Times Turn 29

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 )                                                                         (
(                             NewOrigins Events                             )
 )                              June, Year 3                               (
(                                                                           )
 )       Dozen adventurers are telling that they have heard about a        (
(     skrimish between hostile forces in the swamps of Cefrapes with 1      )
 )              killed from both sides ended in a slaughter.               (
(                                                                           )
 )                         .:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:.                         (
(                                                                           )
 )     Some travelers are telling that they have heard about swamps of     (
(      Poontmagwern where in the Hintknampve city guards were murdered      )
 )                              by a rebels.                               (
(                                                                           )
 )                         .:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:.                         (
(                                                                           )
 )      Many pilgrims are telling that refugees are worried about an       (
(        andventurers who have slain Living Trees (794) freeing the         )
 )                  forests of Crormel from their dread.                   (
(                                                                           )
 )                         .:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:.                         (
(                                                                           )
 )     Several travelers are telling that locals are rumoring about a      (
(     witchers who have murdered Undead (10584) freeing the forests of      )
 )                        Menghel from their fear.                         (
(                                                                           )
 )                         .:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:.                         (
(                                                                           )
 )     Many pilgrims are telling that they have heard about Evil Mages     (
(       (590) in the deserts of Stonmyxse continue to cause dread on        )
 )                           local inhabitants.                            (
(                                                                           )
 )                         .:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:.                         (
(                                                                           )
 )     Many travelers are telling that locals are rumoring about Cloud     (
(     Giant (501) in the tundras of Peputhunt continue to cause terror      )
 )                          on local inhabitants.                          (
(                                                                           )
 )                         .:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:.                         (
(                                                                           )
 )      Several travelers are telling that refugees are worried about      (
(     Kraken (142) in the oceans of Di'i Sea continue to cause fear on      )
 )                           local inhabitants.                            (
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    `-._.-' (___ _) `-._.-' `-._.-' )     ( `-._.-' `-._.-' (__ _ ) `-._.-'
            ( _ __)                (_     _)                (_ ___)
            (__  _)                 `-._.-'                 (___ _)
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Quests

In the plain of Rardmomvale lurks the Evil Warriors (638). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
Build a Temple in Angli for the glory of the Gods.
Seek a token of the Ancient Ones legacy amongst the grain of Reprau.
Build a Temple in Agate for the glory of the Gods.
Seek a token of the Ancient Ones legacy amongst the stone of Helmec.
Seek a token of the Ancient Ones legacy amongst the floater hides of Posclebon.
In the tundra of Wa'uw roams the Pride of Lions (239). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
In the mountain of Hashhi lurks the Family of Ogres (5956). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
In the tundra of Vandmanddal lurks the Hydra (824). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
In the plain of Flalo roams the Pride of Lions (251). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
In the mountain of Lolti roams the Yeti (192). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
In the desert of Ebigy roams the Pride of Lions (352). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
In the forest of Orfeidi roams the Giant Scorpions (1882). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
In the tundra of Croshea roams the Lizard Men (247). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
In the desert of Stonmyxse lurks the Evil Warriors (591). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
Seek a token of the Ancient Ones legacy amongst the horses of Eansu'osh.
In the tundra of Jitecpa lurks the Undead (599). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
In the plain of Cetheim lurks the Evil Warriors (503). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
In the plain of Flalo lurks the Evil Mages (518). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!
In the tundra of Huykash lurks the Hydra (510). Free the world from this menace and be rewarded!

Articles

Another month, another rampaging set of monsters had slaughtered the scouts of the Four Winds. At least now they knew where the undead that were terrorising Jitecpa were. Another quest that could be attempted, if the local inhabitants didn't mind any army moving through.
Children of the Four Winds (13)
That was unpleasant, but hopefully by now things will get quieter at the north. The remnants of a leaderless faction which kept doing the same things over and over with no guidance have left the village, leaving behind some useful stuff and more importantly, clearing up the space for our team to take over. The kobolds were finally cornered, and the region is free to prosper now that it has the proper guidance.
At home, one of our engineers has made a very interesting proposition: build a colossus of metal and stone, which will defend our capital with little to no maintenance. The proposal came with an exorbitant price tag for a prototype, but if we can cut our growing monthly expenses, it may be worth a try.
Fanhunters (16)
From the diary of Garthan Silvertong:

6th of May Year 3

We watch the may beetles swarming the plains of Leckheim today. Thousands of bugs buzzing happily. Until all our mages started a target practice session on them. Poor bugs. I guess not having any prospective targets for the month made us itching for a fight.

10th of May Year 3

Lachdanan asked me to help him and his sergeants train our front line troops. Imagine that! Me. A drill instructor. I agreed to do it. What choice did I have? I would never want to anger the guy. He's a killing machine. If he says I can do it I might as well give it a chance. He trained me after all.

17th of May Year 3

Drilling troops is hard work. All those years of voice traning is paying off. I can almost match Lachdanan's volume when shouting at the troops. Even Bohica noticed. She seemed impressed. I'm far from a real warrior though. I might have the skills to survive a battle but I don't know if I will ever acquire the ruthless mental fortitude of a true killer. Nor do I know if I really want to.

23rd of May Year 3

Regdan promised me a staff of fire. He'll attemps to create one next month. He said it's far from certain if he'll succeed but he will attemps it nevertheless. I am so excited. With a staff of my own I'll become a real badass. Even if I can't cast spells I could throw fireballs with a staff. Can't wait.

28th of May Year 3

We arrived back to friendly shores. It's been said that some living trees are stalking the forest a few days walk from our camp. The admiralty wants to hunt them down. I really wish I had that staff Regdan promised me. 
Indigo (17)
So, we sent one of our mounted scouts to first reconnoiter, then lead, an attack on a particularly nasty monster. "Just sound your bugle, and we'll come to assist" we said. But, oh no, he though he could win all by himself. Kind of sad really. It was a fine horse. 
Big Ol Bob (18)
Our goblin shaman says that too many ships are built these days...
Beastmasters (21)
"everything went to plan sir."
"Yes, that may be so sergent but I see dark times head."
The Grey Order (27)
We got good spoils from pirates. They are really nice guys, they gave us silver, goods, their lives.
The Black Obelisk (28)
The latest events showed that Empire needs to improve ship production. Scouts were reporting about a mighty fleet of 8 galleons sailing in nearby oceans. This is definitely must be matched at the empire side.
Avalon Empire (3)
New Friends, new worlds. Global Politics seem to be taking form, lets see if we find some new enemies as well...
Filcist (32)
We need more gold my lord.
Gyperboreya (33)
Xorphan the Beastly, Captain of the City Guard, had a reputation for cruelty among the goblins, a race not known for their kindness and charity.

While most the goblin populace limited their cruel entertainments to public executions, the gladiator pits, and stewing live llamas, Xorphan the Beastly's hovel was decorated with body parts, trophies from his heinous crimes, pickled in jars. Hatred of him was universal throughout the city tradesmen and worker classes, while the City Council saw him as useful in keeping the peasants paying their tithes and tariffs to pay for their aritocratic luxuries. A mere whisper of his name by the tax collectors was enough for any parent to hand over a sack of silver or the deed to their business.

As the sun rose, it illuminated the line that the City Guard formed in front of the City Hall. And so as Xorphan the Beastly paced along the City Guard's line, the angry mob roared when they saw him. Undeterred, he exhorted the guardsmen, "Look to your front! Swords at the ready! Kill these self-righteous Nergal cultists! Teach the peasants their place again like we always did! This isn't your first rodeo! You are level 3 combat troopers! Cut them all down! Look to your front!" 

Looking to their front, squinting into the sunlight the guardsmen's nervousness grew as they watched the growing angry mob, in numbers they had never seen before, walking alongside the warrior-monks of the Order who rode down on camels with their heavy armor, sharp lances, and vicious-looking crossbows.

Well maybe they should have looked to the side. From the north, the Order's catapult launched a single stone which rolled over a dozen guards before it came to a stop. Crossbow bolts rained down on the unprotected guards.

And maybe they should have looked to the other side, as from the docks in the south came a steady stream of fur-clad men from the Icy North and the Rugged West, grim in their purpose, also seeking justice for the repressed people of the city.

Too bad they didn't have eyes behind, as from the cemetary, skeletons shambled - seeking revenge for the crimes of the City Guard even after death. They passed through the City Hall along the way - no one ever found what was left of the council or their families, nor of the guards taken from behind.

In the meantime, fireballs came from all sides, turning once proud guardsmen into writhing torches.

And their crested helmets blocked them from looking up, whence an eagle swooped down and picked up one hapless guard and dropped him into the sea. In full gear, there was no hope of swimming back and those ships wouldn't be sending a rescue boat. 

By the time the eagle came back, the battle was already over. Nobody even had a chance to reload.

The City Guard was surrounded and crushed with alacrity. Of 120 guards, only seven of them even struck a blow, and barely half of those proved fatal. The guard corps crumpled like a ball of the thinnest beaten gold foil.

Xorphan the Beastly, like any bully, only had courage when he had a position of strength but was a true coward at heart. While many of the Guardsmen died a soldier's death and even the council aristocrats and their families died fighting with dignity if not skill, he collapsed to his knees and whimpered as he shook in fear, his lardy jowls and overfed belly jiggling and quivering like a jelly dessert.

Tied up and trussed over two camels, as no one dromedary (why can't we send an expedition to this fabled Mongolia to get those Bactrian camels who can grow wings and are strong enough to pull a wagon?) had the strength for the weight of such a grotesquely obese creature, he was taken to the Grand Priest Hawaz for judgment.

The Grand Priest, an already tall man made even taller by a mitre as big as a gnome looked down from the Induction Center's assembly hall's elevated dais, intoned in a stern voice "There is only one punishment we can inflict in this world fitting for this goblin's crimes. Prepare the ceremony of Ultimate Moral Purification. Let pain erase this goblin's sins! May Nergal's Justice be done!" The people cheered in delight at their long-standing tormentor finally getting his comeuppance. Though later some may have seen things differently and wondered just what this was the beginning of and whether there was a chance to stop things from taking their course at that stage. But by then some years had passed and most there that day had already died.

The lead torturer was summoned from the Secret Police Headquarters. He revealed the instruments of torture.

Xorphan the Beastly laughed. "Are you going to torture me or cook me dinner? A spoon? A garlic press? You should let me do this, I'll show you how torture is done!"

The lead torturer didn't laugh. Nor did Xorphan the Beastly ever laugh again.

The next morning, moans and wails still filled the marketplace, and the goblin peasants, joined by orcs and gnolls who are almost as sadistic as a culture, watched with fascination and righteous fury. If they were elves of any race, it might have been horror. If they were centaurs, they might have tried to intervene despite the crowds and armed soldiers. However, orcs, gnolls, and goblins made up nearly all the population of the region, including the migrant workers. The few dwarves made their excuses and went back to the mines and smithies. The gnomes just knew better than to interfere and returned to drilling with crossbows or digging up stones.

The morning after that, the lead torturer took over from his deputy after taking some rest. He greased a lance with the guard captain's own fat and dipped it in a bucket of blood-clotting herbs. He sent to the smithy for a big hammer. The former captain of the guard was installed with a full view of the comings and goings of the main city gate, from a height where he could see all the prosperous trade and military forces coming and going. Or he would have seen if his eyes had still been in place. 

Xorphan the Beastly was still alive eight days later, and those eight days felt longer than his previous 48 years. Yet little did he know his period of penance had only just begun. He impotently cursed the column of Mamluk missile troops and armored camel lancers who rode out of the city to the aid of the northerners who went to liberate another city from another cruel and greedy city council. He would have shaken his fist in anger, but the bones of both were already ground to little more than dust. He might have gnashed his teeth, but his gums were just filled with bloody holes. Indeed, the lance could only hold his weight because so many nonsessential parts of his body were missing.

The orc peasants in that city heard of this and wondered if their new overlords would be better or worse. They had not thought greater tyranny than their own city council was possible, but the severity of justice Nergal-style seemed just a bit excessive. Even for Xorphan the Beastly, whose reputation spread throughout the settlements of this island and neighboring ones. But then it's not the Order taking over, but their allies from the north. Will they be kinder? Hard to imagine they would be crueler. But they're used to an icy climate, might the swamp's heat make them grumpy? And they are coreligionists...

The name of Xorphan the Beastly was once used to admonish misbehaving children that he would come for them, but it was now used to admonish the wicked that they would share his fate.

Revolutions create a vacuum that the cruel and the cynical exploit. Yet they also bring hope. 

For his part, the Grandmaster knew he must not disappoint the people and must demonstrate enlightened leadership every day. Occasional demonstrations of cruelty appeased Nergal and encouraged correct behavior, but they mustn't become habitual lest they turn the culture into the depraved callousness that the orcs, gnolls, and goblins had so lived by. So he closed the gladiator pits to replace them with wholesome educational theatre, public spectacle executions were now limited to political crimes and espionage (even those who smuggled luxury goods without paying VAT were just garrotted in private), and the health of the local populace was greatly improved by the dietary reforms he instituted, inspired by the gnomes. The new city law enforcement and tax collectors were subject to the laws of the Order, not to their own self-serving rules - even the rightly-feared Secret Police never bent procedures, but were always scrupulous as to process and documentation.

He did, just to make the example clear for everyone, cast a spell to make Xorphan the Beastly undead, in the hope that he would remain impaled on that lance, still blind and mutilated and moaning in agony, long after his victims' families' deaths, long after the Grandmaster himself left this life, maybe even after the Order itself was forgotten and some other regime had taken over the city, until the end of the world. He knew the torments of one goblin in front of the city gates for ten thousand years were trivial compared to the improvement in life for the many peasants of the city and surrounding region and that this example would inspire continued obedience. And so he justified it in the name of the greater good, just as Nergal may seem outwardly cruel, but is inspired by love of the people and is doing what is necessary to achieve the everlasting prosperity of all the peoples of the world.
The Most Righteous Order (34)
Now, it is time for ice wurms hunting!
Merchants of Navarra (40)
The allies seem to want to eradicate just about anything else before they go for those demons. Either they are too scared of them, or they just want to get the most out of us. Or both.
The Culture (41)
Report from Scout #5
No, I most certainly did not say that the tactician should receive NO AID! Why were the entire army waiting _outside_ the village while he was slaughtered? Imbecills!
The Disinherited Knights (42)
The operations of guild's trade routes grew successfully. Now several settlements were provided with food and some even with crafted goods. However, the merchants perceived growing wastefulness of those expeditions. Many managers were needed to observer the taxation of locals that could be better employed in more productive endeavors. Therefore, Guild established plan to stop taking free money from locals and get more money by providing valuable goods. Accountants estimated that managerial capacity would then extend to manage at least 75 trade regions and that seemed like nice big number. But the plans needed execution and before that - even more new recruits that could produce WOOD from pole to pole.
The Trade Guild (48)
As expected, the dragon ate everyone. So it's not a problem anymore, right? Well, the second dragon came from the other side, hearing the rumor Red Skulls are tasty.
Red Skulls (5)
Orcs did not realize that they love mines until they played Minecraft.
Under Pressure (57)
The emissaries bowed before the Holy One.

"Greetings, your Eminence.  We are Ambassadors Kent and Larry.  We bring you great gifts and praises, and an offer of alliance."

The Prince of the Church raised an eyebrow. "You have Our gratitude.  Acolyte Neidermeyer, if you would?"

An official stepped forward and guided the ambassadors to a small gathering in a side room off the main hall.  The seated guests looked up expectantly.

"Hi there fellows. Meet Ken and Lonny." Neidermeyer spoke, rather casually.

"Larry," corrected the second emissary.

"Ken, Lonny, l'd like you to meet Mohammet Jugdish, Sidney and Clayton. Grab a seat and make yourselves at home. Don't be shy about helping yourselves to punch and cookies." 
Church of Light and Truth (59)
How peaceful are the lands? 
Malibu West (7)
No news -- good news.
Bleak Creek tribe (75)
Finally, away from the tundra !

But what was this ? Soldier behind every tree.

Battles everywhere.
Iron Harlequins (76)
Next turn our Tribes will wipe out wild Tribe of Centaurs!
Tribes (77)
The town of Hadacre seemed to be contested by other factions. But while they are squabbling with each other and getting nowhere, we can deal with the city guards and put an end to the uncertainty of this towns fate.

Oh... is that shiny metal in those mountains?

A mithril rush is in order.
Fountain of Magic (8)
made new friends. some plans also, future looks good. we can start sailing quite soon, when Kraken isn't a threat anymore.
Heimdall (80)
On the blade forgotten will flash erased galdrastav
sleepily hisses restless people
smiling will go out into the field draugr Tamerlan
crunches vertebrae, spits and says:

gather in packs, undead, who among of you is ready.
quickly clean out your pearl eyes  
Hey! In the halls of the khaganate of dreams
I saw a sure, sure way to the sublunary region

The power to measure with death and everyone would be happy to
drink from the vast rivers of life but desert sands have dried up
our throats hundreds of years ago.
Why do you hesitate, Emir, they will answer, lead us boldly!

Longly time looped, slept on the move
they tore up the defenseless snow with sharp steps
got stuck in windbreaks, and in the intoxicating delirium.
Eternity - not the fatherland, they said, not for everyone.

The moonlight swayed in the haze of the gold.
By echo of the storm someone's song in the silence was carried
somewhere between the sky and the invisible earth
the indestructible and mad Emir went to his distant home.
Nomads (82)
Do we have a newspaper?
And what can you do with it?
Oh, you can make a hat out of it! A fashionable hat!
Dark League (86)
After the coolness of the forest of Quafimcact, the heat of the desert of Ishepfen (41.25) was suffocating. Little activity here, with some gnoll exploitations for iron or stone. From time to time, a camel caravan passed by, loaded with grain and water.
A stage without interest!
Cartographers (97)

Rumors

Naught but bluster spouts from Old Fountain!
The ice  dragon had already begun her approach on the city of Botbury when the new edition of the Times was released.

How dare they? Thane's Ring taunting her, and the sheer criminality of faction #33. Which should she attack?
Well. That could have gone better...