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About Xarkly

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  • Birthday 05/02/1998

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    Tíocfidh ár lá.

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    a loyal haenseni patriot
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  1. probably the worst possible outcome i’m not shitposting but can you please stick to your designated expertise and let someone who’s sufficiently experienced in recent community management and actually engaged with the community do this please you are absolutely not suited to the role of community admin telanir
  2. Agree. Wrote a thread about it myself a while back Just feels like there’s no innovation or commitment from the Staff who have taken this responsibility and haven’t really done anything with it for well over half a year when there’s so many different approaches we could take with this, even experimentally.
  3. cries in no scyfling mention
  4. KURSIA EVENTLINE THE PENNY DROPS The church bells had just tolled for morning sermon as Tallis made her way through Helena, her heeled shoes clacking against the icy pavement. Winter gripped the city. The air was frigid, her breath came out in misty plumes, and the walls and balustrades of the metropolis had a pale, glimmer glaze from frost. While others made their way about quickly to evade the cold, Tallis rather enjoyed it. She found wintertime to be soothing; she much preferred the refreshing bite of the cold on her skin than the sweltering heats of summer. She could not tolerate the heat, and could barely think in it. Winter, though, never let her forget she was alive, awake and focused. The sharp chill did not allow it. She always found that oddly sobering. She much preferred wearing her winter dresses and hat too, but that was largely besides the point. “Vy am still niet sure this is a good idea,” Yuri rumbled at her side. Ironically, the hulking Raevir did not share Tallis’ fondness for the sobriety of winter. He shadowed behind her, his large stride slowed to match hers, his head shaved as bald as an egg and his small eyes focused on the road ahead. Yuri was the kind of man that others were wary of in a fight, but otherwise dismissed as a dim-witted northman. That facade was one of the main reasons Tallis kept him around as her trusted henchman. Another, albeit small, was that he cleaned up quite nicely in his woollen overcoat and cloak. “I do not require a reminder,” Tallis told him curtly, but quietly. The cold was fierce this morning, but that had not stopped people from thronging the streets. Porters bustled back and forth with barrows, sacks and crates, merchants foolish enough not to have hired such porters waited impatiently for a path to clear for their horses and wagons, and folks of all classes and professions wrapped themselves in cloaks and coats and made a brisk a pace as possible through the streets. Though the streets remained busy, Tallis did think that the din of chatter, barely audible over the tolling of the church bells, was quieter than the warmer months of the years. Yuri only grunted as the pair of them continued to wind their way through the frosted city. Tallis admitted to herself that Yuri did have a point; she herself really did not need to be out this morning, going to do what she was doing, but curiosity had gotten the better of her, and she wished to see the situation with her own eyes. The traffic quietened a little as they made their way into the districts tucked away from the thoroughfare, though she had to watch her step carefully on these streets where the pavement had not been gritted for horses and boots. Yuri even had the nerve to offer her an arm when they descended a flight of steps. When they finally reached the Silver Jubilee Fountain, Tallis grimaced to see the commotion near the back of the fountain, where a cluster of civilians had gathered near a guardsman, their conversation marked by columns of misty breath. Another pair of guards – one of them a woman – had climbed down into the fountain, and appeared to be examining something at its edge. Swallowing a curse, Tallis took a moment to compose herself, straightened her feather cap, and strode towards the first guardsman, Yuri at her heels. “ … to be concerned about,” the guardsman, a young fellow whose bulbous nose was red from the cold, was saying as she approached. “Oh, heavens, officer,” Tallis broke out in her best sweetly, innocent voice. “Has something happened?” “As I was saying, ma’am,” the guardsman began, sounding a touch impatient with his country accent, “there is nothing to be concerned with, but -” “Oh, my,” she exclaimed as she eyed the other guardsmen studying the fountain, which had a splatter of phlegm-like blood on its otherwise white surface. “Has there been an attack? A murder?” As intended, her remarks stirred up murmurs of concern from the other civilians who were peering over at the fountain with clueless eyes. “No, no, not a murder,” the guardsman said hastily, and then reluctantly added, “It was just a poor sod on some kind of drug. Ended up killing him.” “A drug!?” Tallis pressed, adding more dramatic fluster to his voice, stirring more of a reaction from those gathered. “Some kind of nasty black narcotic. Nothing good folk like you lot need to concern yourself with. The Constabulary have it well in hand," the guardsman insisted, but the watching civilians seemed far from convinced. They began to disperse, whispering urgently to one another. Tallis stepped back with them, leaving the guardsman looking none too pleased with himself. Yuri waited until the pair of them had retreated in a solitary side street, the paving stones gleaming with frost, before speaking. “Well?” “As we expected,” Tallis said through grit teeth. That was the third death from a drug overdose in the city that week, and Tallis had received a letter from her people in Haense yesterday morning to confirm that there had been three deaths in New Reza, too – also drug overdoses. This latest dunce to die, however, seemed to have been foolish enough to have residue of Blacksap on him. Blacksap was, of course, her product. The psychadelic drug had only been in production for a few months now, but already it had raked Tallis and her associates a fortune in a time where armies were strained from the Inferi invasion, and that same invasion had driven countless soldiers to unscrupulous methods to ward off their trauma. Their operation had been airtight; production and distribution had been both successful and discreet – up until now, at least. Now, Tallis had six bodies on her hand from the drug – three in Haense and three in Helena – that were going to make law enforcement start asking questions. “A bad batch,” she muttered. “That has to be it.” The Blacksap drug had been in circulation for nearly three months now, at first targetting paupers and the downtrodden before they had almost exclusively began to sell to soldiers traumatised from the Inferi war, and there had been no issues. The six sudden deaths had to be attributed to a bad batch of Blacksap. “I want you to visit the breweries, Yuri, both here and in Haense. And I want you to make it clear that this cannot happen again.” The Raev grunted his agreement. “Da, of course. Vy will go at once. But what of our, ah, current situation?” “With luck, it won’t amount to much.” “Hmph. And without luck?” Sucking in a breath of frozen air, Tallis smiled softly. No, this was not something to get flustered about. Her strategy, her organizations, and her plans were built far sturdier than to be shaken by a little mishap like this. She did not get where she was today by depending on luck; she had bested the odds far more times than they had been on her side. She was not so naive to think that her operations would always evade the attention of the law, but rather she had more than one plan ready to spring to evade it, and succeed in doing so where others had failed. Her network – the Kursia – was built on far stronger foundations than syndicates of the past. “Without luck, we’ll burn every loose end, and bury anyone who follows the smoke.”
  5. “The Haeseni agitators are no longer in our midst,” Konstantin murmured as he read the missive aloud as he stood outside Lauritz Christiansen’s old Helenan address; boxes were stacked outside the door and loaded into a horseless wagon as he and Lauritz moved the last of their old documents out the Christiansen-Wick Solicitors Helenan office. Over the distant din of chatter, Konstantin could hear a clatter inside the house as Lauritz filled the last of the boxes. Konstantin frowned as he folded up the Everardine missive, and burned it with the matchbox he usually carried for his pipe. “No great loss indeed,” he said quietly as the grey morning produced a drizzle. “At least now this lot will have a fair shot at running their own show now that we’re gone.” The thought prompted him to mutter a silent prayer for Konrad Stafyr and Terrence May – both Haeseni, both mentors to him, and both former legislature Presidents. Within the hour, he cursed his luck as the drizzle turned to a steady downpour and he and Lauritz – both of them former legislature Presidents and Haeseni alike – began the ride back to New Reza. Neither of them looked back. @Gusano
  6. A GUIDE TO THE AULIC COURT OF HANSETI-RUSKA KRUSAE ZWY KONGZEM With the inception of the Haurul Caezk as the chief lawbook of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska, the Office of the Palatine has seen fit to publish this missive advising citizens on how to use the newly-established Aulic Courts, the judiciary of Haense. I: Criminal Trials I.I – Prosecution: Only the Office of the Justiciar, as the state attorney, can charge someone with criminal offenses listed under the Section IV – the Jura i Krima – of the Haurul Caezk. If you wish to report a crime, contact the High Justiciar to begin investigations and criminal proceedings ((the High Justiciar’s Discord can be found in the #haense-directory channel in the Haense Discord)). I.II – Criminal Defense: If you are charged with a crime by the Office of the Justiciar, you will receive a notification of such and a trial will be arranged. You will have the opportunity to hire legal representation or represent yourself and you will have time to gather any necessary evidence for your defense. II: Civil Suits II.I – Suing Someone: If you have been wronged by someone else, you can take the offending party to Court where they can be punished and can even award you monetary damage. To do that, follow these steps; Fill out a Summons ((found by CLICKING HERE)) and submit it to the Aulic Courts ((Post it in the Haeseni Law forum, found by CLICKING HERE)); Your Summons needs to include the law that has been broken in the Haurul Caezk. Common violations include; Slander & Defamation; Harm suffered through an assault, dishonesty or negligence; Contract issues; Duelling issues; Harassment; Your Summons should provide the Court with a full explanation of the circumstances of the case; Once submitted, the Aulic Courts will review the merits of your Summons and arrange a trial if they deem the case sufficient; II.II – Being Sued: If you are summoned before the Aulic Court in a civil suit, you will have to attend trial to defend yourself or plead guilty to the charges. If you are being sued, a trial will be arranged to facilitate both parties, both parties will have the opportunity to hire legal representation and both parties will be given time to gather any necessary evidence. III: Appealing Judgments III.I – Submitting an Appeal: If you are of the opinion that a judgment of the Aulic Courts, involving you, was wrongful, you can submit a request to the Crown of Hanseti-Ruska to appeal and overturn the judgment. Much like a Summons, you can do this by submitting an Appeal to the Crown ((found by CLICKING HERE)). III.II – Grounds for Appeal: An Appeal should only be submitted on the following grounds: The original trial had legal issues, such as a juror or judge who failed to disclose a relationship with one of the parties; Substantial new evidence has come to light regarding the case after the original trial; The original judgment was objectively seriously flawed. III.III – Appeal Trials: If the Crown deems an Appeal to have merit, they will call for an Appeal trial and deliver a new judgment. Issued by Konstantin Wick KML Lord Palatine of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska
  7. Summons to the 7th Sitting of the Knight’s Table 340ES KRUSAE ZWY KONGZEM Pursuant to the Edict of Knightly Orders, the Crown, acting as Knight-Paramount pending selection of one, forthwith summons the Knights of the Order of the Crow and the Marian Retinue to a sitting of the Knight’s Table this Jula and Piov of 340 E.S. These warriors of renown, actively serving in the Order of the Crow or the Marian Retinue for the protection and betterment of the Kingdom, are summoned to attend this Sitting of the Knight’s Table to discuss the training and appointment of new squires, and quests for Knights to undertake in the name of the Kingdom. This Sitting of the Table shall take place with a pilgrimage to the shrines to mark the battlefields of the Scyfling Invasion, in commemoration of the Haeseni souls who perished fighting the heathen invaders. Starting in New Reza, this pilgrimage shall lead north to the site of the Great Battle of the North, to Metterden, to the Fort Buck, to the burnt Wickwood, and finishing at Valwyck. The following are summoned to attend; Ser Ivan ‘the Red Bull’ @erictafoya Ser Marcus Erdhart @Sarven Ser Ruben ‘the Butler’ @ItsMrCannibal Ser Boris ‘the Persistent’ @GMRO Squire Brandt Barclay @GoodGuyMatt Squire Georg Bykov @MioWasTaken Squire Joren Mackensen @Millite Squire Viktor Rauen @Pureimp10 Squire Fiske Vanir @Sander Squire Maverik Baruch @Drew2_dude Aleksadr Vyronov @Sarmadon Ivar Brackish @Legoboy7984 Theodosiya Vyronov @SilkieSilky This Sitting of the Knight’s Table shall convene at the first dawn of Jula and Piov at the gates of New Reza [Thursday September 24th 4PM EST/9PM GMT]. Issued by Konstantin Wick, Acting Knight Paramount, Lord Palatine of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska
  8. LETTER TO THE ROYAL DUMA REQUESTING AN ADVISORY ACT KRUSAE ZWY KONGZEM VA VE HERENZ I VE DUMA, On the 1st day of Wzuvar and Byvca of 340E.S. his Majesty Koeng Josef did sign the Haurul Caezk into law as the main lawbook of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska. The Aulic Council, at the behest of the Crown, now beseeches the Royal Duma to appraise this infant lawbook and submit a Legislative Bill to the Crown regarding any changes, additions, removals or clarifications that the lords and elected officers of the Duma deem necessary. The lords and elected officers of the Royal Duma are thus asked to begin liaison with their constituents so that this Legislative Bill will reflect the will of the Haeseni people. IV JOVEO MAAN Hauchkossar Konstantin Wick, Lord Palatine of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska.
  9. LETTER TO THE ROYAL DUMA REQUESTING AN ADVISORY ACT KRUSAE ZWY KONGZEM VA VE HERENZ I VE DUMA, Following the Edict of Seperation of 339E.S. and the consequent independence of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska, the Aulic Council, at the behest of his Majesty Koeng Josef, beseech the lords and elected officers of the Royal Duma to consider the necessity of reforming the Duma itself in light of its recent empowerment as the sole and supreme legislative body within the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska. The Royal Duma is asked to consider whether they see fit to expand the seats on the Duma, alter its functions or any other change prompted by the Edict of Separation, if any, and submit them to the Crown as an Advisory Act. IV JOVEO MAAN Hauchkossar Konstantin Wick, Lord Palatine of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska.
  10. A LORD OF THE CRAFT SHORT STORY: EVIL UNMASKED This post is the second part of a multi-part short story. You should read the first part by clicking here. Music (play both): For a moment, Krug just squinted at Iblees through the glare of the noon sun in silence, but for the gentle gushing of the river a few feet away and the wind swaying the branches of the surrounding trees. Years had passed since their last meeting, but despite that Iblees looked just as he always did. Wrapped in a plain black cloak, unkempt grey hair dusted the top of his weathered, kindly face, and his eyes, the colour of sand, had a warm gleam. In short, the Wizard looked utterly remarkable, but that simplistic facade had not fooled Krug in a very long time. The Wizard met Krug’s scrying gaze evenly, and stared back right back. His stare was as mild as could be, but there was still … an intensity about them. Krug could not really put it into words. There was a power there, a confidence, and an unwavering composure. Krug could have flung his axes at the Wizard, and Iblees would not even blink. Rotting Wizard. Krug hated those eyes. He hated that unfaltering calm. Krug knew he could stare down any other mortal living, and a good many beasts too. But not Iblees. “Tsch.” Unable to meet the Wizard’s stare for a second longer, Krug yanked the last of his throwing axes from the tree trunk in a shower of splintered bark. “If you came to talk, then talk,” he told Iblees gruffly as he stomped back from the tree to resume his target practice. “I came to talk of the future,” Iblees said softly. “And your role in that future.” Krug stopped in his tracks, his back turned to the Wizard. “No,” he said harshly. “If you came to ask me to become what my brothers have again, then my answer is no. Again.” Iblees said nothing. His face was schooled to complete stillness, and, as always, betrayed nothing of what he was thinking. That unreadable expression stoked Krug’s ire in a way he could never really explain; there was just something .... inhuman about it. Over the centuries, Krug had met a great many people - most of whom he could not tolerate - but he had always prided himself on his ability to gauge and understand those people just from the way they spoke, walked or stared. Iblees, though … There was no understanding Iblees, and Krug could never bring himself to trust something he could not understand. “If that’s all you came to say, then you should be on your way. Far Ridge has little to offer an outsider, and I have no time to waste with you.” “You have time to throw axes at a tree, but no time to speak?” “I have time to train,” Krug corrected him sharply, but Iblees scoffed. “Train? Train for what, Krug? You have the spear and the sling to hunt. What need have you for these violent weapons?” Gritting his teeth in annoyance, Krug stared at the axes in his hands. They were short weapons, with slender blades to minimize their weight. But those blades were too thin to fell trees or even cut firewood. The only thing they could cut was flesh and bone, and yet spears and slings were more practical for hunting boars and hares. These axes were tools for killing people, and people alone. “I need not explain myself to you,” he said through clenched teeth, and immediately felt foolish. He sounded like a child. The truth was that he did not really know why had taken to practicing with these axes so much; it had simply become a routine that he lost himself in. He found it oddly calmly, and that mildly disturbed him. Once again, Iblees said nothing ad nor did he move. Krug closed his eyes, inhaled deeply, and banished the Wizard from his mind. The sound of the pure, untainted nature of Far Ridge washed over him, and as he concentrated, he could hear voices drift from the nearby farms, and the wind sweep its way through the long grass. He could even hear a leaping trout splash about in the river. Focused once again, he slowly opened his eyes, and raised his first axe. He was aware of its weight as vividly as he was aware of the air filling his lungs, and the thump of his heart through his bare chest. From here, he could see the scars on the tree’s trunk where he had landed his axes hundreds of times before without fail. He never missed anymore, and - “Your people seem to be doing well,” Iblees piped up cheerily right as Krug threw the axe. It sailed wide of the target tree and sheared through low-lying branches before spiraling into the dirt several dozen feet away. The breath left Krug in a deep sigh. “They are not my people, Wizard. People cannot be owned. I have told you that many times.” Krug took aim with his second axe; he was not going to let Iblees put him off a second time. He flung the axe with excessive force, enough to put an immediate ache in his arm, but grunted in satisfaction where the axe slammed into the tree with such ferocity that the wood cracked loudly. “You have,” Iblees conceded as Krug raised his third axe, “but I have told you that no matter how much you might abhor it, the people of Far Ridge look to you for leadership, just as your brothers’ peoples look to them. It is they who call themselves your people, Krug, not I, and it is past time you accepted that for their sakes.” The motions of throwing his final axe died as quickly as they began, and Krug’s motivation deflated out of him with a weary sigh. Iblees had struck a nerve now, and Krug dearly wished he could deny the Wizard’s words. He had come to this harsh, uncharted reach of Aegis to leave behind the southern civilizations that his Brothers led, where they had named themselves as kings and built great cities - all with Iblees’ help. They had formed governments and armies that dictated the lives of others, and they no longer lived in fear of nature and the wild as they once had centuries ago - again, all thanks to Iblees’ teachings. Krug hated what they had built, and he had seen a greater evil in that world than he had anywhere else. When people no longer united to fight off starvation, cold or beasts, they began to scheme and compete against each other for power and wealth. They were forced to depend on others for food, shelter and protection, only to be doomed if any of them failed. To Krug, it all felt … wrong. Mortals were not meant to scheme against each other, nor depend on some fool to tell them how to live. The enemy of people was the harshness of nature – it was the biting winters and summer droughts, and the other beasts that competed with them. Their enemy was the world itself, and that enemy united people together. But when people conquered that enemy, they found an enemy in themselves. And so, Krug had left that world behind, and he had gone north. He taught those who followed him how to build their own huts, till their own fields and defend themselves from both beast and marauder, and they in turn had taught their children, and they their children. There were no markets in Far Ridge to grow fat on, no soldiers to cower behind and no lords to pay tribute to; every man and woman provided for themselves up here. When most hours of the day were spent rearing families and tending farms, folk had no time nor desire to steal, envy or stir trouble - any who did were exiled. Many who had first followed Krug north had been too weak to survive in this harsh land, but those who had endured had built a community of iron-willed families who balked at nothing and depended on no one. Life in Far Ridge was as life should be: it was simple, and it was happy. Well, it was happy for most. Despite having the people of Far Ridge everything they needed to live peacefully with no lord to answer to, they still looked to Krug for leadership. They asked him if the goats needed to be stabled earlier this winter even when frost had been glazing the fields since the end of summer. They asked him if a sheep ought to be butchered when it had only birthed stillborn lambs this year. Some fool couples had even asked Krug to name their child for them when they could not agree on a name themselves! The people of Far Ridge were still worth a hundred southerners each, yet they still called Krug ‘chief’ - he had given up on telling them to stop years ago - and they expected him to tell them what to do and how to live. There was a time where he had been happy in Far Ridge, a time when he had convinced himself that one day these people live freely and happily in contrast to the parasites his brothers led, and he would finally be able to rear a family of his own. That, however, had been a very long time ago. Now, many, many years later, there was no trace of that family Krug had fooled his younger self in believing he would have. He had nothing to show for his efforts but constant doubt about whether his vision for Far Ridge had been nothing more than an impossible dream. I’d be better off living as a rotting hermit in the rotting ice wastes. That was not the first time that thought had crossed his mind. After all this, he was simply left … hollow. Purposeless. “Well?” Iblees asked after the long silence. “Am I wrong, Krug?” Balling his fists, Krug began to stomp towards the trees to retrieve his two axes. “The solution is not to call myself some bloody king, and tell others how to live. They will learn themselves.” “I don’t know why you resist it,” Iblees said in that infuriatingly mild tone. “You are a strong people - no one can deny that - but one day a harsh winter might kill you all. It is time to begin acting like a true leader, and build a better world for the people here. With my counsel -” “I did not ask for your counsel,” Krug cut him off coldly, and gave the Wizard a frosty glare. “My answer is no, as it was two years ago, and as it will always be. Far Ridge is a place where people depend on no one, and answer to no one. If the price of that is succumbing to a harsh winter, or a pack of monsters, then so be it! I’ll not ask you again; begone. I tire of your games.” “Perhaps you’re getting old, then. You used to love games!” The Wizard had the nerve to laugh! “Maybe so.” He ripped an axe from the tree, though it was so embedded from his viscous throw that he had to plant a boot against the trunk to wrench it free. “You, however, might not get much older if you continue to test my patience.” “Oh, come now. Where has your sense of humour gone?” Krug paused at that. Where had it gone? He never laughed anymore, not really, and his patience seemed to grow thinner by the year. He still had plenty of life left in him, but he could not help but wonder if he had somehow become a grumpy old man. “We don’t care for your humour in these parts,” he told Iblees, but the words came half-heartedly. Sliding the two axes through loops in his belt, he began to wade out into the tall grass in search of the one that had missed the tree. “Oh, I don’t think that’s quite true,” Iblees said mildly as he trailed behind him. “I shared many laughs with your people on my way to see you. Incidentally, you are the first not to offer me bread and milk. Is that not custom here?” “If everyone offered, you must have had your fill.” “You’ve grown more distant, Krug,” Iblees said wistfully. “More distrustful.” “This is because I have better things to do than listen to the same old cryptic prattle,” Krug snapped with more heat than he intended, just as his boot brushed against the axe. He scooped it up, shot Iblees a final look of disdain, and started up the hill. “You’re leaving? We’ve barely begun our conversation.” “No, we have not, for we have had this conversation a thousand times, Wizard. I will not become some king like my brothers and turn Far Ridge into another nest of weak parasites. We will either survive out here, or we will die in the process!” “Krug-” “Your trip to Far Ridge was in vain, Wizard. There’s nothing for you here.” A small part of Krug hoped that Iblees would be vexed with such a dismissal, but when Krug left Iblees standing alone by the riverbank, it was he who felt vexed instead. Rotting Wizard. Krug had not lied when he said he had better things to do. He had promised to meet with the Wisefolk - though they were another monument to his failure to build independence in Far Ridge, and nor did he regard any of them as particularly wise - and, with planting season a few weeks away, he had still had a full day’s work to do at his own farm. Yet as Krug joined the Wisefolk in the great hall atop Far Ridge’s namesake landmark, he barely listened as they discussed the failed potato harvest, the abating winter cold, wolf activity and a dozen other things. Krug could not concentrate on a word of any of it; his thoughts remained fixed on the Wizard. Everyone else on Aegis - Far Ridgers included - adored Iblees. From north to south and east to west, he was celebrated as the wisest of wisemen who has taught them so many priceless truths about the world. It was Iblees who had taught them to grow food from the ground instead of relying on the instability of hunting; it was Iblees who taught them to brew medicine and treat illness; and it was Iblees who had taught them what it meant to love, respect and cooperate. Krug appreciated the Wizard’s teachings as much as anyone - he had practically raised Krug and his brothers, after all - but he wished Iblees had disappeared a long time ago. It was also Iblees who had taught them to fight and kill when mortals began to steal from each other. He had saved them for their enemy in the world, and given rise to an enemy in themselves. Even after his meeting with the Wisefolk ended with a murmured farewell, Krug was haunted by questions as he began the walk back to his own farm, which lay twenty or so minutes from the great hall. Was he deceiving himself with his vision of Far Ridge? Had he been fooling himself the whole time? If he had failed, as it seemed, then what was his real purpose? Was there one at all? The worst part was that Iblees’ return to Far Ridge had not prompted these questions; the Wizard’s arrival had merely dug them up. They had been there all along, lurking in the shadows of Krug’s mind for years. He felt lost in a trance as his solitary farm came into view and the end of a path of trodden silvergrass that wound down from the ridge to a copse of pine trees. As the sun began to dip towards the horizon, turning the world a deep hue of gold, he hoed his fields in silence. He asked himself those questions again and again as he milked and fed the goats, and as he sharpened his axes. He asked and asked, but there was no answer. The sun had nearly vanished beneath the surrounding sea of pines when Krug dropped down on the tree stump outside his hut that he used as a bench, The sky was a deep orange, and sharp shadows slanted across the land. A sea of wildflowers bloomed on the stretch of grass in front of his hut, streaked by a shallow stream that trickled between the flowers. Those wildflowers and that stream were the chief reasons Krug had actually built his farm here; there had been spots with more fertile soil or better pastures, but he had made the decision to settle here because he found the dulcet sound of the stream to be soothing, and the flowers to be beautiful. Should have just gone to the rotting ice wastes. Though there were no neighboring farms, Krug was not alone; Kyl clucked impatiently at Krug’s feet, staring up at him expectantly and waiting to be fed. She was a brown-plumed monstrosity of a bird, and easily the largest chicken Krug had ever seen. When he had first bred her, a good many years ago, he knew she would have made a feast when the time came for her to be butchered. When Krug had tried to take a knife to her, however, the chicken had resisted more fiercely than a Far Ridger would. She pecked half a dozen bloody holes in his arms and ran a marathon around the farm before Krug eventually caught her. After that display, though, Krug could not bring himself to kill her; something about the chicken’s futile but fierce resistance spoke to him in a way, and Krug had kept the chicken as a pet ever since. Kyl was old for a chicken and hardly laid eggs anymore, and Krug had no doubt she would peck his eyes out in his sleep if he was not her only source of food. But all the same, Krug cared for her. He had to care for someone. Kyl had not been his only pet. Krug felt a tug at his eyes as he looked at the small pile of stones amidst the flowers, where he had buried his old hound, Verk. Verk had been Krug’s closest friend for most of his years, and he dearly wished the great, gloomy-faced hound were here with him now. Verk had always managed to bring a smile to Krug, who felt like all his doubts had first started to plague him when the hound had died. Maybe Verk had just been another distraction from the reality he was avoiding. “You have it too easy, Kyl,” Krug murmured to the enormous chicken as he scratched her neck. “You just get to eat and sleep and don’t have a care beyond that.” When Kyl jabbed at Krug’s fingers in search of food, he sighed and scooped her up in his hand. “Let’s get you fed, then.” Kyl clucked and flailed her legs in protest as Krug, sparing one last glance from Verk’s grave, stepped into his hut. His hut was a small one, consisting of a single open room and furnished simply with a pile of furs to sleep on, a fireplace mounted with a spit, and a plain table carved with a tree-stump. Krug did not need much space, nor much furnishings. The fire was unlit, so the hut was dark except for the burning gold sunlight slanting through a window. Krug did not bother lighting the hearth; instead, he reached into the sack of feed by the table and sprinkled it on the floor. Kyl wriggled free from his grasp, splashed to the floor, and began to gobble up the seeds. Krug had not eaten all day himself, but he did not really feel hungry. He reluctantly chewed off a mouthful of flatbread, before he dropped down in the mound of furs that made up his bed. For a while, he lay there, staring up at the ceiling as Kyl clucked noisily. He did not know when he drifted off to sleep, but when his eyes jolted awake again, the deep golden light of the setting sun had been replaced with the pale grey light of dawn. He recognized the nasally whistle in the corner as Kyl snoring, but immediately somthing in the room felt … off. He bolted upright, making for where he had hung his axes near the door, but a shadow shifted in front of the cold fireplace “Good morning, Krug!” Krug wanted to roar at the Wizard, but he truthfully was not surprised to find Iblees sitting before the fire, calmly thumbing some cured tobacco into a plain pipe. “What. Are. You. Doing?” he hissed at him. In the corner, Kyl woke with a surprised squawk, and eyed Iblees suspiciously. Instead of throwing herself at him and pecking out his flesh like she did with everyone else, though, Kyl tread over to him and calmly nestled at Iblees feet. And now he’s turned my own chicken against me. “I thought we could finish our talk over breakfast.” Then, Krug did roar. “Get out of my house!” While Kyl recoiled at the noise, Iblees did not so much as flinch as he continued filling his pipe. “We are done talking, Wizard! There is nothing for you here!” It was then, however, that Krug heard voices from outside. Raised voices. “Chief! Chief!” “AND I AM NOT A CHIEF!” he bellowed once more at Iblees. He normally did not humour those who came to him early in the morning or late at night with ridiculous questions, but at that moment, he was more than eager to leave Iblees. He threw open his doorway, and paused when he saw that a cluster of men and women had gathered outside with spears and wood-axes. That was not normal, and he could almost sense something wrong in the air of the cool, grey morning. “What?” he asked, serious now. It was - surprisingly - enough to make him forget Iblees for a moment. He knew what the problem was before anyone answered, though; he could smell it in the bleak air. Smoke. “Jor’s farm,” one of the bearded man wheezed. His face was red from exertion, and sweat gleamed faintly on his brow. “His lad came running down this morning! Raiders!” Without hesitation, Krug spun around and marched back towards his hut. Iblees returns to Far Ridge, and now raiders rear their heads for the first time in months! In a way, though, Krug felt more … complete they he had in months. For once, he did not have a day of mindlessly going about his work while he gradually lost conviction in his vision for Far Ridge. Now, at least for this morning, he had a purpose; his home was under attack, and he would defend it. For now, that was all that mattered. “Did I hear raiders?” Iblees asked in that same soft voice as Krug burst back into the hut, and snatched up his axes. Krug did not bother answering him as he pulled his bearskin cloak from a peg near the fireplace. “Stop wasting time! Move!” Krug barked as he stomped back outside and pulled on the bearskin cloak over his bare chest, axes in hand. “If we are quick, we might yet catch them!” For now, he did not concern himself with the nods and grunts of submission from the men and women, like soldiers following their leader. He quashed the feeling of hypocrisy that rose from that, and at the very idea that he would go and help Jor and his family when his entire philosophy was to teach people to defend themselves. Damn it all, was all he told himself as he started the march down the trodden path winding into the forest, towards where Jor’s farm lay to the east. He deeply wished the bandits were still be there by the time they arrived; Krug needed to bury his axe into something. A few minutes down the road, he was not at all surprised when he turned and find Iblees calmly following them at the back with that infuriating, calm expression. Grinding his teeth together, Krug turned his attention back to the road winding through the forest towards Jor’s farm. The wind picked up, as they broke into a lumbering jog, and his cloak billowed out behind him. For now, he could put Iblees out his mind; he had a purpose. Well, he told himself as much, but he could practically feel Iblees’ eyes on the back of his skull, but for now he could ignore it. He would deal with Jor’s farm, and then the Wizard. Rotting, damned Wizard.
  11. ELECTIONS TO THE ROYAL DUMA KRUZAE ZWY KONGZEM VA BIRODEO HERZENAV E EDLERVIK, By the will of his Majesty Koeng Josef of Hanseti-Ruska, the ballot to elect the three elected officers to the Royal Duma are now open for the next month, and citizens of the Kingdom are called upon to fulfill their civic duty and vote. The three elected offices are: Grand Maer of New Reza The Grand Maer is elected by majority vote to represent the Haeseni people in the Office of the Seneschal and assumes the duties of management of the city’s social institutions such as the tavern, the cultivation of new businesses and economic growth within New Reza and the regular organization of city events. Royal Alderman The Royal Alderman is elected as the most popular representative of the Haeseni people as a whole by majority vote and tasked with giving voice to their constituents within his Majesty’s Royal Duma by proposing and shaping legislative bills. Tribune Similar to the Royal Alderman, the Tribune is elected as a popular candidate by majority vote, but their responsibility is to represent the commonfolk of Hanseti-Ruska within his Majesty’s Royal Duma by proposing and shaping legislative bills. As such, a candidate for Tribune must be of common birth. In order to vote, citizens are required to have a permanent residence within the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska. IV JOVEO MAAN, Sir Konstantin Wick, Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska. OOC Voting will be open for 24 hours this post, closing Saturday at 2PM EST/7PM GMT! CLICK HERE TO VOTE
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