject lines. Using the abbreviation "Tz:" at the start of every message would also help us greatly, as it will convince laura to write an emacs macro to auto-collate our mail :)
The rumor of wraiths in the Fracc Archipelago has been confirmed. It seems that a battle between Fracc and the neighboring war-state of Kaneis was joined by an army of about eighty wraiths. The battle became a three-way fight.
In the Dalos side of Dern, an army of Men of Valor has been forming for the last week or so. The Men of Valor have pilgrimaged from villages and cities all over Dalos and the surrounding region. The army appears to be under the command of the Red Warrior of Shagras. Needless to say, the Ladysblood has been running red for the last few weeks.
Several more live births have been reported (despite the efforts of priests of Nirian to halt pregancies), all in rich or royal families.
The Sages of Ammon in Sioden have set up a large parliament, which has some arcane procedure to condense into a monarchy and a parliament.
Baron d'Asol of Ithyra has passed away after a short illness.
The sun has become even dimmer. It's still brighter than the moon, but not by much.
Ithyra has erupted into civil war, after a supporter of the Baron di Quaban let slip in a tavern that he had arranged for the assassination of the Baron d'Asol. Originally Asoli supporters killing Quaban supporters, the fight has turned more mutual.
Sorry for the much-delayed rumors...
About a week ago by now, the sun didn't appear to come up at dawn as scheduled. Instead, about an hour later, it appeared, back at its normal brightness (but seemingly less warm) at about ten degrees up in the sky. Since then, it's been at this new level. Rumor says that a team of Herbam mages is creating bushes nonstop and throwing them into nonnig gates up to the sun, where they're thrown in the sun's furnaces. The head of the herbam mage team, a "landscape sculptor" named Kevillin, says that any new heads of state who would like him to redesign their courtyards need only contact him via nonnig after the sun is taken care of. Rumor also says that an unnamed nonnig trapper had something to do with this entire project.
Last week, a lieutenant of the Baron di Quaban had a little too much to drink in a tavern and admitted to hiring the Cabal of the Shattered Mirror to kill the Baron d'Asol. A brawl ensued, which spread to a riot, which has spread to civil war. The Asoli have not been able to deny rumors that a body turned up four days before the Baron's death. Since then, fighting has begun to spread to among all four factions, not just the Asoli and Quabani; suspicion is beginning to be thrown around more liberally, due to some ballads popping up that hint at a different faction being behind the whole thing. In addition, the Baron di Quaban has announced that he is deeply ashamed of those actions which supporters of his have taken, albeit without his knowledge, and has renounced any and all claim to the Ithyran throne.
The Tzalin army (that's Tzalin as in Kings, not as in the seat of the Empire) in the Dark Forest is said to be gaining supporters daily, and will probably be marching to defeat the Empire soon. Other rumors speak to a tie with Kerrak, who they no doubt helped support in their thirty-year war.
The Army of Shagras has taken Neffik Dern, after taking prisoner the Neffik army which opposed them. A subsequent battle with a division of the Imperial Army has left substantially more casualties.
The "temporary king" of Senliat has been thrown into a volcano, and a new king chosen by the volcano, rumor says.
So the sun came up last thursday/friday looking normally bright, normally warm, and with this trailing semi-transparent sail thing extending for about four sun widths behind it.
Everyone should send us, when they have a chance, how many ep's they think they have, and how many they have spent, and on what. There have been a total of eleven ep's given out since the run started.
(note that if you still have all eleven, you have fourteen due to interest rates; ask me about blue and red eps if you're confused, or are non-standard. :) ).
The Baron di Farak of Ithyra, with the support of both Grivllos and Ald Miles (and some mercenaries) has been acknowledged as Duke by both the Baron di Quaban and the (very young) Baron d'Asol. The civil war has ended, though the supporters of the Baron di Rhyx are back in his barony, rather than under Farak.
On Thursday the 12th of May, many countries all over the land saw their citizens begin to speak uncontrollably, both in unknown languages, and small prophesies and truths.
Also on Thursday the 12th, a riot began in Tzalmir, with crowds gathering and then storming towards the Great Library, brandishing torches and various weapons, shouting for Ingram, the curator of the Library. The riot was eventually quelled by priests of Nirian, Hecaia of Anz, and Ilan the Ubiquitous Bard, with some help from a bunch of Justiciars who seemed to be hanging about in the library, and the Imperial Militia.
Miravelle of Rhi Miles has been crowned Queen, to the acclaim of the populace.
The Necromancer is said to have lured a number of powerful priests and mages to his dread lair, to speak of dark and terrible rituals.
The Necromancer is also said to have wiped out a small village in the Lower Darnelles, between his own sorcery and a pack of wolves he brought with him.
Rhyx of Ithyra has slain an envoy from the Red Warrior for "unforgivable insults" (further rumor says Rhyx is now toast...)
The Sifters of Gosseg Run have found a strange floating black rock in the Gosseg.
The Tzalin Army in the Dark Forest has entered an alliance with the Grey Forest militia.
The part that said "Miravelle has been crowned" should instead be parsed to "Miravelle's going to be crowned real soon now"
And Rhyx of Ithyra has been slain in single combat with the Red Warrior.
Miravelle of Rhi Miles was crowned Queen recently. Many important people attended the coronation. No dragons or mages with DeathSticks appeared.
In Asaen, nonnig trappers found the ruins of an ancient temple of Nirian in the southernmost region of the nonning forest. It is believed to be almost 2000 years old.
The trade council of Granite Holt has decided to lower its tariff on prisoners imported to that country. Council members were responding to a complaint from one of the head jailors of the Granite Donjon, who claimed that their prohibitive tariff was discouraging foreigners from enlisting its services.
Rumor has it that the inside of Glasscastle is shrinking. To some vociferous Leblinese, this is yet another sign that Glasscastle should be stormed, and re-established as the seat of the Leblinese throne.
In Rianne, quite a furor has arisen over the possible cancellation of this year's Harvest Festival. The VineLord announced today that he fears the recent anomalies in the sun's behavior will result in an inferior grape crop. It is rumored that the Rider of Pavane, who enjoys the festival greatly, has offered the VineLord thousands of gold talents to insure that the festival succeeds. It is also rumored that the Rider plans to invade Rianne if the festival does not happen.
War broke out in Ngth this week as troops spilled out of Vendilon in an apparent attempt to invade the southern neighbor. Rumor has it that the Vendilon army is made up of not only humans, but also wraiths, and that the wraiths and the Vendilonians fight side-by-side. In any case, casualties are heavy on both sides; it is said that vultures circle over the field of battle constantly. To no one's surprise, the Ladysblood river runs red.
The Vendilonian invasion of Ngth ended abruptly today when the remaining invasion force (rumored to number five-thousand men and an equal number of zombies) suddenly put down their swords "in the name of the Unnamed." The troops were then cut down by Ngth militiamen and Church Knights of Shagras. No living prisoners were taken.
In Tavat Mien, a new type of tholl tile has been discovered which yields mentem vis. Unfortunately, the citizen who discovered it was found in twelve pieces (a number of Geskekelud, people are quick to point out), and his samples and notes were apparently taken by the murderer.
The mage Dianora is attempting to take the throne of Pdallar by slaying Ember, despite an offer from Ember to settle the matter via a magical duel. So far, Dianora has only managed to kill a number of castle guards.
The Tzalin army in the Dark Forest has finished training and is expected to descend on the Arbyt of Triel shortly to field-test its new battle doctrine. The Arbyter has instructed its people to fight to the death.
Six separate attempts have been made to steal the Gold Chit of Valor from Heinrich Freedmanson, none succesful. The only attempt that came close was the one that involved a shapeshifter disguised as a young Grey Woman.
Travelers from the far west report that a light was visible from the top of the Blue Tower continuously for about a week.
A sifter on the Gosseg River has found a large glowing sapphire while plying his trade recently. He has since retired from sifting, and his current whereabouts are unknown.
A plague of giant snails has descended on Tzalmir, and all the trees will shortly be eaten.
The evening of Friday, July 29, a great wave swept up the Ladysblood River from the Sea of Storms, overflowing its banks with blood.
As of Saturday, July 30, the Red Army in Neffik issued forth at dawn and engaged the Imperial Army.
And, in more mundane news, Ember of Pdallar was slain under mysterious circumstances. The Necromancer, also in Pdallar, has raised her as a zombie and she now still rules as the Necromancer's pawn.
The Imperial Army is retreating from Neffik, having lost more that half of its troops stationed in that country to the Red Army of Shagras. Ghoras has called an emergency meeting with the leaders of Hengmir, Gal Sidar, and Pirtos.
Rumor has it that Vendilon has been struck by an epidemic of murders and suicides.
Yentzil Sandcloak, an Ammon Sage in training, is said to have returned from a trip to Lesser Mosk in awe that they have been able to breed mice.
Ember of Pdallar has died under mysterious circumstances. A state funeral will be held next weekend. Rumor has it that the Necromancer visited Pdallar a short time after her death, summoned and interrogated her ghost, and subsequently stole all her valuables (including the crown of Pdallar).
The moon rose last night with a great half-circle on its face, and as the night progressed, a line was slowly drawn across it next to the curve (i.e. it looks kind of like "C1" if you face south, or "D" if you face north).
The Tzalin Army in the Dark Forest is said to have cancelled its invasion of Arbyt, and to be turning its attention to the defense of Tzalmir against the so far victorious Red Army.
On Nirian's Holy Day, August 5 (and I don't want any sort of grousing about how Midsummer's Day is June 21. It isn't. It's the Middle Of Summer, do you hear me?), the White Church declared that the Cathedral of Nirian in Tzalmir is henceforth open to all who come in peace, is sanctuary for those who need it in the coming time, and is inviolable.
Rumor has it that Vendilon is no longer keeping foreigners out. Rumor also has it that this is because every last citizen of Vendilon is dead.
Over the past few days, the moon has gotten more writing on its surface, and got up to "CHA" before stopping.
Residents of Ngth, Mounch, and Belid have been reporting terrible nightmares about Vendilon, and speak of dreadful fates that will happen to any who enter.
The Red Army, after smushing the remains of the Imperial Army that had lately been in Neffik, has entered Tzalmir, and is in conflict with the Tzalmir militia and divisions of the Imperial Army stationed in the city.
Shortly before the army entered Tzalmir, a huge earthquake shook the city, and a great chasm was seen to open up and swallow several companies of the Red Army.
Tzalmir has fallen to the Red Army. The last of the Imperials were killed, after a lot of property damage, especially in the Summer Quarter. The White Cathedral is currently surrounded by a battalion of the Red Army. Several days ago, an announcement was made to the refugees hiding in it that all non-priests should evacuate or face destruction. After no one left, three catapults were launched, to no obvious effect save for that of the catapults falling apart. The other battalions of the army have left the city.
The Red Warrior gave a great Pontification (see below).
Some say that General Akkat and Ghoras have taken up residence in the White Cathedral. Others say that Akkat is in Aravy, but do not mention where Ghoras is.
Last week, the entire populations of Yanuk and Yanuk switched places.
A Prophet of Nirian has come to Soren, to lead them out of their cursed, miserable country, and to the bright promise of the happy land of Vendilon. Further rumors clarify this, and a speech of the Prophet is given below.
Yentzil Sandcloak, back in Lesser Mosk again, retracts his previous enthusiastic claims about the mice he thought they were breeding, but instead states that they have succeeded in producing motile plants.
The Smith Havelan's shop in Tzalmir saw a number of strange occurrences today. After an unnamed bard gave a public concert outside, a renegade tree (possibly one of Sandcloak's motile plants) began fighting with the tree that neighbors say always stood outside the smith's. The Archmagus arrived, and turned both trees into old men, and slew one.
Harias Pullman, a known member of the Cult of the AllFather, and common fixture in the Imperial Square for the past decade, was arrested during one of his speeches (pontification below) by soldiers of the Red Army, promptly tried, and executed.
The body of Ingram, Librarian and Curator of the Great Library of Tzalmir, was recently found dead in his office, his wrists having been cut by a ritual dagger used by worshippers of Shagras. Ingram's body was found with a suicide note addressed to "Jasper" (see below). His last work, a spell titled "Unmake the Soul," was found on his desk. Ingram will be succeeded by his once-assistant, Edgar.
Those who found themselves staring up at the moon during a particular three minutes of September 23rd (the equinox) observed the words "Surrender Anz" written on the moon in giant glowing letters. The letters faded shortly thereafter.
New News on the War Front:
The Red Army has conquered the last of the Ring Kingdoms, rolling straight over the small local militias.
The Justiciars have stormed the front gates of the Granite Donjon.
New EP policy:
In our continuing quest to frustrate players (well, that's what rumor seems to say sometimes), there is a new policy in place for spending EPs. You may allocate one imaginary EP per week to any particular thing (that is, any week you can allocate lots of eps, but only one point to any one skill...). You may only spend the amount of EPs you have allocated to something, without a very good excuse. You may de-allocate EPs at any time. You may not allocate more EPs than you have without a very good excuse ("I'm about to write the war mechanic in C and get lots of eps for it..."). What this means is that you can spend as many points per week as you like, one per thing. If you want an N-point thing, start planning ahead. You may allocate all the EPs you currently have immediately; after this, you have to follow the one-per-week. Any questions, feel free to ask, and feel free to consider imaginary EPs purple. :)
The Red Army has been congregating in Tzalmir again. The battalion stationed outside the White Cathedral has begun playing loud marches and battle hymns, and building great smoking bonfires.
The Tzalin Army is planning on engaging the Red Army nigh-immediately, and is setting out from the Dark Forest under cloak of the Forest's mystic aura, such that they cannot be spotted.
A large percentage of the population of Soren has been marching southwards, crossing the Gosseg Run on pontoon bridges, and heading around through the countryside towards the Arbyt. A second contingent has been passing through nonnig gates to outside of Vendilon, and scattering throughout the country to organize the bodies for burial. The nightmares troubling the neighbors of Vendilon have been steadily ceasing.
Hauntings, possessions, and other sightings of ghosts have declined precipitously in the past few weeks.
There's a persistent rumor that Ingram did not, in fact, commit suicide, but was assassinated. By who is unclear, though popular candidates are the priests of the Unnamed, the priests of Shagras, and the Tzalin heir's younger brother (the swordsman one).
The following was quite a while ago, but we forgot to mention it:
"Announcing the funeral services for Tybole e'Nedras, Commander of the Guard of the Temple of Shagras in Dern, Pusak Ramshorn, noted scholar and theologian of the Church of Shagras, and Black Cap Mitchell, who died in their defense, at daybreak on Sunday, October the Sixteenth, in the first year following the passing of the Tyranny of Ghoras, at the Temple of Shagras in Dern. All followers of Shagras are invited to pay their respects."
Aramintha of the Seven Marches, the Ald Milesian widow of Rhyx of Ithyra, has been kidnapped by a Rhi Milan priest of Nirian.
The Red Diocese of Ngth has invaded Vendilon. Exactly who they're fighting is unclear - either the Sorenese, or the remnant minions of the Demon Wraith are popular guesses.
A battalion of the Red Army has marched on Loulan, but is being held at the border by the Loulanese army.
Half the population of Soren is now marching through Kerrak (peacefully).
The invisible Tzalin army is using the fourth type of nonnig for its transportation from the Dark Forest to Tzalmir...
Kelrim Akkat (the son of the Lord General Akkat) has been murdered in an attempt to overthrow the Akkat family claim to the throne of Aravy.
The Necromancer has bound the soul of Cirenas, and has traded it to the priests of Nirian in exchange for his use of the White Cathedral on Halloween for a day and a night, where he performed a terrible ritual...
The Lord Justiciar has given up Glasscastle to the Leblinese and has become a tholl farmer in Tavat Mien.
(note on in-character conversations - if you don't want another player/character to overhear you, don't talk in character in front of them. On an opposite note, you don't get to hear other people's answering machine messages, though you should be wary of leaving incriminating messages at either my or Mahk's number, for example, as they both have multiple player roommates there).
An Underman prophet has been speaking in the Maw about the Return of the Dark, and has been said to have had visions.
Miravelle of Rhi Miles has been engaging in secret negotiations with the Syndeche in order to gain financial support for her planned invasion of Ald Miles.
A funeral was held for Ingram the Mad, Destroyer of Gods. The Necromancer was seen in attendance, for dark reasons of his own, and the Red Warrior was also said to have been there. The funeral was also crashed by members of the Cult of the All-Father, glorifying and praising "Saint Ingram Demonsbane", but they were shortly thereafter captured and taken away by the Red Warrior.
General Madrid, commander of the Red Diocese of Ngth, has pulled back his forces invading Vendilon. Sources speculate that he has been seduced by the western wiles of the Sorenese present in Vendilon, while others wonder if there is any connection to the next rumor...
The Prophet of Soren has beaten the designated champion of the Red Army in single combat, in a duel taking place in Bivik, the Shifting City. The reason for this duel is unknown, though some say it secured the right of the Sorenese to settle in the East, while others claim that it was for the hand and honor of Ilan (the ubiquitous bard), who was rumored to be present.
Xabanese merchant traders complain of increased pirate activity in the Sea of Storms.
The Bard of Ro Palis has fallen ill.
A civil war looms on the horizon for Aravy, between Kelrim Akkat's troops (rumors of Kelrim's death appear to have been exaggerated), and those of SubGeneral Noden.
The Red Army force invading Loulan retreated into Gal Sidar after wiping out most of the Loulanese defenders (as well as some supporters from neighboring countries) and taking only moderate casualties itself. Several generals of the army are said to have been slain by the Red Warrior himself; stories are unclear on whether this caused the retreat or was a result of it.
A church of Epiarch (the 26th name of the Fount of All Life) in Kerrak has been destroyed, along with a number of its resident priests, when its mountain volcanically erupted.
The star in the left elbow of the Dragon (a constellation) faded and went out a week ago. The next night, one of the horns was missing at sunset and the other horn went out at about 3 am. Astrologers speculate wildly about what this means, but the consensus is that it isn't good...
Tzalmir is experiencing severe food shortages. Meat is rare, and fruits and vegetables have for the most part stopped entering the city due to the closing of the Farmer's Market in the Summer Quarter (most of the Summer Quarter is hard to breathe in in general, due to the continually-burning smoky bonfires outside the White Cathedral), though the smoke has been getting less troublesome lately, and almost florally incesnse-scented.
Very recently, sparks from the bonfires spread to a number of buildings in the Summer Quarter and set them afire. Peachtree and Watermelon Streets were particularly hard hit.
Several of the statues of Ghoras scattered around Tzalmir have been mysteriously transformed to a green meatlike substance. A few brave souls who have ventured to taste the statues claim that it tastes like "burnt mint."
The bonfires around the White Cathedral have gone out, been rebuilt, gone out again, been combined into one big bonfire, gone out, been rebuilt, and finally doused by the people working the fires. As of today, the fires are out...
The Red Army has finally conquered Loulan.
The Tzalmir contingent of the Red Army has been selling fresh produce at bargain prices, ameliorating much of the complaint about shortages.
A small Loulan City, Erilen, has been hiring workers by the score to help in the construction of the World's Largest Salad.
The Alkynia Masquerade was a rousing success, marked by a rousing fifty-seven choruses of "I Married a Spatula" in the Main Pavilion
An army of wraiths and zombies has invaded Ngth from Vendilon, and fighting is fierce.
The Sorenese marching across the southlands have reached the Vendilon border (not quite at the same place as the undead army).
This afternoon a huge slightly shining fog rolled in, covering Tzalmir. Shortly thereafter, the occupying Red Army seemed to be having some sort of troubles, and began moving towards the central area of the city. Late tonight, a large number of people plummeted through the fog from the sky, bouncing wildly about in the streets and through windows. They recovered fairly promptly from their fall, and engaged the Red Army in battle.
The Sorenese have finished their task of burying the dead of Vendilon, except for those most recent corpses caused by the war between Ngth and Vendilon. The border war seems to have ceased, though wraiths have still been spotted in the area.
The battle between the mysterious invading forces (which seem to be comprised of a number of fighting companies, a smaller number of battlemages, and a larger number of pirates) has raged through the city. Substantial property damage has ensued, and there are reports of looting, especially by the pirates.
More recently, the Justiciars have joined the invading forces fighting against the Red Army.
The population of Neffik Dern has been enslaved by the occupying Red Army to build earthworks of some sort.
The fog covering Tzalmir has rolled away, revealing blue skies and some small black specks off to the west.
A fleet of "haunted flying boats" has passed over southern Loulan. One boat, which was reportedly smushed between the two next to it, has crashed in a field of wheat, and is causing much comment due to the clouds nailed to its hull. Other reports of the boats mention "itty bitty bug wings" and blue flying carpets.
Xaban and Gri-Ennis have invaded Cliffsfall. Xaban has marched on the port cities and northerly land, claiming it as recompense for "a hundred years of piracy", while Gri-Ennis has moved in on the larger southern area, including at least part of the Disputed Lands. The Pdallan Home Guard, mostly comprised of young recruits, is heading towards the Disputed Lands to hold the border, which they claim is now north of the Siodari.
The Bard of Ro Palis is said to be recovering, though he has not touched his harp since he fell ill.
Most of the Sorenese have started marching back to Soren from Vendilon, though some remain.
The earthworks in Neffik Dern, as well as a construction crew and some soldiers, was flattened and paved by a mysterious force. Construction has started anew at a new site, and priests of the Gatherer of Souls and of the Shatterer have begun excavating for the bodies.
A popular new tavern song, of at least fifteen verses, has been heard
in the Ring Kingdoms, with a chorus of:
"So Mourn for the Great Queen of Honor
Dethroned by a handmaid of gore
Who cares not if a fight is a fair test of might
She wants blood on the sands, nothing more."
The war continues in Tzalmir -- some report invisible hands forcing Red troops away from their foes, and others say that many of the Justiciars have gone over to the other side, supporting the Red Warrior.
Cliffsfall has been conquered by Xaban (citing "a hundred years of piracy") and Gri-Ennis (citing "land up for grabs"). The remnants of the Cliffsfall home guard have fled into Pdallar, where they were met by the Pdallan defense forces, as well as a division of troops from Regros, which the Duke had personally led to Pdallar to protect it from invaders. Rumor also suggests that the Duke of Regros has demanded the hand of Dianora of Pdallar in return for this dubious favor.
Pdallar was invaded, on Shagras's Holy Day, by Belidan forces claiming that they were celebrating in Her name. The invasion was soundly trounced by the combined Pdallan/Cliffsfall/Regros army.
A temple of Nirian has miraculously appeared in Greensward (the capi of Loulan), replacing the temple torn down by the occupying Red troops.
The Red Warrior's Pontification
Plagues have been reported in Neffik, Dalos, Tzalmir, and Gal Sidar.
Arivale has been invaded by wraiths, who are slaughtering both the local militia and the civilian population.
Eldrik of Whitecrest denies that he has succeeded in breeding nonnigs.
A number of flying boats have crashed in Sabat, near the town of Byrne. Byrne has since been massacred by vampires, and not a resident remains alive.
Hengmir has been invaded by Justiciars.
Brigadier Kirloch of the Red Army has stated, through clenched teeth, that Tzalmir will prove a pyre for their fallen leader, so cravenly assassinated.
Civilian deaths have already begun to mount, and, under the impact of ten thousand torches, the city is beginning to burn.
Tzalmir was fairly determinedly set on fire, despite attempts of the Invasion Alliance soldiers (plus residents) to put it out, for the greater part of a day. A storm menaced for a few moments, but as quickly fled. However, about twelve hours after they started, all the flames turned into oddly shaped vegetables. When fires began to be set again, they again turned into vegetables. Since then, fire-lighting has been sporadic.
The vegetables have been widely considered a miracle from Geskekelud, leading to the incongruity of Anz's Holy Day being spent by many in praise of the Broken Lord.
The Glass River has been flowing upstream for the past day.
The vampire plague in Sabat has been attributed to the Necromancer, whose twisted minions have already stolen all the bodies slain by the vampires in order to raise them for his own.
Alphonse has responded to the Red Warrior's death curse with a pontification of his own.
Brigadier Kirloch has responded
Sporadic fighting broke out between the Tzalin army and the Kerraki militia, with minor casualties on both sides. Apparently a Tzalin army unit was inviting the residents of a Lubak village to a friendly buzkashi tournament, when they were spotted by a Kerraki border patrol. Fearing a Tzalin invasion, King Ekot has ordered his troops on search-and-destroy missions, until the Tzalin army retreats back to the Dark Forest, or declares war on Tavat Mien.
Civil war has broken out in Aravy, between forces loyal to Kelrim Akkat and forces loyal to General Nodin against the Akkats. Ceczo is supporting Nodin.
A priest of Shagras in Skye's retinue challenged Skye to a duel over his calling of the Red Lady a Whore. The winner is unclear; the priest was slain, but Skye surrendered.
Skye has subsequently apologized profusely to the Red Church for his foolishness in maligning both Shagras and the Red Warrior.
Several nights ago, everyone was plagued by terrible nightmares of death, despair, destruction of the gods, no life ever ever again, and so on.
The funeral of Aramintha of Ald Miles was marred by the body rising from the coffin and damning the funeral-goers. The Necromancer is wanted in Kranoj for questioning in the incident.
Two posters have been seen scattered around the Land. The first:
Archbishop of Executive Recruiting
Cathedral of Shargas
THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH! With the almost total cessation of new births in the land and the wide-scale extinction of various plants and animals, it is clear that the time of life in this land is reaching an end. The increasing amount of petty squabbles and wholesale bloodbaths among the countries and the role-models of our nations show a distinct inability for the races of the world to get along. In times like these, it is clear that only one course of action can save our world and restore peace to all the lands. While those of a self-sacrificing nature steer themselves along this course, clearly the rest of us should hold a party.
To wit, you are cordially invited to a party to celebrate Geskekelud's birthday. The party will be held on Friday, March 31 primarily in the throne room of Castle Grivllos (*), though the party will probably extend out into the surrounding city and countryside. The festivities will commence at 7:12 pm and will probably continue through the night,. Should you not be able to attend the main party, be sure to honor Geskekelud in your own way. I'm sure that the most impressive act of randomness will be rewarded by Geskekelud as only HE can conceive.
Skye has been murdered by a conspiracy of his generals, who took offense at his words on the Red Lady. The generals then slew themselves in ritual suicide.
There's a reward for information on the murderer of the Lady Aramintha being offered by the Encil Magus of Grivllos. Rumor has it that when he finds the murderer some Very Nasty Things are going to happen.
Skye, Heinrich, and the Archmagus have all been slain by the Necromancer in an Evil Ritual.
Soon after the dreams of depression and hopelessness, everyone in the Land got dreams saying something to the effect of "come on, we can make it through this tough bit, don't give up now!"
Skye has been assassinated by the Red Church, in retribution for the death of their leader.
The Necromancer has led an army of zombies and skeletons out of the graveyard in Tzalmir to take the city for himself.
The Duke of Regros has had Skye "removed" to better press his suit with the Lady Dianora.
The Red Army has finally pushed the invading army out of Tzalmir.
Skye has deserted his army and gone home to retake Cliffsfall in single combat.
The Brotherhood of the Black Hand, the "assassin department" of the Kranoj Thieves' Guild, has slain all of the diplomatic envoys sent by Grivllos to anywhere else (except for Kranoj).
Thamil, of the Tzalin line (rumor will neither confirm nor deny that this is the same Thamil who was heir to the throne when Ghoras came to power, though he looks neither old nor dead), has been declared Regent of Tzalin by the Archmagus and Brigadier-General Kirloch of the Red Army. Exactly who he's Regent for is unclear.
Kirloch made a short speech giving official control of the City of Kings to Thamil, and the Archmagus made a much longer speech exhorting the crowds into enthusiasm. Thamil spoke briefly, praising the Red Army for having overthrown the final hold of Ghoras's Empire, but condemning their subsequent destructive actions.
The Justiciars have invaded Gal Sidar, and retreated again.
A great bonfire was seen to burn atop the Blue Tower several nights ago.
The Brotherhood of the Black Hand has vigorously denied several of the recent deaths associated with their sigil, and plan on retaliating against the pretenders encroaching on their territory.
The Necromancer has rained fire, and loosed earthquakes, upon the combined armies fighting outside Tzalmir, while his zombies, immune to both fire and earth, slaughter soldiers on both sides.
The Sorenese, under the leadership of the Young Prophet of the Darnelles, are nearly back to Soren...
The Lord Justiciar has lost favor with Anz again because of his collaboration with the Geskekeloids in Tzalmir. As a result, he has been "blessed" by The Chaos Lord and is under a quest to lose a battle in every nation in the land. Once he has done that, he will be declared a Touched Man in a public ceremony.
A massive hurricane is sweeping westward from the Sea of Storms.
The Justiciars have abandoned Skye's army, and it is falling to the Reds.
Dun Areg, the capi of Regros, has been terribly cursed. The Duke of Regros pontificates:
Put a file somewhere that's boojum/mleblanc readable, which has a reasonable-sized list of all the places you're spying on or living in or have friends in who report to you daily. If you really think you're paying attention to everywhere, you can put "everywhere" in your list, though we reserve the right to ignore it when it's a little piddly event.
Then let me know where the file is. The plan is to make a directory with links to all of them, so we can just grep for "Xaban" or whatever, and as you bip around the country, you can update the file as you go. If you don't have an athena account, I'll just make a file for you, and you should send me mail when you want to change it. (Note that the file should contain sensible, correctly spelled words like the names of landmarks or countries, not "the east" or "home")
The civil war in Aravy is over, and the rebels have won, and have taken the Akkats captive.
A great hurricane swept in from the East, over the battlefield in Tzalin, shrouding the entire fight in storm. By the time the storm cleared, only the Red Army was left, amidst the corpses of Justiciars and Skye's troops.
The Assassins of the Black Hand are actually minions of the Duke of Regros, who have sold their souls to the Necromancer in order to barter eternal life for their Duke (which is why the bile-worm didn't kill him).
Tzalmir is being rebuilt again, by a horde of craftsmen and volunteers, in part funded by the repatriations made by the Red Army to the city.
Stillborn births are on the upswing again, as many of the year-long miracles provided by Nirian to halt pregnancies have expired. Some pregnant women are said to have received secondary miracles from Anz in order to again halt their terms.
Dunlaak of Grivllos pontificates (fairly well, for a nine-year-old): "Men of Grivllos - my friends - cruel Regros has made another attempt on our honor and our family. He has killed our diplomats, even though they were protected by truce. He has killed my cousins, my uncles, my aunts. He has killed, and he must be stopped! My friends: we can make an answer to this deed! Will you follow me?
The rivers of the Land are mysteriously going silent, one after another - first the Siodari, then the Ladysblood, then the Gosseg. Plus the Ladysblood is running red, for obvious reasons.
The Queen of Ceczo has marched on Aravy, at the head of her army, taking advantage of the weakened stated of the Aravian militia after their civil war.
Belid has invaded Regros, issuing a public statement: "Anyone else who's in on this better hurry, or we're not sharing."
The Red Army has marched on Aris, and the Aris defenders have sent out a call to the rest of the North to help repel the Eastern Menace.
A fifth column in Pdallar is attempting to overthrow the Regros occupation force, as well as the Pdallan government that they claim has "sold out"
Duke Aaric, Lord of Ald Miles, has been slain! A young girl, said to resemble Aramintha of the Seven Marches, is rumored to have chewed out the hearts of Aaric and his immediate family, as well as Baron Jeraes of the Seven Marches and his family. The girl's whereabouts are currently unknown.
The Necromancer, with his legions of undead, has marched upon Ald Miles, in the wake of Duke Aaric's death, and all who dare to stand against him have been turned to ash.
Kelrim Akkat has been released by the Aravian army after negotiation with his father, shortly before the Ceczo invasion of Aravy.
The Red Army has been setting up a Ruling Council in each of the Ring Kingdoms. Each Council (specifics depending on the country) has had invited a couple of leading citizens (merchants, nobles, notable scholars, etc) to form the Council and restore order. A priest of Shagras will have one seat on each Council.
Red begets red,
Then turns black and blue.
Stop while you're ahead
or this day you'll rue.
My mind has forseen it.
The Chaos is clear.
The heart will be split.
The head on a spear.
Four daggers with poison,
Four daggers with lies.
Four daggers slay tinkers,
tailors, soldiers and spies.
The Justiciars have deserted Heinrich, in outrage over his association with Malachi, the prophet of the AllFather.
There was a great celebration in Dern to mark the first anniversary of the opening of the offensive that broke the armies of Ghoras the Usurper. Hopefully many bottles, glasses, and ale mugs were were drained in honor of the army and its commanders, and in memory of the late Red Warrior and E'Neldras (the commander of the garrison, who was slain by the ghost of the Demon Wraith)
Aravy has surrendered to Ceczo. Aris is still under attack and being squished by the Red Army. Regros is defending itself from the Belidan invasion competently.
The empty land of Vendilon has been announced as the New Homeland of the Church of the AllFather, following the conquest of the Necromancer's zombie forces by Malachi, Prophet of the Allfather, at the head of the Justiciar armies
Soren also had a great celebration, to mark the first Midsummer Celebration in several hundred years attended by priests of Nirian. The Prophet Irran was in attendance, and made several cryptic pronouncements regarding roses and wine.
The Regros ambassador to Belid, held prisoner since the Belid invasion started, has escaped in a daring jailbreak, mysteriously slaying his captors.
A small group of AllFather cultists were prevented from searching through a temple in Asaen only recently restored from ruins. They claimed variously to that they were "lost and looking for the Grey Forest," "Nonnig hunters," and "Bringing Death to Demons and the Demon-Consorting Masses!"
Syndic Economic Report #10
The late Red Warrior has been resurrected by Malachi of the AllFather, and is leading the Red Church to a new, more enlightened era.
The undead army in Ald Miles has been chased into the maw by the forces of Surden of the Eighth March, soon thereafter declared Duke of Ald Miles.
Much of the south of the Land has been deluged in a thunder and rain, the fringe effects of what seems to be a huge storm over the southwest Kraerkorags.
Ihren, Prophet of Soren, is the new Red Warrior.
The inhabitants of Tjunklet, a village in Southern Kranoj, have all been turned into statues.
Aris has fallen to the Red Army, which is now marching on Tavat Mien.
Barnabas, a priest of Shagras, is the new Red Warrior.
The war between Belid and Regros is heating up; while Mounch has withdrawn, troops of the Red Army have been noted on the field, and Grivllos and Ithyra have also joined the fray.
Chthon, priest of the Red Church, is the new Red Warrior.
A bazaar in Hviviveros has been entirely emptied by thieves.
September 6th saw a large celebration with many tankards of ale, commemorating the first year of freedom from the bondage of the Eternal Empire, and the fall of Tzalmir.
General Madrid, of the Red Diocese in Ngth, is the new Red Warrior.
The Black Hand himself has taken the field in the war between Regros and Belid, slaying the battalion commanders in single combat. The battalion commanders of Belid, that is, not all the commanders.
Abstract of The Further Report of Hezdrubal, Ammon Sage, Regarding Martially-Related and Derivative Effects of the Absence of Wolgan, Lord of Parturition:
The Encil Magus has brainwashed selected commanders in the Regran Army and is working with the Necromancer to overthrow the Black Hand.
Rainbows have begun appearing in clear blue skies over the capi cities of many countries throughout the Land.
A big tournament is being organized to choose a new King of Vendilon.
The Grivllos troops have gone over to join the Black Hand.
Glasscastle has been spattered with blue paint.
A big contest is going to happen to give away all the farmland in Vendilon.
The war in Tavat Mien is escalating; the Tavat Mien army has been augmented by incredibly powerful wraiths, after the Tavat Mien government sacrificed several of their own to the Necromancer. In addition, the Justiciars have taken the field against the Reds.
An explosion rocked the temple of Shagras in Hieran (the capi of Belid).
The Cult of the AllFather is going to be given rule of Vendilon.
Armies of the Dark are pouring out of the Maw towards the Grivllos border.
A battalion of battlemages have joined the Regran side in the Eastern War (as opposed to the Northern War) - the sides are now Regros + Pdallar v. Belid + Grivllos + Ithyra + Mooris
Vendilon is about to be parcelled out between all its neighboring countries, who have agreed to split it evenly now that its defending Justiciars have left for Tavat Mien.
A huge temple to the Dark Lord is being constructed in Mellos (the capi of Grivllos).
"Citizens of Tzalmir, Heed my warning! An insidious power beyond your comprehension has recently appeared among you. The purpose of this power remains veiled, but its methods make it clear that the destruction of the land is a necessary step towards its goal, if not the goal itself.
The power chooses not to act directly, rather, it relies on the unknowing assistance of many of the more powerful residents of the Land. The former (and future) Red Warrior is a willing agent of this power. Malachi, the Prophetess of the All Father, as she calls herself, knows of the existance of the power, yet takes no action in opposition. The Encil Magus, a man known for his manipulation of others through words or magic, is a marionette to this power, sadly unaware of the strings pulling him towards destruction. The Dread Necromancer dances to this powers tune, best described as a funeral dirge. Even the Red Lady herself lies in thrall to the unseen master.
The Duke of Regros is playing his role as an unwitting scapegoat with honor, but he should be recognized as the catalyst that will start an unstoppable chain of events that will lead to the success of this power. The bile worm that spared his life may not have been so kind to the world, not through any actions of the Duke, but rather the implications of his still being around as a focus for powers.
Citizens of Tzalmir, look to the source! Don't be blinded by the apparent. Your survival depends on redefining reality and reacting accordingly. It is time to take responsibility for your own destinies.
You have been warned."
Then the old man vanishes in a puff of flame, leaving behind a smear of ashes.
Ald Miles has invaded Rhi Miles, against the wishes of Surden, its Duke. An unidentified official in Ald Miles says that it was all an accident, a training excercise that took a wrong turn. An advisor to the Queen of Rhi Miles says that it was no doubt an accident Ald Miles will come to regret bitterly.
The entire population of the Cult of the AllFather has been killed by assassins of the Red Church to prevent the Red Army from losing their war in Tavat Mien to the Justiciars.
A fleet of flying manta rays were spotted over the Arbyt of Triel, heading purposefully west.
The heretic Malachi was slain by Justiciars loyal to the true gods.
The Lord Justiciar has been transformed into a pig by a jealous lover.
Dorell, the Prophet of the Maw, has begun to gather a large following in the Maw, speaking of the coming darkness, and the return of the Lord Below.
Battlemages from Pdallar tried to kill Malachi, but the power of the AllFather protected her from their fireballs.
Mirrors all over the Land shattered, with something dark laughing about freedom from behind the broken shards.
The Archmagus has recruited an army to take back the Ring Kingdoms and place them under Tzalin again.
The Demon Wraith of Vendilon was never destroyed, only bound by the Necromancer, who sent it to slay Malachi.
Black Priests are looking for people willing to make sacrifice to restore the Unnamed God. Any interested parties should contact Ejar, Priest of the Last Doorway, in Ald Miles.
Adric and the Black Hand assassinated Malachi to prevent her from being named ruler of Vendilon and ushering in a new age of peace and enlightenment.
Belid has fallen to Regros, and the Queen of Belid has been captured and forced to wed the Duke of Regros.
Malachi the Prophet was assassinated by the Cabal of the Shattered Mirror.
Flying manta rays dropped large vats of blue paint on Glasscastle.
A cabal of priests from each of the six gods killed Malachi, to keep the people from finding out the Truth about the AllFather and the Six Gods.
Hecaia, High Priestess of Anz, has forged a cease fire in Tavat Mien.
Malachi was killed by members of the nobility who were offended that she was preaching equally to peasants and nobles alike.
The Red Army is retreating from Tavat Mien.
Twelve demons were sent to attack Malachi and transform her companions to animals. Before falling, she slew all the demons.
The Belidan prisoners taken by Regros in the war have rebelled against their captors.
The Dragon of the Maw was sent to slay Malachi, but she spoke to it and it turned to her favor.
The Justiciars are retreating from Tavat Mien.
An earthquake in the capi of Ald Miles knocked down the Ducal Palace and killed Duke Surden.
Malachi was killed by Justiciars mind controlled by the Encil Magus.
The Belidan prisoners taken by Regros in the war have been set free.
Malachi will return.
The Queen of Morn Valan has committed suicide.
A piercing scream was heard from the Donjon.
Handbills have begun appearing in Regros accusing "Adric the Traitor" of ordering the assassinations in Grivllos without the Duke's knowledge, and precipitating a war of attrition. Why is this man still in the Duke's employ? Save Regros! Punish Adric!
Thamil of Tzalin and Ilan the No Longer Very Ubiquitous Bard are getting married on November 18. Most everyone (except a few of the people still on this list who are both out of town and dropped out) should have gotten mail about this already inviting them to a public meeting get-together at Twinkie Towers.
The Archmagus has turned the population of Tzalmir to pigs, in a fit of rage.
Fireworks went off over the Tzalmir Imperial Plaza to celebrate the death of Malachi the Heretic.
Thamil, the Tzalin regent, and Ilan, the Slightly-More-Ubiqutous-Again-Bard, have been married.
Fireworks went off over the Tzalmir Imperial Plaza to celebrate the return of Malachi the Prophet.
General Akkat appeared at the wedding of Thamil and Ilan and tried to slay Ilan but was cut down by her protective band of invisible assassins.
There was a great big mess in the Tzalmir Imperial Plaza, involving ring wards, flying mages, fleeing Justiciars, and a riot. Lots of Justiciars and other people were arrested by the City Guard.
The Archmagus declared that no one in Tzalmir shall eat ham until Llewelen, daughter of George Cartwright, has been found.
Adric has slain the Archmagus.
The Archmagus has thrown Adric in the dungeon.
Kalki, Kerraki antique dealer, has slain Adric in defense of the honor of Dianora, Queen of Pdallar.
The Archmagus has stolen the left eye of the Necromancer, and placed it in his own head to learn the Necromancer's dark secret powers.
The text of a competing song:
Conventional Wisdom Watch #1
** Administrivia at the bottom, don't skip... **
The Western Bardic Collegium has switched its tactics from its fairly successful satire and mockery of the Red recruitment effort, and is now supporting it. Levis Piresle, a noted balladeer, suggested that the change was caused by a dearth of rhymes for "cannon fodder," due to the lack of a Lord of Poetry.
Dvelinhurzt's troops have been arming heavily in the past month. Speculation that it is planning on invading Tavat Mien, Aris, the Vath, or whoever looks least heavily armed. Speculation also suggests that the huge lack of game animals in the Dvelinhurzt forests will require them to conquer a neighbor who actually grows edible plants, or sell half of their populace to the Donjon to purchase imported foodstuffs.
Ald Miles has fallen to the armies of Miravelle of Rhi Miles. The Ithyran army massing on the Rhi Miles/Ithyra border along the Siodari leads some to wonder if Rhi Miles may have fallen into the classic Cliffsfall lose-your-homeland trap, though. Says Commander Icarid, general of the Rhi Miles forces, "Ald Miles thought to cross our borders in enmity, and they have seen what consequences that brings. Should Ithyra choose to do so, the results will be little different."
The Duke of Regros has mysteriously vanished. The "he's been slain and/or kidnapped" theories are running neck and neck between Adric, the Encil Magus, and the Necromancer as the culprit, but several members of the Regran Court have intimated that the Duke is actually carrying out part of a plan to thwart Grivllos, and that all will become clear in time.
Grivllos's allies have increased, with Mooris again taking the field on their side, and the Lich Ghoras reputed to be using his powers to help his old allies against his old thorn-in-the-side, Regros.
All around the Land, ceremonies by the Church Below were held to commemorate and mourn the passing of Vendilon, most beloved of the countries of the Land by the Dark Lord. Most closure services were widely attended, though many were marred by protesters outside chanting "Vendilon Must Not Die."
Forces from Ngth and Belid stormed into Vendilon near the close of the year, and were met with earthquakes and potholes in their path. Their quarry, alleged to be the camp of the AllFather cultists and Justiciars, fled to parts unknown, leaving the Reds in undisputed control of the empty country. Except for the earthquakes.
Erin, the Chosen of the Light presided over the ceremonies opening the year in all the capi cities of the Land on the Creator's Holy Day. This massive feat of scheduling was primarily organized by Erin, the Prophet of Soren. Some confusion resulted from the discovery that these were, in fact, separate people.
The king of the magmatics has woken up on the wrong side of the bedrock...
The Church of the Ender of All Things, on the New Year's Eve, celebrated great Midnight Masses all over the Land, which included a large amount of rather undignified shouting and cheering. One unnamed Unnamed priest in the Mounch Lower Church bell tower was spotted doing a victory dance, waving his arms and shouting "woo hoo!"
On this the final day of the year 4018, I, the Archmagus, Mayor of Tzalmir, City of Kings, do dedicate this land in Yellow Circle [a Tzalmir street] for the building of a temple in honour of the Unnamed.
Let it be known that the Ender is returning to the Land, and that I will personally undertake the construction of His place of worship in Tzalmir.
Signed on this, the Unnamed's Holy Day,
"People of Tzalmir. The immediate threat from the new power has been averted. The focus of its plans has been removed before their fruition.
"The conflict that was to engulf the East and eventually all the land has been sidetracked, and ultimately neutralized. Even now, the land breathes a sigh of relief for the respite.
"But don't let your guard down, for the power has not been defeated, only delayed. The snake has changed its skin, and with it its venom. It has recruited new minions to do its bidding, and patiently waits for the opportunity to spread its poison. In darkness, it's power grows unopposed, and will do so until the Tzalin throne is occupied by the Land's true champion, not by a resurrected shade of the past.
"Until that time, people of Tzalmir, remain ever vigilant. The power will show its fangs again. This has been your third warning ..."
Does anyone have a web server that can run a cgi script for the thresh scry reader?
A reminder: if you want to be paying attention to specific places in the Land (i.e. you want to know that your home country has been devastated by locusts and fallen into the ocean before it appears in the rumor mill) then set up a places file in your athena account or mail me where you want to be keeping track of.
Rumor Mill 36
January 2, 1996
The sun is dimmer now than it used to be. In fact, it's probably been dimmer since about New Year's.
Hauntings, possessions, and various sightings of ghosts have taken a sharp upswing since Sunday, leading to speculation that the new Lord Below has had some terrible fate befall him. Again. Ejar, prelate of the Ald Miles church (which has been rebuilt since the earthquake that hit it several months ago) has stated only that "This shall pass in time" and "It's about time."
The 12th of January saw a spontaneous celebration in that-which-was-Cliffsfall commemorating King Alphonse (aka Skye) and his Flying Pirate Ship attack on Tzalmir. Much beer and wine was consumed, and several in attendance claim that the Ballad of the Sky-Blue Knight sung there rivaled any ever heard in Ro Palis, except that no one can quite remember it, due to their subsequent hangovers.
Marek Wrathblade was canonized St. Marek on January 27th, now St. Marek's Day to the Red Church. The significance of the 27th is hotly debated by those not present (though Elboreth Silverbeard has stated categorically that "After Peace" is a perfectly reasonable description for a time to set for a Red Saint, no matter when his great battles were during his life...). In attendance were (at least) Thamil of Tzalin, Miravelle of Rhi Miles, the Flying Red Guy, and a Flying Purple Guy (who rumor speculates is the new archrival to the Flying Red Guy, now that Skye, the Flying Blue Guy, has been properly laid to rest.)
A huge army of Undermen, undead, and giant bugs has come out of the Maw to defend Ald Miles from Rhi Miles. The Rhi Miles army has pulled back to ten miles in from the border, and the lines there seem stable. In addition, a combined small force from Ithyra and Grivllos has crossed the Siodari into Rhi Miles, heard that there was a civil war starting, and crossed the Siodari back again.
The Red Warrior has slain Ridanna, Queen of Ceczo, and Nodins, Warlord of Aravy. Rumor has it that Ridanna acquiesced in this as a sacrifice to Shagras, though as there were very few witnesses, and those said to have been hand-picked by the Red Warrior, the truth of that is debatable.
A brigand named the Grey Wolf has declared himself in rebellion against Duke Farak of Ithyra, slain the local garrison, and retreated into the hills.
Priests of all sorts in Gri-Ennis have been falling off cliffs, out of windows, onto swords, drinking bad mead, burning themselves to death, and so on.
The monument to the Collector of Skulls in Arivale has been nearly covered by flowers.
Announcement by the Red Church on the Holy Day:
People of the Ceczo, Aravy, and surrounding lands: It has been revealed to me that the being claiming to be Ghoras has once again risen. In a nefarious plot to seize control of the kingdoms, he has bile wormed a number of leaders and is again reaching tentacles across all boundaries. Queen Ridanna of Ceczo and General Nodin gave their lives in order to help stop this plot. Honor their memories and sacrifices. Many others in this area have also already succumbed to his vile machinations. They too must decide on how they will conduct themselves in their last hours.
I encourage all leaders to voluntarily submit to an examination by a recognized church authority. Those who fail to do so will deal with the repercussions among their fellow leaders and from our Lady of the East.
The Gri-Devlin Diocese of the Church of Shagras has been undergoing a schism in the past weeks; after the Gri-Devlin Archbishop had a heart attack, his two sub-bishops dueled and since then, it's just gotten worse. Rumors of one faction intending to tax "inferior products" highly have run rampant, where the definition of "inferior product" is alleged to be related to who is close kin of the members of one faction.
Rumor Mill 37
March 30, 1996
Vendilon and its neighbors have been reporting serious earthquakes in the past few weeks, causing many of the farmers who have moved there to leave in consternation. "I brought a whole flock of cashmere sheep here, heard the grazing was good and the land was open," says farmer Johan Van Engele. "But six of them have fallen into chasms and two broke legs during the last quake, and I really can't take such a high casualty rate. Even if this is the East, they're just sheep..."
A new cathedral to the Dark Lord in Tzalmir has been raised in the dead of night via a dark magical ritual. One rumor speculates that the Archmagus has become the New Necromancer in return for this sacrifice, and that the Mages' College will be looking for a new head.
The Ithyran rebellion has been put down by Duke Farak, and the Grey Wolf and his followers are in hiding in the Ithyra mountains being pursued by the Ithyran Home Guard.
Dvelinhurzt troops are making substantial inroads into the Vath, and invading troops now hold the upper northern counties.
This happened a while ago, but I think a rumor about it never appeared: the Red Army has relinquished the government of Loulan back to the Loulanese King. Speculation on who sold them what in exchange for this has been rampant, and include: granting of the new Red Warrior eternal youth by Nirian, the founding of a corp of Loulanese Bards campaigning for the Red Army, and the trading to the Red Church of Ihren, previously a priest of Nirian, in addition to two first-round draft picks. Note that this leaves the Red Army currently holding the Ring Kingdoms (which now have council governments) and Aris, as well as with a several-tens-of-thousands man garrison in Rhi Miles, though it is ostensibly still under the control of Queen Miravelle.
Priests have finally stopped dying in Gri-Ennis. The claim that the deaths were caused by "flying octopuses" has not been confirmed, but the fact that none of the priests who survived ran into any flying octopuses has been taken as proof of the hypothesis.
Rules and various important announcements:
A group of mages and priests in the Upper Darnelles is working to magically preserve several specimens of each known (non-extinct) species. Yorbit Fifth Echelon Fondele is calling for rare and hard-to-catch species to be brought to the team by any volunteers who can do so.
A cartload of turnips were donated to the starving peasants of Grivllos by anonymous do-gooders.
The Wrathblades, a prominent Belid noble family, urged all Easterners to boycott the founding of Jondular, due to the affiliation of Heinrich the Forsworn as the judge, and warned that allowing the False Prophet to be so closely tied to the nation's founding would endanger the Chosen of the Light's attempts to rebirth the Creator.
A shield volcano has appeared in the tholl fields of Tavat Mien, upon the place where the Red Army clashed with the Tavat Mien defenders, the Necromancer's forces, and the Justiciars.
A huge moutain rose on the border of Jondular and Ngth at the beginning of the Jondular festival. At the end of the festival, twin rivers ran out of the mountain along previously-concealed riverbeds, and to the ocean around the borders of Jondular (and the haunted remnant of Vendilon, allegedly occupied by its new King, Alamir Durand).
Tidbits on the festival:
Referees for the Monarch contest included Thamil, Hecaia (with a small group of Justiciars who came with her, who are glaring at the group of Justiciars who came with Heinrich, who are glaring at the group of Justiciars that came with Hecaia, etc etc), Barnabas (a Red priest), and possibly or possibly not Heinrich (that latter seems to be somewhat confused). Other famous people around were Erin, Erin (the other one, the Prophet of Soren), Kelkyag (the other Prophet of Soren), a snow-globe salesman, and several sightings of Miravelle.
Some entries for Monarch, in no particular order:
The last round, which includes Dahling and Rhyx Feleran, draws to a close as only the two of them are left, neither able to penetrate the other's defenses. Rhyx offers that if Dahling surrenders, he will make her his queen. Dahling counter-offers that if Rhyx surrenders, she will make him her warlord. Neither offer is taken. After more futile sparring, Rhyx suggests that they put down their weapons and wrestle. Dahling accepts, and after a few minutes of wrestling, Rhyx has Dahling in a firm lock, whereupon Dahling kisses Rhyx, he boggles, and she thwacks him.
Erin renames Dahling "Carwyn" and gives her bronze hair, renames the Changing Beast "Rafe" and gives him golden eyes, and renames Chamai "Divech" and gives him copper skin.
The next day, around what might be noon, it lights very faintly (about the brightness of the moon at quarter and waning), and a strange bluish-cream color.
A tournament has begun for Queen of Ceczo, to replace Queen Ridanna, slain by the Red Warrior for being a minion of Ghoras.
The sun is still dim, though it has grown gradually brighter since its untoward putting-out. It is now a little brighter than the full moon, and has been changing colors each day (though as it gets brighter, all the colors are converging on yellowish sun-colored). For several days, it was also trailing wisps of smoke, speculated to be an attempt to rebuild the "ramscoop" that it used to have, but the smoke has faded agian.
Eleanor (the vampire) and Alamir Durandt (ruler of Vendilon) were married in a secret ritual. They have made a comfortable home in the capi of Vendilon, as Eleanor has turned the wraiths into a powerful army.
Ghoras was the mysterious helmeted knight in the recent Jondular Festivals who competed for the position of Hero.
Shadowere (the irradiant self-proclaimed thief), and Erin Silvertongue (the tri-colored priest) have been meeting for secret romantic weekends. Erin is attempting to become Touched to round out his set.
Erin (the other one) of Loulan (reputedly Chosen of the Light) is:
The river from Jondular is running dry. Johan Van Engele, local sheep farmer, was heard to mutter "First earthquakes, now drought. If this is as long as the river lasts, why should we expect the country to stand much longer?"
Malachi has been going from village to village dressed as a peasant, giving out apples which brainwash the recipients to believe her heresies.
Daia, the widow of the Unnamed, has been finding the position somewhat depressing and has begun to prefer the company of Hecaia, High Priestess of Anz.
Magnus John Vulkayne has been cursed by the Church of Shagras to become a Summer Woman. According to unnamed sources, turning him into a "wussy girl" was the worst thing any of the Red priests could think of.
A series of limericks have become immensely popular in the ale-houses and inns of the Land.
Conventional Wisdom Watch #2
Dvelinhurzt has conquered the Vath. Theron Irongrip, the Governor of the Vath, has surrendered to Ebilon, the Lord of the Hunt, and his husk armor has been symbolically confiscated. That is, it's really been taken by Ebilon, but that's primarily for symbolic purposes rather than because Ebilon needs it. Tribute in farm produce is being arranged by each Huntsman individually.
The tournament for Queen of Ceczo has concluded, and Dathanni Soli, a fighter with sword-and-chain, has won.
Tyrone, a Pdallan battlemage, has issued challenge to the Archmagus for his position. Should he win, rumor suggests that the College of Mages in Tzalmir will be (at least temporarily) devoted to more "practical" magics, and the Imagonem mages will be fired.
The sun is a lot brighter (though still not quite normal levels), and the color changes are now much closer to light pastel washes over the normal "sun color". The Ammon Sages have stated that this should be sufficient for basic plant function. However, they do still express some caveats about the lack of seasons and start digressing into technical details regarding seed cycles and winter freezes...
A hollow-eyed man (that looks slightly younger than the one(s) that have appeared before) shuffles into the main square of City (the capi of Lesser Mosk). He looks ready to speak, then seems to realize something. He looks around with more awareness than he has shown before. He grumbles, "This isn't Tzalmir square. Barry, bring me back. You blew it." He then disappears in a puff of white powder.
The lowest portion of a tiny valley in Sioden has become filled by darkness, through which no sunlight penetrates and torches and lanterns shine only shallowly. The Ammon Sages are said to be studying the phenomenon closely.
The Plains of Volan seem to be undergoing a very strange thunderstorm, principally near its borders, in which the rain is falling upwards. Observers also report seeing a few small fish in the rain (also falling upwards) but his is considered unlikely.
The squirrels, mice, songbirds, and other small animals (not that there are too many left) in Tzalmir seem to be behaving oddly, travelling mostly in straight lines and along what might be imagined as lines of a large imaginary hex grid.
In other news...
The Grivllos army has withdrawn from Regros. Veteran Grivllen sergeant Pfuil Woodnik says "It was getting to the point where we was tired of living just in tents. Some o' the boys was putting up little houses, others was starting to plant gardens. Seemed ta' me that that woulda been a decent way to invade and take over da land we had camped on, but it wouldn't a made a very good battleground any more. Guess somebody got paid off somewhere."
The withdrawal of Grivllen troops from Regros has served as something of a trigger for a play for the Ducal Throne by several distant relatives of the late (well, it's rumored that he's late, at least) Duke: Andron i'Soldin, "Black" Webster Burchart, and Rillis i'Donoval. Rumor also says that Queen Dianora of Pdallar is allied with one of the throne-contenders (though rumor is not clear on which one), and which way General Iskander, head of the Regros Army, will jump, is still up in the air.
Derindal of Blacklock has climbed the Mount of Tyr, a mountain in the Siodari that (by legend) has a shrine to one of Shagras' first lovers at the top, and stolen the holy artifact that should reside there.
Lanthet Drescol of Grivllos and James Carter Vulkayne were secretly wed three months ago, much to the displeasure of their respective parents, who have been competing viciously for trade routes in various parts of the east.
A mysterious illness is sweeping through Morn Valan. The Queen has been heard to say that it is a punishment visited on the land for her crimes, but no one knows what she means.
Xabanese patrol boats, originally hired to protect merchant vessels from competing merchants and/or pirates, have begun to skirmish with each other. Whether this is an indication of some of them going rogue, or a schism in Xaban soon to lead to a civil war, is not clear to non-Xabanese observers.
Some longer tidbits:
A report on a magical duel between Erin of Loulan and Tyrone of Flambeau of Pdallar.
And, yet another pessimistic Ammon Sage report: On the Effect of Recent Upheavals on Trading Along the Siodari
And, finally, everyone's favorite, the Syndic Economic Report!
The dead of Syndic are rising as zombies, stalking the locals and rending them to pieces. There are several camps of opinion on the cause of the plague of undead. First, the Necromancer is being blamed for it on general principles, though the Syndic priests of the Lord Below state unequivocally that this nonsense. Second, agents of Gri-Ennis are being accused of creating the whole thing as a hoax, though to what ends is unknown. Third, there are rumors of a "Necromancer of the Donjon," the successor to the "Necromancer of the Kraerkorags," possibly the wife of the previous Necromancer, who is clearly behind it all.
In addition, Syndic seems to be undergoing a schism in the Syndeche, and those in the know suggest that a civil war is likely to follow. Many investors are beginning to convert their chit holdings into other commodities, thus weakening the Syndic economy further, and Erger Singreal, Ammon Sage and political speculist, ventures that the economic stability of much of the North and northeast will suffer greatly, no matter what happens.
Scientists from Lesser Mosk have announced that they have begun work building the AllFather out of gears, cogs, and baling wire. Due to safety considerations, the construction work is being done in Gri-Ennis instead of Lesser Mosk itself.
Heinrich and Malachi Freedmanson are pleased to announce their marriage and the birth of their daughter, Dorothea, weighing in at 8 pounds 9 ounces. Mother and daughter are alive and well.
The Red Army has begun maneuvers in the Ring Kingdoms. Speculation on why and who is going to be invaded have been unconfirmed by any official press releases on the part of the Red Army itself, and Brigadier General Kirloch has said only "An axe becomes dull and rusty if all that it is used for is wall decoration."
Lower Tythwall, a village in Sabat, has been attacked by the wraith forces of Daia, the Unnamed's widow and now the new Necromancer. All who tried to resist were slain, and several buildings, including the chapel of Nirian were razed. In addition, many fields were burnt, with two in particular having the axe of Shagras, and a large "E" burnt in. Some of the survivors express dubiousness that Daia was the one responsible ("Why did all the wraiths have big 'E's on their chests, instead of 'D's, then?") but this has been ascribed to trauma.
Anti-pirate Xabanese patrol boats running the Ladysblood River have been staking out their own "territories" and taking exception to other patrol boats that venture onto their turf. A few competing patrol boats have engaged in skirmishes, though no ships have yet been sunk. Piracy is down, though merchants, unaccountably, do not seem to feel safer. In addition, a few brave merchants still travel unescorted, despite all attempts by the patrol boat captains to insist that their protection be sought. Captain Jarl Hekvold, one of the few merchants to not seek patrol boat protection, was heard to have said "I'm supposed to be afraid of petty thuggery? Not in *this* lifetime..."
The sun rose today surrounded by a white hexagon. Initial panic that this was some prelude to the sun going out yet again seems to have died down, but much speculation on the phenomenon remains. Snogth Rushwillet, a priest of the God of Practical Jokes, has claimed that the apparently new practice of the devotees of the Lord of Boring to "hack" Geskekelud's Holy Day is a most promising sign.
In more normal (in some sense of the world normal) news for Thursdays the 12th, swarms of purple butterflies were observed almost everywhere in the Land. The Ammon Sages, questioned about where any butterflies came from (butterflies all being extinct in the present day), have said that these are "the dreams of children, of butterflies."
The Red Army has begun marching east, back towards Dalos. Popular rumor speculates that they have become confused in this Day of Confusion, and that soon they'll get their bearings again. A less well-believed rumor indicates that the army was ordered to cross the border into Tzalin and refused.
Richard of Mosk has constructed a great shrine to St. Ingram Demonsbane at his Clockwerk. In addition to a huge Chair, said to be modeled after the chair Ingram sat in while researching his prismatic magics, the shrine contains a mural of Ingram standing atop the College of Mages in Tzalmir, colored rays shooting from finger. To comments that perhaps homage to a man who had destroyed two gods and caused two years of stillbirths was not necessarily advisable, Richard is said to have replied, "It's my college, and if I want to have a mural of the Allfather sleeping with Shagras, I'll have one!" Enthusiastic speculation on whether there is a second, hidden shrine containing this other mural is high, but tourists wanting to see the Heretical Shrines have been turned away by clockwork soldiers.
The Artisans' Guild in Syndic was burnt to the ground late at night by zombies. No sooner had the ashes cooled than the Chosen of the Light had constructed a new, stone hall. Above the main entranceway, "Chenoa Guild Hall" is engraved. Exactly who or what Chenoa is has not yet been answered. While there is a small town in Hviviveros named Chenoa, it does not appear to be missing a guild hall, though an expedition to "Bring the Hall Back" is said to be being massed in Yanuk by stalwart explorers with nothing beter to do.
In addition to the troublesome tendencies of arson-minded zombies, the Syndic Artisans' Guild has been plagued by demons, who show up at midnight, loot their houses, and threaten them. Exactly why the Artisans have incurred the "wrath of the dead," as the demons introduce themselves, has not been explained either by the local priests of the Lord of the Dead or by the demons themselves.
A number of brass spinning tops engraved with the message "Richard is grateful to Yignis" have been distributed to the children of Gri-Ennis.
Dirge Sorenson, the Bard of Ro Palis, has passed away. Known originally for his moving composition and rendition of "Penultimate Requiem" with which he won the Bardic Competition after his predecessor was slain by wraiths, Sorenson more recently had composed nothing for several years, and the pilgrimages of many healers throughout the Land have proved futile. Recently, Sorenson had appeared to regain some of his energy, though not in a musical fashion, and had begun to arrange for the renovation and refurbishment of the palace, but this burst of enthusiasm appears to have triggered a relapse and he was found dead early on the morning of the Year's Eve by palace servants. A state funeral has been held, and the Bard's epitaph left blank; traditionally such an epitaph is composed by the Bard, but Sorenson was unable to do so.
A flying Whirligig of Death was found in the fields over Xaban, attacking, well, mostly plants. Some initial speculation that this was a sending of the Red Lady, expressing her animosity towards her White counterpart (also the Goddess of Plants), but this speculation was hotly denied by the delegation from the Red Temple in the City of Gates who led an ambush of the Whirligig and destroyed it.
Erin of Loulan has destroyed the tholl fields of Tavat Mien with a rain of fire that lasted for a week and a day, after the government of Tavat Mien refused to let her preside over their Year's Opening ceremonies. Some sources in Tavat Mien claim that the fires destroyed only a forest and a village, not the entire countryside, while others condemn her for plunging town full of innocents into an inferno.
Tzalmir has been infested by iron centipedes, which have nested under the Hill and devoured all pipes to be found there. The Archmagus has stated that any sewer problems will shortly be resolved by capable workmen who aren't him, damn it.
For the past several days, a fleet of, um, well, flying glass onions has been traveling across the Land from east to west.
The Variegated Mage, new resident of the Hill in Tzalmir, is visiting Dvelinhurzt and organized several Unhunted Feasts, featuring magically created venison and buffalo, as well as something he calls a Constructed Elephow.
Lesser Moskians have created a steam demon, a monstrosity of patched-together flesh and leather tubing, and released it to stalk the East. It is said to catch its victims and throw them into a huge steaming pit, from whence strange and terrible creatures rise to do its bidding.
A mysterious fast-growing vine with large pink flowers has been spreading throughout the forests of Jondular, Mooris, and Belid. Blooming in the mornings and evenings with a pleasant spicy scent, there is some suspicion that anything so pervasively nice in the East must be up to no good.
For several days, the clock in the large clock tower in Tzalmir, of renowned lesser Moskian design, which hasn't lost more than a few minutes a year since it was installed several hundred years ago, is running backwards. An enthusiastic adjunct to the rumor is that this is a miracle of the Archmagus's, and that all residents of the city are getting younger by the day. A slight increase in tourism has resulted.
The Invost Hills in Gri-Ennis appear to be haunted, or at least become the lair to something mysterious. Loud, eerie moans have been heard from the top of one of the hills, and a few brave investigators have reported seeing a giant creature with huge, glowing eyes squatting near the top.
The second anniversary of the Flying Pirate Invasion was celebrated in the Gri-Ennis annexed portion of Cliffsfall on January 12. In addition to various binges of drinking, dancing, and grabbing after available wenches, a few items of note include a plethora of small, wind-up pirate ships being played with by the now well-pampered children of Gri-Ennis (while being wound, they make "arr" noises, and after being wound, they hop about on the ground), and a rowdy drinking song:
"Sproing" goes the pirate
Twirling in mid-air
A-hail of rubber figures
Clouds stormed in a-noontimes
And blocked the sun-sail's shine
Shagras' own pelted by the Skye
Immortalized in rhyme!
They struggled on the rooftops
They fought in Tzalmir Square
Should the city Cheer or Flee?
Tzalin Heralds have been posted to all corners of the Land, and most capital cities or other important places have now seen these colorfully dressed musician/diplomats (rumor has it that the Clockwerk in Gri-Ennis has two clockwork heralds instead, and that the two attached to the Red Army have begun to fight on their side...)
Last rumor mill forgot to mention that Erin of Loulan performed New Year's Day ceremonies in all the capitals across the Land, to celebrate the Opener of the Year.
The Red Army invaded Alkynia, on Shagras's holy day, to be met with only token resistance. A joint tournament sponsored by the Red Church and Queen Eliza of Alkynia was held to make up for the lack of a war. The lack of a war was taken badly by some Alkynian citizens, who formed a drunken mob and attacked the Red Army encampments, but this uprising was quickly quashed.
A border of crimson poppies has again grown around the Plains of Volan. Not seen since Ghoras sowed the poppy-fields with salt after he took Volan, the poppies are said to be the true Western flowers, which are sopoforic to all but SummerFolk.
The Flying Red Guy has been seen in Tavat Mien, flying towards the Glass Desert. Various speculations on whether he planned to battle Anz, perform a pilgramage, or just gather some of the glass water from the northernmost section of the Glass River, have been very muddled.
An attack by the Justiciars on the Red garrison in Gal Sidar was fended off, principally by the large number of crack reinforcements who showed up to defend the emplacement.
The Ladysblood ran red to predict the previously mentioned attack in Gal Sidar, but during that time a woman in a small boat travelled downstream, placing white water lilies. The boat was observed to have a large white parasol and a flag of Nirian, as well as a big cursive E on the back of the boat.
Sordovan, priest of the Creator in Kerrak, has been killed and the wall by his body marked with an E.
Huge bonfires were built, approximately every several miles, in a line from the coast of Xaban to the Maw. The bonfires were supervised by priests of Shagras or priests of the Lord of the Maw, and will say, if asked, that the Halls of Valor have been destroyed by the Necromancer Elenor, and that the bonfires are to light the passing of the ghosts who now travel towards the Lands Below.
The temple of Shagras at the head of the Ladysblood has been invaded, and the priests and other residents killed. The bodies were found floating down the Ladysblood (and tangling with the new water lilies).
The following flyer has been posted in many major cities. The ad is ornately caligraphed on fine parchment in a midnight blue ink; the ink appears to have silver flecks in it.
__________________________________________ | ARIVALE ANTIQUES | | | | Mordan Cooper, Proprietor | | | | We Buy and Sell Historical Antiques. | | Estate Sales our Specialty, | | Special Orders Welcome. | | (Nonnig enquiries to Mordan Cooper, | | firstname.lastname@example.org, ) | __________________________________________
Many people in the Land have been converting to the path of the Church of the AllFather, listening to traveling philosophers and proselytizers, and taking advantage of the healing clinics offered in the country areas by Church members. The following rumors are all predominantly concerned with religious conversions...
Travelling bards espousing the traditional religions, and mocking those who follow the AllFather, have been spotted in a number of countries, though they are most prevalent in Soren, Sabat, Loulan, Jondular, Gri-Ennis, and Kranoj. Alas, some of the more strident bards have met with tragic accidents, though no foul play has been proven.
Those countries controlled by the Red Army (Dalos, Hengmir, Pirtos, Gal Sidar, and Neffik; later, Alkynia) have declared the Church of the AllFather to be heresy, illegal, and punishable by death. Those suspected of espousing the heretical religion have been rounded up for questioning by priests, and those who failed to pass the questioning satisfactorily, or who have failed to recant, have been executed. This tactic has had somewhat more success in the Eastern Rings than the Western Rings; priests of Nirian have been accused of lying to shield heretics, and priests of Geskekelud have been accused of lying just on general principles.
Several travelling pedlars in Arivale have gotten into arguments with the travelling proselytizers. One striking exchange was noted by a passing Ammon Sage as having included the frustrated cry "What are you, *sheep*?"
Rumors of a "Little Duchess" have begun to spring up in Ithyra, in conjunction with a movement being termed "Ithyran Pride." Ithyran Pride seems to, in part, consist of great stubbornness and a tendency towards self-reliance, though a respect for their heritage. While the attendance at the services of the Six may have dropped, Ithyrans seem to be turning to the AllFather less than might be expected.
An AllFather elder in Dyvik, Mooris was torn to pieces by local parents for molesting their children, and similar incidents elsewhere in the Vath and Belid have begun to come to light. Many followers of the AllFather have been chased away by association, and tempers are running hot.
The priests of Geskekelud in Morn Valan have gone on a crusade to convince the Visionbound that Geskekelud has not, in fact, abandoned them.
A revolt against the Warlord of Aravy led by followers of the Cult of the AllFather was quickly put down, and repercussions against other Cult members have been severe.
Followers of the AllFather have had a number of mysterious accidents befall them in Ceczo, Dvelinhurzt, Granite Holt, Gri-Ennis, Misambokia, the Isles of Verne, Pdallar, and Xaban.
Granite Holt has formed a Committee on the Redemption of Heretics, and declared practicing the religion known as the Church of the AllFather to be illegal.
Many people in the Lower Darnelles and Ro Palis have been shaking their heads and saying "What the heck was I thinking?"
Thamil, the Regent of Tzalin, has spoken to the people of Tzalin and told them to stop being such nitwits. Most of them have listened. In addition, the armies of Tzalmir, under the direction of Miron Tal, have begun to say morning prayers to Shagras and Nirian to grant them strength in the defense and protection of their homeland.
The fine wines and brandies of Rianne have become less sweet recently, though those vintners who ask the blessing of the Lady of Vines and the Lord of Inebriation when the beverages are made seem to still have the high quality expected from Rianne.
Followers of the AllFather have purified Dun Areg, the capital of Regros, of its pernicious curse.
A large part of the armies of Richard of Mosk have left the Clockwerk and gone to enforce a sort of martial law in Gri-Ennis, primarily throwing people in rivers and ponds who are becoming violent over religious disputes. For a few days last month, the soldiers began to pull back into the Clockwork (sources cite a possible invasion by the Red Army, though how it would plan on crossing all the intervening countries is unclear).
Stone golems are working to overthrow the Red dominion over Alkynia and replace it with a council of non-humans.
Henry Tzalin was crowned King of Tzalin on April 26, in a ceremony attended by many notables. Speeches were made by the Regent Thamil (who was appointed Prime Minister) and Henry, and an agreement was announed with the Red Army over the currently occupied Ring Kingdoms. A speech to be given by the Archmagus was cancelled, as that worthy is believed to have been investigating rumors of gold centipedes in the Tzalmir sewers.
A set of crown jewels were presented by priests: In the name of Inos, the Maker of Kings, a Gold Ring; in the name of Shagras, the Source of Strength, a Sword; in the name of Anz, the Setter of Laws, a Scepter of Law; in the name of Nirian, the Dispenser of Mercy, a Chalice; In the name of the Ender of the Interregnum, a Obsidian Ring; in the name of Geskekelud, the Lord of Insight, a Mother of Pearl Pie Pan. At the moment of the crowning, all five Gods appeared behind Henry for a brief moment.
A corn field in Dalos has been invaded by steam badgers stealing the dirt.
On March 31, three jugglers and four tumblers invaded Northern Yanuk, Hviviveros, and declared that the country should surrender to them in the name of Eleanor. They were met by the Minister of Seals, who declared all of Hviviveros willing to surrender the name of Eleanor to them (though it would take a short while to notify everyone of that name in the country.) The invasion force said no, no, that wasn't what they meant, the country had to surrender to them, but that they were conquering in the name of Eleanor. The Minister tried to clarify whether that meant they were supposed to surrender to *them* or to Eleanor, to which the answer was given "Um, both." A closed meeting was held for some time, after which it was announced that the seven acrobats were to be given the post, jointly, of Minster of Eleanor, and that the King and the King were willing to listen to all advice given by the Minister, and to follow it one time out of seven.
A very shiny clockwork hippo with chrome ears later showed up in North Yanuk and demanded that they surrender in the name of Bert. After some negotiation, the hippo was declared to be the minister of Bert the Amphibious, the duties of which are to provide watercress to the Minister of Eleanor and the Minister of Seals. In addition, the Minister of Eleanor was instructed to follow the advice of the Minister of Bert the Amphibious one time out of seven. The hippo apparently took this poorly, and was arrested after throwing much watercress through the windows of the Ministry of Seals. The King of Hviviveros, on the advice of the Minister of Eleanor, has declared the sixth Monday of June to be a holiday honoring the Minister of Bert the Amphibious.
Clockwork diplomats are asking all over the Land about ``the people who stole Richard of Mosk's Creator Project Prototype...'' Apparently, Richard wants to recover a couple of pieces or data (it's unclear) to finish the second generation model.
The sun has gradually been growing brighter, though it's still dim.
Strange blimps have been sighted rising from the eastern Land to the moon and returning again. Rumors that Richard of Mosk plans to convert the moon to a clockwork of some sort are being widly bandied about, as are claims that Xabanese merchants plan to use the moon for cross-Land travel.
Regarding religious stuff: Actual stats will be put off until after my thesis is done (mid-June). Any parties for which I don't have a statement of intent on what points are being exerted where will be assumed to be at home talking to each other rather than having an effect on the mechanic. After this point, retroactive stuff will *not* be accepted.
So there was a holy day of Geskekelud ages back in June. It wasn't actually forgotten, I just failed to send out mail for a while. The Siodari River, starting a short distance upstream of the Maw, appears to be full of "scrubbing bubbles" (you know, those little white guys with brushes on the bottom, but without the happy faces) about the size of oranges. Much of the Maw, at least along the river, appears to be squeaky clean. The bubbles appear to mostly be gone by the time the river exits the maw, though the few that survive pop quickly.
A new contest for the Bard of Ro Palis is in progress. Erin of Loulan was given a role in opening the contest, though it's said that the organizers denied a request to let her judge. Particularly depressed pundits speculate that Ro Palis has fallen in with a plot of the Ender of All Things to sabotage Erin's attempt to become the Creator, but the more practical speculate that it's jus that she's not a professional musician.
The moon has been visited numerous times by a really large blimp with daisies painted on the side. The blimp appears to be launched from the East coast, travel to the moon, and then undock just before moonset. After several rounds of blimp trips, the equatorial belt of the Land has been pelted by clumps of daisies with small parachutes, which plant themselves in the soil they land on. A few observers have noted small machines flying away from the daisies shortly after planting.
There seems to have been some sort of fuss in the main temple to Shagras in Dalos Dern on September 9th; rumors vary between a pack of killer dogs invading the temple, and the entire temple population having ben replaced by dopplegangers. The priests of Shagras have made no comment.
Something strange went on with a large black horse in one of the mid-eastern countries, but the details are very fuzzy. The most commonly told version is presented as an appendix to this rumor mill.
On Anz's Holy Day, the Eastern Church Knights, under the command of General Madrid, staged a masterful strike against the South, involving the assassination of several of the top (inasmuch as you can tell these things) of the Southern Church Knights and capture of their sigils of office, followed by a "vote" on behalf of the "South" to relinquish control to the East. A brief battle in the Seventh Sanctuary was easily put down by the Red Church Knights, as many of the Southern Church Knights had been diverted to the Western Diocese to help support them against a (not-very-large) insurrection organized by one Lovin Erlak. Rumors of help from the Black Diocese are unconfirmed; their political support was not noted (though not necessary), but some say the assassinations were accomplished by Lower Demons.
The political situation in Syndic is becoming shakier my the week. While the Kerner's faction has issued a statement warning that if the Artisans do not destroy their automatic Chit machines once and for all by the Holy Day of Shagras, then there shall be war on that day. The statment may be too late, however, as there have been several bloody skirmishes between the Syndeche factions already, and civil war may come far sooner than the Red Holy Day.
A cabal dissatisfied with Erin of Loulan has kidnapped her, in order tap her power, steal her Talisman, and make their own creature into the Creator. This does appear to clash with reports that Erin presided over the ceremonies at the Opening of the Year in each country again.
Bureacratic announcment: People may have noticed Tzalmir waking up a bit recently. This is in great part due to the efforts of Mike, who has defeated Mahk in single combat and taken his place as "GM type that things should get cc'ed to."
Syndic has been embroiled in a messy civil war. Fighting began between the factions of the Kerners and the Artisans, apparently in a dispute over who gets to make chits. The main military strength was originally that of the non-factionated Syndeche, which continues to hold the capital. Additional zombie forces have been rising to combat, principally, the Artisans, and rumor speculates that a top Red general is supporting the Artisans to take over the entire country. Additional speculation suggests that the Syndeche has its own necromancer in the forces, though whether that means the zombies are theirs or are being turned by them depends on whose reports you listen to. The appearance of Richtel on the side of the Syndeche has also been noted with great interest by war-watchers.
A plague of volcanoes has erupted, including one in Belid, one in Mudwallow, and several in the Siarlani mountains, including one said to be very near the (no-longer-)Empty City. The Ammon Sages are said to have complained that "someone has been mucking with Fate," but have not offered further clarification.
White short-sleeved tunics have been being sold in major cities throughout the Land, bearing printed slogans:
On the front:
"Have you ever read a shirt?"
On the back:
and in smaller letters:
"And the person who'll bring it to you:
Richard of Mosk"
Durak, a warrior chieftan in the Isles of Verne, sent out a great sailing ship on Midwinter. The ship, Red Solute, intended to travel first to the Throne of Valor (to ask for their ship to travel underwater), and then to the King Under the Sea, to demand worthy sea-flora to fight. The ship has not been seen since, and Durak has since vanished. The name of the ship has later been thought to be singularly improvidential.
One of the stars in Hozni, the Hawk, has split into two (one larger and one smaller). The driftage of both star fragments is said to be higher than normal, and astrologers are watching closely to see if a new constellation name is in order. More careful astrologers have noted that the star of the Extra Wick in Naba the Hermit seems to have extinguished.
The Red Army has taken the Vath, moving from Alkynia and defeating the Dvelinhurztian Border Force in less than a week. Vathian peasants have thronged the highways to cheer their liberators; more wary Vathian sages have muttered about exchanging one master for another (though this one, the sages expand, will want more armor and less food). Other pundits point knowingly at a map of the Land, and draw straight lines from Alkynia through the Vath through Dvelinhurzt to Syndic.
A small lake in the Plains of Volan has become poisoned, killing a herd of prize racehorses and several families, before the cause was determined.
A pen-pal program between Siarlani and humans has been increasing in popularity over the past year. The favorite correspondents appear to be large giant otter-type creatures named "Ottars", who are both voluble and entertaining.
The lovely white lilies in the Ladysblood river have grown somewhat thicker over the past several weeks due to the Syndic civil war and the Vath invasion. Very recent and shaky reports mention some strange goings-on at the mouth of the river, described by onlookers as "a fight between the lilies and a bunch of seaweed."
Several dozen retired? renegade? just plain quit? Justiciars have been camping in front of GlassCastle. They have refrained from comment to reporters, but various observers claim that they are waiting for a new Champion, asking for Hecaia to let them in, or waiting for Heinrich to join them.
Nobody has heard anything from Thearos in ages.
Rumor Mill 49
May 13, 1998
According to its Sabatan neighbors, the northwestern country of Thearos has vanished, and a greyish-ivory dome surrounds it. The more inquisitive nearby farmers report that one can throw pebbles at the wall, which either pass through or disintegrate, but that people cannot pass through. ("Nor dogs neither, even if you flung them!" reports local miller Greattheck).
The Vathian government-in-exile, including Theron Irongrip, has been sworn in as the new leaders of the Vath. Exactly what they have promised their liberators of the Red Army is unknown, but the attitude towards those who promote the Cult of the AllFather has grown markedly grimmer.
Hecaia has made an announcement to the Justiciars camping outside Glasscastle, and they have all departed for Tzalmir. Some speculate that this is part of an expected Choice of the Tzalin (though rumormongers are divided over whether this means he'll be choosing Anz or the AllFather), while others say they are looking for an Anzian relic.
The Red Army has entered Aravy, and General Kirloch has dueled with Kelrim Akkat, the Warlord. The duel was marked by skill on both sides, but Kirloch's armor proved much superior. The duel was disrupted by an Aravian soldier who tried to interfere, and by appearance of the ghost of St. Marek (who, accounts say, was either trying to stop the Aravian soldier, or provoked her). Warlord Akkat was slain, and Warlord Kirloch has been granted dominion over Aravy. The funeral of Warlord Akkat will be held on May 25, once his skin has been properly tanned and treated.
The Syndic civil war has ended; the withdrawal of the mysterious Black Guard from the support of the Kerners swiftly led to their defeat by the Artisans. The Artisans and the centrist Syndeche have agreed to a joint cease-fire and alliance, to defeat the zombie army, though preliminary rounds indicate that it will be a drawn-out process, as the non-zombie casualties keep joining the zombie side.
Strange explosions and building-demolishings have been reported in the Clockwerk owned by Richard of Mosk. Normally, this is considered by the (few and brave) neighbors to be business as usual, but this time a significant activity of clockwerk men has been reported, supposedly searching for the perpetrator. When of Mosk was asked to comment, he replied "It runs better every day. Buy a bicycle, you'll like them."
Ebon, the holder of the Mentam chair of the Tzalmir Council of Mages, is dead. Foul play of some sort is suspected; investigators are looking into a possible rift between Ebon and his apprentice, Vizier, or whether the Encil Magus, a possible candidate for the chair, may have been involved. Miron Tal, the Tzalmir chief of constables, had no comment on the subject. Syndic Economic Report #12
The Syndeche announced a change in the Prime Exchange Matrix today, causing the Determinent to rise by about 12 points. This amid massive rumors regarding rampaging undead and the fact that the entire membership of the Syndeche were apprentices last week has led to massive fluctuations in the Standard Exchange Rates.
The Syndeche is also expected to issue a Black chit voucher to most major craft guilds in order to support the rise in the matrix Determinent. Blue chits are therefore expected to rise almost 20% against Red chits with a standard Blue to Red-Green conversion ratio approaching 7/4.
Yellow chits of course are expected to be totally unaffected by the news. In fact, if the Justiciars are able to quell the current undead problems, the Yellow-Red/Green-Blue index may rise by as much a 1.5%.
Finally, the master of the artisans guild is rumored to be preparing to place the guilds Bronze chit on the open market citing an overflow of Black chit accounts.
Yes, it looks to be a very tense month in Syndic.
The Syndeche announced yet another rise in the Determinent of the Prime Exchange Matrix, marking the first ever occurance of two consecutive increases. As a result, Blue chits soared yet another 15% against Red chits with the standard Blue to Red-Green conversion ratio reaching the unheard of value of 9/4.
The Syndeche, having just overcome the rampaging undead difficulties with massive aid from the Justiciars cites dwindling hope for long term investments in the face of a dying sun as the motivation for the change.
Obviously, Yellow chits will be totally unaffected by the changes. The Yellow-Red/Green-Blue index should remain level in the coming weeks, sun or no sun.
Finally, in a staggering insult, the Syndic Artisans Guild received an anonymous bid of 37 Black chits and one Green for the Guild Bronze. The Artisans Guild had been forced to place the guild's Bronze chit on the open market citing an overflow of Black chit accounts. Guildmaster Salan was overheard saying something about "the source of inspiration dying" and suggested that the Syndeche declare a moritorium on Green chit exchanges for the duration. The Syndeche responded by entering closed session for the fifth time in two weeks.
The Syndeche announced today that there would be no change in the Prime Exchange Matrix citing the rises of the previous two fiscal periods as evidence of continuing economic strength. The Yellow-Red/Green-Blue index showed a 12 point rise, most likely due to the restored confidence in the Syndeche's action since the abrupt end of thier apprenticeship just a few months ago. Yellow chits are not expected to be affected by the announcement.
In other news, the Artisans' Guild finally sold the Guild Bronze Chit to an anonymous buyer for an undisclosed amount. However, inside sources have leaked that there was at least a 4:1 Green:Blue ratio in the selling price. The sale should resolve the financial difficulties the Guild has experienced since the sudden decline in artisan productivity several months ago. A satisfactory explanation of this occurance has yet to be provided, but it looks like the Guild will survive the coming months. Guildmaster Salan was unable to be reached for comment.
It is also rumored that this same unnamed collector will be approaching Lord Justiciar Heinrich Freedmanson, holder of the prized Gold Chit of Valor, with an offer for that famed chit. Citizens of Syndic are outraged at the audacity of simply trying to purchase the Gold Chit, but the Syndeche pledges to honor the Gold Chit regardless of level of tactlessness used to obtain it. Quoting, Syndeche member Kiera Turnsoll, "The Syndeche can not afford to degrade the value of the Chits without regard to the Prime Exchange Matrix. It may be tactless, but if someone buys the Gold Chit, they own the Gold Chit and possess all of the rights and priveleges pertaining thereto."
In one of its first major realignments of the Prime Exchange Matrix since the ascention of the new Syndeche members, the Syndeche announced today the creation of a fundamental exchange ratio for Blue:Yellow chit interactions. As expected, the other non-zero inteaction ratio have all been renormalized to preserve current balances while allowing the new Blue:Yellow trade to affect values on par with the current Red:Yellow standard. Due to the renormalization the determinant is expected to remain constant.
In addition, rumors that the Syndeche has been planning to issue a Black Chit Voucher to several major craft Guilds was confirmed. Four guilds, Smiths, Bakers, Kerners, and one other were issued Black Chit vouchers in amounts ranging from 200 to 4000 chits for what was termed "Unfair advantage during the Syndeche turnover." An appeal has been filed, but it seems unlikely given the increased popularity of the Syndeche given the new Blue:Yellow interactions.
In other news, The Lord Justiciar, Holder of the Gold Chit of Valor, is said to have turned down seven separate offers and foiled two attempted thefts for the Chit. Its value has been altered with a pro-rated increase in its Blue:Green conversion ratio to reflect this difficulty of keeping it. A source inside the Justiciars was quoted as saying, "Heck, the boss isn't gonna trade one chit he don't understand just so he can get a whole pile of chits he don't understand. One is enough..." Other sources claiming to be close to one of the buyers claims, "He understands the Chits all right. He is one crafty negotiator..."
In a long awaited announcement, the Syndeche made a general call for apprentices today, about six months after the tragic deaths of their predecessors, which left the country in the recently proven capable hands of the old Syndeche's apprentices. Each member of the Syndeche will take on one apprentice in the coming week, with the notable exception of Syndeche spokeswoman Kiera Turnsoll. When asked why she was declining to foster an apprenticeship at this time, Syndeche Member Turnsoll cited personal reasons and would not further elaborate.
It is speculated that the Syndeche made this move to further boost confidence in its new Blue:Yellow trade interaction margin. Over the month since its institution, Blue chit accounts throughout the major guilds have increased by an average of 15%. If the call for apprentices goes over well, further increases could be expected. The relative demand of Yellow chits is expected to be unaffected.
Finally, there is rumor of a possible Kerners guild strike in retaliation for the 4000 Black Chit Voucher the guild received from the Syndeche last month. Syndeche spokeswoman Turnsoll has publicly stated that the Syndeche stands behind its decision to issue the voucher, given the unfair advantages taken by the Kerners Guild during the undead invasion earlier this year. Members of the Kerners deny the allegations of a drop in chit quality during that period, but Guildmaster Don-Kothek was unavailable for comment.
The call for Syndeche apprentices continues, as the Syndeche has announced an extension of the application deadline by three additional week. Rumors that the Syndeche was not receiving adequate applications were dispelled by Syndeche Spokswaman Kiera Turnsoll earlier this morning, when she announced that teh Syndeche had in fact already received more than 200 applications and other letter of introduction. When questioned as to the reson for the extension, Turnsoll declined to comment.
Blue chit accounts are continuing to rise over last months staggering 15% increase. The new Blue:Yellow interaction margin appears completely stable with respect to teh rest of the Prime Exchange Matrix and experts are calling for it to be made a permanent feature of the Matrix. (Such a move can only be made by a unanimous vote of the Syndeche.) The last such permanent addition was the controvercial Red:Yellow equilibrium introduced immediately following Syndic's admission into the Eternal Empire.
The Kerner's Guild has apparently backed down from its proposed strike citing recent negotiations between Kerner Guildmaster Don-Kothek and various Syndeche members. Recent rumors that some part of the previously assessed 4000 Black Chit Voucher would be recinded were sternly denied by the Syndeche spokewoman, but she refused to comment on the actual content of the negotiations.
Finally, the Street was ablaze with rumors that the famed Gold Chit of Valor has indeed been stolen from Lord Heinrich of the Justiciars, and is currently being hidden somewhere in Granite Holt. This would be a possible explanation for the recent Justiciar invasion of that country, but no member of the organization has been willing to comment.
Blue chit accounts on the Street have finally stabilized after their impressive climb following the introduction of the Blue:Yellow interaction margin. Blue chit accounts across the guilds have settled at the comfortable level of 28% above this time last year. Yellow chits were of course unaffected by the changes.
The Syndeche spent most of the last two weeks interviewing applicants for the promised apprenticeships scheduled to begin on January 1st. Over 150 qualified applications were passed through the preliminary round. One notable figure seen on the list released by the Syndeche on Monday was Kelrim Markoln, son of Samuel Markoln the Mayor of Issyn. The Syndeche is expected to announce its final list in just a few weeks.
Syndeche Spokeswoman Kiera Turnsoll issued two releases from her country estates outside of Issyn where she is recuperating from a recent illness. In her first she vehemently denied rumors that the Lord Justiciar has lost possession of the Gold Chit of Valor. When pressed on the details of the rumored Justiciar executions of thieves, Turnsoll had no comment.
In her second statement, issued last night, Spokeswoman Turnsoll said that the syndeche is indeed looking into the apparent decrease in Square chits available in the open market. No conclusions have been reached as yet, but Turnsoll ridiculed recent rumors that the Kerners' Guild was seeking to obtain a Square chit monopoly, in retaliation for its recent Black Chit accounts. In a printed statement Turnsoll declared, "Since the chit re-standardization of EY 832, chit shape only has a second order effect on the prevailing political and economic distributions. A monoploy of square chits would have some effect, granted, but it would be mostly based upon the standard color distributions implied by such a monopoly."
In a related statement, a spokeman for the Kerner's guild denied any guild involvment with the seeming deficits in Square chit reckonings.
After a month of hesistant trading due to the turmoil sensed throughout the Land and the strange dissapearance of Square Chits from public accounts, the determinant Prime Exchange Matrix was reduced by 2 points this week by the syndeche. Syndeche spokeswoman Kiera Turnsoll, in a public statement early Tuesday, said that the change was meant as an incentive to spur trading in what had been a rather slow month on the Street. When asked about the Syndeche's investigation into the square chit situation, Turnsoll had no comment.
As a result of the small change in the PEM, Blue chit accounts, which had been climing for several months, fell 5% with respect to the other three prime standards. The Blue:Green interaction margin likewise dipped about 5% in the expected adjustment. Red chits trading was especially slow this month with Red chit accounts rising only a couple of points in all. Yellow chits are expected to be unaffected by the change.
In other news, the new Syndeche apprentices were sworn in this week with a stirring ceremony in Issyn Square. Syndeche member Garth Markus cited the need for dilligent study and hard work to prepare the new apprentices for the ever varying challenges of Syndeche service in his address to the gathered crowd.
Finally, the Syndeche is considering a proposal by the Artisans' guild meant to raise additional funds for those guilds hurt worst by the troubles. The proposal involves placing the four remaining Gold chits and any available Silver chits on a sea to sea traveling display. The proposal reccomended using either Cliffsfall mercenaries or Justiciars to provide security, but the recent conflict in Tzalmir may force a change in plans.
Rumors abound as the Syndeche meets in closed session for the fourth consecutive day to discuss the near total dissapearance of Square chits from accounts both public and private throughout the Street. While the Prime Exchange Matrix is still based upon Chit Color, the Syndeche is considering making a public declaration denouncing the apparent hoarding of Square chits and threatening to devalue them regardless of color. Syndeche Spokeswoman Kiera Turnsoll was unavailable for comment.
Trading on the street has been skittish given the recent speculation. Most chits and accounts have remained stable though this may change shortly depending upon what action the Syndeche settles on. It remains to be seen if Yellow Square chits are to be affected by the expected pronouncement.
In other news, Artisans' Guildmaster Salan was seen to be journeying North in what the Guild Vice-Master's Office only referred to as a historic quest. All pursuit was strongly discouraged, so the goals of this so-called quest are unknown at this time.
Finally, the recent lack of trade with other nations has prompted the Syndeche to set their new apprentices against the problem as their first major challenge. The apprentices have apparently decided to name one of their number as Trade Ambassador and send him or her off in search of new sources of income. Which apprentice or how this decision is being made is being kept a closely held secret for the time being. The Syndeche itself had no public comment on the apprentices' decision.
Syndeche spokeswoman Kiera Turnsoll announced early this week that in its most recent full session the Syndeche voted to postpone indefinitely a measure supported by the larger Houses on the Street. This measure, if adopted, would have invalidated all Square chit holdings, regardless of color. The proposal was sponsored by several different Syndeche members on behalf of the five major Houses. In her statement, Ms. Turnsoll claimed, "The syndeche finds unacceptable any measure which would injure the inherent value of any chit holding without due consideration of the effects this would have upon the Prime Exchange Matrix. Our entire system of government is dependent upon the stability provided by the PEM and the indivudual's trust in that foundation must not be breached."
Trading on the Street, which had been poor for several days, picked up after the announcement recouping many short term losses. The Yellow-Red/Green-Blue index regained 2% after a 6% decline, ending down 7 points. Blue to Red/Green conversions were relatively stable during the period, though they did climb slightly ending at the previous high of 9/4 in response to a small adjustment made in the PEM determinant. Yellow chits were unaffected by the changes.
Finally, Guildmaster Salan of the Artisans' Guild returned last week from his Northern quest and went into locked door meetings with several of his ranking advisors. All attempts to uncover what occurred during his journey have been met with firm resistance by the Guild. The silence was broken this morning with the surprise announcement that the Artisans' Guild had concluded negotations for the takeover of all Smiths' Guild activities. The arrangements of payment were not disclosed. The Kerners' Guild is rumored to be appealing this action to the Syndeche.
Trading on the Street has been haphazard for a few days, due to rampant speculation about a division within the Syndeche. When asked why Kerner's Guild members have apparently boycotted the last two Syndeche meetings, the Guild representative responded, "It is standard procedure for Syndeche members to send an apprentice in their place when they are not feeling well."
Ms. Turnsoll, spokeswoman for the Syndeche had only this to say, "While it is true that meeting attendance has been irregular, on the parts of several parties, of late, it is not likely more than a statistical glitch highlighted against the normally admirable attendance and dedication of all guild, I mean Syndeche, members." Our analyst advises that while it is dangerous to read to much into Turnsoll's statements, he find the strange slip at the end and the lack of her normally confident demeanor a disturbing sign of things to come.
The market reacted to these strange happenings by retreating on almost all fronts. The Yellow-Red/Green-Blue index fell 5%, ending down 7 points. Blue to Red/Green conversions slid across the board devaluing Green Chit holdings by as much as 6:7. Yellow chit holdings slid slightly, but were immediately corrected to their original position. Most analysts believe this slip was nothing worth commenting on.
Trading on the Street, closed due to the savage civil war that raged throughout the capital district of the Syndic, is scheduled to resume on the first of the month. The Syndeche itself is currently being reconstituted in accordance with the cease fire agreement between the original Syndeche and the Artisans' Guild representatives.
Kiera Turnsoll has been kept on as spokeswoman for the Syndeche in order to preserve continuity in this troubling turnover. In a prepared statement read this morning, Ms. Turnsoll had the following to say:
"We in Syndic have been through many troubling times before, and it would be foolish to think there will be no further troubles in the future. But through it all, the Prime Exchange Matrix remains stable, and the Syndeche will continue to preserve that stability for the good of all chitholders."
While the clear implication is that the Prime Exchange Matrix will undergo little change as a result of the uprising, sources close to various insiders claim that we can expect a stark increase in the Blue:Green interaction vector due to the obvious influence of the Artisans' guild on Syndeche selection. What will happen to Yellow chit futures remains to be seen.
Markedly absent from Ms. Turnsoll's address were any comments on the undead hordes still ravaging outside the city of Issyn. Once thought to have been under the control of the disgraced Kerner's Guild, the zombie forces appear to be simply killing until put down, without motivation or mastery. The reconstituted Syndeche is said to be working on plans to deal with them. Meanwhile the combined Syndeche and Artisan forces are attacking the problem head on.
Ilan <--> Millennium of persistence pays off, but the reception was kinda dangerous. Better wear plate armor next time. Necromancer | We thought all of the One Eyed Jacks were dead. \ / Err, then again, maybe they are. Kalki / \ Bombast-boy leaves onlookers stunned in square, | then saves Mayor's bacon. On to Disneyworld. Archmagus <--> Newfound ally of pork lovers everywhere, but invites Encil Magus for tea. Duh. 1Encil Magus | Oh-for-two in clutch situations. Did you learn \ / subtlety from your primary target? Kelkyag / \ Snail on afterburners makes her the most mobile | Hero with a name. Doesn't leave a trail of slime either. [IYE]ren / \ Flying leap from rooftop steals show while | undead mage is vaporized in square. If only we knew which church he belonged to... Magnus John <--> Pontifications need work, but Ninja Justiciars give Tzalmir Police a good fight. Malachi / \ Sticks and stones may break my bones, but who | cares? Heinrich <--> Wind south by southwest, dropping by midnight, light overcast tomorrow, with chance of showers. Adric <--> His brain is squishy and his general is dead. Getting mind-reamed was best PR stunt yet. Akkat / \ Last minute dive prevents reception from becoming | a wake. We hear horns sounding out East. Ex-RW <--> His bark is worse than his bite now, but the Red Army still won't retreat. Tavat Mien / \ Twenty Red Army Battalions at point blank range, | and they're still standing. What can we say? The GMs <--> Personae caught up in drama, but time-halts leave onlookers dazed. At least the wedding went off on schedule. Richtel / \ Dashing heroics in Tavat Mien leave him with | reputation as a one-man army. Look out, disorder. The Cabal | We thought you were only supposed to break one \ / mirror at a time. Was she *that* hard a target? Ghoras <-->! Hello...Hello...we know you're out there...
TZALMIR CONVENTIONAL WISDOM WATCH #2:
Erin <-> Please tell CW that hosing the sun again wasn't part of the plan. Necromancer | Think about it. \ / Dvelinhurzt <-> Nice opening move, but remember to salt the armor before you eat it. Saint Marek / \ Enemies find style cramped by need to remain | inside a ring ward 24 hours a day. And he has his own "day" too. Heinrich <-> Heretic man, heretic man Doin' the things a Heretic can.... Encil Magus <-> Lesson #1 from all of this: Careful, or you might get caught with your minions down. Ihren <-> Loyalties so divided we'll need to invent calculus just to add them up. Jondular <-> Highlights: "Martial Kiss", a nice fruit basket, and worm futures. CW just isn't sure. Ghoras | Oops. They noticed. Bummer. \ / Magnus <-> Re: Gri-Ennis--You've got the "deniability" thing down pat; now try the "plausible" thing. Richtel / \ Memorial battlefield covered with a volcano. | Still, CW would wager against the mountain. Anz | Is it just me, or did we miss another of his \ / Holy Days? Syndic Economic | Did they close the Chit Exchange or something? Reports \ /
The following is a report that has been privately circulating among "important people" (priests, heads of state, other people officially believed to have a clue). For those few of you who don't think you qualify, and don't think you know anyone who qualifies, you don't have to read it, but then, you probably don't read the syndic financial reports either. :-)
Report of the Ammon Sages:
The state of Life in the Land
Vegetation: The lower light levels during the peak blooming season has had a noticable effect on vegetation; this year's new growth is estimated to be only 70% of standard, an estimated record low, surpassed only by the year of the Great Blight of TY 1352.
The constancy of the "new" sun is predicted to have a more subtle, though equally significant effect. The constancy of temperature, causing a summer which is mild to the extreme, will prevent the usual heat-induced browning of many grasses, allowing for several extra generations, thus offsetting their initial spring lag.
Annuals, however, will have their seasonal cycles severely perturbed. The fall harvest will be late, and without the autumnal cold snaps to trigger ripening, many fruits will be sour. Finally, some twenty percent of flowering annuals may have substantially lowered seed production, due to various climactic triggering effects not present. Those extreme cases such as the snow lily and the heart-of-thorns will be most severely affected. Farmers and gardeners may wish to mimic a week or two of summer heat by keeping fires burning among the crops, especially among fruit and nut trees. Grains should not need such treatment.
Still, our predictions indicated that ninety percent of plant species will surive indefinitely.
Animal Species: The fauna of the Land, however, is another story entirely. While the sun's fluctuations have not drastically affected them, there have been no recorded animal births since the upheavals.
All species with a maximum generational span of less than four months are gone forever. This includes the mayfly, the red vole, the harvester ant, the glass minnow, the good-luck moth, and hundreds more.
All species which have a generation span of a year, and bear young during the spring are decimated. Only the very early seasonal births have survived, and whether the species as a whole will survive until the next spring will depend on predation, food supplies, and other factors. We estimate that half of such species will not recover. This includes the Volanese gazelle, the pearl dove, the redeye salmon, and several thousand others.
Those species with a longer maximal generational span, but with a rapid birth rate, usually checked by predation, are also being decimated. This includes the jackrabbit, the black squirrel, the wood sparrow, the silver darter, and, in fact, most small herbivores.
Those species which depend primarily upon small herbivores for sustenance, such as foxes, blacksnakes, griven rangel, great eagles, and pike, will have already begun to die off due to starvation, and within the year the most hard are expected to be at five percent of normal numbers, while the less effective competitors will be gone entirely.
Large herbivores and scavengers with longer lifespans, under normal circumstances, would fare best, but increased predation will rapidly begin to affect them as the smaller creatures die off, until the predators are equally diminished.
Given to the assembled multitudes in the Red Quarter of Tzalmir on September the Eighth, in the First Year following the Fall of the Tyranny of Ghoras
"I welcome today to the arena all who have witnessed the Hand of the Red Lady wrest the City of Kings from the hold of the dead Tyrant, Ghoras. The Eternal Empire is no more, and shall not again rise to blacken the face of the world.
Where the Tyrant robbed strength from the world, She now gives it back to you. Where the Tyrant's failure brought ruin and ravaging shades of night upon the land, She now takes those ghosts away, for the sake of the land and for Her glory. Let the mewling babes of the Daisy Maiden, the slavering chattel of the Tyrant, and all else who oppose us know that Shagras has taken the burden of saving our land from the errors of the Tyrant's assassin upon Herself and Her servants, and therefore Her purpose is not to be opposed--and the Men of Valor neither shrink from their burden, nor suffer that it should be interfered with. That Conflict has brought the gift of redemption from the undead scourge, and freedom from the Tyrant's yoke, to all men, is no accident--for She holds the strength and viity of the world to be Her province, and therefore She, unlike the White Witch, has not sat idly by within a Coward's Paradise to watch the light of the world flicker and die.
The field that the Maker and the Ender have fallen upon, we now survey, for the life of the land cries out and demands it. Ten thousand of the Men of Valor have poured their blood out upon the broken fields of Neffik and upon the hills and vales of Tzalin, and in the City of Kings, that She might bring the dead of the land to heel. Not since the Tyrant sacked Dalos and broke the land to his will, slaying all who opposed his heinous path, have so many of us been brought low for such a cause--yet the task has only begun. Where the dead have been cleared away, new life must grow to test its strength against the world. The Church of Shagras shall not rest until this task has been accomplished. The other churches may travel in our wake if they wish.
Saint Celia, when she had been made Marshal of Ithyra following the dissolution of the Accord, declared that no cessation of Conflict could be sustained without breaking the spirit of Man. The Tyrant strove to reach that end with his millennium of sullen dominance, but by dancing upon the ruins of the Eternal Empire, we prove that he has not succeeded, nor shall he.
Through Conflict delivered from mortal danger, through Conflict we now look forward to the restoration of the light of the world, and to hope for our future.
May She grant you the strength, and the will, to see that day."
People of Soren, for the first time in generations, you are free of Ghoras' Governors. Free also, finally, from the hate that has driven you for all those years. It was a hate that saw fruit in the deaths of many governors. But it was a hate with a high cost. Your souls.
Your hate drove the White Lady from you, and with her went your hope, hope for a better life, hope for a greater future. But the Mother of Forgiveness waits patiently for you, and now that the hate is gone, hope can return. Hope for forgiveness, yes, and for redemption. For Soren reborn as it once was, as it always should have been.
But burying the past will not be easy. Your souls have been wounded nigh unto death, and rot and gangrene fester in place of healthy new growth. The wound must be lanced, the rot cleaned out and disposed of, that the Source of All Healing may enter in its place, and bring you once again to health.
How, I hear you ask. How can this miracle be achieved? As with any true miracle, it can only come though your sacrifice. Across the world, there lies a nation even more sorely damaged than Soren. Vendilon lies dead, dead from suicide, committed in the mistaken belief that the Unnamed required it of them. The Mourner of the Slain weeps, weeps for the unburied dead of Vendilon, weeps for the Governors of Soren. Go forth, people of Soren, go forth and staunch her tears. Go all of you who can and bury the dead of Vendilon. Bury with them your hate, and your scars, and transform the Mourner's falling tears into a gentle rain, the rain that will bring new life to the deserts in your souls.
Go forth all who can, and those who cannot, the injured or the elderly, the infants and those who care for them, send with those who go a token, a memento of the past, that it may be buried there in Vendilon, and put your past to rest. With your past behind you, where it belongs, you will be able to turn to the future once more, filled with healing and with hope, and filled again, as you once were and always should have been, with the eternal, undeniable love of the Goddess Nirian.
"I say to ye all, ye will doom yourselves to eternal doom, an ye continue to follow the demons that delude and doom you. Those who hide under the protection of the Western Demon, ye have doomed your souls for mere physical safety. Is your soul worth that? And ye who fight for the Eastern Demon, killing in its name, ye have even less excuse. The gold ye win by capturing this city will follow ye around and doom your future, to the end of your days, and as long as ye believe that the Demons rule your lives, ye are doomed...hey, what the, ack! help! help! Put me down, ye demon-doomed knaves! OOF!
Thank you for your kind inquiry about my health; it did much to "raise my spirits" (as a Necromancer's inquiry should!). I have come to value my few friends more and more during these final days. Heinrich has been so kind to board me at Glasscastle, but in a recent bout of homesickness, I have considered sending away Heinrich's stout soldiers and returning to my home on the Street of Lamps in Tzalmir proper. I long to experience one last time the simple pleasures of a man-- sweeping my little house's ock-wood floors, working in my herb garden, leaving for work before sunrise, as the fruit peddlers put up their stalls...
Work at the Library is going well; I hope that you are safe after your encounter with the Wraith-King and his soldiers. I also send regards to your once-and-future bride. I wonder whether I should have married...alas, but there is no time left now for all of that...
One of my recent projects has involved cross-checking the work of the Ammon Sages, and gauging the "rate of decline" of the Land. Because I have broken the birth/death cycle and irreparably destroyed the Land's ecological and environmental stability, we can expect the land to become uninhabitable in five years:
In order to make our exit from the land as dignified as possible, I have been toying with some new magick. The most prominent of which is a "Perdo Mentem" spell whose working title is "Unmake the Soul". It is a fairly powerful incantation which allows the caster to kill him/herself, and in the process, to erase his (or her) own consciousness, scattering it to the six compass points. The spell insures that the remaining consciousness cannot "re-coalesce" in such a way as to access memories of its past life. By working this magick on him/herself, a sorcerer could end their life, and the remaining spirit would have "amnesia", and thus be free from some of the suffering which I currently perceive in the spirit world. As a final gesture to my colleagues (here, at the end of time), I wanted to make this magick available to ease our departures. If I can, I will embed it into an object that will work on even beings that do not study magick. I have a sweet vision of the fair people of Tzalmir taking up this item, and experiencing the clean annihilation of nothingness. I feel perhaps it is the last great thing I could do for our people...
I recently considered trying to find the other talismans and repair the universe, but I'm sure the blind clergy would destroy me first. They want to believe the gods of our universe to be anthropomorphic in nature-- however, the gods are merely energies, pools of power that have coalesced at different places in our universe. They care for us only as the chessplayer cares for her pawns-- if we are not sacrificed early on, we can be promoted, in order that we may be better sacrificed later. Most of the clergy, no doubt, will blindly aid their inhuman masters by sacrificing followers as they see fit.
There are a few, mind you, who are above reproach. I have enjoyed Heinrich's company, and Hecaia's (although, I wish Anz's callousness was more troubling to her than it seems to be). I must admit that I respect the Red Warrior as well-- he is a bit of a demagogue, but at least he is practical and intelligent. If possible, I hope you and Heinrich can prevent Chthon's planned assassination of the Red Warrior from succeeding-- Chthon seems to be a much poorer leader, and much more short-sighted...
If only the common people of Tzalmir could see the gods as I have seen them-- as callous inhuman agencies who care only for dominion! No doubt Anz and Nirian are delighted by the recent turn of events. Anz has even voiced the opinion that a world with "no other gods than Anz" would be very orderly...
Incidentally, Jasper, there IS another way to restore a god besides "re-starting" the universe; this involves the sacrifice of 200 pawns of wis, and then the successful casting of a chancy ritual in which the majority of the people on the planet have to act in concert in order to bring the god back. While this is theoretically easier than destroying the remaining gods, placing all Tzalmir's life in suspended animation, and simultaneously restoring all the gods, it involves the inhuman skill of co-operation! Only in our dreams is such an unselfish act by religious fanatics possible...alas! while the gods have lied to us, we are STILL at root incapable of saving ourselves...
Heinrich urges me to keep my feet on the path of hope, but too many stand against me... The priests will not heed me, the common man fears me and riots to destroy me, and my allies are but few...alas! I had dreamed of the great rebirth of our land, but now I only see darkness. It is better now, I think, to put down my burden and choose my own death, before some pious assassin finds me...
Alas, Jasper...all my hope is lost! While I am the Unnamed's murderer, I am also become among the greatest of his unwitting agents!
With great regret,
The Curator of the Great Library of Tzalin
We are gathered here today to pay our final respects to one Tar Kareth Chang, Baron of North Redcliff in the Kingdom of Belid, Knight of the Most Sacred Order of Saint Boren, Knight-General of the Army of the Order of Saint Boren, Lord Marshal of the Red Army of the Church of Shagras, who died for Her glory, and kept Faith eternal.
Tar Kareth Chang was born to Ardak Barel Chang and Lyssina Chang in the Kingsland of Belid in the forty-second year before the fall of Ghoras. At the age of sixteen, he traveled to the land of Kerrak, then the last of the lands to stand before the disease that was the Eternal Empire, to take part in the defense of that land against the armies of the Empire. There he fought for five hard years, side by side with the brave warriors of Kerrak, before he brought the broken swords of a hundred of his enemies to the Temple of Saint Boren in Ngth, and so was granted entry into that Sacred Order. With the Fire of Shagras in his eyes he dedicated himself to the study of warfare, and by the age of thirty, twelve short years before the demise of the Eternal Empire, Knight Tar Kareth Chang of the Most Sacred Order of Saint Boren was named the commandant of the Church Temple at Thessar's Rock in Dalos, and so also the director of the Department of Urban Warfare and Planning. And even then he was not done, for where conflict flared, Chang was sure to observe, and in the waning days of the Empire, no man was a more careful student of those few incidents of conflict which the Empire, in its inevitable weakness, failed to quell. And so when the Lich-king fell victim to the Madman Ingram, and the standard of revolt was raised throughout the world, and the gauntlet of the Church of Shagras thrown at the feet of General Akkat, Tar Kareth Chang was made Lord Marshal of the Red Army of Shagras.
Time and time again, his skills were indispensable to the Red Army. In April, when the full might of the Imperial Army bore down upon Neffik Dern, Chang devised a masterful plan whereby two divisions of the Imperial Army were trapped in the maze of Neffik Dern and slaughtered to the last man. Faced with this defense, the Imperial army fell back from the city, and the Lord General of the Eternal Empire was turned aside from his task. Later, when the Red Army issued forth from the fortified camp of Dern and blasted the Imperial army like wheat before sun-fire, General Chang devised the final assault on the City of Kings, and opened the lock that was placed in his path with characteristic ease. In the interim, he collaborated with the Lord Justiciar of Glasscastle and General Madrid of Ngth in the defense of Ngth from the mad hordes of Vendilon. He was just about to crown his victory in Loulan when he was slain by a man who had infiltrated the Red Army and was determined to turn it aside from Her purpose, who was loyal to another, who sold his soul to an enemy of the Church. And thus Tar Kareth Chang died with Her orders on his lips, whose last breath was spent in Her service.
And for this reason we do not fear for Tar Kareth Chang's future, for his greatest service to the Church was rendered in our victory over the Eternal Empire, through which the Red Lady granted to our race the Halls of Valor, where the brave and the strong should demonstrate before Her for all time those qualities which She gave to men. So even now, Tar Kareth Chang fights in the Tournament of Valor, which proceeds forever, and there is no doubt that She smiles upon him and watches his wonderful struggle with great favor. So shall it be, now and forever.
Let these things be said about Tar Kareth Chang, Baron of Redcliff in the Kingdom of Belid, Knight of the Most Sacred order of Saint Boren, Knight-General of the Army of the Order of Saint Boren, Lord Marshal of the Red Army of the Church of Shagras: That he was a great commander, who routed the Army of the Eternal Empire under Devrim Akkat; that he was an honorable commander, who took prisoner the army of Neffik even at the cost of more blood spilled by the Men of Valor; that he was a diligent commander, who was never too busy to send a cavalry detachment to overrun even a small group of routed enemy infantry; that he was a brave warrior, who followed conflict to Kerrak and elsewhere and made himself a part of it always; that he was a brilliant military mind, who brought the art of Urban Assault to a new level as the director of the Church's Department of Urban Warfare and Planning; and that he kept faith with Her to the last.
Here as in the Halls of Valor, the eternal struggle continues without distraction, and Her pleasure awaits our greatest efforts. Therefore go forth and strive to gain Her attention! Learn the art of war, hone your strength, choose your moment, and then put about you without ceasing, for the glory of the Red Lady, who watches over you always! We do not grieve for our comrade Chang, for he has gained his place in Paradise--but we have a message for those who plotted his death: Who is it that thinks that the Church of Shagras can be so easily cowed? Who is it that thinks that the efforts of the Red Army will melt away without Lord Marshal Chang; who thinks that now is the perfect time to assault the Church and attempt to break it? Hear this! You may come today, you may come tomorrow, you may come next year--you may come alone, you may come with a thousand, or ten thousand, or with the entire world at your back--you may come openly, or you may come cloaked--but the Church of Shagras WILL NOT STAND ASIDE, and we WILL NOT BE DEFEATED. Who thinks that he has a simple stratagem to overcome the Church of the Goddess of War? Let him stand at the doors of this temple and challenge me! Who spreads dark rumors of the intent of the Red Church, yet cavorts with the likes of Ingram the Mad and drinks tea with the Necromancer of Kraerkorag? Let them come to the Red Warrior for a lesson in honor! These, my friends, these are the offal who have opposed the Church in all things, who schemed to cut down so brilliant a piece of work as Tar Kareth Chang at the behest of the White Whore, who mutter dark threats and charges against the church, and then slink off to suckle at the breast of the Mother of Despair while the world falls apart around them! Tar Kareth Chang devoted his life to opposing such fools, and we will do him honor by bringing our struggle to a new pitch of effort. In death we find new victory, for She ensures that in the Halls of Valor the struggle of the righteous is eternal--therefore let our shout be heard all the way to the Halls, that the meek may know that Chang has arrived to teach them wisdom--"Hail, Chang!" <repeat several times, louder and louder each time, with audience joining in, and then break for lunch and a tournament in Chang's honor.>
Comrades and Friends,
Today is our day of rejoicing! Across the land, now free for half a year from the grip of the dead Usurper, the Men of Valor struggle freely for Her pleasure, as She meant them to. All across the world, Conflict intensifies as men seek to render up to Her their gifts on this day. And She forgets none of them.
Yes, and in this year, the first year following the downfall of the Usurper, the other three surviving gods have all combined their forces to give unto Her and Her Church the greatest gift of all--holy war, without ceasing! In Tzalmir, the City of Kings, Order and Chaos, and even the White Whore, have lined up behind Alphonse, the Pirate King of Cliffsfall, in an attempt to set him upon the throne that was wrought for the True King alone. They shall not succeed!
In all the land, among all of the peoples, the Men of Valor have fought and died these last weeks that they might remain what they were, what they are, and what they are meant to be. And so they mirror Shagras, who remains constant and true to Her word. Let us compare Her nature, and ours which follow from Hers, to that of our enemies:
Alphonse, the Pirate King of Cliffsfall, also known as Skye, the so-called "Wandering Champion", who claims that he wishes to set a Tzalin on the throne in Tzalmir, yet when I told him that a True King was welcome to take his crown whenever he liked, Alphonse insulted my honor and announced his intention to crush the Church of Shagras! Later, I asked that if he should insist on attacking me, that he choose a battle site other than the City of Kings, which has already borne the destruction of one great battle this season, and he refused! This so-called "Champion" is so keen to sieze the throne of Kings for himself that he would sacrifice his own country and lay waste the City of Kings, and give over its population into the hands of ravaging pirates! This Alphonse is a Champion, indeed--a Champion of Chaos, a Champion of the Breaker of Oaths, to whom he must indeed have promised much for his mystical transport into battle.
Yet Anz, too, has sent HIS champion, Heinrich Freedmanson, the so called "Justiciar", to support Alphonse in his attempt to claim the throne of the True Kings. And so the minions of Anz fight alongside the minions of Chaos, and Justiciars, those pillars of order and propriety, look calmly on while Alphonse's pirates pillage the City of Kings.
And of course my list of enemies would not be complete without the followers of Nirian. And it is to them, these lily-hearted delinquents, that I give the highest award for excellence in these past few weeks, for they obtained a miracle of great power from the Mother of Weakness, that a whole army should find its wounds healing in moments of battle, and thus gain a great advantage. And who did they bless with this miracle? Why, none other than Alphonse and his pirates, who have proceeded to take the daughters and sisters of Tzalmir for their own. I wonder how many fearful maidens cried out to their protector Nirian in fear or pain, only to find that the White Whore had blessed their assailants?
I need hardly say that this alliance--this unholy alliance, I must say, will meet with the unreserved strength of the Red Church. Even if the other Churches have all given their support to the Pirate King in his bid to take the throne which belongs to True Men, and turn their ancient castle into a brothel for his pirates, the Church of Shagras has not forgotten the Edict of the Gods, who doomed the Tzalin line to rule in the City of Kings until such time as they should complete their purpose. Therefore neither shall we give the keys to the City of Kings to any other than a True King, nor shall we suffer one man of Alphonse's ravaging horde to survive the battle for it! The Justiciars, of course, will flee the field if faced with the prospect of fighting without an ally to do the bleeding for them, but they too should be on notice that they have embarked upon a path from which there may be no return. Even now they know that they are not safe from my wrath.
The gift of battle, so brightly and cooperatively packaged by the other three gods, is accepted! Shagras smiles upon us as we face the united strength of three churches, and each Man of Valor who lives and breathes with the vision of struggle tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that in his mind, does Her honor and earns for himself a place in the Halls of Valor. Let our enemies cut us; they shall see that our blood is Red, and every drop of it devoted to Her! Let our enemies break upon our battlements like waves upon the shore; they shall find that as the LadysBlood flows to the sea, so does our strength relentlessly flow into the thick of battle! Let our enemies come upon us in the day, in the night, by land, by sea, or by air; they shall see that we do not fear battle, nor death, nor pain, for Shagras is our guardian, who gave us what we are--She watches over us, She fights at our side, She strikes when we do, and She stiffens our mortal skin against the blows of the enemy; She laughs at danger, and seeks it out; She is the wind that lifts our pennants, and the staff that raises our standards in the heat of battle. She knows not defeat, and neither shall we!
"Honorless infidel! The Pirate King and his baseborn ally have taken my life as cowards sneaking through the night! They have not the strength to take the City of Kings from me, and have not the courage to fight me honorably for it. They shun Conflict in favor of vile execution.
Comrades! Hold faith! They cannot take the First City so long as you strive to the utmost to hold it! They believe that they strike at the root of the power of the Church of Shagras, but they do not--for the Power of the Red Lady flows in us all, coursing through our bodies with each beat of every worthy heart! The enemy will call upon you to give up your arms after this base assassination, but you must hold fast! The enemy will spread lies--they will say that they fight for a True King, yet I agreed to give this City into the hands of a proven Tzalin long before this attack was under way. They are liars, cowards, thieves, and miscreants! The truth is that they wish to use the device of Ingram the Mad to destroy Shagras and gain Her glory for themselves. They wish to preside over the death of all that is great in Men.
These are the criminals who have thought of nothing over the past year but their plans to lay waste the Red Church:
Skye, sometime Pirate King of Cliffsfall, who sold his soul to the White Whore for a miracle in this battle,
Heinrich Freedmanson, so-called the Lord Justiciar, the slave of Ingram the Mad, who even now holds the Staff of Slaying in his hands, who drools and slobbers over the opportunity to wield it against the Red Lady,
The creature who calls herself Ilan, who spreads lies about the Church far and wide, who is the tool of the Nirianite groveller Ihren,
Ambrose of Ithyra, who committed blasphemy by invading the minds of my soldiers with a false dream purporting to be from Shagras during September of the First year following the Fall of the Eternal Empire.
To these offal I say this: Do you think that you shall gain by this perfidious conduct? Do you think that your vile betrayal of the rules of Chivalry shall earn you a respite from Conflict? Do you think that the Men of Valor shall kneel before you and allow the Red blood in their veins to turn to honey? You are fools as well as cowards! I tell you that for this act of cowardice, Conflict shall folllow you for the rest of your days! Your brothers shall turn against you; your allies shall stab you in the night; your children shall turn from you in shame--because you are without honor, and you shall die as you have lived, making dark promises and furtive pleas in the dark of night, with lies on your lips and the hand of the Mother of Sloth on your hearts! You shall be safe from no man, wherever you shall go, for you have been exposed as worthless scum, and even the smallest child on the street shall know that you have not the courage to stand in battle yourself, as I have. Hear this, Skye, hear this, Heinrich, hear this, all who have spread lies upon my name, MY DAY SHALL COME AGAIN. For when you give up your lives and lose your strength, the Red Lady shall gather your souls to the Halls of Valor, and I say unto you that I SHALL BE WAITING FOR YOU! At the gates of the Halls of Valor you shall be required to demonstrate your weakness to me as you have not had the courage to do today, for no man can escape righteous battle in the Halls. And you shall die an eternity of deaths, suffer an eternity of humiliation, for I have remained true to Her from beginning to end, from first to last, without exception and with whole heart, and I fear not death, nor defeat, nor surrender, for in death I become Hers, and of the other two I fear nothing. So spread your lies and gain in this world by foul betrayal; I shall be watching over you, looking over your shoulder, dogging your footsteps--I shall wait for you, where no man may avoid me, or slay without swinging his sword! I shall hold your eternal soul in my hands--never forget!"
I am Alphonse, King of Cliffsfall, formerly Skye the Wandering Champion. I lead the forces arrayed against the Red Army in the City of Kings. I shall speak as lightly as possible, for it seems wrong to speak out against those who can no longer answer, especially those so valorous as the Red Warrior. But the lies against my person cannot go unanswered.
The Red Warrior, by defeating the Imperial Army, has performed the most noble act of our era. For this he is to be lauded and praised, remembered forever as a valiant warrior who fought against impossible odds for freedom from opression. Would that his further actions had been so valorous! The man who could have protected those in need and been a hero for all time was instead corrupted by the reek of personal power, and sought to establish an Empire as foul as the Reign of Ghoras he had so recently toppled.
I came to Tzalmir to stop the Red Warrior from establishing an oppresive Empire over the land, and to see a Tzalin crowned King in Tzalmir. The Red Warrior has accused me of being interested only in forming my own Empire. This is a blatant lie; if I had wanted my own Empire, would I have not started by consolidating my power in my own land, rather than forsaking it for the good of the Land as a whole? At the same time, the Red Warrior has accused me of cowardice. Were I a coward, would I not have stayed home and hid?
The Red Warrior claimed that he also desired to see a Tzalin King crowned. Before the war, he managed to convince me and a large number of my associates that it was not. This more than any other reason is why I attacked. Once the battle was joined, and he began to change his tune, saying he would crown a Tzalin, it was too late -- backing down in the face of his continued insults to me would have been the worst of cowardice.
The Red Warrior has accused me of being a minion of all the Gods except Shagras. This lie I will not tolerate, when in reality I was true to Shagras while He twisted Her ideals and standards for his own selfish ends. It is true that I pay heed to all of the Gods, giving to each their due. But to Shagras does my heart belong. I have no doubt that a Tzalin king will eventually choose Shagras as the superior of the Gods, and I desire nothing more. But Shagras is the Lady of Valor from whence all honor stems, while He treated her as a Whore, prostituting Her for His own foul desires. The Devoted of Shagras should fight oppression and protect the weak. He instead chose to oppress those who could not defend themselves. What honor was there in conquering the Ring Kingdoms, unprotected countries ravaged by 1,000 years of Ghoras' rule? Obviously the Servants of Shagras are the most suited to Pursuits of War; do they prove anything except their villainy by burning the temples of farmers?
While my hand did not kill the Red Warrior, my allies did it at my bequest, and I accept responsibility. I am deeply sorrowed that it was necessary to kill my religious leader. In his death he cursed me, and that curse is my rightful burden for my actions. But I regret nothing. The Red Warrior turned the Church of Shagras into an evil beast, bent on nothing but conquest and tyrrany. I wish that my actions have managed to cut the heart from that beast; but only time will tell.
To those remaining in leadership of the Church of Shagras, I say this: my fight was with the Red Warrior, not with Shagras. If whoever next leads the Red Church vows to honor a Tzalin King when one is found, and to fight oppression rather than cause it, I shall happily withdraw. I have no desire and no stomach to see the Red Church humbled. But know also this: I am a true Servant of Shagras and no coward, whatever the Red Warrior has said. If you persist in your attempts to form a Red Empire that spans the Land, I shall not stop until I have killed the last of you. If the Red Church persists in following the path of evil, I will purge it from the Land, that it may rise again cleansed of villainy and prepared to follow Her true path. This I swear.
To the Red Army, I say this: I do not know who now leads you, or whether there need be fighting between us. I will not allow you to set fire to the City of Kings, especially not to honor a man whose last months were not worthy of honor -- as long as you continue to burn the city, I will continue to slay you. I will not accept your allegiance at this time, for you are the rightful and righteous Servants of the Red Church; if the Red Church's new leadership follows the path of good, then there need be no further conflict between us. If the Red Church continues down the path that the Red Warrior has begun, I will destroy it, and I invite all among you who are interested in seeing Shagras exalted rather than abased to join me.
To the Red Warrior, I say this: It appears that we may have misunderstood one another all along, and for this I am sorry. I admire your courage, your strength, your leadership. If only you hadn't turned to villainy, I should have been one of your most loyal servants. But I shall choose to remember you as misguided, rather than evil. Although you intended your last words to me as a curse, I do not take them as such, but rather as a challenge. When I too am taken to the Halls of Valor, I shall gladly account for my actions, and shall face you eye-to-eye, with honor and without fear.
I am a soldier, not a statesman, but I cannot let Skye's words go by unargued - such bravery, to argue with one's foe once he is past responding.
I am sure that Skye served the Red Lady in his own way, until the moment he chose to call Her whore. I am sure that She smiled upon him when he asked his minions to dispose of his enemy by stealth, and I am sure that She watched in aprroval as his pirate fleets drowned unarmed merchants, and raped helpless villages. I say this without sarcasm - for just as She is the Maiden of Glory and Empire, the patron of the Red Warrior, She is the bloody-handed Lady of Nightwalkers and the Mistress over the Slaughter of Innocents.
If you believe the Red Warrior, the High Priest of the Lady of Ambition, War, and Empire, to have been anything but Her cherished servant, and doing anything but Her will, then you are a fool. Do not presume to speak of honor -- the word is tainted by your mouth, and you understand it as little as you do the Lady you profess to worship.
I am glad that you are not so naive as to expect the allegiance of the Red Army. We serve the Lady of Vengeance now, and Her will will be done.
"People of Regros,
"As is obvious, Regros has been attacked in a most cowardly fashion by an evil mage or group of mages. This unprovoked attack is an attempt to poison our will, to break our spirit, to cause us to not care about defending our homes any longer.
"Of course, due to the alertness of our citizenry, their courage in the face of adversity, and their willingness to take action against those who would cause us harm, this heinous plot has failed.
"They wish to make us complacent, so that when they march into OUR HOMES we will simply give them over to the enemy without raising a finger against them.
"We say: THIS SHALL NOT HAPPEN!
"By choosing to attack us in so lowly, dishonorably, and cowardly a fashion, our enemies have had the opposite effect -- we will band together against them. We will work together for their defeat. We will resist their attempts to dismay us with an iron will!
"We will NEVER give our homeland -- our homes -- to ANY enemy!
"That this cowardly, low attack would attempt to drive us from the place that my Father, and his Father, and his Father before him held sacred --
(pause here, choked with emotion for dramatic effect...)
"People of Regros,
"We will RESIST!
"We will work together!
"This evil spell WILL be UNDONE!
"The cowardly enemies of Regros WILL BE FOUND!
"The dishonorable enemies or Regros WILL BE DEFEATED!
"This and any other low back-stabbing attack on OUR HOMES will NEVER be tolerated by us! WE WILL SEE JUSTICE DONE!"
"Friends, I welcome thee to this ancient place, where the Men of Valor first answered the call of the Red Lady, and learned to call Her by that name. My enemies, my rivals, I welcome thee as well--for the fellowship of Shagras admits all who do not shrink from Conflict. Whose sword is raised in these days may see in the reflection of those hallowed blades the eye of Shagras, who stands ready to judge the actions of us all.
Upon the Red Army which has served Her so well, Shagras smiles. I have come from the table of the Heroes of Shagras to transmit the bounty of Her favor unto its masters, with whom She is most pleased. Thus shall it always be, for Her favor is eternal, and who serves Her well in life shall be bathed in glory for all time.
Unto Tuval Kirloch of The Vath, who brought a thousand sturdy warriors to the camp of the Red Army one year ago today, whose hand has wielded the Hammer of Shagras since my death, who broke the siege of Tzalmir and routed the legions of Skye and Heinrich the Damned, I commend the rank of Field Marshal of the Red Army of Shagras, to be followed unto death, with never any thought of defeat nor treachery. And to him I command, that he should prepare the way of the Red Warrior, that the land should be ready for him when he arrives from the East, and pay due homage.
Unto K'Nira Mithran of Dalos, who with a hundred cavalry did pierce the line of the Imperial army outside Neffik Dern not one year ago, whose battalion overran the last craven remnants of the Justiciar rearguard outside Tzalmir, who warned me that the so-called "Justice" sought by Heinrich the Damned was none but a transparent sham, who was proven right at the siege of Tzalmir, and thinks of nothing but the victories of the Red Army that have been and are to come, I confer the rank of General and Deputy Commander of the Red Army of Shagras. No more shall her vision be doubted, and unto the enemies of the Church of Shagras should be meted out just punishment.
Unto Mak Haren Chang of Belid, whose father Tar Kareth Chang served at my side in the first year of this crisis, against whose command the legions of Skye and Heinrich the Damned were done great damage in the streets and houses of Tzalmir, who slew a thief in his father's house at the age of twelve, and has never laid down the sword of Conflict since, I give the station of Brigadier and Chief of the General Staff of the Red Army of Shagras. In his mind shall Her vision unfold and through the thews of the Red Army of Shagras be brought to pass.
Thus does the promise of the Red Lady ring true: That the Red-blooded shall never fear death, She grants them a place in the Halls of Valor, and resolves that though their work is never finished, neither are they stayed from pursuing it, if their hearts are true and their spirits unbowed. She spilt Her blood upon the land that we might see such a day and help bring it about--and behold!" At this point, the LadysBlood, which had been running fairly clearly, begins foaming crimson. "For our dedication, for our conviction, for our glorious triumph, She does so again! Never forget what awaits! Never forget what has passed! Where She demands Honor, you shall give Her Honor; where She demands great exertion, you shall give Her every effort; where She demands skill, or bravery, or your very last strength, you shall not begrudge Her, for in the end She sees only Conflict, and remembers only Victory--and who brings words of Triumph to the Halls of Valor shall stand as Champion in Her tournament, and his name shall be spoken with praise unending!"
The Necromancer strides from the Maw, holding in his hand a black rod tipped with a skull, from which rays of power emanate and permeate the Land about him.
While you all see the image, there is a voice, almost too bass to be heard through the ears though it can be felt and understood through the bones. The voice says:
From stone below all stone the Rod be shaped.Next, a montage of images flashes before you:
And be imbued with the Power,
of Endings and Destruction and the Soul's Essence.
And where the Rod be, and the pale Master,Finally,
Spirits be made obeisance, and breath be stilled in the night,
and stone be crumble to sand, and carrion birds be flocking,
and the Soul's Doorway be shut, and time be drawn,
and all other things be done as well.
And where the Rod be, and the Rod's Master be,
all those who be no longer living be swear to follow.
He stands before the Dark Throne, His hands outreached to receive payment, while the voice says:
And across the Land, the sacrifices be made,
and the lovers be renounce their mistresses,
and the warriors be lay down their swords,
and the children be give up their youth,
and all other things be done as well.
We are a country of peace and diplomacy. We believe with all our hearts in negotiation and consensus. 'The Grivllen spins treaties as he spins silk', the saying goes. Yet we are also children of the Red Lady, and we feel our allegiance to Her as deeply as we feel our treaties to our allies. We know that Her bond lies underneath them all as the ultimate tie that binds nations.
We now go forth to battle, to honor past obligations to Our allies in the field, and to avenge cruel wrongs wrought by Regros' Duke upon Our Person, Our family, and Our diplomats. We would ask you, further, to remember She for whom we fight, when we must, and to remember that She smiles upon Grivllos because we fight with honor, and with just cause. Please join me now in prayer..."
<bows his head while a priest recites the following>
"Lady of War, Unvanquished One, Crimson Valkyrie, hear us:
Your children of Grivllos go forth to defend their honor on your field.
We fight one who attacks with cowardice, kills the defenseless, spits in the face of honor, and tramples the nobility of battle. He has killed our heralds and our familes relentlessly. He fights our allies in the field.
We go now to their defense, and to right these wrongs in Your name. We shall defeat the enemy with your blessing and the blood in our veins. May our zeal and our might bring you joy. May our endeavors find your blessings, for our people and our King."
"I Dunlaak of Grivllos, swear that I shall not rest until we have proven the honor of our name on the field of battle and defended the sanctity of our heralds. On that day shall I raise this standard of our Lady high above her temple as a symbol of her blessing"
<the flag is unfurled - this is a HUGE pennon bearing the Red Lady's standard, made out of the finest Grivllen silk available.>
"Let us go forth with honor, my friends. Let us go forth ... and win."
Species extinction could be expected for terrestrial vertebrates and other fauna of all regions, a large number of plants due to symbiotic cyclical breakdown, and numerous freshwater and marine organisms... Whether any people would be able to persist for long in the face of highly modified biological communities; novel climates; high levels of magically hostile environment; shattered agricultural, social, and economic systems; extraordinary psychological stresses; and a host of other difficulties is open to question. It is clear that the ecosystem effects alone resulting from the large-scale wars could be enough to destroy the current civilization in at least the Eastern Enclosures.
Coupled with the direct casualties of perhaps twenty million people, the combined intermediate and long-range effects suggest that eventually there might be no human survivors in the Oriental Hemiplane.
Furthermore, the scenario described here is by no means the most severe that could be imagined with present world arsenals and those contemplated for the near future. In almost any realistic case involving exchanges between the superpowers, global environment changes sufficient to cause an extinction event equal to or more severe than that at the close of the Countermeasures Period when the basilisks and many other species died out are likely. In that event, the possibility of the extinction of mankind cannot be excluded.
Epithet man, epithet man.
Doing the things an epithet can.
What's his name?
He doesn't have one.
Is he alive, or is he dead?
Does he get mad
if you cut off his head?
Or is he mildly annoyed instead?
Protocol man, protocol man.
Protocol man makes epithet man.
They have a ritual.
Vendilon man, Vendilon man.
Adviser to the King of Vendilon man.
Not very kind to mortal man.
He wants a watch with a minute hand,
millennium hand, an eternity hand.
When they meet, it's epithet land.
Powerful man, Vendilon man.
Unnamed man, Unnamed man.
Sits on a Throne below the Land.
Gathers the souls of dying man.
Is he a God, Or is he a node?
Does he feel totally undead?
Who came up with Unnamed man?
The Final man, Unnamed man.
Protocol man, protocol man.
Protocol man makes Unnamed man.
They have a ritual.
"Hear me, brave soldiers of Tavat Mien!
In the past weeks, you have fought with great courage to defend your homeland, and you have gone to great lengths to secure the power to account for yourselves well. The Red Army will not soon forget the battle that you have been so gracious as to give to us.
Yet know this, brave defenders, know that an illness of black damnation has spread upon you, that in the person of Heinrich the Apostate and his simpering wet-nurse Malachi. See how they, the great and strong Justiciars, cower behind the sons and daughters that you have sent to fight! They strike around you and retreat behind you, leaving you to bleed for their mistakes! This is not the behavior of a true ally--even the dread Necromancer of Kraerkorag whose aid you have bargained for is willing to spend his own troops on the front line of the battle.
All who aid them are lost. I say that in the Halls of Valor those who follow Heinrich the Apostate in his descent shall suffer eternal torment, while those who do not shall be placed according to their merits--that those who glory in Heinrich's broken oaths and forsworn loyalty shall suffer death by the sword every day for the rest of time, and that those who turn their face from his sorry example shall be given the honor due them as warriors, as soldiers, as stalwart and unyielding foes.
Worthy defenders of Tavat Mien, I salute you. I hope that Heinrich the Apostate does not bring you too much grief."
Mine eyes have seen the horrors of the last four thousand years,
Seen the world enslaved by ignorance, corrupted by our fears,
Yet I see a new age dawning as the All's returning nears,
The Truth is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallulujah,
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Glory, glory, hallelujah
The Truth is marching on.
Those who worship only Powers cause their tears to be their Lord,
But the shackles of oppression may be broken by Truth's sword,
The shards shall be together brought, God's world shall be restored,
The Six shall become One.
In Balance shall we find ourselves, in Balance we are pure,
And with Balance we shall find a way our earthly ills to cure,
As we understand our fellow man, we find to God a door,
In Balance we are One.
As the taint of Power captures man, in Balance we are free,
Spread the Truth and we shall break the bonds that chain both you and me,
As we release our hold upon the Six, we'll find our liberty,
The Truth is God is One.
My goodness are the people gathered here so very old?
Four thousand years they've veiwed the world, or so we now are told.
I find their claims of such a life perhaps a trifle bold,
For Truth to rest upon.
Tell me, Tell me did they fool ya?
Their story's really quite peculiah.
West or East a Goddess rules ya,
There's Truth to guide you on.
They stand there in the worship of a God they name the All,
Who will make the Land a paradise if we will only call,
But until then he'll ignore us, every creature great or small,
This One that they call God.
third line changes to
: North and South the Gods still rule ya)
The Ladies on their distant thrones are clothed in Red and White,
But each provides their purity and strength our wrongs to right,
The Grey Lord and the Changing One, in their eternal fight,
Still make the seasons run.
third line changes to:
Up and Down the Gods will rule ya)
Now from the Great Creator came the blessing of your birth,
And til the One Below should come to lay you in the Earth,
The Gods will guide your footsteps, Guard your life, your home and hearth,
May all their will be done.
Glory, glory hallelujah,
Glory, glory hallelujah,
Glory, glory hallelujah,
The Gods' will shall be done.
The Monarch contest consists of a bunch of melee combats, starting with a bunch of newly sworn knights competing for baronies, then the new barons fighting for counties, then the new Counts fighting for Duchies, then the Dukes fighting a final time for Monarch. Knights swear loyalty to the baron who beats them, barons to the Count who beats them, etc. Only living humans are eligible to compete.
The fights are group melees, last person standing wins. No ranged weapons, no magic, no miracles or other weirdshit. Fights are intended to be non-fatal, judges will be watching for non-accidental deaths, and any such deaths will disqualify the person who caused it. If they were the last person standing in that fight, the fight will be repeated once the dead person has been replaced. (Which may involve several new contests, depending on how far the dead person had progressed.)
The Contest for Mage will be judged by the Chosen of the Light, and consists of each mage interested in taking the position performing a spell for the benefit of the country. The spell judged to aid the country the most will make its caster mage. Similarly, the contest for Merchant will be judged by the Chosen of the Light, and will be given to the Artisan who produces the best crafted work in their field.
All contestants must agree to accept a new name and a mark if they win.
It is requested that all citizens of Jondular sacrifice their ties to their previous homelands, and accept new names, but it is not required.
Contestants for Monarch:
Also note: while Mage-contestant entires must be of long-time duration, the spells need not be. That is, a a short duration spell with a long-term effect would be perfectly allowable.
I hear the Great Library's Head
Is remarkably boring in bed,
For he simply won't do,
What a girl asks him to,
Unless she cites something he's read.
Have you heard yet of Soren's bad seed?
She who preaches the All-Father's creed?
She's the lass Malachi.
Whose looks so please the eye,
To her lectures most men will pay heed.
She cries "Turn from the Queen of the West,
Come to me for some love, I'm the best!
You'll be smothered in it,
For one more will just fit,
In my bed, where we'll do more than rest.
"Nor cast your eyes to the ground,
For the Lord Below there may be found,
And He's married, you see,
So He can't share your glee,
In my curves, which are ample and round."
"If you look to the North I must say,
Order, Justice, and Truth put away.
Then you'll share of my bed,
As does he who has led,
His Justiciars so far astray.
"While we share, you'll not dare to look East.
She's the Goddess that I love the least.
For Her priests all decline,
On my couch to recline,
Where I'd show I'm the World's Greatest ... Priest.
"From Geskekelud, Lord of the South,
We will hide, and just learn from the All,
What insanity is,
For insane you would be,
If you tried to get out of my bed.
"For my loving, which makes grown men cry,
Can be yours, til you look to the sky.
I'm a much better wife,
Than the Source of All Life,
And I'm jealous," concludes Malachi.
She would leave, but a voice stops the lass --
"There's a question I cannot let pass!
Tell me, where may I look?
Into what hidden nook?"
"But that's clear," says the girl, "Up your ass."
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Duelling Circle in the scenic coastal city in Pdallos. Tonight's contest could well be the most momentous duel in the history of magical duelling. They're duelling as a matter of honor, to first magical touch, to see which is favored by Shagras, maiden of battle.
In this corner, the defender, Erin "Chosen of the Light" of Loulan, looking very sharp tonight in an embroidered formal robe from Champion brand robes of Tzalmir. In the other corner, the challenger, Tyrone "Flame-Boy" Flambeau, wearing a very very red battle-robe, from Fredrick's of Pdallos. The seconds are Blaze "The Burner", a noted duellist in her own right, and Renfew "Redface" Lightningflinger, a Pdallan storm mage. Perhaps we can get Ms. Blaze here later for some commentary.
But now back to the duel. They're drawing the circle now, white chalk, well executed. Now the seconds are examining it, there's a little frown on Blaze's face, she says something to Renfew, could be dicey, but no, it looks like they accept the circle. Johnny, tell us about what might have gone wrong.
Well Bob, there was a little bit of a flatness on the left side of the circle, nothing major, but certainly enough to merit rejection. I think it is a sign of good will on both sides that they decided to go ahead anyway.
Thanks, Johnny. Now the contestants are stepping into the circle. They're limbering up, a little finger stretching, Tyrone doing some knee bends, Erin with a little warm up chanting. Now they're thaking their places. There's the bow... And they're off on round one. Erin is weaving her fingers, there's a look of concentration on her face. Tyrone has both hands outstretched, he's using a simple technique. We're waiting for the effects here and... There they go! Erin is suddenly smothered in darkness, it looks bad for here, and a body with an Axe has popped up behind Tyrone, it's taking a swing but BANG, a wall of flame, the body is down Tyrone is okay, and Erin has created a hail of mirrors, breaking up the darkness. No touch on either side, let's get some analysis. Johnny?
Well Bob, that looked like all-out defense on both sides, nothing special, Creo Corporem for offense from Erin, maybe a Perdo Imagonem from Tyrone, countered by Creo Imagonem and a Creo Ignem.
That's enough Johnny, they're going into round two. Isn't this exciting, folks? Erin is chanting something, so it Tyrone. Oh, that gesture from Tyrone! Could it be offsides? No, the seconds aren't raising any flags, conjuring continues, and here's Tyrone with a ball of flame, headed right for Erin! It passes a whirlwind heading out from Erin at Tyrone, but he's just standing and taking it! My gods, this is exciting! Erin has created a duplicate body, the fireball is going for it, now it's snaking around the body, but wait! The duplicate body is actually the real one, the fireball is going for the wrong one, and now, Ladies and Gentlemen, the fireball has exploded engulfing both bodies in flame. This could be it for Erin. The flames are dying, let's look, is it? Yes, it is, a touch for Tyrone, and that's it, that's all for Erin, Tyrone "Flame-Boy" Flambeau is victorious. They're shaking hands now, that's what I like to see, good sportsmanship. Johnny, give us some analysis of that last round.
Well Bob, that was a Creo Auram from Erin meeting a Rego Corporem "Defense of the Immutable Body" from Tyrone. The fireball was of course the classic Creo Ignem, meeting a Creo Corporem defense from Erin. She had a good duellist's trick, there, but not enough to save her from the touch. Her weakness this match was a dependence on only the Creo verb: she had to split it every round, which is just too bad.
Thank you, Johnny. We'll have a more complete analysis, and perhaps some post-duel interviews, after these messages.
ABSTRACT: A study of the economic response along the Siodari River to recent disasters reveals that trade up-Maw has responded well, in part to some unusual practices which may prove of use elsewhere. Down-Maw, the entire river-trading economy is in shambles, and may never recover, but will have to be replaced.
Although questions about the overall survival of the ecology of the land still remain, and whether the Creator will return in time for a strong recovery to occur, recent developments appear promising enough that some optimistic scholars, myself included, who have little better to do, have begun asking questions based on a presumption of the return of the Many-Named to the world.
To wit: should Milaar return to the world in time to preserve life and humanity, will it also be soon enough to preserve civilization as well? To gain some insight into this problem, my colleagues and I have been studying the effect of the recent upheavals on trading along the banks of the Siodari river, both up- and down-Maw. We believe that consideration of some of the problems --and solutions-- encountered in this area may be quite important, and point toward possible stumbling-blocks for recovery of the rest of the world. Our travels were supported in part by a grant from the Istar Shipwrights' Guild, to whom we express our profound thanks.
Beginning our study in the region of the Lake of Stars, we found that the Mosk-Senliat-Rhi Miles-Ithyra trading system has not been unaffected by the loss of two of the Gods. Greater Mosk has weathered the loss of annual crops well, due to diversified farming practices, but Senliat and Rhi Miles have not fared so well. Being more mountainous, much of the arable land in these countries is terraced and given over to raising hathi. Because of the short growing season in the high country, the climactic disruption caused by the loss of the sun resulted in the failure of almost all hathi crops in the region. In addition, no seed hathi was produced for future crops to be planted, and although some seed has been preserved by other Ammon Sages for possible reintroduction of the species at a later date, at this point in time the hathi plant is dead and the storehouses have been exhausted for several months.
Fortunately, the potato crop was more stable, and so although many in the region have gone hungry in the last year, the famines have so far been contained and minimized.
For a period of time, there was high political tension as the neighbors of Greater Mosk considered invading for food, despite the military advantages given the Moskans by the armaments provided by their Lesser Moskan neighbors, but a prohibitive tax-rate based on price put in place by the Moskan government and an appeal to the better nature of the citizens caused a dramatic drop in food prices, allowing vast exports which have done much to sustain the region.
The disruption of commerce increases dramatically down-river from the Lake of Stars, but it is unclear how much is due directly to Ingram the Mad's actions and how much is due to the effect of the many miliary campaigns that have shaken the region. The populations of Rhi Miles, Ald Miles, and Ithyra have been reduced directly by war and hunger, but the economic infrastructure has been dirupted even more by conscription and the movement of armies across the lands.
These effects are mitigated by the Siordari mountains, which act to isolate many small villages, but they also make trading in the area of the Siodari river even more delicately-balanced, and in the mid-mountain areas the countries have been for all practical purposes utterly fragmented into individual valleys. Many villages have been completely depopulated by flight or internal violence; some towns seem to have been stricken by despair and mass suicide or homicide, while others have been abandoned, as the inhabitants fled to nearby towns where fortunes are perceived to be better.
Nevertheless, within a day's travel of the river and the river canyon/valley, things remain in surprisingly good condition. Trade is even up for some commodities. This astonishing fact can be attributed to two facts: the larger size of trading towns along the river, and the unexpected repopulation of Siarl.
Larger towns are inherently less susceptible to damaging fluctuations in the market than are smaller towns, economically speaking. They are also more prone to having nonnigs. The Siodari trade-towns were at first hit even harder than many urban areas by popular responses to the deaths of two Gods. Many warehouses of goods awaiting shipment or purchase were destroyed by arson, looting, lack of proper perishables treatment, and other calamities, a considerable disaster in cities that are comprised primarily of warehouses and other buildings dedicated to trade.
However, within nine months, trading along the Siodari, and somewhat inland as well, had stabilized, due mostly to the emergence of the Free Nonnig Open Trading Cartel. Given the traditional enmity between Rhi Miles and Ald Miles, the Cartel's very existence is surprising, and even more so is the fact that its greatest influence is in trade-cities near the triple border of Ald Miles, Rhi Miles, and Ithyra. It is worth noting, however, that the Cartel's influence does not extend far inland, except along one or two heavily-used overland trade routes, and that the Cartel is not approved by the governments of any of the nations, and in fact the Ald Milesian government has officially censured all merchants participating. Without associated fines, though, this censure amounts to little more than a face-saving gesture.
We believe from our studies that the Cartel started between Shadai and Nerratha and spread from there. The nonnig-caretakers in Shadai and Nerratha, which lie on opposite sides of the Milesian border, are cousins, which supports our theory; in conjunction with the cities' distance from the central authority of the two nations, it is also the only explanation we have for the emergence of this cross-cultural phenomenon. The Cartel began when the custodians of the public nonnigs in several trade-cities near the triple border instituted a policy of 'metropolitan payment'. That is, any nonnig message or gate-opening could be paid for not with cash but with some benefit to the overall populace of the city. Some merchants responded by arranging trades which had exceedingly marginal profit or even loss to the individual merchant, but which provided the town with much-needed supplies. This perceived altruism brought these merchants great popularity, as well as more business. A small nucleus of trusted traders developed, who then began freely sharing information across multiple towns to arrange trades that were most beneficial not to the traders, but to the inhabitants of the towns. In short time, the other traders were either driven out of business by the Cartel members' willingness to trade for marginal profit on large volumes, or had joined the Cartel, in many cases as acting partners of old rivals.
The Cartel's influence has spread, and at this point in time many towns along the Siodari are operating in an almost communalistic fashion, where all information about needed supplies is broadcast to all the towns for free via nonnig, along with open information about what is considered a fair price. Trades are made with little profit, which is then split equally among all traders involved in the commodity.
Astonishingly, the system appears to work, although how long such a system would remain robust if the pressure of vast ecologic, economic, and theological disruption were removed is unclear. The Cartel seems to be sustained mostly by a combination of fear, trust, and blind adherence to the original patterns which worked.
The other new influence along the Siodari is the reappearance of the inhabitants of the Empty City after a millennium of absence. At some point after the destruction of the Nameless One, the City of Siarl, as it is called, became repopulated. The inhabitants have since begun trading large amounts of foodstuffs, enough to sustain much of the populace both up- and down-river, despite the often alien and peculiar nature of the viands.
The unhuman Siarlani have also begun competing with Grivllos in the textiles area; all along the Siodari river one can see silk in everyday use. Although it has a similar appearance to Grivllen silk, the Siarlani claim that it is not, in fact, the same material. During our stay near the no-longer-Empty City (the inhabitants are apparently rather prejudiced, and would not allow us within the city's walls) I was gifted with a fine shirt of this material, and I can agree. The material is pleasant to wear, though it has nothing near the lightness of even mediocre Grivllen 'air-mist' silk, and the colors, though pleasing and apparently inherent to the material, are not as vibrant. However, it is remarkably tough, and simply will not stain, even should one of one's colleagues become a little too into his cups and spill a half-goblet of cheap Pdallar burgundy on it. Blood also failed to stain it, though that is for a later part of the report.
The Siarlani in their cliffwall city have in addition begun selling a temporary treatment which allows boats to travel more swiftly along the river, even against the current, which has improved trade greatly closer to the Maw. We do wonder, though if the traders taking advantage of this treatment have considered the addictive nature of its evanescence; is the treatment of necessity temporary, or are the wily nonhumans darker in motivation and milking the market for all it's worth? Only time will tell the end result of this development...
These are but two of the many strange and unusual products for sale in the marketplace of Siarl, which hangs suspended a thousand feet above the river's surface. Unsurprisingly, we have been unable to assess the long-term impact of Siarlani trade on the rest of the region, in particular because no-one has been able to determine what, precisely, the Siarlani are in the market for. Some goods will sell madly one week, only to be completely unmarketable the next. There are perpetual rumors about someone who has managed to sneak inside the city to find out what will sell, but having seen the iron golems who guard the natural bridge across the Siodari (the only real entrance to the city), we remain quite skeptical.
The only contact which can be had with the leaders of the city is through the peculiar Magnus John Vulkayne, formerly of the Vulkayne-Tebir trading family in Istar, now appointed as some sort of external liason to the government of Siarl. With our busy travel schedule, our research party was unable to garner an interview with Mr. Vulkayne, though we were told that time could be made for anyone interested in negotiating trade treaties.
And though my colleagues insist that I overestimate the importance of the Siarlan reappearance, I maintain that the sudden creation of a new trading city is without precedent, and will have a dramatic impact, despite the already substantial disruption of events due to god-destruction.
All in all, the situation upriver of the Maw seems promising, though its stability is not at all clear. Down-river of the Maw, however, things are much worse. Much, much worse. Regros and Pdallar have been utterly devastated by the Eastern War. Though most of the fighting took place in the southern parts of the countries, the demand for supplies and men have completely dismantled the economy along the river valley. Even where towns have not been depopulated, they exist in subsistence mode, unable to produce anything for trade, or even to travel to sometimes-thriving towns just across the river.
Trade along the Siodenese border, never much to begin with, has been severely attenuated by the deaths of the Gods and by wars. Many regions trade internally still, but most of the long-distance trade has gone the way of the day-midge, vanishing in a few weeks after the destruction of the Creator.
North of Pdallar, and at the very mouth of the Siodari on the Pdallar side, the situation is better, though not much. The towns near the juncture of the Siodari and the Ladysblood have made a bold initial response to disaster, with extensive, even vicious competition amongst various traders. Ambitious merchants have been able to create strong positions for themselves for the future. However, already the situation has begun to deteriorate. In the wake of increased trade, piracy has sprung up, and all signs point towards it becoming only worse as time goes on.
A coalition of towns, including Riverbranch, Mlorric, and High Xec, have pooled resources to organize a river-patrol capable of escorting merchant vessels and chasing the pirates from the water, and it appears to be somewhat successful, due (in our considered opinion) primarily to the unorganized nature of the piracy. We spoke with one of the patrol-boat crews and in fact, were present during an unexpected skirmish between the patrol-boat and a pirate vessel. This event provided data for our analysis of the patrol-boat effectiveness, (as well as the stain-proof nature of the Siarlani silk shirt), and for our predictions of coming events in the region. Sadly, we expect that the situation will not last; judging by our own experience, we expect that soon the patrol boats will begin demanding higher payments from the vessels they escort (our own escort service was a full five talents above the standard price), and from there it will bea short step to actual piracy, much more lucrative than patrolling the river. We predict the patrol will shortly be torn apart from within by disputes over jurisdiction and individual glory and responsibility.
As of our last report from Xaban, there was already one instance of actual open fighting between patrol boats, and we expect that more will follow, most probably ending in frequent free-for-all bloodbaths followed by a pillaging of the nearest town. We fear that civilization along the lower Siodari may already be lost.
--Cedric Dar Ethellim, et al, Ammon Sages
Inquiring Minds Seeking To Understand Everything
A Grand Academy of Learning and Research, located in the Scenic Hills of Gri-Ennis, near to the
---> Majestic Clockwerk <---
Desired Qualifications: Curiosity, a Scientific Bent, Intelligence, and a Desire to Comprehend. Experimentalists Preferred, although Theoreticians with a Desire to Test their Theories are Welcome.
Present Possibilities for Research Include:
The Nature of the Divine
Every Person has the Potential to be A Student And A Professor. Bring your Expertise and your Inquiries. No Ideas too Strange to be Subjected to Vigorous Debate.
Direct inquiries to:
Richard of Mosk
1 Gear Drive
or contact the nearest Clockwork Diplomat, stationed in many cities across the land.