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About Zanderaw

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    Protector of Salvus
  • Birthday 12/21/1995

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  1. NATION NAME: Ashhold RACE: Moon Elf MAGIC / SORCERY: The Great Tree --------------------------- The realm of Ashhold is made up of several highly-populous islands in the Surkh Sound, colonized roughly 250 years ago by the elf Cerus Dwarfbane. In the intervening years they have grown dense with residents, both elven refugees from Ralek’s conquest and their many slaves from the vermin-races. The center of the realm is of course the city of Ashhold, so named for the volcanic ash which stains the bark of the great tree at its center. In the current year Ashhold is proudly imperial - the elf prince saw Ralek for what he was long before most of the continent did, and today they reap the rewards of his foresight. To them, Anduvia is not merely a human empire but the coming of a new order, one which will elevate men and elves in symbiosis to rule together. The dream is yet fragile, and Cerus works tirelessly to keep it alive. The nation’s history is inextricably tied to Cerus himself, and so any study of the islands inevitably begins with their Prince… --------------------------- Cerus Dwarfbane, the Requiter, Lord of Ashhold Now approaching 600 years of age, the elf called Cerus is one of the most well-known and controversial figures on the continent. To many elves he is a traitor, to others a visionary. Some call his moves necessary and just, others see him as a hotheaded liability to the entire race. For better or for worse, he has been an undeniable force in the region for nearly his entire adult life, moving from princedom to princedom as it suited him. The old elf has fought in hundreds of battles and slain thousands of foes - his skin is covered in dozens of scars, some with more impressive origins than others. BS 405: Cerus is born in the Whitewood, the son of a famous architect and his merchant wife. His childhood is peaceful, and his father lovingly teaches him his trade. Often the two walk through the forest, and his father speaks of the best use for every type of wood, and how to lay weight on a tree so that it may keep growing. BS 404: Cerus is finally potty trained. BS 380: As a lowborn, once Cerus comes of age he is expected to earn his keep. Though he loves the work he does with his father, he has by now realized that he will never have the man’s talents. Instead he goes to work for his mother, wishing for something different, and perhaps to travel at the same time. BS 374: Cerus’ mother proves far less kind as an employer than she is as a parent. She forces her son through a grueling course of study for six long years before finally taking him along on a voyage into the inner sea. They carry goods to the Goldwood, and the young elf is forced to recite the dull minutia of supply chains for the entire journey. BS 359: Following fifteen years of hard work and study, Cerus finally feels comfortable enough with the trade to attempt his own venture. Of the many nations he’s now visited, he identifies Sudryal as a likely place to begin importing raw materials for lunar magic. With seed funding from his now-proud mother, he sets off across the sea. BS 341: Cerus barely ever considers moving back to the Whitewood, despite his heritage. Now nearing 70 years of age, he already feels established in a major sun elven port. Sudryal is impressive, its people more so. A large house, a small fortune and five ships come at his beck and call. BS 334: Cerus meets the sun elf Jannaela, a fellow trader from the imperial capital. The two are interested in each other nearly from first sight, and begin having frequent romantic encounters on their travels. From romantic partnership blossoms business, and Jannaela is able to help him move imports into Sudryal’s capital. Both grow rich, and though they never marry due to religious differences, their attachment is well known to all. BS 311: After three decades of stable business, Cerus and Jannaela learn that the long sun elven embargo on the distant Deepwood is over. Both are as bored as they are comfortable, and they can’t help but map out a scheme to bring south Deepwood exports all the way to Cerus’ homeland. BS 308: Excited at the prospect of further expanding his business east, Cerus leaves his Sudryal estate in Jannaela’s capable hands and sails back off towards Whitewood in search of more investment. BS 305: Sudryal outposts begin demanding tax from Whitewood merchants going south. Cerus joins a consortium of traders in writing a petition against the practice. BS 303: While at a soiree raising money, Cerus encounters the lady Sylvaniel, a noble elf betrothed to the Whitewood’s heir apparent, Crown Prince Vudin. She appears impressed with him and seems on the verge of suggesting something before Vudin’s servants notice and whisk her away. One glares at him as they leave, and an ominous chill runs down Cerus’ spine. BS 302: War breaks out with the Golden Empire of Sudryal, regarding tariff disputes in the future Carathian Coast. The Whitewood navy drafts anyone who has been to Sudryal into service, and Cerus is placed as an archer-deckhand on board the Snipe. The policy is strange to say the least, and Cerus immediately tries to appeal, but the order is signed by the Crown Prince himself. Cerus is furious but can do nothing, and resigns himself to his fate as he looks across the water, thinking of Jannaela and his hard-earned and soon-to-be-confiscated property. BS 301: Thrown into military service, Cerus has scant training by elven standards when the fleet departs. Though a competent archer, he is only truly indoctrinated into the military while already under way. In the moldy cabin of the Snipe, despair takes him. BS 300: The Whitewooders reach the Carathian Coast, and the disembarking army quickly overwhelms the local sun elf outposts. Crown Prince Vudin leads a detachment inland in search of tribals to rope into their cause. The rest of the year remains uneventful, and luckily so as the Whitewood navy is still dangerously undisciplined. BS 298: The sun elves of Sudryal finally respond: a magnificent armada sails from Easak and falls upon the unprepared Whitewooders. The white ships struggle to pull back in good order, but many lives are lost including the lord admiral. The old elf Roima assumes command and restores discipline. Cerus escapes the worst of the battle. BS 297: Licking their wounds in the straits, the Whitewood fleet ferries supplies from the homeland and tries to keep enough pressure on the sun elves to keep them off the army. There is good news from the mainland though, as Vudin has managed to provoke several tribes of orc vermin into attacking the Golden Empire. Defeat does not seem an immediate concern, and Roima awaits more ships. BS 291: Following years of stalemate and constant training, Cerus has his first taste of real battle. Annoyed at the pace of their inevitable victory, Sudryal dispatches an expedition to the Whitewood itself, aiming for their naval port. Before they can arrive Roima lifts anchors and retreats west, further into the straits, and instead of landing in the wood, the sun elves give chase. Roima finally makes her stand at the narrowest point in the channel, where her ships cannot be surrounded, and there they face the mighty enemy. Cerus’ vessel is boarded in the clash, and as he drives a spear through the heart of a tan-skinned elf, he feels the rush of combat and can find no comparison in his previous life. BS 290: Following her victory Roima attempts to pursue the sun elves, but the enemy scatters to the four winds and takes up residence in a dozen ports. The naval war becomes diffuse, constant and unending, but the Snipe is never sunk or captured. Now fascinated with soldiering, Cerus learns as much as he can. To the south, Vudin manages to stay in the fight, just barely. On more than one occasion Cerus watches from the sea as vermin-race allies are sacrificed to allow the moon elves to retreat. Even that is impressive - each spring Sudryal conjures armies of legendary size. BS 283: The third major sea battle of the war occurs off of Easak, as the Whitewood fleet tries to throw the sun elves outside striking distance of their coast. In this they only partly succeed - the losses are distinctly in the moon elves favor, but Sudryal’s fleet hides itself in Easak’s port and cannot be dislodged. Cerus finds himself relishing the action, as the Snipe boards an impressive two enemy vessels throughout the day. BS 272: After thirty years of service, Cerus is commissioned as a low ranking officer, the core of what is hoped to be a mighty Whitewood fleet for centuries to come. BS 263: After nearly forty years of war, Sudryal and the Whitewood finally reach an accord. Vudin withdraws his forces from southern lands and allows his orc “allies” to be slaughtered, and the sun elves pull back their navy from the Carathian Coast. A dazed Cerus sails home, surprised to once again be contemplating civilian life. The Whitewood elves see it as a victory, and all the returning warriors are welcomed. BS 260: Cerus meets Sylvaniel for the second time at the house of Roima, while being awarded for his conduct in Sudryal. This time she is significantly more forward, and the two discreetly slip off into the gardens. BS 259: After several months of illicit coupling, the affair is discovered when Sylvaniel mentions it to the wrong one of her servants. The Prince’s staff are soon alerted to the fact, and Cerus is caught in the act and hauled before the royals. “Lift not thine eyes again, whelp.” BS 258: Accused of adultery with the crown prince’s betrothed, Cerus is forced into a duel with Vudin himself. The future prince taunts him before a great audience including Cerus’ own parents, insulting his low birth and promising to have him cleaning chamber pots for the rest of his miserable life.The noble eventually disarms Cerus, makes him admit forcing himself on Sylvaniel, and relieves himself on the defeated elf. Practically the whole Whitewood sees it happen. Humiliated and hated by all, Cerus sees no other option but to leave and never return. He escapes from bondage and goes to Sylvaniel, asking her with as much pride as he can muster to leave with him and find a new life. Her own honor not unsmirched, she agrees and the two flee the Whitewood. BS 254: Pursued by Vudin’s men, Cerus and Sylvaniel cross to the other side of West Galaran. When necessary they hide among the plains-folk, but wherever they go Sylvaniel is never comfortable. She is a noble elf, and months upon months in the field have never been her wish. In an attempt to assuage her, Cerus promises they will settle in the Goldwood, the grandest elf forest on the continent. BS 248: After a grueling journey the couple finally arrives in the Goldwood, barely speaking to each other. Cerus finds a place in the court of Prince Vainas, as a lieutenant with mediocre pay. Sylvaniel is at the very least comfortable, and the two are married the same year. BS 232: War breaks out between Vainas and his neighbors. Under constant pressure to make more money, Cerus is only too eager to fight. He risks his life several times in pursuit of glory, and grows into an accomplished officer as the war drags on. BS 224: The war in the Goldwood comes to a close when a coalition of princes joins on Vainas’ side. In the final confrontation, Cerus recklessly leads his company over the walls of the rival city and deep into its bowels. There he slays the bloodthirsty Prince Maroas himself, and takes his gilded longsword. For his victory, Vainas finally raises him to general. Cerus and Sylvaniel move to a slightly bigger treehouse, and she is marginally satisfied for roughly two minutes. BS 219: It becomes widely known in Vainas’ realm that Sylvaniel rarely spends the night at home, and spends her time socializing without her husband. Despite Cerus’ attempts otherwise, it seems clear he will never be the kind of prince she left behind, and their pleasant nights together become progressively more rare. BS 207: Prince Vainas dies suddenly and without a clear heir. In a swift move to avert chaos, the generals of the realm convene and take joint power in a military junta. BS 206: Sensing weakness, the other princes of the Goldwood declare war on Vainas’ old lands. Determined to stand and fight, Cerus and the other generals immediately draft as many fighters as possible to defend themselves. Through sheer dynamism, Cerus is able to secure an unusually large number of veterans for his own command. He appoints Talaus of Giltroot as his second, having fought by his side in the last war and been impressed. BS 204: The Goldwood war grows bitter and costly, but the Martial Court, as they now call themselves, still stands. Cerus’ veterans launch lightning offensives against each invader in turn while his comrades muster a heroic defense with massed levies. One by one, the princes are forced into decreasingly-generous peace settlements. BS 199: The massed army of the Martial Court finally marches on Prince Seriul’s city to end the war. Seriul now stands alone, and feels compelled to surrender. The junta forces him to abdicate and appoints a new prince of their choosing. BS 198: Cerus returns home in triumph, now one of the ruling masters of the supreme military power in the Goldwood. At last, he has the resources to keep his wife happy - but now in a position of responsibility, Cerus refuses to tap the state’s coffers for personal pleasure. It does not stop Sylvaniel from trying to convince him otherwise though, and she soon becomes pregnant. BS 197: Sylvaniel’s labors are over, and she bears Cerus his first and only child, his daughter Alicia. Cerus steps away from service for a full year to be with his family, but any happiness between him and his wife is short-lived as they return to their same old squabbles. BS 183: The rift between Cerus and his wife fully splits asunder. Presumably out of spite, Sylvaniel fornicates with a visiting dwarf functionary from the Black Crags, then brags about it to Cerus’ face. Naturally Cerus is enraged, but by the time he gets over his shock, both Sylvaniel and young Alicia have fled the city, riding south towards the Whitewood. He instead storms the Dwarven embassy, but they too have been forewarned and decided to make trips back home. Filled with impotent rage, Cerus calls the junta together and demands they declare a war of revenge on the Dwarves. His fellow generals refuse. Cerus spits in their faces, and resolves to do it himself. BS 182: Cerus, his hardened veterans, and anyone else who will listen march out of the Goldwood and fall upon the Black Crags. The Martial Court denounces his actions, but he remains a national hero and many flock to his cause nevertheless. Striking without warning, the elf charges cavalry directly into the closest underway he can find before the Dwarves even think to bar the gates. There is no quarter given - the inhabitants either flee, or they die. “Denizens of Krardamz! There is no saving thy putrid hive! Abandon thy posts! Abandon thy homes! Thou art but gnawing termites, and I the flame.” BS 181: Cerus’ army breaches the Dwarven hold of Krardamz. Thousands of residents are put to the sword, and cartloads of treasure are dragged from the vaults. When the blood has fully soaked into the underroads, the army proclaims their leader Cerus Dwarfbane, the Requiter. The elves are surprised to discover, however, that the mines here have long since run dry. News of apparent Dwarven weakness spreads quickly, particularly when there is gold to be had. A flood of sellswords makes their way to the mountains from across the Goldwood, like vultures to a carcass. The loss of manpower further weakens the Martial Court and threatens to destabilize the region. Strongly worded letters pour in demanding that Cerus end his campaign. BS 180: The Black Crag Holds desperately try to organize a combined defense as Cerus ravages their dingy tunnels. Most entrances to the underway are sealed in fear of more elven invasions, but the effort is wasted. Wherever the elven army goes, the Dwarves are forced away or deeper underground. It is said that Cerus refused to go a day without slaying three of the ignoble creatures. BS 178: The combined might of the remaining holds faces Cerus in an underhighway. The elven host has by now grown to immense size, driven by greed and ambition, and Cerus wastes no time in crushing the opposition regardless of cost. Too many elves lie dead by the end of the day, but the day is his. BS 177: The last hold in the Black Crags is breached. Those Dwarves that don’t die in the siege are cast to the winds, all vowing revenge. Cerus writes to the Martial Court intending to annex the mountains into their realm, but they refuse. The generals are too threatened by the sudden rogue army on their border to want anything to do with him, and the princes feel the same. BS 176: Cerus returns to Krardamz, cursing the names of his former comrades, cursing the Dwarves, and especially cursing Sylvaniel. He sits on the old Dwarven throne and declares that his work is not done. Atop a mountain of accumulated plunder, he will hunt down every straggler and burn out every ounce of resistance in the mountains until no one alive remembers who once lived there. A long and cruel occupation begins, a thorn in the side of the Goldwood Princes and an outrage to all Dwarvenkind. For decades, Cerus will send hunters throughout the Black Crags rooting out the natives. Captured Dwarves are forced to carve his face into mountain sides in grueling conditions, or otherwise exterminated altogether. Despite his enthusiasm though, the “Deep-Prince” will never be able to fully control the mountains. BS 150: The occupation of the Black Crags becomes increasingly untenable. Pressure from Dwarven revanchists as well as continuous desertion among the homesick elves progressively loosens Cerus’ grip on the region. BS 132: Following a costly battle with the still-furious dwarves, Cerus finally yields to his soldiers, now on the verge of mutiny. They strip the holds for valuables, and he divides the hoard among his remaining men. The occupiers leave Dwarven territory, and while some slink back into the Goldwood, Cerus and his most loyal followers go west. He will not return to the region for centuries, and he remains a divisive topic among the elves there. As for the dwarves, they would likely kill him on sight were he to show himself, but the Black Crags never again regain their splendor. BS 131: A pariah in the Whitewood and politically toxic in the Goldwood, Cerus and a thousand of his finest warriors begin a long period of rootlessness. In the Surkhish marches he offers his services to the highest bidder, but the long years fighting in darkness have taught him a lesson - that elves are too few and too infertile to waste their blood on each other while the vermin races breed like rats. He and his veterans refuse to do battle with elven settlements, and instead turn to slaughtering lizards and goblins with considerable enthusiasm. Whatever treasure they take is often distributed among the elven population, as Cerus aims to inspire them to his point of view. BS 113: A general conflict breaks out among the elven states of the Marches. Unable to stay neutral, Cerus and his band are forced to leave, disheartened. Lower races soon exploit the chaos and reverse whatever progress he was able to make in the region. BS 111: Cerus arrives in Rzhekia determined to try again. Once more he offers his sword against the vermin, fighting Greypeak Goblins and Silver Dwarves with equal gusto. His open calls for Elven unity, however, win him few friends among the ruling class. BS 99: Prince Narien of Narien accepts Cerus into his regular service, and their goals align for some time. With the silver dwarves as a scapegoat, the two begin bringing the local states together into a formalized confederation. BS 95: Elven unity in Rzhekia proves short-lived, as an attempt to organize an offensive campaign into the Silver Mountains faces vociferous opposition from the smaller cities. Narien drops the proposal to save face, and Cerus is only narrowly convinced not to go rogue and invade the mountains anyway. With their project stalled, a disillusioned Cerus settles down into a life of routine military service. BS 78: After seventeen years of peace, Cerus suddenly and seemingly-inexplicably turns against his master, and indeed all the princes of Rzhekia. Denouncing them publicly as complacent, dishonest and self-interested, he causes a scene when he and Narien get into a shouting match in Narien’s very city streets. Cerus and his veterans depart from Narien the very next day, declaring themselves the Resolute. They spend the next few years spreading their uncompromising ideals across the region. “My warriors do not tire of struggle. Mayhap thine would not either, would but thou couldst give them something worth it.” BS 74: The Rzhekian princes finally chase the Resolute from their lands, tiring of Cerus’ autistic screeching. BS 73: Cerus and the Resolute return to the Surkhish marches, finding them overrun with lizardfolk. They do not stop, except to plunder food and steel from the locals. BS 72: Attempts to march across Surkh proper fail. Determined to see what lies across it, Cerus personally leads a small party into the mire while the rest of the Resolute make camp, enslaving nearby lizards for provisions. BS 71: Cerus struggles to cross the swamp, as it seemingly stretches forever and progress is slow. Instead he runs afoul of the great crimson wyvern ANTRAXES, HUNGER OF THE MIST. Cerus and his companions hastily make for camp, pursued the whole way by ANTRAXES, but ANTRAXES picks them off one by one until only Cerus remains. Cornered, the elf fights ANTRAXES alone, narrowly avoiding death as he first blinds the monster, and then finally slays it in the putrid water. He marks his victory by fashioning a cape from the red leather of ANTRAXES’ wing, but finds himself lost and alone in the bog. It takes until the end of the year before Cerus finally stumbles out of Surkh, on the wrong side entirely. “Thy hunger outstripeth thine ability, serpent.” BS 70: Cerus walks alone though the land of Northreach, cast into a strange land. Though he tries to make his way back around the swamp, he fails to avoid the many tribes of orcs moving through the region. He narrowly avoids true enslavement by offering his services to the first tribe that manages to surround him, a group that simply called themselves the Blooded. Despite his prejudices, Cerus finds the orcs to be pleasingly simple. He will later admit that it would have been only too easy to stay in the north, to abandon his visions and to lose himself to the sword alone. BS 67: The great orc horde of the True Tusks gathers in the foothills, their dull eyes set on Akizbuzal. Only too eager to spill the blood of what he sees to be his race’s arch-rival, Cerus urges his captors to join. The campaign swiftly overruns the dwarven outposts, but soon comes to a head outside Akizbuzal’s great gate. The Dwarves muster the greatest army Cerus has laid eyes on since his time in Sudryal, hundreds of years before - a challenge the orcs are happy to accept. Tens of thousands die in a mad attempt to breach the empire’s defenses, but Cerus is not among them, as he viciously rips through each foe he encounters alongside his captor-clan. The day, however, ends in defeat. The True Tusks swiftly disintegrate, and Cerus is reminded of his own people. He takes the opportunity to leave on friendly terms with his captors, and boards a raft downriver from Northreach. BS 65: Following the True Tusk campaign and a long journey south, Cerus enters Surkh Sound. It’s there that he first sees it - to the west, the unmistakable canopy of a Great Tree, its leaves the color of autumn, its boughs dusted with grey ash. He calls it the Alictree after the daughter he has not seen in well over a century, and as the sun sets into its branches he vows to return. BS 64: By the time Cerus again reaches the southern river of Surkh, it has been eight years since he left his men camped there. He finds them there still. In his absence, the Resolute have formed an unstable slaver-state where the word of his finest lieutenant, Talaus, is law. Many of the elves from the region have migrated to live with the supremacist band, but their numbers pale in comparison to the multitude of lizards and goblins who have been rounded up and forced to keep the Resolute fed. At the sight of this, Cerus is as moved by his men’s loyalty as they are to see him again. He names all thousand of them his brothers, and tells them of the Alictree to the west. It is there they will go, and for the next three years the elves work their slaves to death deforesting the region, building ships to leave Surkh for good. Talaus embraces his returned general - “The years have been empty without thy guidance.” BS 61: The Resolute, their elven camp followers, and their many vermin-race slaves finally depart the Surhkish Marches, sailing downriver. In a land free of elven habitation, the fleet does not hesitate to mercilessly raid whatever settlements they come across, although Cerus insists that they let Orcs be when they come across them. His men do not question the order. In Surkh Sound the journey is delayed somewhat, as a storm rolls in from the west and forces the fleet to land. It is Cerus’ first hint of the Sea of Fire, and for several months he can do nothing but gaze longingly at the canopy of his tree. BS 60: The Resolute fleet finally reaches the island on which the Alictree sits. Cerus leaps to the sand, and among the tree’s great roots he declares his journey at an end. He will go no further, he will not look back. The vision of the Resolute will be achieved from here - from the city of Ashhold. Over the following years the elves begin construction of a city around the base of the Alictree. As with most things, the effort is largely achieved with slave labor. The Resolute constantly raid the surrounding coasts and upriver in search of more fuel for their growing settlement. BS 43: The walls of Ashhold are finally completed, a great brace for the tree. With the tree secured, the strongest slaves are moved beyond the wall to begin the grueling work of dredging a true harbor. Cerus sends messages to the mainland, that the elves who once spurned and feared him might know that he and his vision still live. BS 31: A steady trickle of elven immigrants begins to arrive in Ashhold, some who knew Cerus in other kingdoms, others who believe in the cause of Elven unity, still others simply seeking the comfort of a Great Tree’s shade. The city expands up the Alictree’s trunk as much as it can, but most of the population ends up spilling onto the surrounding land. BS 19: A strange ship pulls into the harbor, and a woman steps out claiming to be Cerus’ daughter. She has his eyes. BS 12: Cerus and Alicia climb to the top of the Alictree on a clear day, the first to make the journey. With the wind blowing from the east and clearing the ash, they can see for miles. “We shalt forget from whence we came. I am me, and thou art thee.” AS 1: A faint glow is seen in the west. AS 4: Ashhold receives word of strange ships to the north. Investigation reveals a race of something between elf and dwarf, wholly new to the continent. More ships land seemingly every month. AS 5: The Resolute launch several slaving expeditions against the settlers in modern Estria, bringing home hundreds of so-called humans. The slaves prove smarter than lizards and goblins, faster-breeding than dwarves, and more pliable than orcs or gnolls. More raids are launched every year, as Ashhold cannot help but exploit the vulnerable refugees. AS 11: The humans of Estria organize their defenses sufficiently that inland lizards and goblins are again easier prey. Scattered raids continue, but for the most part the elves turn their attention elsewhere. AS 13: Following years of humiliation, the Estrians raise a fleet and declare war, seeking revenge on the superior elf master race. Cerus meets them in the waters under the Alictree’s canopy, outmatching the embittered humans easily. In the wake of victory, he declares his intention to put these upstarts in their place and immediately sails north. AS 15: The Resolute finally surround the largest Estrian port after two years of ravaging the area, picking apart human armies from afar and crushing the weak. Forced to admit their inability to deal with the vastly smaller Elven group, the human leaders sue for peace. Now aware that humans are colonizing all along the coast, Cerus is unwilling to commit to a full extermination and settles. The elves take the remnants of the Estrian navy and extract significant indemnities, but promise to refrain from further raiding in the area. An uneasy peace settles over the region. AS 20: Cerus personally completes the Ashway, a system of ladders and bridges miles long by which anyone may reach the canopy of the Alictree. He says the work reminds him of his father. AS 26: Ashholder ships make increasingly-frequent voyages both to the north and south. Cerus grows worried. The humans are well-organized and fruitful, while the elf princedoms are neither. Particularly to the south the human tide seems to only be accelerating, and their dominance seems more and more inevitable. Yet from this fear comes the seed of an idea - if the humans cannot be stopped, perhaps they can be guided to his own ends. AS 29: Cerus’ messengers make peaceful contact with Ralek’s burgeoning kingdom, professing good intentions, though they are unable to fully shed their elven arrogance. The Anduvians turn them away, well aware of the multitudes of human slaves in Ashholder bondage. AS 34: News of Prince Vudin’s declaration of war reaches Cerus’ ears. The tidings bring back memories of the Whitewood (some good, most bad), and also of Vudin himself (all bad). He spends an entire night fixed at a window in his palace, gazing south. Upon the morning he declares that unfinished business cannot be left so forever. Cerus and most of his Resolute board ships and depart within a month. Ashhold is left in the hands of General Talaus, and it will remain so for some time. AS 36: Cerus arrives on the shores of Anduvia with nearly a thousand of the finest warriors on the continent behind him. Though met with hostility, they harm nobody and begin to march south after rumors of Ralek. So fast is their pace that no human host is able to intercept them. Cerus finally meets Ralek in the aftermath of his first bloody victory against the Whitewood, and though the King’s soldiers are tired they nevertheless rally to destroy this suddenly approaching battalion. But Cerus approaches without weapons and without demands. He bows to the King in respect, declares that all his human slaves have been freed, and offers him his service and friendship. The decrepit elf princedoms must inevitably fall, and Ralek will be the one to end their suffering. But Cerus believes it need not be a purely destructive exercise. From the toppling of the elf tyrants will come a new order, one to lift the continent from stagnation. Cerus has seen it. Ralek hesitantly accepts. He will not live to regret it. AS 37: Cerus and the Resolute march south with the Anduvians, more aggressive than ever. Cerus drives them hard - the hated Vudin is near. With every patrol he slaughters, every burned baggage train, he leaves a single survivor to tell the Prince and his subjects who is responsible. As they march, Cerus tells Ralek everything he knows about the Whitewood and its people, reciting every plan of attack that he has had centuries to mull over. Cerus’ behavior during this campaign is of course an act of bald hypocrisy, flying in the face of his common rhetoric about elves not spilling each others’ blood. It will in years to come be brought up by nearly every one of his critics, and Cerus himself will express guilt that he did not put the same effort into protecting the Whitewooders that he later did for Rzhekia. His efficiency does however impress many of the humans, and it is obvious to even a casual observer that Cerus had some issues to work out regarding his homeland. AS 38: The Resolute prove instrumental in cutting off retreat from the Whitewood capital, for though Vudin is slain, Cerus has yet to get his hands on She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named. When the capital is breached, he sees many familiar faces from a previous life, but never her. Later questioning reveals that the woman who ruined his life has not been in the city for at least fifty years. Each and every one of them watches as the Whitewood Great Tree is pulled down by the humans. Some grow angry. Some shed tears. Most are silent. Cerus watches his childhood shatter and wipes regret from his heart. AS 39: Finally coming to his senses, Cerus pursues the Whitewood elves in a far more measured campaign. Though significant grudges persist, he is able to help convince the survivors to come to terms with Ralek. AS 40: Cerus and his host march to Sendil, where he is introduced to much of the human nobility. He is able to send messages back to Ashhold from here, and he begins remotely preparing his realm for eventual union with the humans. Ralek has by now proven himself to the elf - if any of the human kingdoms are to be agents of real change, it will be his. During this time Cerus and Ruul first meet as well, and instantly have problems with each other. An attempt by the Golden Tongues to arrest the elf nearly results in bloodshed, and only the intercession of Ralek himself keeps the peace. By the end of the year, each watches the other warily and avoids provocation. AS 41: Cerus confers often with Ralek, though he clashes with his blades. An elf prince can only stoop so low, after all. He informs the Anduvians of much of the history of the continent and what lies in the interior. Towards the end of the year Cerus acquires a large house near the docks of the human capital. He remains there for some time, in constant communication with both Ashhold and Ralek. AS 46: Cerus returns briefly to Ashhold, though he still believes his presence necessary in the south. He finds the island in good hands under Talaus. Most former human slaves have been relocated to the countryside, and the Estrians remained cowed. He remains for a single year before returning to Sendil. AS 47-53: Cerus works tirelessly within Ralek’s kingdom to ensure the conquered elves are not simply made into another slave race. The defiant ones he tries to ship to his own realm, where they won’t cause trouble and can still strengthen the race. The rest can hardly help but be good examples. It is vital that the humans not turn to extermination as elvenkind surely would in their position. AS 53: Word arrives of Enalidus’ sudden campaign into Rzhekia. Worried that the situation might spin out of control with the princedoms there, Cerus quickly gathers his men and sets out from the capital. AS 55: The Resolute arrive in Rzhekia to find Narien burned to the ground, along with four other elven cities that they once knew well. On a field far from the human forces, Cerus faces hard questions from his men. The host remains in Rzhekia for the remainder of the campaign, much to the ire of Enalidus. Though Cerus proves effective in battle and defers to the blade’s orders, he continuously robs Enalidus of glory with constant ploys to avoid pitched battles. The elf still has ample connections in the area, and he pulls on them to elicit favorable surrenders and peace deals that the man cannot reasonably say no to. The two quickly grow to avoid each other’s company. AS 60: With the last of the Rzhekian princedoms absorbed, a bitter Enalidus decides to press the question of religion. Butchery follows as the princes are nailed to the side of the road. Cerus is furious but essentially impotent, which pleases the blade to no end. As the general moves on, Cerus goes to work trying to evacuate as many elves as he can from the region before more oppression follows. Many go west to Ashhold, and the region is forever changed. Cerus never forgives Enalidus for his actions. “O noble princes, I beg thy forgiveness. This pain thou suffer shall return to its maker.” AS 63: A year after Enalidus departs Rzhekia, Cerus follows. After several years observing the blade’s conduct he has determined not to let the man out of his sight, and his movements focus as much on safeguarding elven migrants on their way west as they do on war. Nevertheless, the Surkhish Marches are quite familiar to him and his men have fought lizards many times. The year is bloody. Lizard slaves flow downriver once more. AS 65: Ralek’s army arrives in Surkh. Cerus is glad to have a more reasonable ally to work with, but it’s obvious by now that human armies will never tame the swamp. Cerus advises Ralek to move on to easier prey, but remains to fight. If anything the Resolute appear to be enjoying the pointless skirmishes, especially this close to home. Ships from Ashhold arrive constantly, keeping the army fed and the slaves flowing. Over the length of the campaign, tensions ease somewhat between Cerus and the two blades. Belethor in particular expresses an interest in the sun elf empire of Sudryal, and Cerus happily shares his experiences there from an age ago. The sun elves are not corrupt and divided like his own people. Cerus advises leaving well enough alone, but nevertheless discusses Sudryal’s defenses with his new friend. AS 70: With Ashhold Isle swiftly growing overpopulated, Talaus finally authorizes the colonization of the surrounding islands. AS 79: The humans finally tire of pointlessly fighting in the mud. Cerus marches west with Ralek, promising to show the King his home. AS 84: Following a joint campaign between Ralek’s army and the full strength of Ashhold, the last hostile men of the Burning Coast are subjugated. Ralek and Cerus sail to Ashhold itself, where the King stands beneath the Alictree and is introduced to Cerus’ people and to his daughter, Alicia. Cerus proudly shows off the realm he has built in less than two centuries, from the highest branches to the lowest sands. AS 85: Ralek departs from Ashhold on a doomed expedition into the Sea of Fire. By the time he returns his army is severely depleted and he has no choice but to return to longer-conquered territories to raise more men. Cerus remains behind, comfortably at home for the first time in several decades. AS 89: Estria unifies in direct opposition to Ralek’s expansion. The new kingdom rejects the old treaties forced on their predecessors by the elves, and a low-intensity conflict begins in Surkh Sound which continues to this day. AS 96: Ashhold takes advantage of Enalidus’ campaign to launch incursions all along the Estrian coast. Simmering enmity between the two of them fully erupts when Cerus sacks several cities ahead of the blade’s advance. Enalidus sends several letters back to the capital complaining of Cerus’ initiative, but as all the land is absorbed into Anduvia and not Ashhold, the complaints come off as petty and are ignored. AS 103: Cerus funds the construction of Alicia’s Rise, as a gift for his daughter’s three hundredth birthday. AS 122: An Ashholder courier carrying vital intelligence in Torbak is tragically captured by orcish tribes, and is never heard from again. AS 124: Upon Ralek’s ascension to Emperor, Cerus makes the journey to the far south alone to meet with him. It takes him two years to catch up to him, and he finds Ralek stricken with grief in the aftermath of Redmound. Cerus has by now seen countless friends die, but he lacks the words to console the Emperor. He merely gives the man a cask of fine brandy and says that such things are the price paid for extended life. In time, the saint will get used to it. The next day, Cerus swears fealty to Ralek. Ashhold, for the last century an independent ally of the Anduvians, steps fully into the imperial fold. AS 128: Cerus returns to Sendil with the rest of the imperial lords. He finds the city more magnificent than his last visit, and more hostile. Twice he is accosted on the street by agents of the golden tongue, and twice he is forced to spill blood rather than let them lay their filthy hands on him. Following the great victory feast, Ruul and Cerus exchange stern words. The elf has not spent a hundred years building this empire to be harassed in its very capital over the asinine religious creed of the week, and he will not hesitate to spark a crisis if the order persists in this course. Ruul is as always a pragmatic man, and the two reach an unspoken agreement to stay out of each other’s way, for now. AS 130: After two years in the capital, Cerus returns to Ashhold and settles in. Scattered conflict continues with Estria, but it is otherwise a restful time. The elves gaze from the Alictree across broad slave-worked farmland, and many of the Resolute finally retire. AS 146: Cerus publishes My Resolution, a book in the elvish language explaining his life and his vision. It contrasts the squabbling Goldwood Princes to elves within Anduvia, and makes the case for what he has long argued: that Ralek’s rise was both necessary and beneficial for the elves. The great limit of elvenkind has always been its infertility - but by partnership with humans, not slavery or conquest, they can finally overcome that curse. Ralek and his followers can be a tool to bring about an elven utopia. The framing of humans as a tool for elven ends becomes easy fodder for conspiracy theories among those humans who can read elvish, though little real suspicion comes of it. Among the elves though, the book is highly controversial. Many denounce Cerus as a revisionist hypocrite, quick to point out his participation in the genocidal Whitewood war. But within Anduvia, these voices must speak quietly. They struggle to compete with Cerus’ supporters, who have watched him publicly work to place elves in positions of power since the very dawn of the empire. Whatever the reception, it’s clear to all that even on his island, Cerus is not idle. AS 150: Cerus publishes On the Dwarves and Their Lies, a far shorter pamphlet written in plain common. It is essentially a grotesquely distorted account of the continent’s history prior to human arrival, in which every dwarven achievement is presented as having been stolen from the noble elves. Dwarves are greedy, duplicitous, and have no concept of oaths and honor, and yet if one breaks a promise to them, they remember it unto eternity. They are essentially no better than goblins, their ambition only stretches as far as getting drunk in a hole, and they will turn on the empire the moment they get the chance. Cerus also includes several salacious accounts of dwarves dragging human children underground to carry out profane rituals far from the light of day. AS 176: When asked to join the invasion of Estria, Cerus is noncommittal. Ashhold does however volunteer to supply the army, and elf raids along the coast begin to intensify. --------------------------- --------------------------- National Idea - Thorns on the Wind Mighty fighters as they might be, the elvish race is not one to waste its finest. A single warrior comes with decades if not centuries of experience, and is not so easy to replace. It is not seen as cowardly, then, to avoid close battle when possible. Cerus' followers are encouraged to keep their distance, preserve their numbers, and strike only when advantageous. [All units carry elven longbows.] --------------------------- The Resolute - Heavy Infantry Greatbowmen At the core of Cerus’ army are the Resolute: elven veterans from across the continent, many of which have followed him since his time in the Goldwood. Each and every one of them has spent centuries doing little else but fighting, and they consider themselves to be the art of war perfected. Clad in fine armor and skilled at killing nearly every race on the continent, they are Cerus’ vision made flesh, a swift knife on the battlefield. While of course deadly at close range, the Resolute value the lives of their brothers infinitely more than any of their foes. As such, a sense of self-preservation developed over Cerus’ long march has led to most choosing the bow as their weapon of first resort. Each carries a powerful elven greatbow capable of immense distance and power, and the warriors are frighteningly accurate with them. Many a vermin-race company has melted long before coming to blows as their officers are plucked away. In recent years a great deal of the Resolute have settled down, beating their swords into plowshares in Ashhold. But their skills have not faded, and their loyalty is to Cerus. Should he call on them again, they will answer. --------------------------- The Alictree Rising from the center of Ashhold is a fully-grown Great Tree, the likes of which cannot be found elsewhere on the continent. Its leaves are the color of latest autumn, and rain down on the city along with the ash that coats its bark from the volcanos nearby. Its canopy is narrow, but its height is among the greatest recorded. Cerus does not speak of the previous inhabitants or what they called it, nor does anyone else. It is the Alictree of Ashhold, and it always has been.
  2. The Pilgrim Legion "Again they underestimate us, Dahc. These savages don't understand war. Are they willfully ignorant, or just too stupid to understand what they're dealing with?" Desab spoke from a gilded chair as the newest batch of slaves was brought past him. Again, few men were left among the survivors. Surely by now they could see resistance was pointless? "I have left traces of our passing at each conquest, my savior," replied Dahc. "It is only a matter of time. The truth of our message will spread." "Will it?" Desab was curt, dismissive. "No...wasteland villages are not a strong enough message. Taking that prize from the barbarian's ship was not strong enough. The natives grow accustomed to us already, and we have yet to pierce the heart of their lands. We must move faster. I will have my teeth at their throats before they even think of responding." Desab rose, the rod of Beit She'an glittering in his hands. With disdain he looked at the river Ynn nearby, then turned pensively to the mountains of the west. "Arm the sinners, Dahc. It is time we moved in force." Having laid their deception in place, having let their prey take the brunt of Ka'Goran retribution, the Pilgrims leave the riverside and fall upon those that would presume to be their betters. No words are exchanged with the foolish Amichai barbarians as the Pilgrimage drives south from the mountain pass, nor is there any warning. Church outriders flood the land in the hundreds, driving off or slaughtering anyone who could warn the enemy of the legion's strength. They cover the land like a plague, choking its roads and cutting its towns off from each other, telling the great Desab of the enemy's weaknesses and strengths. And among the outriders comes the legion, swelling in numbers, methodically subjugating each settlement they find with a single choice: abandon the savage Amichai king, or be enslaved.
  3. The Pilgrim Legion "Do not worry for the martyrs, o faithful sons. They are with us still! Their spirits have secured paradise, and they will join us again on the day of salvation. Weep not for their earthly forms, for they are but dust!" Bodies floated to the sides of the thawing river, cluttering the banks as the last of the Pilgrims stumbled ashore. Already camp slaves were gathering the corpses of the enemy - they alone would be defiled, nailed to posts on the Ynn's banks to show what happens to those who run afoul of the legion. Desab said nothing. He rarely spoke these days except to the holiest, but he wandered among his fallen soldiers. Brave heroes all, but they would be replaced. None of them were essential to his victory. This victory, bloody as it had been, would be a mere footnote in his glorious history. As the Pilgrimage moves north, a unit of medium-armored legion regulars marches ahead to subjugate the one village spared from Desab's wrath. 1000 gold is kept in reserve this turn.
  4. THE PILGRIM LEGION "Ye who have refused the call, know this - your fathers are dead. Your husbands are dead. But for you all is not lost, for you may still watch the Day of Salvation in chains. Rejoice in your new life as slaves of the Savior Desab, Emperor of the Promised World, the First Pilgrim, the Reshaper of Destinies, Chosen of..." Desab watched the babbling savages, unimpressed. The men of this place had barely resisted - up until the very end they had begged and bargained, promising everything they had of value in this sad pigsty, if only the Pilgrimage would leave them alone. Every one of them was too stupid to see what was happening until Desab's men started nailing them to the walls of their homes. Pathetic. "...in service of this army which does not move except in the service of Heaven. Accept your new place, and you will once more be free in the Promised World. Deny it, and the punishment for your blasphemy will be as harsh after death as it will be... Desab said nothing as his lieutenants walked among the slaves, dividing them up - half to the Church, and half to his own soldiers. The children would have to be separated from their mothers of course, or the poison of whatever they called a "culture" here would infect them. For the latter it was too late of course, but the camp would find uses for them nonetheless. As the process went on, Desab called one of the church leaders over. "You've made your sweep?" "Of course... There's nothing here." "I'd have never guessed," Desab snorted in derision. "We move on, then. This place depresses me." One dismissive motion later and the warlord was gone. By the end of the hour, there was one less village in Illesia...and the Pilgrimage was on its way to the next. Actions: Together with the riders of the Church, Desab and his army move south devouring everything in their path. Conversion is only offered by the Church when they arrive first. When Desab arrives, all hope is lost.
  5. Nation Name: The Pilgrim Legion & The Pilgrim Church Nation Government/Leader Rank: Autocracy - The Pilgrim Legion is led by the warlord Desab, an overbearing man of unparalleled ambition, who has christened himself Savior of All Men and Emperor of the Promised World. He is accustomed to total obedience in his camp, and save for priests of the church itself, many of the Pilgrims often give the impression that it is he they worship. Theocracy - The Pilgrim Church is led by The Magistrates, an ancient, scholarly class well versed in religious rites and ancient histories. They come from the land of Modi’im, what is said to be an ancient and hidden vault of knowledge, buried deep within the wastes. They are responsible for the warlord Desab’s conversion, and direct the faithful on their path to salvation. Regulars of the Pilgrim Legion, Desab’s loyal minions Description of National/Provincial History & Culture: Founded by the Priests of Modi’im, what was once a small, isolated religious sect has rapidly spiraled into a massive army on the march towards salvation. The original adherents to the Pilgrimage were The Magistrates, a small and secretive order of scholars holed up within the fortress-library of Modi’im, from which they weathered the storms of the apocalypse - or so they say. To the faithful, The Magistrates are the pinnacle of knowledge and wisdom, inheriting the intellect of the world before. From atop this pedestal, these priests preach salvation to the unenlightened masses, more specifically, the end to the Age of Trial, and the arrival of the coming Age of Salvation. In their pursuit to spur the faithful into action, the Magistrates of Modi’im have faced many hardships, being expelled from over 109 realms across the ages for false treacheries, thievery, and heresys. The arrival of Adon’s Comet, though, is what would ultimately prove to be the catalyst for the Pilgrim’s rise to power. The Magistrates, having predicted that the comet would eventually return, threw into motion a series of events, manipulated from behind the curtain… This would include the conversion of the Essene general, Desab, and his infamous legion, carried out by a particularly soft spoken Holy Man, the promise of a beautiful Pilgrim bride and a crown in the Promised World was all that it would take to push the man into treachery, causing him and his men to abandon their posts, marching south onto the prophesized Pilgrimage. In their march south through Ka’Goran, the holy words of the Magistrates have carried far and wide, igniting the hearts of many who have cast aside their sinful pasts, repented, and taken up righteous arms! Their prosthelytizing has caused the ranks of the Pilgrim legion to swell with many conscripts eager to earn their place in the Promise World. Dawning on the current year, the Pilgrimage has finally left the Ka’Goran realm - entering a holy and sacred land, a land on which the prophesied Ascension will be carried out. Here, though, the Pilgrims are truly foreigners. The languages and practices of those they encounter are strange, their practices barbaric, their beliefs - heretical. To the Magistrates, the path ahead is clear. The Pilgrimage must not be stopped. It must march onwards, saving those who will not save themselves, and extinguishing those who cannot be saved… The Hardened Zealots of the Pilgrim Church Notable Characters: Desab, Savior of All Men, Emperor of the Promised World, the Reshaper of Destinies, He Who Cleanses, The First Pilgrim, Chosen of Heaven and Master of Earth: Details are hazy on Desab’s early life, for he wishes to be known for the messiah he has become rather than the man he was. Still, a clever and careful spy might deduce that the warlord Desab was once an officer in the Essene Legions, far upriver from the valley he now finds himself in. Ten years ago he was converted by an enterprising priest, and mere months later he went rogue, taking his army with him. Answerable to almost no one, Desab has been a blight on the land ever since, following the inscrutable words of his soothsayers on a trail of terror. Now we find him here, having threatened the Ka’Gorans into letting him pass. Who can say where he will go next… Dahc, The Headsman: Slave to Desab and his most favored servant, Dahc has sworn an oath to never go another day without slaying a heathen with his own hands. This he does with visible pleasure, and Desab is happy to encourage these tendencies - there is no shortage of heathens, and it serves him well to have such a man leading his forces. After all, the best war is a short war and the shortest war is the most brutal. Eleazar of Modi’im, The High Magi: A man who has committed the whole of his life to the study, and advancement of the one true faith, the last hope for humanity. From a young age, Eleazar was molded and shaped into a zealous adherent of the Pilgrim Faith. If ever he had doubts about its authenticity, they are long vanished. Both generous and devout, the High Magi welcomes the unwashed, absolving them of sins and guiding them along the path of truth; but turns away the man who will not learn, and sees to it that he will not weigh down the faithful. Within the Pilgrim Legion, Eleazar observes the day-to-day religious rites and rituals, as well as observing omens and other such symbols from heaven. Kaar Bahkra, The Zealot: Deep within the desert, where the Pilgrim Church had long been exiled to the halls of the Modi’im, Kaar Bahkra served as the sacred temple’s foremost protector, warding off any would-be defilers from the halls of the Magistrates. Now, the Blessing of Heaven burns through the sky - and the Church marches unto salvation, with Kaar Bahkra at its head. The Zealot is the arm of The Magistrates, commanding the elite, and most fanatic core of the Pilgrim army. Raised from birth for his role in the Church, Kaar Bahkra is entirely devoted and indoctrinated into Church thought. For the promise of the Great Journey, there is nowhere he will not go, and nothing he will not do… Unique Military Units (Two): The Masons - Even the frail of body can serve the Pilgrimage in its ceaseless march. Everywhere his soldiers trample, Desab offers salvation to those of keen mind, who fell even the mightiest of obstacles for his legion. With the experience of a hundred sieges behind them, these followers are professionals in the rapid construction of tunnels, ramps, bridges and siege equipment. With such innovation, nothing stands in the army’s way. The Prophets - The tendrils of the Pilgrim Church spread well ahead of the legion itself. Those most faithful, most cunning, are christened as Prophets to prepare the world for the Pilgrimage’s coming. Each speaks half a dozen languages, each can bring a crowd to tears by words alone, each works tirelessly to turn a land’s people to the side of the true faith. They are an insidious rot across the region, and if they cannot spare their flock from judgment, they will hasten it by feeding a nation’s most coveted secrets to the oncoming crusade. National Idea (nothing strictly mechanical): Zealous Fervor: The soldiers of the Pilgrimage are emboldened by the promise of the Great Journey and the Age of Salvation. They fight bitterly, and without surrender until the very end. [Military units do not rout] Player POIs: The Ark of Salvation - An ancient and holy relic of ages yore. It is sheltered within a golden box, roughly the size of a man, that emits a faint clicking when one listens carefully. The Magistrates say it contains the sins of the world. It is carried everywhere the pilgrimage goes, and to date has yet to be opened, for the Pilgrims will only be fit to see its contents on the day of ascension. The Rod of Beit She’an - A thin staff made of steel, capped with a sort of upside-down umbrella. When a certain star appears in the sky, the staff comes to life and can be used for a period of several days. None know exactly how the relic functions, but so long as the sacred star remains above, the staff has a profound effect on the weather - rain turns to sleet, then snow, rivers freeze solid and birds migrate from the area. The staff is currently in the possession of Desab himself, who wields its sharpened base as a spear - though his slaves polish it so brightly one would never guess how many lives the weapon has taken.
  6. THE ALAMARAN MANDATE As Adrien Teniert rides his glorious reputation to the seat of Lord Regent, a wave of recruitment sweeps out from Alamar. From Castrillon to the front men flock to growing legions, for the time for action is nigh. Soon the reclamation fleets will gather, and the sons of Alamar will go forth to conquer. But in their hearts the nobles are wary, for there is still one enemy left to face. One creature that none have yet bested… -The Imperial government completes the two standard legions garrisoning the east, and then commissions two more in their entirety. -100 Transports are commissioned for the transport of the invasion force. Orteau -REDACTED [16 I] -REDACTED [12 I] -4 I on counterespionage against any T1 networks. -REDACTED [$20,000] -Half a million imperial standard infantry are recruited to round out the Teniert’s northern garrison legion. -The Ripped King is commissioned as a replacement to Orteau’s flagship. Using a recovered HBB hull, Adrien orders the construction of a brawler along his existing flagship’s concept, but of course with even BIGGER mauler cannons and thicker armor. [$266,000, 25M, 10A, 20T, done in one turn] -Soon after his election as Lord Regent, Adrien hosts a series of receptions on Alamar where he fortifies his support base, explaining in casual but detailed terms his plans for the Mandate and the common ambitions he wants to see achieved. [$30,000 on buying influence]
  7. THE ALAMARAN MANDATE The day of victory! Across the Mandate worlds erupt in celebration at news of Hi’raks’ death, and the destruction of yet another Irik fleet. Already Dryden forces are securing the western border, and Erasmis for the moment licks his wounds. In a great procession from the border to Alamar, the conquering heroes show off the broken hulls of Irik ships, and praise the sacrifice of Sorin and the Lord Regent Folau. At the head of this victorious column is none other than Lord Adrien Teniert, who ends the journey by having Hi’raks’ captured lieutenants beheaded on the steps of the ruined Hui Ariki building, before an audience of billions. And on his authority as Tanu Kavan, he calls the Hui Ariki once more into session… -On the fortress tech-world, the government builds a set of ground-to-orbit batteries and an L.S.R.B. -Ten million imperial standard troops also join the guard force. Orteau -REDACTED [4 I] -REDACTED [4 I] -REDACTED [12 I] -REDACTED [$20,000] -300,000 suits of unmarked, top-of-the-line heavy armor are produced and shipped off to an unknown destination. -In the wake of the twin victories against Hi’raks, the Teniert machine works at unprecedented levels not only in Orteau but across the Mandate. Newsreels show the vanquished Irik, victorious soldiers carry war trophies through human worlds, and the humans are filled with hope as unity delivers the first victory in a long, long time. In thanks to their southern brothers, the Tenierts and indeed the entire country open their shipyards and technology stores to rebuild the losses from the recent battles. Across the Mandate, Teniert-led societies discuss the possible reconquest of the core, Teniert scions are at their very best as they charm a hundred ballrooms, and toasts are raised on every world to the martyrs Sorin and Folau, the hero Adrien and his admirals, and most of all to the Empire to Come. [$750,000 spent on buying influence.] -As word of victory spreads, so spreads another message. It comes not as the overbearing announcement of a psychic cabal, but as the whispers of those who have traversed the Mandate and seen what is being built there. They come as a trickle, then a flood, their voices commingling into a single movement that sweeps from Orteau to Alamar and crashes onto the whole galaxy. There is only one structure that has proven capable of uniting the warlords in common cause they say: the Treaty of Alamar. And there is only one entity that has steadfastly looked to the border and Kaumai, never once wavering from its duty: the Mandate of Alamar. And there is only one man fit to lead that Mandate to its ultimate goal: its very author, Adrien Teniert, who lives by honor and cunning, who sits linked by blood to nearly every great house of the empire, who has now proven himself as able a fighter as he is a statesman. Class is irrelevant. Claim is irrelevant. With the cry “Adrien and Alamar,” they call on their friends and connections, on the galaxy at large to unite behind the one force which now presses on the Mindbender’s gates - the one force which has a chance of restoring a constitutional empire, a stable empire, a benevolent and strong empire. [TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY (240) influence]
  8. Orteau -REDACTED [16 I] -REDACTED [24 I] A full 1,500 adjudicators join the Tenierts’ service. -With the war ongoing within Mandate borders, Teniert displays remain relatively austere…at least at first glance. Under the delicate touch of Adrien’s brother Alain, many members of the house are seen publicly to be engaging in patriotic duties and generally fulfilling their noble obligations. No expense is spared on publicizing any of it. [$66,000 on buying influence] THE ALAMARAN MANDATE -The government trains up 300,000 imperial standard heavy infantry to guard the eastern approach. -A single light cruiser is commissioned.
  9. Orteau -REDACTED [16 I] -REDACTED [12 I] -Orteau completes the restoration of one of its recovered dreadnoughts. [80 NP] -Two CAs are produced [$100,000, 50 NP, 18M, 4 A, 4 T] -Another 500 adjudicators are initiated beneath Keep Teniert. None but Adrien know. [$40,000, 8M, 2A, 2T] -Across the Mandate, House Teniert organizes a vast memorial for the fallen heroes of Etena, chief among them Lord Sorin. His sacrifice for the Mandate is admirable, and no doubt history will remember him as an old ally of the Tenierts, who generously guarded their rightful land on their behalf… [$54,000 on buying influence] THE ALAMARAN MANDATE -The imperial government buys three extra T from Castrillon at market prices, to balance their budget. [$49,740] -3 light cruisers are produced to fill out Admiral Nailani’s spotty screen.
  10. Orteau Who cares about forum RP anyway Actions: -REDACTED [8 I] -REDACTED [8 I] -REDACTED [8 I] -Orteau begins repairing one of the several dreadnought wrecks recovered from the Graveyard recently. [$140,000, 80 NP, 15M, 5T] -Another light cruiser is produced for the screen. [$30,000, 20 NP, 6M] -A stealth ship is produced, as part of the hypothesized counter to “the battlecruiser question.” [$15,000, 3 NP, 4M, 1A, 1T] -Along the southern border with Sorin, there is a blurring of the line between occupied and free nobility. Lesser Teniert events in the south seek to take advantage of the recent atmosphere of patriotism, connecting with their counterparts. [$24,000 on buying influence] THE ALAMARAN MANDATE A crisis!. Actions: -The imperial government builds two CAs and three SDDs, you know I did the math right. -A total of 24 T is dispensed as welfare to some of the more destitute lords, such as Albert Dryden.
  11. THE ALAMARAN MANDATE Silence from the Hui Ariki surrounding the emergence of an “””heir””” in the south. The Treaty of Alamar is clear in this regard: as the emperor and crown prince died with no recognized heir, no emperor can be recognized except by the decision of the Hui Ariki after the capture of Kaumai. All developments prior to that inevitable event are irrelevant. That said, in keeping with the Mandate’s unofficial policy of not alienating the very royalists they count on in times of crisis, they do not openly denounce this newcomer. -On the advice of his father-in-law, the Lord Regent authorizes the construction of planetary shields on the northernmost planet under his control. The planet is a mere two jumps from Kaumai, and thus is both highly vulnerable and highly strategic. [Planetary shields, $500,000, 10M] -A full hundred thousand imperial standard heavy infantry are also raised, to join the aforementioned defense. With the high price of shipbuilding these days, new ways must be found to dig in. [$35,000, 7AP, 7M, 1A, 2T]
  12. Orteau Yeet yeet irik delete Actions: -REDACTED [8 I] -REDACTED [8 I] -REDACTED [8 I] -As the imperial government acts to fortify the eastern route into Mandate space, Orteau contributes with a significant gift to the demesne. It seems only natural, as everyone knows the whole undertaking is largely the result of Adrien being present on Alamar and willful as always. [Building interdictors on northern demesne tech world, $350,000, 15 M, 3 T] -Having already sent almost half a legion to garrison the new strong point, Orteau’s latest efforts see even greater forces head north. [Recruiting imperial standard troops - 2 million infantry, 100,000 heavy infantry, 20,000 artillery. $195,000, 51 AP, 47M, 7A, 2T] -Orteau has never been a military nation. Even in the last half-century of constant war, this has not changed. Their army is pathetically small by galactic standards, albeit experienced and well-funded. It is a surprise to observers, then, when the Tenierts spend their considerable wealth on a public military parade. The gross product of a small planet is expended on the event as literally millions of new recruits march through the streets of Orteau - a clear show of force. So dazzled are the onlookers that few realize that another half million men could have been armed with that much money…. [$48,000 on buying influence]
  13. Orteau Statpost this week Actions: -OUTRAGE! One of the Teniert’s own, stolen by the pirate king under their very noses. The acting lord Alistair Teniert, father of Ashweather, promises no less than half a million credits to anyone with information leading to the capture or destruction of Aokigahara. -[REDACTED] [8 I] -[REDACTED] [8 I] -[REDACTED] [4 I] -Lest another attack come, the Shredded King is hastily repaired. [19 NP, $14,250] -To further reduce Orteau’s dependence on foreign fuel, 8 refineries are constructed on their only fuel world. [$120,000, 24 M, 8 T] –2.5 million imperial standard infantry are recruited to fortify the frontier. [$125,000, 30AP, 30M] -On the breathtaking world of Montresor, a “small” celebration is held to commemorate the birth of Adonis and Alfred Teniert. Many of the region’s influential citizens are eager to come see the new eventual heirs. [$24,000 on buying influence]
  14. Orteau Eloise could barely bring herself to look out the window as the palace-moon of Kaumai slipped beyond the horizon, engulfed in black smog. So close to their goal, so far from safety. The others with her felt the same - whenever their nondescript shuttle rattled in Kaumai’s atmosphere, she could hear their heartbeats quicken. All but one, that is. Deeper into the smoke. Eloise opened her mouth to speak. Barely a sound escaped before the man in front of her turned and cut her off. “You would rather go back? After all this way?” The man was a hook-nosed, greasy creature, but he had kept the green eyes. A small piece of vanity maybe, but Eloise struggled to keep that thought from her head. “You would leave me to fend for myself?” “Of course not,” Eloise managed, in a whisper. “Of course not.” The man echoed, and glanced out the window at the roiling, thick sky. “The Labyrinth is destroyed. Just now. We are needed here more than ever, and I for one welcome that duty.” It took a moment for Eloise to process the news, but once she did her face hardened. “It’s just…normally we know what to expect.” “I know what to expect,” said the man, turning away. “We will all do what’s expected of us, regardless of the circumstances.” Yet even so, under the mask, Eloise thought she could hear her lady’s heart flutter. Actions: -[REDACTED] [8 I] -[REDACTED] [4 I] -With fuel prices skyrocketing, a refining complex is constructed on Orteau’s single fuel world. -The rest of Orteau’s money goes into buying gas. :wagie:
  15. knife-ears need to get out of the off topic forum
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