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Act 1: A brief farewell to arms.
After many years of all out war stretching across the lands a time of peace has emerged.
Five kingdoms though scarred by the bitter war retain enough power to lay a lasting claim to the entire continent.
Four of these Empires consist mostly of humans and the fith a realm of predatory vampires.
There is no war yet, each side aware of its own strengths and unaware of how their enemies will react to their tactics.
A new Era is upon the world.
The Dragon sat at the head of the conference table along with five of the eight ruling Elders. His eyes glowed with a fierce intensity so strong it was nearly tangible.
"What is the status of our borders?" he asked. How The Dragon hated this mundane business. It bored him to no end.
Elder Gracia spoke up. "A few minor skirmishes; nothing to be unexpected, sire. There's talk of the other four nations, but nothing that we can't write off as simple rumours."
"And what of the beastman hordes in the Pious Mountains? Have they been removed?"
"No sire. Elder Lee is over seeing that now. He expects to be finished in the next week."
"Good. Prepare my horse. I'll be joining him."
The Elders all looked about, shocked. But none dared to defy his orders, and pages were sent to fetch The Dragon's steed.
In less than an hour, The Dragon was on his way to meet up with Elder Lee's army. He'd personally see the beastman hordes either annihilated or subjugated. It didn't matter which, as both would prove to be an interesting diversion.
The war was over and the damage to Nezararch was apparent, many of the clans had lost their more senior members and in desperation had turned the best of the cattle stock into new fledglings. Now the stock was inferior, they were rife with disease and discontent.
Akim looked down at the glass of blood in her hand, she swirled it as though it were a fine wine. It was... acceptable but far from the quality she was used to as an Administrator of the Council.
She looked at her assistant and sighed â€œyou tasted better than thisâ€?. The assistant instinctively lowered the scarf around her neck but Akim waved her hand dismissively â€œyour one of us now Karlia, one of the family eternal and now little fledglingâ€¦ I have a task for you.â€?
The outer areas of the city not protected by the defensive barrier were in ruins, the barrier was down now but the ruins of the city walls were apparent the Mages Tower in the centre of the city seemed to glow and sparkle in the noon sun.
Alexandria stood at a window at the top of the tower and looked at the city below, on the distance she could see the neighbouring towns. Celina Adele Kasis approached the Empress and she turned to look at her, her long blonde hair reflecting the sun a stark contrast to Celinaâ€™s long black hair. â€œI have worrying reports that there are blood drinkers within the city, I cannot be seen to be soft on this issue and though it seems they have not harmed anyone their mere existence is an abomination.â€?
â€œI shall deal with this Empressâ€?
Celina walked out slowly her long black robes revealed the black and gold armour of a Hex Knight
High Magus Devran Mors-Firethorn could feel the pulsing cores of the Blades in his very bones as he directed them. The final campaign against the herds of deadly wolves that inhabited the northern reaches of the Burning Tundra was a success and the majority of the area's population had been culled, making it safe for Dwarven expansion. The Gnomish artificers had already been sent for, in fact, to begin laying the foundations for a new settlement. First would come the Anima Crucibles and then...
Devran shuddered at the thought. He did not pursue that particular train of thought and instead re-committed his mind to controlling the movements of the arcane machines in front of him. The Blades marched in step towards the outpost of Vizerji, where they would be stored in a large warehouse until there was further need for them. Even though the clouds of ash in the sky managed to block out the piercing rays of the sun, it did not stop the weather from being dreadfully hot and Devran found himself suddenly drained of energy and longing for the coolness of the Spinel Circle's enclaves. Deciding that he did not need to direct the Blades all the way back to Vizerji, he turned over command to an attending Blade Captain. The faceless creature nodded in silent acquiescence and the constructs continued to march. Devran faded back into the ranks of the common soldiers, thinking ahead to the next grueling task that lay ahead of him, one that would be nowhere as easy as the campaign that he had just waged.
Thalonyr reached the double door to his audience room, opening them with a twitch of his hand and floating in. He strode past the prostrate figure in the shadows of the audience room, lifting himself a few centimetres from the ground and staring through the window at his city below.
The walls were in ruins, and across the landscape a dozen immense fires burnt. He could see the specks of citizens attempting to fight one that was rapidly moving towards his tower. They would put it out. He could see it.
The Avatar turned his attention to the man standing behind him, striking a glance at the two bodiless Dread Knights that stood guard at the door - the best of their kind, spirits in armour, beautiful and deadly. Their black diamond armour made them even heftier than the military veteran General Phillivus Porez, now crouching in front of Thalonyr.
"Rise, Mortal." ordered Thalonyr.
"Thank you Lord." Porez said, standing.
"The report, Mortal Porez."
"Yes my Lord. 4th Division was wiped out totally - no survivors. Four cities in this state, details of which will be enclosed within the written report, are less than 20% intact. Three cities in Hiraas, bless his name's, state, are in similar conditions. With all due respect, Lord, we are running out of men - our legions lay cut off or dead around our realm."
"I sense no duplicity in you. That is good - i disdain liars. And our current military strength?"
"Severely reduced officership sir, main body of forces at half of the original capacity, Navy at one-third. But we grow stronger every day - the conscription order went out yesterday, and the people are beginning to flock in."
Thalonyr looked far into the future. Much was clouded from even him - it was an odd feeling, not being all powerful anymore, but that was the limits of a mortal host and the enroaching enemy nations. If only they were all on his side...Thalonyr clutched at a possible plan, toying with it in his mind, thinking up the possibilities.
It was worth a try. After all, the mortals would gladly give their lives for their Avatars.
"Mortal Porez, reign in as many of your men as possible. Garrison them at any intact city - you are authorised to use any city you wish in my region at any cost. Feed them up, make sure they are rested. For tomorrow, they will regroup with 4th Division again, and some extra on that. Our armour will not be weakened for long."
"My Lord...may i ask how..."
"No you may not. Leave this place, and regroup on Surus field at dawn tomorrow. Do not allow your men to alarm themselves at what greets you - reassure them that it is normal. Now go. GO!"
The man bowed and walked backwards out, not showing his back to the Avatar, quickly exiting the room. Tharonyr slammed the doors with his mind, and began sifting through his knowledge, searching amongst his accumulated magic skills for the skill he wished to utilise...there.
"This land belongs to me. Vile filth." Thalonyr began speaking half to his Dread Knights and half to himself. "These kingdoms! A cancer grows upon my world! The enemy shall die by their dead hero's hands!" Thalonyr threw a fireball, deliberately weak, at one of his knights in disgust, and the creature took it without flinching - the armour warped, and the Dread Knight stumbled back, catching himself and regenerating. Thalonyr smiled.
"Beautiful. My creations. All beautiful. But more are to come."
Thalonyr sat on a throne in the corner, and began to draw symbols in the air with a finger.
The symbols of Necromancy.
Last edited by Lordofchange; April 24th, 2006 at 00:48.
The only difference between tattooed people and non-tattooed people is that tattooed people are awesome and can kick your ass.
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left."
General Dax Malisarius found himself flexing his back muscles under the steel and brass segmented armour as he strode towards the portico of the squat but imposing temple-like building. The apparent bravado he was exhibiting was a sham, he was actually fatigued and nervous, having spent eight hours travelling at breakneck speed towards a unwelcome rendezvous at an ominous destination.
He had received the secret psi-summons early that morning, and had almost fatally exhausted one of his legionâ€™s pegasi in flying back from the advance camp on the Eastern front, where his legion was currently conducting manoeuvres and getting back up to strength after the devastation of the attacks on the neighbouring Maatasi region.
But the urgency of the summons was unmistakable and only a self-destructive fool would have ignored it. The imprimatur on the summons was understated, but unmistakably that of the Council of Harmony. Dax involuntarily shuddered as he recalled some of the barrack-myths whispered about the nebulous and secretive organisation, who ostensibly drew their worldly power and authority from the Emepror himself, but also seemed to have reserves of mystical power that transcended the physical plane. It seemed now that it was his time to be confronted with their existence, having been compelled to leave his legion and come to the Sanctum of Tranquillity, the Councils only publicly acknowledged establishment, on the most elevated and holy hill of the state capital.
And he had no idea why he was being summoned. Had he transgressed in some way? Was he being called to account for some misdeed or failing? The brief summons had stipulated that he should travel without bringing the three other senior officers of his Legion, his general staff, so he was convinced now this could not be a military matter.
The large doors in the deep portico stood open in front of him. This was it. In there, whatever awaited him, he was alone, armed only with a short, highly sharpened sword (balanced, but with no bane on it) in the sheath at his waist and his fraying wits. He tried to swallow, taking down mainly dry air, and advanced into the building.
His footsteps echoed in the large chamber. The ceiling was high and arched, and tall glazed windows, as in a temple, admitted the blue light of the late evening he had recently left outside. He stalked towards the table, or maybe altar at the far end. There was a cowled figure sitting behind it, facing him as he advanced. The cowled costume was a thick light-coloured fabric, refined but with no ornamentation.
He reached the table. He was a tall man, and the figure was seated, but still he perceived in some way that the figure was looking down on him from some lofty elevation. A few instants passed, maybe an eternity. Dax tried to swallow, and the noise his dry tongue made shifting in his mouth was transmitted through his upper jaw only to sound deafening to his inner ears. The figure still did not move, it could well have been a statue - except that the hands folded lightly one over the other on the dark ivory desk seemed to be composed of flesh.
Something spoke. It took a second or two for Dax to realise the sound emanated from the figure. â€œWell met, General. You have made good speed.â€? A compliment? The voice was deep, calm and modulated.
Dax suddenly decided to play this one like the soldier he was, and attempt to claim a little initiative back for himself. He snapped his heels together and brought himself to attention for a second, flicked his right arm to his breast and then flicked it out to the â€˜hailâ€™ position, held it there to honour the Emperor for an instant, then brought it down again. Then he made a slight show of relaxing to the â€˜at easeâ€™ position to prove he was not nervous. It sort of worked.
The figure waited three seconds after Daxâ€™s show ended and then the slight nod came. It was something. Then unexpectedly the voice sounded again.
â€œGeneral, we know you. You have been scryed on approaching this building and we find you to be authentic. If you had been an impostor, you would be dust before you ever got even within the shadow of the walls."
"We appreciate your attendance, and so does the Emperor, exalted be his name. We requested you to come here today for a purpose. This purpose will be made clear to you over the next two hours. We will make several requests of you, you should regard these as imperative. Our first and most important ...request of you is that you keep what you learn here as your most closely guarded secret. Can you do this, for your Emperor, for yourself, and for your family?â€? Suddenly there was a swift movement where there was none before and the cowl was swept back from the head like some dread flower opening its petals impossibly fast.
The manâ€™s head was bald and gleamed slightly in the light of the gentle flames of the lamps, and the face was emotionless. What took Dax into a gagging glaze of sudden horror was that the mans eyes were both absent from his sockets. And yet, over the next minutes, Dax became increasingly aware that the man was actually watching him intently, scrutinising him for any signs of weakness as the briefing continued and developedâ€¦
Ryan Dancey, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, believed that TSR failed because of "...a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy." Are you listening, Games Workshop ?
Night was drawing in as the captains of The Joyful Brothers gathered together around a large camp fire to discuss their next course of action.
Young Kurt Lurmann, Wynathek Torl and Johann Crois and Jak Roynn sat on logs warming themselves by the fire heavy cloaks drawn tightly around themselves Each had a plate of food and a mug of ale in front of them. The more regal Prince Ariath stood leaning against a .Supply cart a glass of Red wine in hand while Marshall Lysnader lurked in the darkness his albino head a strange contrast to the flickering shadows cast out by the fire.
Around them the hustle and noise of the other mercenaries and the various hangers on, entertainers servants draughtsmen, herders and so on was ignored.
Johann spoke up first his large frame shifting unsteadily as he downed his ninth mug of strong ale. “It seems to me” he slurred “that we should be heading towards the ..the lands of the Dragon, ...they are always in need of good soldiers like like us”
Jak grunted softly before speaking he hadn't drunk at all that night and was far clearer “ The Oramir already have a huge standing army or so I hear I doubt they would have much need for us
“True true” replied Johann “but it is surely better to be on the right hand side then in their path”
Ariath chuckled “If that is the criteria by which we should go looking for work then I would say that we should be working for the Guiding Light empire.I would rather face the Dragon and his entire guard than stand against the Hex Knights”
Johann spat to one side “Just pick any man from my lancil drunk or sober and he could best any Hex Knight you care to mention with cold steel”
“I have no doubt” said Ariath “if it were merely a question of cold steel as you put it but as you well know the Hex Knights also have the arcane arts at their disposal. In any case I was merely pointing out that other factors should determine our choice and not merely the skill of our prospective employers. To that end the Mobian empire seems a far better choice after all are they not renowned for their merchant houses they would surely pay us a hansom reward for protecting a few caravan routes.”
“Getting back to your families roots then Ariath?” asked Lysander, Ariath said nothing and just gave an almost mocking nod to his leader.
The Marshall continued in his deep gravely voice "No we are heading to find work within the borders of the Empire of the Guiding Light. Hex knights or no I have recived word that their city is badly damaged and I believe they may be in need of more men to defend it. Further more the prefer those who have magical ability to be recruited into their armies so it will be easier for us to recruit from those who don't possess such powers. Get a good nights rest we move at dawn”
Last edited by Visitor Q; April 25th, 2006 at 01:11.
"God is dead" Nietzsche- 1886
"Nietzsche is dead" God- 1900
Why are there scams? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q71FLDIMBc8
Act 2 establishing diplomacy
The two hooded figures stood upon the mountain, from here they could see 5 cities.
â€œThis is all that remains?â€? questioned the first figure
â€œThese 5 are the only ones strong enough to continueâ€? corrected the second
â€œWhat do you think will happen next?â€? asked the first.
â€œThere may be a time of peace but some of them are too different, even now your kin are huntedâ€?. Explained the second.
â€œMy kin are shadows of themselves, I shall observe for nowâ€?
The 5 Kingdoms needed to find out which of their enemies still stood, there were tales of mercenaries and smaller states that could still produce an army. These could be useful allies for the clever negotiator.
(Each of the players can now send messengers to their neighbours and roleplay the actions of their delegation; you cannot force someone to be your ally but in game terms your welcome to bully them with military action.)
Akim's first order of diplomatic buisness was to ensure that all the vampires were safe, the cattle were just that and could be replaced by force if needs be. Fellow Vampires on the other hand were so difficult to replace, she already had to break one fledgling in and the prospect of more was... unplesant.
Most critical were the Vampires trapped within the so called Empire of Guiding Light, here they'd be hunted without mercy by the Hex Knights.
Akim's coach moved towards the boarder with a small guard of thrall warriors at least that way if they wern't willing to talk then she could get away.
OOC: that alright?