Highcrag- The Glittering Hall
The underground always made the Krakaris nervous and uneasy. There was almost no room to use their wings which they consider to be an ill omen. Most Krakaris avoid the underground completely but Yvera was not one of them. Gora struck it rich when he choose Yvera as the diplomat for the Raptor States. He needed the fairness of the Aquila and the shrewdness of the Oscens so it seemed common sense to choose the daughter of a family that comprised of both. Her wings and black were a stark blue but her stomach leading up to her face was a dull white.
"First, I want to thank you for your hospitality." Yvera bowed to the stout Luug. "It is my duty as a diplomat to extend my nation's hand to you. We know how long you've lived in these vast mountains and we express no interest in getting in your way. These mountains are yours and yours alone." Yvera paused, keeping in mind that the Luug refer for statements to be concise rather than long-winded. "We've seen you expand and we want to help you. Let trade flow between us and you will have a taste of the wonders beyond these mountains. We want to help you, the Krakaris love to help people."
The Raptor States, the Oscen estate
Yoren was amid his counting when his father arrived. His entourage flew in as usual and as usual he called out for his servants to fetch him a drink but what wasn't usual was that he called the drinks for two. A few guests had arrived amid his father's entourage. It was blue feathers mixed with white.
"Clear the dining hall!" He called out. "Councillor Aerya does not tolerate filth!"
Whether he meant that as a jest, Yoren couldn't tell but his servants hurried either way. Then shortly after that, he heard his name as well.
"Yoren, come down and greet Councillor Aerya!" Yoren pushed himself off his table and went downstairs where the lavish hall was located. It stretched far and wide with enough gilded ornaments to make an Ajivam merchant flush. The table was made of a hardy wood and was old as Silver Claw. He found his father sitting across from Aerya as water began to flow but if he knew his father, it would turn to wine at any instant.
"Councillor Aerya," Yoren bowed. He hadn't seen her since the day of the trial when the criminal that killed his wife was sentence to life in prison and for good reason too. ", pleasure of you to come to our estate."
"The pleasure is mine." Aerya said returning the bow as Yoren took a seat. "I hope you aren't too busy, Yoren."
"I have all the time in the world for a member of the Aquila family." Yoren dutifully said although in his mind, he all saw them as nothing but glorified guards. Without their legacy, they would be nothing. "I hope my father hasn't pestered into you coming here."
"On the contrary, she asked to come here." Gora said as he took a sip from his cup. "She wants to know of our tradesmen."
A rock dropped in his stomach but he dared not reveal his emotion. "What of them? They are what their name entails."
"You don't need to beat around the bust anymore, Yoren. She needs them. We need them. For the better of the states." Gora sighed.
"It is true. We are in need of their services more than ever with the way this world is changing. You don't need to hide it from me any longer. The fact of the matter is that these merchants are needed."
"Krakaris merchants and tradesmen are two different things, Councillor." Yoren shook his head. His reluctance shone through his green eyes. "A tradesman can be a merchant but a merchant can't be a tradesman."
"Enough with the word games. Just tell her." Gora commanded, his frustration was palpable but Aerya remained eerily still. The father and son eyed each other before Yoren looked back to Aerya.
"A Krakar tradesman is our eyes and ears. Without them, we wouldn't be as lucky as we are. They are everywhere and anywhere. They can be any Krakar in this room." Yoren said as if it was all rehearsed before hand. Gora looked approvingly at his son before looking to Aerya once more. Her grey eyes yielded understanding without a hint of anything else which is a strange trait among all Aquila.
"These tradesmen aren't just normal spies?" Aerya finally asked.
"They are and they aren't. Anyone can hire a cheap spy to keep an eye on things but a tradesmen's craft extends to beyond spying. You may call them assassins, saboteurs but to the Oscens they are tradesmen. Just like a mason, merchant, or woodworker has their craft these ones have theirs. But the difference being where a mason shapes stone for gold, these tradesmen shape the world for gold. Merchants may trade goods but these tradesmen exchange whispers. You may call it espionage, they call it tradecraft."
"When can we send one of them to Lot-Vos?" Aerya mumbled. For the first time Yoren saw Aerya uneasy and uncomfortable with the talk of the tradesmen. These men were so revered among the Oscens that talking of them was enchanting. It was true that they were glorified spies but they had helped the Oscens secure so much in so little time. Even children are told of the tradesmen and their craft with the emphasized point that a tradesmen could be anybody. They weren't sent by the Gods or unholy shades at night but they were merely individuals. The rituals and mysteries surrounding the Krakaris tradesmen remain a mystery to many but not to Yoren or Gora or his father before him.
"As soon as you ask them." Yoren said before glancing over to a servant, pouring water into Aerya's cup. Aerya's eyes followed Yoren's to see the little Krakar dutifully doing what he was commanded. The little Krakar barely looked older than a child. Yoren had never seen a Councillor squirm in their seats so much before. It made him smile.
Cyth'raul, Manor of the Dead - 14/15 AP
The deity gave a gracious bow to the fellow god, "'Twas a pleasure, Qartoq."
Cyth'raul relished the feeling of her name on the tongue, such a queer set of sounds to describe oneself. But there was no doubt that the name Cyth'raul was a strange name as well as the syllables had been taken from primeval whispers - the very start of sound as language, as something other than noise, as the vessel of communicated intent.
Speaking of which...
"I accept! I shall try to convince the council to include you in our ceremonies at the Marshlight Festivities. I am sure a being of your...inclination, will appreciate a few followers here and there. In return, I hope you can relay the message to any interested parties, that Rok'lo Sha is looking to open it's borders."
"Not 'try', not 'hope', it will be." There was a guttural growth behind the reply. Uncertainty was the last thing the Pactforger wanted in a Pact, however, both terms on the table had that quality, making the deal seem fair. Of course, it would be a simple matter of displaying divine power if anything were to go awry with that deal.
And with one came another...
. "...I wish to forge a pact. What is the cost of your guidance to settle the mountains to the north?"
"Appropriate thanks and praise, fitting of gods and followers. A friendship even." Cyth'raul grinned.
The first order of business was to find these mountains and see them in the flesh, per se, the second was to wait for the golden one's reply.
High Prince Octavius, Nova Verde, Isle of Maia
Octavius was livid with rage as he walked out of the banquet, it took all his strength to keep himself composed and until he was behind closed doors with his two close companions, Prince Torus and Lord Olin. Together they formed the head of an nameless group that had held the keys to the kingdom for over a decade.
"Gah, that scheming little fuck!" Octavius exclaimed, "Lord of the Admirality my arse,"
"I always said we should have picked the younger one," old Torus replied cordially, "Would have got more years out of him,"
"Pah," Octavius spat, "Maximus is a good kid but he was barely a babe in arms when Sirius died, it's not good for a boy to be told he's a living god from before he can even speak. Lest we forget my father's predecessor."
There was a general shudder around the room.
"Well, what we do now?" Olin broke the silence, "He's dismissed the Noble Parliament, that's our last few years of work wiped out."
"There's only one thing we can do," Octavius replied with a grimace, "We go along with his Majesty's commands for now and let him think we capitulated. I'll leave the court tomorrow to head south with the fleet. You two build on our connections, pull in some favours and get some real dissent around the Empire. By the time I get back, he'll be begging for me to take back my position."
"You're really willing to leave the Imperial Court?" Torus asked in surprise, "It could be months before you return,"
"I wouldn't mind getting away from this stifling place for a while, besides I could do with the time to work on those manuscripts by the Father that were found in the Imperial Library last summer. I'm really close to breakthrough, I can feel it."
The three men talked for a little while longer and then broke company, not knowing when they would meet in person again.
Lord Cassian and the Vazin, Grand Ajihva
Several weeks after the Emperor's birthday, Lord Cassian gave a whistle as he and the rest of the Auroran delegation rode through the gates of Grand Ajihva. He'd been there once before many years ago but it's size never failed to impress him. The great city was like Nova Verde pumped up on concentrated whale bile, stretching as far as the eye could see. Messengers had already been sent ahead so the delegation expected to be met soon enough.
The party was welcomed at the Vazin's halls by Sarpa Dhurta, visor to the Vazin himself. The man looked tired and stressed, clearly it had been a long day. Nevertheless he greeted them fondly.
'Welcome friends, I trust you had a safe journey and have found our city to your liking. If you'd like to follow me to the grand hall we can begin the discussions.'
He led them through the Vazin's home, past the entrance hall and towards the inner sanctum.
'I hope you will forgive our hastiness but the Vazin wishes to see you immediately. Our recent dealings have been... less than pleasurable. You are welcome to explore the city at you leisure once business is concluded.'
"Of course," Lord Cassian replied, "We are entirely flexible with His Highness' wishes" He followed the man into the Vazin's inner sanctum and bowed deeply.
"Your Highness, I bring greetings and gifts from His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Aurora. Amongst others, a circus of Toro Islanders for your entertainment and a Princess of Aurora with an offer of marriage, if you or your kin desire her."
The diplomat waved to his hand to a veiled young woman behind him, who curtseyed gracefully. She was dark featured and pretty, smiling shyly.
'Unfortunate as Vazin I am forbidden to take a bride; my duty is to the city, heirs... complicate matters. However I will gladly accept her into my household and treat her as daughter, in time I am sure she will attract the attention of a fine lord'
He now addressed the girl directly
'My child, you may treat this house as your own. I shall have a guard escort you to the woman's quarters, there you shall be educated in our ways to better serve your husband and your city. Kevlam Nasta Ajivha-Tahna.'
The young bride was lead out of the hall by a guard, with the done the Vazin faced the diplomats once more.
'Thank you for this gift, in the spirit of friendship I have one in turn.'
A small motion to a servant in the wings and the gift was brought out; a fine chest made of dark blue stone, trimmed with gold. Though no grand size its worth was evident, when polished it practically gleamed.
'Now then, the gifts have been traded and the pleasantries are at an end. Let us talk business. Please, take a seat.'
"Thank you, I know the Emperor will appreciate your gift," Cassian replied and sat down on a cushion provided by an attendant. For the next few minutes, the men spoke about secret business which none others heard. When they were finished, the Vazin rose from his seat and moved towards the head diplomat. With a shake of the hand their business was concluded and Lord Cassian left the chamber to return to the rest of the delegation in the guest section of the palace.
Emperor Kaius III, Nova Verde, Isle of Maia
"Failed, you say?" the Emperor exclaimed in disbelief, the messenger before him looking as apologetic as he could muster.
"I'm afraid so your Imperial Majesty, a ferocious storm met the fleet and they were forced to return to port in Nova Aurora. His Majesty High Prince Octavius asks what you wish your next move to be?"
"If the Father wills it that way, so be it," Kaius said with a sigh, "Order the fleet to split in half, one to try settling the north and the other to try again in the south. This time we will be more successful, Matthias wills it I know,"
Highcrag-The Glittering Halls
" Let trade flow between us and you will have a taste of the wonders beyond these mountains. We want to help you, the Krakaris love to help people."
"The offer is...appreciated." Lew'pan gave another bow. "However, wonders are not our concern. I understand that the peoples beyond out mountains may enjoy the sights of pretty baubles, but we do not find much use in these things. Unless you have some that can be used, I doubt the Supreme would condone this arrangement."
Highcrag-Den of Jugaan
Jugaan waited until she was in the security of her own den before responding to the whisper.
"Appropriate thanks and praise, fitting of gods and followers. A friendship even."
Jugaan knew that this voice had power, it's method like that of Old Therax inscribed on the lore stones within the capital. Could it truly be a god? Jugaan did not know, but if it was a being of power, than there was a chance for her to bring great prosperity upon herself and her Tribe. So, in the darkness of her den, Jugaan spoke to the source of the voice. "I understand. Guide my Tribe, Cyth'raul, and I will make sure those who follow me...will also follow you. This I swear."
Highcrag-The Glittering Halls
"Unless you have some that can be used, I doubt the Supreme would condone this arrangement."
"We have other wonders that your Supreme might be interested in but not of materials." Yvera mentioned. She was told to extend an open hand with all the amenities that may come from Krakaris hospitality and she was partly glad that this Luug allowed her jump into their next offer. "Our kind has seen the world and what it can bear through the gift of our eyes along with our wings. We can offer you what we see. Our spies are not bound by nation or ideology but rather by contract which you can secure through us. So we offer you information in exchange of simple friendship for both of our nations."
Office of the Visor: Grand Visor Sarpa Dhurta
As always it was the Vazin's job to sort the diplomacy, the Visors' job to fill out the paperwork. The past months had been taxing; entertaining two different diplomatic parties and attempting to come to some kind of agreement was not an easy task. This, coupled with the worrying reports of crop failure in the eastern villages had culminated in a near constant migraine for the Vazin's right hand man. The weeks following Cyth'rul's message had been hard enough, numerous proclamations and calls for calm. In time the people settled down; those who made their deals did so in secret, those who wanted no part of the Gods kept their heads down and their work strong.
Finalising the deal with Ray-Das was dull work, however it was simple with clear profit at the end. What interested Sarpha was the Vazin's new desire for expansion; for the first time in recorded history Ajivha planned to form a new town, a new city. The job of managing this new settlement had been given to him alone. Naturally it was a logistical nightmare; convincing a people like the Ajivhans to settle and new land was akin to convincing a desert wanderer to eat salt. To maintain calm only those involved knew of the plan lest the people riot, it had been a nightmare just getting a group of scouts together without the public catching wind.
Finally they group had been assemble; 30 men, each a master of his craft able to survey the potential of the new land. Joining them soon would be the shipwrights from Lot-Vos. Soon they could begin.
This was his job. He was going to see it through.
Lysei, Unknown Nobility House, 12/15 AP
"Sir, the guests have arrived. They brought your entertainment for the month."
Lord Thallus was sitting in his chambers, moans and echoes could be heard throughout his house. His butler, who had long since been forced to give up his name in exchange for his title, was speaking as loud as he could to get his Lord's attention. The new guests were several young ladies that the Lord liked to "break in" as he would call it. Naturally, the Butler would never elaborate beyond this, simply that the Lord would eventually sell these slaves to various brothels that he had good relationships with.
What was strange, however, was that this was not the typical escort for the slaves. This man was strangely obscured, draped in heavy clothing, no flesh displayed. The Butler welcomed the slaves in, but stopped as the escort began to step in.
"I'm sorry sir, but this is as far as I can let you in. Rest assured, we shall take great care of these two."
The figure stopped for a moment, and a female voice came from inside. "The Lord has missed several payments now, I am to talk to him and receive payment."
The Butler stopped for a moment, and realized the seriousness of the situation. "I am...sure we could work this out between the two of us m'am, there is no reason to disturb him. I mean-.
A quick flare came out of the figure and a blade whizzed by the Butler, nearly missing his head. He collapsed to the ground, realizing he was outmatched. "Please, don't hurt us."
"I won't." The gruff voice stated as she walked towards the quarters of Lord Thallus, slaves in tow.
The Lord Thallus was just exiting his grand display, as he liked to call it. Dozens of methods he had to induce pleasure were racing around the room as he listened to the choir they induced. He was draped in robes simple for a noble, but entirely unaffordable for anyone else. As he navigated the halls, he reached the figure and her two slaves and stopped. "My butler usually takes the new ones to me...where is he?" The lord seemed confused, but not suspicious yet.
The voice spoke and said "He was, busy last we entered, and simply showed us the way."
"Well, that's entirely improper, I will have to teach him a lesson then." The lord cracked his knuckles and approached the two new slaves, examining them. They both shuddered as he stroked their hair and pinched their cheeks. "I think they will do quite nicely. The payment is in the back as per the usual."
With that, the robed figure nodded and stated. "We have to discuss something first, the guild has run into an impasse with authorities lately. If you would come with me, we could discuss your options."
Lord Thallus raised his eyebrow at that, almost shocked when he heard what voice came from the robed figure, but then chuckled a bit and said "Of course, let us come to my more private quarters."
As the two walked in silence, the Lord had the largest grin on his face and mused to himself. "So what made the guild send you here? I wonder, I wonder." They finally approached the end of the hallway, up to a dead end and the figure stated, "What are we doing here? I doubt these are your quarters, do not waste my time".
Thallus shrugged and said, "The guild and I broke connections about a month ago, something about assassins murdering key members in horrible fiery deaths." He stamped on the ground and the floor shot from under the figure. She grabbed on to the ledge, but barely seemed to hold on. "I had to consider the possibility that another assassin might come for me, so I prepared this little trap. Leads to my dungeon. Impressive, no?"
The figure reached for a dagger and stuck it in the floor, beginning to climb out of the floor as Lord Thallus kicked her head, causing the figure to go falling into the abyss. "Good to see you again, Katalia."
As Katalia sat in the pitch black darkness alone. Rumblings from upstairs were audible, the guards of the estate were discussing what to do with her. Horrible ideas emerged, including a second branding, which made her shudder. This wasn't the plan, damn it, Thallus had gotten her again, and this time she didn't know if she could get out.
Katalia cursed and screamed into the darkness, her feet and hands were bound by chains and her weapons removed. She was naked, but nobody would be able to tell that in the dark. It was then, that a voice responded to her screams, it was unlike anything that came from the castle.
"You wish to end this man's life?" It mused, seeming almost a step away from laughing.
Katalia spit onto the ground and said "After everything he did to me, I want to do a lot more than that."
The voice stopped for a moment, and Lysei materialized in front of Katalia. Her eyes went wide as his flame-bound form stared into her eyes. "I have come here to offer you a deal. You become my weaver, destroying countless people like Thallus, and I will grant you your vengeance." Lysei stuck out a single gauntleted hand. The light emanating from it revealing Katalia's fiery red hair and branded face. "Deal?"
Katalia with little hesitation reached and grabbed the fire-lord's hand. "I don't know who you are, but I don't have much choice now. Deal."
Lysei grabbed onto Katalia's arm and runic symbols began to burn themselves into her flesh. She screamed in horrible agony as her flesh became charred. It was beyond any pain she had ever felt. Lysei yelled to her "Do not let the pain consume you. This is your trial, Katalia, withstand it."
Katalia could hardly even hear the god as she yelled out in defiance. Rattling her chains and causing them to strain. The markings had gone all across her body now, and were reaching her face. She clawed at them but it did nothing. The fire reached her eyes, everything turned a bright white, but it stopped burning. In fact, everything stopped burning. Katalia blinked a few times and the darkness returned, the god was gone, and she was alone again. Had it all just been a dream?
Katalia reached for her chains, but found them to be broken, bits of them melted at the edges. She began to inspect the chains, but as she did, a flicker of flames began to follow her fingers. In fact, every time she moved them, a string of bright white plasma followed. She entertained it for a moment, then, almost as if it were natural, fired a line towards the wall. The line made a deep cut, and went at least half way through. Part of the rock had melted and the room glowed for a moment. Katalia realized with this, that her robes were placed on the ground, neatly, as if they were a gift. The robes had a note on them, and the note read as such: [I] Katalia, I know this is sudden, but your vengeance is at hand, go upstairs and grab it. [/i]
Katalia quickly put on her garments and smirked. Several lines of flames stretching from her fingers. She walked up many stairs and reached the door. Guards on the other side would have seen several hot lines breach the door for a second, before being cut to ribbons themselves. Katalia came through the door, yelling. "Thallus! The gods themselves come for you now!"
That night, Thallus' manor was filled with screams, but quite unlike the type it usually was filled with. Now, its master would feel the full wrath of his own creations. Word would come back that his manor had been burned to the ground, and his slaves liberated. One of many instances of nobility being murdered outright.
Lysei looked over the smoldering ruins, and found Katalia grasping the corpse of Thallus. Contempt in her eyes. She had burned everything around her, but the flames did not harm her. Lysei spoke with an unusual kindness in his voice. "Weaver, you have done well. But we must go. The town guards might come soon, and they do not deserve the same death you have given to this man."
Katalia looked up into Lysei's visage. There was no face to be seen, just blackness. She dropped Thallus' corpse and asked, "What...now?"
Lysei smiled. "You do what you wish, I have granted you this form, immortal as I am, though not invincible. I trust your decision making. I doubt you will disappoint me Katalia, Weaver of the Inferno."
Lysei faded from Katalia's gaze. She could see torches in the distance, people were yelling out for any survivors. Katalia headed in the opposite direction, towards the forest.
Cyth'raul, Mountains to the North of the Deep Tribes - 12/15 AP
Things were going well, and Cyth'raul's grin grew.
"I understand. Guide my Tribe, Cyth'raul, and I will make sure those who follow me...will also follow you. This I swear."
Indeed, that was certainly more like it.
And so the god floated around the golden ones, sending whispers which would instruct them on the matter of settling, blessing them with knowledge. They would be marked for a awhile, just a subtle circle on their shoulder.
"Take the ones I have marked, they will be your settlers." The deity replied.
Highcrag-The Glittering Halls
"So we offer you information in exchange of simple friendship for both of our nations."
"That is certainly more of an enticing offer." Lew'pan smiled and he bowed once more. "I am sure that this is worthy of the Supreme's consideration. If you will excuse me, I will bring this to his attention." With a curt nod, Lew'pan left the diplomat alone in the hall as he traveled deep into the mountain to bring word of this proposal to Budraal, who Lew'pan found still brooding after his talks with Jugaan and Os'lan.
After discussing the details, Budraal nodded in agreement. "We could use these 'Raptor States' specialties to our advantage...though I am not fond of handing over so much for a promise. Return to the diplomat with new terms, and see how she responds." Lew'pan respectfully bowed and quickly returned to the diplomat with Budraal's stipulations.
Highcrag-Den of Jugaan
"Take the ones I have marked, they will be your settlers."
"Very well." Jugaan nodded in acknowledgement to the empty space of her den, unaware if the "god" was there with her. Regardless she immediately sent the word throughout the Gold Tribe, all those bearing Cyth'raul's mark were to gather supplies and ready themselves to an expedition to the northern mountains.
Highcrag-The Glittering Halls
Yvera looked upon the new terms as simple as they were. This looked to be just what Gora was looking for and knowing Gora, the Krakar always had a plan or so she believed. The Krakaris always had a natural gift for espionage and they might as well use it to their advantage. It was no use squandering it away for free.
"I must inform you that even though we may fly, it takes time to put an agent into place. If you are willing to wait, the secrets will be much juicer. I give you my word as a representative of the Raptor States that we will always fulfill our end of the deal." Yvera announced before bowing to the Luug. "Otherwise these terms are reasonable. I will relay them to my superiors but consider this deal agreed upon." She tucked the parchment neatly away.
"I humbly ask your permission for me to stay here so that I may relay any desires your Supreme has with my nation and to oversee any future transactions. It is merely a courtesy for my nation to do so." Yvera said politely.
Highcrag-The Glittering Halls
"I humbly ask your permission for me to stay here so that I may relay any desires your Supreme has with my nation and to oversee any future transactions. It is merely a courtesy for my nation to do so."
"I see no reason this can not be arranged. I will see that appropriate lodgings are made for you...they will have to be freshly dug as I assume you would want something closer to the surface..." Lew'pan bowed and left the Diplomat as he searched for more heavy-set Glass Shifters to begin work on a small den for the Krakari. As the diplomat waited, a new cave within the city was dug, opening up to the surface in an attempt to accommodate her.
" I will see that appropriate lodgings are made for you...they will have to be freshly dug as I assume you would want something closer to the surface..."
"Thank you very much." Yvera said as the Luug left but soon enough he returned to show her to a small den that they freshly dug. It opened to the surface which was a pleasant surprise. The sun shone through the opening and the den was enough to accommodate her.. It was no estate but it was a nice a change of pace which was one of the reasons why she thanked Gora for such a position. "Give my thanks to your Supreme and it was a pleasure doing business with you."
Her patience was well rewarded, as soon an envoy, not of one of the small tribes or bands of wanderers, but of the great Raptor States arrived in her hall. With luck this meeting could benefit both parties, after all neither the praise of a nation or the power of a goddess were to be scoffed at.
The children Gangari touched were truly blessed, their young minds quickly proving inquisitive and creative beyond the norm. It would take time before they were old enough to truly affect the world with their growing genius, but when that time came it was certain they would prove great innovators and philosophers the likes Sammah Ajivha-Tahna had rarely seen.
The designs unfolded beautifully inside Ber-Sam's mind, and the god of water was able to watch satisfied as the efforts of the Ray-Das craftsmen soon made the vision a reality. If not his full power his ingenuity and ability to guide had been clearly shown.
Cyth'raul's advice settled poorly on them and they heard it in their minds as garbled nonsense, still they attempted to follow the instructions as best they could in spite of their eventually clear futility and wastefulness. The settlement succeeded but only by the hard work of the settlers overcoming the initial mistakes of shoddy construction and poor organization.
The Settlers from Ray-Das found the lush coastal forests to the south quite hospitable, to the east they had great difficulties though, and in the end one of their two groups proved to be ill equipped and under supplied, and so was forced to turn back. Unfortunately Ray-Das's supplies were beginning to run short, the settlers had required a great deal of the young nations supplies to set out, and in the heart of the young nation worries were beginning to spread that those eager for expansion were endangering the nation. Others still though felt such concerns were shortsighted, and the unrest was far from overwhelming.
The scouts who had covered the land to the south were among the first to join the settling effort, and their enthusiasm and preparedness made up for their inexperience. Soon a new flourishing settlement had risen in the south, and few could question the wisdom of creating it.
In the meantime the watchtowers went up across the nation, well concealed among the trees and well staffed with trained Yish'Tai. For the moment there was little call for their efforts though, and those stationed in the tower spent much of their time practicing their aim or telling stories.
Briln quickly discovered the difficulties of digging deep, hitting hard packed earth that refused to budge, and on other attempts wet earth that filled his holes as quickly as he made them. Tired from the effort he eventually set the idea aside for the time being.
In the meantime the worship of Cyth'raul spread across the nation, and Yish'tai happily added him to the list of spirits they gave praise to. Unlike those spirits though Cyth'raul had substance, and strength that would grow with their support.
The scouts had far greater luck this time, the storm had long since passed and the wind this time was with them in their flight. They soared over the land below and charted it, finding the hazards and sheltered spots that were important to their people, and swiftly returning to make their report, this time unscathed. Unfortunately the researchers of the States proved less successful, unable to make much progress over their internal divisions and squabbles, and in the end producing no new knowledge that could be used.
The same winds that carried the scouts carried the Krakari spy to the lands across the sea, by wing and by boat he soon arrived in Lot-Vos. Unassuming as he was he had little trouble finding a place where secrets would begin to flow freely to him, so that he could pick out the choicest ones and send them home.
Though better prepared than before the supplies could not make up for the heavy hearts of the settlers, they were well aware of the failure of the first two expeditions and the jungle was not the easiest land to settle, their loyalty was great but so too was their worry. In the end the disheartened settlers met with failure again, and returned home in shame.
The scouts were as reluctant to seek new land as the people of Sammah were to settle it, and put forth a lackluster effort. Wearied by homesickness they soon returned to Grand Ajihva their task unsatisfactorily concluded. The weeks were not filled wholly with bad news though, the treaty with Ray-Das was well received by all, and the techniques for working the new ore far outstripped what they had developed so far, the new metal was hard and strong, all that remained was to arm themselves with it.
Though with reluctance in places the moss growing techniques spread quickly, their effectiveness quashing any doubts or animosity. The tribes would benefit greatly as a result, as time was certain to tell. In the meantime the annointed settlers made their way to the north, the land was hard and the supposed blessing only made things harder for them, but they persevered, unwilling to be called failures after having been selected by a god, and by their efforts a new settlement was established.
Jashiki, Lot-Vos, 11/15 AP
After imparting the information to Ber-sam Jashiki disappeared. Going from the room with her to the oceans beyond the harbor in an instant he let himself drop to the bottom of the ocean as he considered.
I need to do something impressive to earn the trust and admiration of the people of Ray-Das. While I'm sure something like taking down a wall would earn it, i wonder what else i could do to help them believe in me.
Sitting at the bottom of the ocean as he things Jashiki shakes his head slightly and lets himself float through the waters of the ocean, not directing where he is going. Staying mostly on the bottom but a few times a current taking him within a few few hundred feet of the surface. The whole time he is floating Jashiki thinks to himself.
The Ray-das will worship me, the ships and whatever i come up with to impress them will make that happen. But the rest of the world doesn't know of me yet, by deed or action. I need something... Grand. Something new to this world which all can look at and know it was made by a god.
Opening his eyes and stopping his drifting in the ocean Jashiki can see a form of a creature building in his head. As more and more of it builds in his head he lets its body come more into focus he started thinking over its instincts and how it would live. Frowning as more of what he wanted came into realization he came to realize that even as a god he would need help making this thought into reality. Thinking over how much power would be needed to create this creature and all its instincts Jashiki sighed at not being able to create it himself but knew he would probably fail if he tried.
Floating to the surface of the ocean and standing on it Jashiki talks into the air, but doing it in a way so normal mortals wouldn't be able to hear it. While all gods in the world would be able to hear it, and hopefully respond.
"gods of this world, I wish to create a species and release it into the world. I already have the basics on how it will both look and act but I fear I don't have the power to do it alone. All of you who wish to help, if something about these creatures you wish to change tell me and let us figure out what to do."
Standing still after sending out the message into the world Jashiki also forms a mental picture of the creature, everything about it. Sending it out after the message so all the gods would know what he is trying to create and what they would be helping to create.
The huntress and her two escorts took one last look behind them as they left the Marshes behind them and entered into the open fields. Mounted on sturdy Elk, they carried with them numerous pelts and goods that would be needed, both for the journey and for diplomacy. Having decided to open negotiations with the Deep Tribe, rather than attend the Marshlight Festival, Shiva was understandably apathetic.
"Are you sure you want to go, Shiva? Alcrik would be-"
Shiva turned and shot the man a terrifying look. While it was common knowledge that Alcrik was among the most persuasive of the Yish'Tai, nobody had succeeded in persuading Shiva to enlist his help instead. Thumbing her dagger, she spoke in a low and venemous tone.
"Alcrik is no hunter. These people are among the most fearsome warriors; I figure they'll show a hunter somewhat more respect. Any more questions?"
The man simply shrugged, and they left at sundown, galloping across the fields to the mountainous unknown...
Shiva and her consorts led their elk by hand as they ascended the strange mountain. The forest itself had been dry and somewhat crunchy underfoot; a strange shift from what they were used to. Approaching what appeared to be a marked tunnel, Shiva called out in what she hoped was the common tongue, throwing her voice down into the tunnel.
"I seek audience with the Deep Tribes. I am Shiva, from Rok'lo Sha."
Alcrik, New Tarmenos
Alcrik clapped and sang heartily with the other elders as the youth of the new village danced in the traditional circle, their ceremonial clothes spinning, catching the firelight and throwing writhing shadows against the newly erected buildings. The foundation and settlement of New Tarmenos had been a complete success, and Alcrik was incredibly pleased; both with himself and his fellow citizens.
The full moon shone bright through the trees as the Marshlight Festivities got under way. The fabled will-o-wisps could be seen dancing in the far marsh, though all Yish'tai knew better than to follow them. While some still revered them as ancient spirits or ancestors, many of the citizens had burned incense in the name of Cyth'Raul, at Alcrik's suggestion.
Backing out of the main festival, Alcrik weaved through the numerous decorative flags and shrines to find his temporary abode; a hastily erected tent and campfire; now bedecked in colours and symbols by the town children. Sighing, he entered anyway, before adopting a meditative posture, and focusing his mind. It was now time for Cyth'Raul to repay him, lest the God's new followers turn wrathful.
"You have your followers, Cyth'Raul. I now ask for trade vessels; ships large enough to transport goods and people across the ocean. Procurement of a handful of these, or the knowledge how to make them, would be appreciated."
Deeply frustrated with his continued failure, Briln hauled himself out of the most recently collapsed pit, covered head to toe in mud. He had been working for days with little rest and food, and his body shook with the effort. Collapsing out of breath next to the pit, he looked up at a small gap between the trees to the moon. The sounds of the festival underway filtered towards him, the beating drums and rhythmic chanting. Briln new of a particular girl whom he knew would be in the main dance circle; Umbra, whose slender figure and raven hair had enchanted him for some time.
Yet the youth had forsaken all hope of a rendevous with her; instead grabbing an assortment of strange rocks he had uncovered while digging the pits and hauling them to back to his workshop. He had seen what happened to certain minerals when accidentally kicked into a hot flame over time, and hoped to replicate it in the hopes of salvaging something useful from his failed endeavor.
Heating the fire-pit by enclosing it and throwing heavy logs underneath, he threw the rocks into the fire and collapsed next to it, drawing a heavy cloth over himself, and falling asleep.
The Eastern Plains of Sammah Ajivha-Tahna
Rumour finds wings on the plains, especially rumour of the divine. Though they had no god to call there own the Ajivhans (at least those beyond the city walls) maintained a strong belief in spirits, particularly those of the desert. Over the past year stories had been told; those of a white faced foreigner seeking shelter for the night. What happens after was unclear.
Some villages were fearful; Zuci-Danava, the White Demon. Here stories were all the same; a kindly old man seeking shelter who would wither your crops and bring suffering upon your house. Zuci-Danava has travel from village to village, house to house, even those unaffected by his journey knew neighbours who had been.
'What do we do?' they said 'lest Zuci-Danava seek refuge in our homes?'
'Simply reject him' Said others 'Do not let him over your threshold'
'But he has given us a Job, we cannot refuse him.
'Then we shall build homes for him, Grha where he may find a bed and some food. Appease him with offerings in the hope he says away.'
And so they set to work. As the year progressed the custom spread; villages began to construct Grha for Zuci-Danava, small wooden structures large enough for a man to take his rest. Each had an attendant, one to keep offerings fresh and the bed empty. Unknowingly the Ajivhans had created shrines to a god.
However, for every village in fear there was one in reverence. Zuci-Gangari, he who had come to their home an blessed their children. After a visit from Gangari the children changed, an aura of calm and knowledge surrounding them, though unclear in purpose it was unmistakably divine. Where the others built shrines to keep the god appeased these houses simply gave him tribute on the fire; the finest cut of meat on the table or a libation of wine. Simple acts of thanks for the gift they had been given, one that none of them understood.
Grand Ajivha: Palace of the Vazin
The news was grim; scouts sent to the north had lost the will to journey, returning home with heads hung low. They had failed their Job.
An order from the Visor could not be ignored, failure was an impossibility. After a quick deliberations an ultimatum was given; head out once again, failure ends in death. Though seemingly harsh there was a cold logic to it, Sammah Ajivha needed that settlement, otherwise everything was ruined.
Grand Ajivha: Bureau of Design and Development
Grhak Arakha, Chief of construction
Today was a good day. Orders had come in from on high, the Vazin needed his Bureau for a Job, one paramount to the future of his people. Any Ajivhan lived to serve his city, now was Grhak's chance.
First he was to outfit the soldiers of the city with weapons,the blacksmiths with materials. After a recent trade with some foreigners Sammah Ajivha had acquired new ore and metals, perfect for combat and construction. The job was simple in theory however mass outfitting would take some times.
The next two Jobs were far more interesting. The Vazin needed a bow. A very big bow. A bow big enough to pierce through a rank of soldiers or the hull of a ship. Grhak was unsure why, Sammah Ajivha had never been under threat from anything more than simple bandits, even those nations which lay beyond the desert had remained peaceful all these year. Nevertheless a bow the Vazin wanted and a bow the Vazin was going to get. The other Job was not as vital, his work on it amounted to some simple sketches and a request to the Guild of Stonemasons. IN time it would prove interesting but right now his priority was the bow.
Grhak's orders were simple; he was to be locked in his tower with some wood and string, not the be let out until his bow was of suitable size. Food was to be left at the door alongside stale bread-sticks for ammunition, it was going to be a fun few months.
Raptor States, Silver Claw, Hall of Raptors
"Excellent news." Aerya said as Farko detailed his scouts' successful mission down south. This time, the wind favored them and carried the group far allowing them to chart the area rather well. Now that the mission was a success they had to follow through. "Now that we know the area, we may now settle it. I propose that we settle these new lands to benefit our people. We cannot stay in this valley forever and those lands offer much more for our future generations. There is much work to be done but if done right then it will benefit our nation for generations to come. Who agrees?"
A wave of agreement surged through the hall and among the families. Before, Aerya had made a point in branching out and settling beyond their lands but now it seemed more like a reality. She let them settle before speaking once again. Aerya was never one to let go of the momentum she had.
"We must also make sure those lands are secure so I shall send a garrison of my own forces to accompany the settlers to make sure that no harm befalls them. Have no worries for your families as the Aquilas will make sure no trouble goes their way." Farko raised his brow to this statement but otherwise it drew no ire from the families. Security of their interests was always a good way to ring in the wary Krakaris.
"The Strix will also lend their soldiers to your cause." Jaherys spoke out. "Even if your troops are the most numerous, even they must not be stretched thin. Let us ease the burden."
"Your offer is kind and will not be forgotten." Aerya nodded to Jaherys. "How goes your granddaughter? Any word from her yet?"
"The envoy reached the building but otherwise they haven't written back. I hope they do quite soon." Jaherys said, concealing a look of worry almost perfectly.
"We do not need to worry about the well beings of our own so close to our home. If there are new Gods then I doubt they would do anything to any potential followers." Aerya said.
"With all this internal mobilization, shouldn't we do something about our trading partners?" Gora finally spoke out as smug as always. Jaherys and Farko glanced over to the Krakar but he had a point. "It has been a while since we attended to them."
"That is correct. We should have paid attention to our foreign policies and we have started with the Deep Tribes when we should have looked closely to our friends in the east and the south." Farko agreed. "They will be where the most needed help will be in times of war. We have no reason to think ill of them for we have looked to them for years. I propose a diplomat to the Auroran Empire first. From what we have heard, they have trouble expanding."
"Perhaps we can give them the lands north then?" Jaherys mentioned. "We have much lands to the south and the east."
"And lose potential investment opportunities?" Gora said, voicing the elders that had some disagreement with Jaherys.
"Investment opportunities?" Jaherys hissed back. "What if our enemies come north then? What if they bypass the empire and land behind us with our eyes to the south? What of your investment then?"
"You give a dog a bite and the next thing you know, it wants the whole mutton." Gora retaliated. "And what if we do give them the lands north? They will want some more and more! They will want more land to give their god temples and what not. These humans are no different from us and judging from us, we always need more."
"Enough!" Aerya shouted. "I will side with Jaherys on this argument. We need allies to help us. The Aurorans rule the sea but even they can make mistakes. Whoever attacks will not attack Auroran land, for that is certain. I will send my own family's diplomat to Aurora as soon as possible. We will give them the offer of land for the security of the seas. Once we help the Luug, we will have both the land and seas covered while we rule the sky!"
Cawles Strix, Manor of the Dead
"This is it..." She muttered as her party descended on the manor. Veka, Ovelo and Kalar were all experienced scouts and soldiers but none of them had seen such a building as this. Its unnatural structure brought unnatural dread on them all and the feeling of death permeated in the air heavily. The building was cold and dreary and that spread to the surrounding area as well. It was eerily cold and their breaths hung like dead men in the air. They spoke to the locals here the day before on their way up. When they took their water break, they spoke to villagers who lived in their small hovels. They spoke about the place in hushed whispers but they all mentioned the same thing.
"The Goddess of Death..." Veka muttered as he drew his arms closer. It kept getting colder the closer they approached the manor.
"Qartoq." Cawles corrected. If she was scared, it didn't appear so to the other scouts. She walked ahead albeit cautiously in case some unholy beast would spring forth if she stepped on the wrong rock. "I think we're close enough."
They were a few more strides to the front door and close enough to see the flames flicker off its torches who didn't seem to falter a single bit. They observed the manor for a few days and the torches never once died. Ovelo stepped forward, next to Cawles. He hesitated for a few moments, a loss for words but soon enough they came.
"Qartoq!" Ovelo called out. "We are r-representatives to the Raptor States. We humbly request your appearance."
Ber-Sam steeled herself, thinking through what she had experienced that night. She had already made sure it would be safe, and didn't delay another second. She strode out onto the walls, the sea breeze and morning sun combined to light her beautifully as almost all of the city cheered below. She waited for a few moments for the cheer to die down, before beginning her speech,
"People of the Ray-Das! Last night, something amazing happened. Jashiki, the God of Water and child of Trank-Mosta appeared! He told me of what happened to our old guider, but that he is here to lead us now. He could freeze the very air at will, or spin it around him, drawing the sea from it. He taught me a ship that was faster than anything we had now, and armed with the ballista that sit above me,"
"He truly is Trank-Mosta reborn. So from this day onwards, we shall praise our new god, Jas-Hiki, for he will crush our enemies when we next sail to raid. Glory to the fleet that see me safe!"
Her voice echoed then returned back to her, thousands picking up the call.
Gangari, The plains of Sammah Ajivha-Tahna - 10/15 AP
Gangari awoke to a voice. Both like and unlike others he had heard before in his mind.
It was another entity, the third he had heard call out to the world.
This one addressing him and the others, if he hadn't heard of this one before and he hadn't exposed himself to them perhaps there were more doing the same.
The creature this Jashiki was proposing was odd, perhaps unwise, it would be better to stay out of that for now.
He shook the thought from his mind and looked upon his work, the children were learning, their minds expanding easily due to his influence.
He could see a divide forming though. In his state the month before he hadn't realized that he created an unintentional divide, he had missed some and blessed others. Some were calling him Zuci-Danava, the meaning escaped him though it was a name given by the families affected by his failure, they and their neighbours built shelter for him away from their homes, fear. Others were calling him Zuci-Gangari, though the prefix was shared with the other and unfamiliar he was gaining understanding of it. The families who's children he had blessed were calling him this, something close to his name and leaving, perhaps... offerings for him.
It felt as odd as it had all those years ago, but he felt it all the same.
He would try again to show that he was benevolent to the people who knew of him as Danava. He walked to the home of the family who had suffered the most from his failure. He knocked on the door, and as the man answered Gangari could see the fear on his face.
The man began to direct him to a "Grha" as they called them. But Gangari stopped the man and placed a bronze flask in his hands. The man looked at it with fear and Gangari reached out to the mans mind. He quickly implanted the knowledge of it's purpose and how to use it into the mans mind.
He looked into the scared man's eyes and simply said "Use it wisely" before walking away, seemingly fading into the air.
Qartoq, Manor of the dead
She was disappointed in the mortals, but perhaps her predeccessor had not been a popular deity. Either way, they'd pray to death when their lives were at stake. Qartoq considered using fear for a while, as the ghosts kept her company for the time that passed. Another god asked for help, and she could have aided him to inspire fear she thought.
Then, someone other than the occasional pauper or treasure hunter showed up. They stayed outside the manor. She watched them every now and then over the time that passed before they mustered up the courage to call out for her. Qartoq pondered how to appear before them, but decided to not waste too much time. Time was something she had difficulties getting a grasp of at the moment, and they might leave.
She let the gates of the manor swing open, slowly, and with appropriate noises. Qartoq stepped out from the darkness inside, onto the stairway and stared at the smaller mortals that had called for her. She was about the same height of one of the doors.
"So you do." Qartoq said. "I'm gladdened that some of those still alive are brave enough to come here to call upon death itself. I'd welcome company that's still alive. Now that I've only the dead."
She gestured for them to enter the mansion with her if they wanted too. "I suppose I should ask why you've come."
Highcrag-Den of Jugaan
"So, the settlement was a success?" Jugaan joked as she eyes the small mound of iron ore brought back by a subordinate.
"Yes, Chieftain...however...there were complications." The subordinate's weak vibrations became almost undetectable as he backed away.
Jugaan gave him good reason to, her restrained quaking knocking dust from her den's ceiling. "Complications?"
"Yes...we followed your instructions to gather the marked one and send them north, but once they arrived, they said that they felt...confused. Like if they were receiving, and acting on, garbled instructions...like trying to speak in a mine."
"What?" Jugaan continued to show restraint, but her agitation made the subordinate back further up. "They...were confused?"
"Yes. A confusion that muddied their thoughts and made it difficult to act. It seemed as though the expedition only succeeded because of the leader's perseverance."
"I see..." Jugaan moved deeper into her den and relaxed her pose. "Then send my commendation of the expedition leader's action, tell whoever it may be that whatever spoils come out of the new mines for the next day is their's."
With a bow, the subordinate left. Once Jugaan felt alone, she spoke to the darkness. "Cyth'Raul, what is the meaning of this? I ask for guidance and my Tribe receives garbled nonsense!"
Highcrag-The Bare Road
"I seek audience with the Deep Tribes. I am Shiva, from Rok'lo Sha."
A low grumble came out of the cave, and soon two massive Luug (even by Luug standards) emerged from the tunnel. They both lacked the rocky back-crag of elders, but a pair of rocky scabs on their shoulders, sharpened to a point, showed that they were very capable of defending the entrance.
For a moment they stared at the strange visitors, giving no impression of their disposition towards them. Then, finally they spoke, in a broken form of the Common language that still was felt more than heard. "Why you want audience with the Tribes? The Tribes no have business with you."
Cawles Strix, Manor of the dead
The door opened of the manor opened slowly revealing Qartoq herself. She was a tall figure, human in appearance but Cawles figured that was the only thing they had in common. The Krakaris around her stayed in silence and hushed their gasps as the woman appeared before them. She talked to them and motioned for the party to enter the mansion. The group hesitated at first but it was Cawles who returned the gesture and strode forward. The party followed shortly.
"I suppose I should ask why you've come."
"We've come to see you, Qartoq." Cawles said first. The interior of the manor was as gloomy as the exterior but the long corridors and alleyways yielded little comfort. Its torches seemed endless and ethereal the farther they went in. It was hypnotizing to Cawles but she focused on the being in front of her. Here was her answers. "In our culture, the Krakaris didn't have a being representing death. Once we die, it is thought that the wings above sweep our souls into the sun. Now here we are with a being like you, a being of immense power. We seek answers, Qartoq. Our people are not paupers either and we are willing to pay for our answers."
Lysei, Edges of Auroran civilization, 11/15 AP
As Lysei looked over Aurora, he could see that a new dawn was approaching. His methods, though harsh, would work. People could change, empires could spring to action and end the madness that is the cycle of slavery. Perhaps one day the entire institution would fall, and those of the under classes could rise up anew and live a more complete life. Today may not be this day, but tomorrow? It was even past Lysei's knowledge as to how this would go. One way or the other, he was no longer required in Aurora for the time being. Katalia could handle his duties and with both Kaius and Vallous working on the political fronts, the god's work was being done for him now. This meant it was time to operate elsewhere, and the Raptor states would be his next destination. The lands would be new, but one last gift had to be left by Lysei, if only as a remembrance.
The god of fire and vengeance pulled out of his pocket, an orb. It was perfectly round and had an amber glow about it. He decided to infuse it with his own powers, to allow it to scry the future. Any mortal who used it could, if conditions were right, look into his own future. The visions would be vague, but Lysei hoped it would give people something to look forward to. Make tomorrow all that much more real to them. If his guise could show emotion, it would give off a small smile as he cast the orb into the city. He would leave its fate to the populace, for it belonged to them.
Qartoq, Manor of the dead
"Well, obviously." She said in response to them coming to see her, and then lead them into a room with a long table. Qartoq situated herself at the end of the table. She made the other chairs around the table move out from it so the rest could sit down.
Qartoq summoned a feast onto the table for her guests to take part of if they wanted too. She assumed their stay outside the mansion had drained whatever supplies they'd brought with them. Meanwhile, she thought about what they had said about their belief of what happened when someone died. If her predeccessor had been more subtle it would explain why so few had shown respect to the new death, but then how was she to know. She wished she'd known this, and that she'd had a chance to meet the old death.
"Hmm, but what you seem to have are symbols in place of a being such as I." Qartoq finally said after an unknown amount of time had passed. "You mention "wings above" and the sun. My predecessor might not have shown themselves in the same way I do, but then I could show myself as they might have."
Qartoq changed her avatar a couple of times. First to grow huge black wings out of her already existing form, and then to shine as bright as the sun on a hot day. Although, she went back to her first avatar after doing this. "Your faith may not have changed, may not need to be changed with my appearance, but then change could be good. I'd only ask that you incorporate me in some way, as I'd grow stronger when worshiped and would be able to fulfill my task better. As you've seen I can be anything, but now that the old death is gone it serves no purpose to worship them instead of me. They do not exist here to show the way or answer prayers."
Qartoq was tempted by the offer of exchanging answers for riches. "I'd answer any questions any of your race may have, if they asked them in the form of prayers and offered me riches in return. I still have part of my mortal desires for gold and such it would seem. If I need them is another matter."
Cyth'raul, Mountains to the North of the Deep Tribes → Around Rok'la Sha - 9/15 AP
The race known as the Luug seemed to have an exterior which was bulky and slow, the settler plodded along to their destination. As their minds? Picture an empty cavern. The Whisper In The Dark found that the subtle whispers of instruction simply, more or less, couldn't get through their thick skulls. Nevertheless, the deity did what it could to ensure success.
"Cyth'Raul, what is the meaning of this? I ask for guidance and my Tribe receives garbled nonsense!"
"Fear not, for the land is settled." Cyth'raul began, "Or was the assistance affected by dishonest thoughts? A contact with the Pactforger has more it than you can ever imagine."
Those words were nothing a hearty laugh with meaning attached.
"Have I not mentioned that the ones who call themselves the Yish'Tai of Rok'lo Sha hope to forge new trade routes?" The deity added.
Speaking of which...
"You have your followers, Cyth'Raul. I now ask for trade vessels; ships large enough to transport goods and people across the ocean. Procurement of a handful of these, or the knowledge how to make them, would be appreciated."
It was strange how the fish-like folk wanted to know how to sail the seas like gill-less, land-bound men but Cyth'raul could see wisdom there and was always happy to help a faithful friend. Ships slender and strong, the rush of waves and the cold mechanical muttering of how to build them. That is what filled the minds of the marshmen.
"Done. I expect this to be an extension of the last Pact, yes?" Cyth'raul replied.
Cawles Strix, Manor of the Dead
Cawles thought of what Qartoq had said but the others gorged themselves on the feast she had laid out before them. She knew that the Krakaris was infamous for their gorging but supplies were low by the time that they gathered enough courage to approach it. Cawles felt this hunger was justified compared to the other bouts of gorging that she had seen.
"Well... my people are known not only for our large pockets but also our hidden daggers. In my nation a treaty holds all the families together and in that treaty we cannot declare formal war against one another but that hasn't stopped others from waging a secret war. Families have been extinguished, siblings have killed siblings all for the sake of profit. I can see a way to incorporate you, Qartoq. Our spies are notorious and feared so perhaps an order is needed to... kill in your name." Cawles felt uncomfortable talking about such a thing but it was an idea and she always believed that ideas should be shared rather than hidden. "Temples can be built to offer our dead to you and your name will be our new death. Our new "wings above" to sweep up the souls."
"But it will be difficult to convince the families..." Cawles sighed. "We are a fickle bunch, you see. Too many grudges and too many rivalries. A definite sign is needed and when that is given to even the old crones then we will believe. It is only us now that has seen you."
Qartoq, Manor of the dead
Qartoq listened to the one of them who talked, while the others ate and seemed little interested in her. Although, they couldn't be scared anymore if they ate without worry for what it may be made of or checking for poisons. Not that she'd done anything with it, but it was good they'd let go off their fear.
"That sounds like a fair deal to me." Qartoq said. "As you say you're the only ones to have seen me yet, but not by my choosing, so then I could come with you back to show myself. That would.." The goddess stopped to think for a moment. The mortals were rather small and generally it took time for them to travel from one place to another. She on the other hand could be there and back again while her guests finished the meal set before them. "I will give you your sign, and when the time comes I would improve whatever order has been created to kill in my name by showing them death in a light no one else has seen before."
"If you'll excuse me." She said, then drifted through time and space to visit this race's land.
She found a valley, and what must be their capital. The old death may have been subtle and gained followers that way, but she'd already begun taking steps on a more straightforward road. Qartoq thought she may as well continue.
"Listen!" Qartoq began, where she hung above the valley and the capital. She'd taken her black wings for this one task, and they went up and down with the wind to keep her in the air. She could float without them, but as this race posessed wings it might be easier to get them to listen if she looked like them, or wings above.
"I am Qartoq, the new goddess of death now that the old one has deserted this world. I've met with the envoy sent to my manor. In fact, they are currently enjoying my hospitality. Terms of worship have been suggested, and I am here to display my powers for the non-believers among you."
She pulled the clouds together to block out the sun, turning day into night, and then attempted to unleash a storm upon the valley and the capital. If this didn't prove her powers she might want to consider a more subtle approach after all.
Qartoq then drifted through time and space, returning to the dining table where her guests were. "I hope that'll do it." She said with a sly grin. "Any more of a sign might cause more death than worship, I fear."
High Prince Octavius, Auroran Sea
Octavius was studying in his cabin as the convey returned to Pomia, the nearest port to the capital city of Nova Verde. He could barely contain his glee that the second attempt to found a colony that he'd been leading had failed so disastrously that the Emperor had no choice but to recall everyone involved. It was almost too convenient, he laughed to himself.
The prince was also in a good mood as the parchment he'd been restoring had been throwing up curiosities by the hour. It was a copy of the Book of Aurora a clerk had found last year at the bottom of a chest in the Imperial Library and quite possibly over six hundred years old, making it one of the closest references to Father Matthias' work ever found. The script was in old style and faded, but Octavius couldn't believe how much new material there was in this one book. There was one phrase he'd found which he couldn't stop reading, it was simply elegant.
"Quod quidem die aut dominus imperator aut rex non ad arcu. Omnes fratres Aurorans erit in terra libertatem!"
It was just what he'd been looking for, in one succinct phrase it placed the Father with him and against the Imperial religion. It might be enough to convince a scholar but an Emperor? He would have to move slowly and play the long game, he hoped his friends back at the court would be preparing the ground for when he landed.
Emperor Kaius III, Nova Verde, Isle of Maia
At the palace in Nova Verde, it was the week before the Founding of Aurora celebrations and yearly taxation tributes were arriving by the chestful. The majority of the population, serfs and slaves, did not contribute directly of course but their noblemen and the numerous freemen living across Aurora had deep enough pockets to easily fund the Imperial Treasury. Most taxation was paid in the form of gold and silver coins, minted especially on royal orders and the descreation of such a coins was a crime punishable by death. Others sent in great silks and furs, calved whale bones and even in one case a long horn, supposedly found on a sea creature in the far north. This wealth would go further than ever before however, as the Emperor had ordered a new inquiry into economic ideas which would be finished within the next few days. He was determined to outdo his Uncle this fiscal year and show his abolishment of Parliament was the right choice.
The Emperor had already got the news about the failure of the settlements, he had decided to hold off on expansion for the time being and instead focus on improving the nation's knowledge. As the settlers returned wearied and tired, a small group of scouts would be heading out to south of Nova Aurora to conduct further surveys and determine how to better increase prospects next time. Along with them a spy was travelling, his destination known only a few, once they reached the southern lands he would leave them and travel onwards until he reached the nation he would inform on.
Jashiki, Lot-Vos, 9/15 AP
Looking to the south after delivering his speech Jashiki can hear his name being said. Turning and moving through space to outside Lot-Vos he looks up at the walls, hearing Ber-Sam talk to a large crowd about who he was. Smile slightly and taking a deep breath he lets his avatar grow, from 6 feet to 10. Passing 10 to 20 feet quickly, still standing on the water he looks up at the walls still taller than him.
Standing still for a moment Jashiki lifts up the water around him, 50 feet across it starts to raise into the air. Lifting higher and higher his head tops the wall slowly, the water lifting him higher and higher. More and more of his body going over the wall as the water lifts him up, soon his whole body is visible to the crowds below the wall as well as some of the water he is standing on.
His voice now booming Jashiki looks down at the crowd below and smiles.
"My name is Jashiki. I am the god of water and I have come to bring all those who use the waters to new height's. I came to your leader to make these people great."
Looking down at everyone in the crowd Jashiki waves one of his hands over them and picks 50 random people in the crowd he places a blessing on them. Great talent in boat making and a better understanding on how they work and the actual physics behind it.
The flask formed before the man and settled gently into his hands, it was a shiny bronze flask though within the man knew it contained endless blue depths. Such an artifact was capable of much he knew, and as the man faded he felt both wonder and terror. He would need to take this to people who might know better how to deal with it, but perhaps first his crops could use some more water...
The burning orb fell into the city, and was soon pocketed by a wandering merchant who pawned it off to a ship builder who in turn sold it to an interested ship captain. Its properties were not apparent for some time, but soon the ships navigator found himself drawn to look into its depths, and began to credit it with the ships luck and speed. How it might change hands in the future was unknown to him but for now he felt comforted and guided by its presence.
The design of the ships was strange, almost alien to the Yish-Tai, but they understood how to build and how to operate these vessels. Even the long voyage around the world to the far shores of the Auroran empire or the fledgling Ray-Das nation would be possible with these vessels, they needed only to build them.
This time Cyth'raul could feel satisfied with his accomplishment, but then his failure with the Lugg had hardly upset him anyways.
The storm shrieked and howled over the heart of the Raptor States, it was all that the Krakaris feared and there would be some that were caught off guard by its sudden appearance and slain. Most though simply cowered and hid from the winds and rain and thunder, weathering the storm until it faded. Those sitting in her manor watched in awe at its power, knowing that truly they sat in the house of a god.
The blessing settled throughout the crowd, its true effect would not be immediately apparent to most but soon the new geniuses of the Ray-Das would begin to put their talent to work. His display of riding a massive wave would be spoken of for some time to come, becoming the first of what might someday be many tales of the new god of the water to be spoken in the feasts.
(Ray-Das will get an extra die on research actions regarding ship-building so long as they have their new ship building geniuses)
Earning a place among the Lugg was difficult, even having gained a place to stay and a position where she could speak Shiva could not help but feel alienated and unwelcome among the hulking earthen Lugg. She would have to try though, the Lugg could make a powerful ally, or a dangerous foe.
The rocks burned brightly and in the most intense flame seemed to melt, but Briln was unsure how to work this new metal. It defied his understanding of working bronze, new techniques would need to be invented, how he had little idea though. He had learned only how much more he didn't know from his experiments, though of course only perseverance could ever bring him all the answers he sought.
The new iron weapons quickly found their way into the hands of the Ajihvam warriors, who were proud to bear such high quality arms. These were only the start of their expanding armory though, as Grhak soon put the brilliant Ajihvam craftsmen to work crafting what he termed a ballista, a fearsome engine of war.
Driven this time by the threat of death the scouts ventured forth once more, and pushed back thoughts of homesickness in favor of those of duty. When they did return it was far more triumphantly, the land had been appraised and a site selected for settlement, with luck such plans would move ahead without error.
The settlers were far from inspired in their task, divisions political and familial kept the group bickering and their expedition soon turned to failure as a result. A few in the group contemplated and argued setting forth once more but news of the strange storm back home scared them into staying. They instead found themselves aiding in the reinforcement efforts, which proved quite successful. Land or air the south was now strengthened against either.
The new ships were eagerly and quickly produced the builders moving their schedules hastily to have them produced in time for the new feast. In other areas the scholars assigned to improve their technology in other ways found themselves distracted by the bustle of the upcoming festival and achieved little. The festival itself though was a delightful celebration, the gods were returning in new forms the people said, and this new Jas-Hiki was held to be the pinnacle of what must be a newly emerging pantheon. Some even whispered that perhaps their shifting powers would be restored and with them their former glory reclaimed.
The efforts to improve the economy bore little fruit, it was after all a complex and ever changing behemoth that few truly understood, and the emperor found himself frustrated at every turn in attempting to gain insight to its workings. There was however a ray of hope, the scouts refused to let the failure of the settlers intimidate them and pushed forward with great fervor soon clearing a place for a new settlement. The spy who went with them though reportedly disappeared in the jungle, never finding his way to the site of his mission.
Grand Ajivha: Bureau of Design and Development
Grhak Arakha, Chief of construction
After the scouts had returned home with their tidings Grhak had set out at once. Hiring a less than respectable convoy to take him north the man how stood at the peak of a cliff, looking over the vast expanse of ocean only a drop away. It was his first time seeing it, so far his only reaction had been sheer terror.
Nevertheless his mind was racing; drawings and sketches came to life around him. There rose the eastern wall, here the docks and where he stood right now; the tower. Settlers had yet to arrive, who knew if they even would, all that mattered to Grhak was the potential.
Whistling a merry tune he strolled down the hill to the future town, marking out foundations with small rocks as he went.
Grand Ajivha: Palace of the Vazin
Tamar was terrified. It wasn't the size of the hall, nor the richness of the décor, it wasn't even the armed guards staring him down. The source of Tamar's terror was the old man seating on the chair before him.
After receiving Gangari's gift Tamar had given his crops a much needed watering,once that was taken care of he was at a lose for what to do next. Sharing the gift would be impossible; he was but one man and the gift was so small, not the mention the legions of people who would be out to profit from infinite water, or the rouges who may have a more nefarious plan for in. In the end he ate the sand and visited his brother in Ajivha-Tahna, after leaving the farm at 16 Casam had become a 'scholar', if anyone could think of what to do it was him.
Two months of experiments and bureaucracy later Tamar found himself in front of the most powerful man in the country. The Vazin was holding the object in his hand, examining it from all angles. At length he spoke.
'And where did you acquire this?'
'A spi...' Tamars voice cracked 'A spirit gave it to me my lord'
'Zuci-Danava or Zuci-Gangari?'
There was no humour in the Vazins voice, a few years ago he would have scoffed the idea of gods and spirits; the message from Cyth'raul and that new god of the Ray-Das had put an end to it. He had be informed of this new cult worship a few months ago, surprised at how swiftly it had taken of. Equally surpsing was the difference in power it held village to village. Given how convicted the followers were he had suspected some kind of divine influence at work, whether or not that was true remained to be seen.
Tamar bowed apologetically.
'I am unsure. The stories say they are twins, one good one bad. Danava cursed my home several months ago I had thought him returned when he gave me this. However it is a gift, so it must be Gangari.'
The Vazin asked him to tell his story, as well as describe the old man in detail. With a nod the Vazin concluded his questioning.
'Give our friend here a piece of silver for his time. Also add him to our list of suppliers for the palace, his crops must be of fine quality now.'
His work done Tamar was escorted from the palace, the gift stayed with the Vazin. As soon as the farmer left he spoke to his guards.
'Leave me. I have much to think on'
A quick salute and they were gone, the Vazin left with a gift of the gods. A part of him resented what he was about to do, were anyone in the room he would appear mad. However now was a time of gods, and Ajivha needed to find its place with them, one way or another. Bringing the decanter to his face the Vazin spoke.
'Hear me, Zuci-Gangari, Zuci-Danava, whatever name you go by. I am Vazin Prajja Tu Andha, ruler of Ajivha-Tahna, Guardian of Her Gates. You have been travelling in my land, giving gifts and curses in equal measure. I feel it is time we spoke.'
Gangari, Grand Ajivha - 9/15 AP
"Hear me, Zuci-Gangari, Zuci-Danava, whatever name you go by. I am Vazin Prajja Tu Andha, ruler of Ajivha-Tahna, Guardian of Her Gates. You have been travelling in my land, giving gifts and curses in equal measure. I feel it is time we spoke."
Gangari appeared infront of the Vazin within moments, materializing out of the air.
He lowered his hood and spoke calmly, saying "You wished to speak with me Vazin Andha?"
The sudden appearance of him made the Vazin jump, the decanter fell ungracefully from his hands in the process. After a second he spoke.
"Welcome to my home, I would ask you to sit but I feel our customs is unsuited for gods."
The only seat in the room was occupied the Vazin, though there were cushions on the floor.
"However custom dictates I offer you a drink and ask you for your name. I assume the ones I've been told are fictitious; you do not look a demon to me, white though you may be."
Gangari waved his hand at the air and an oak chair materialized behind him, he sat in it and spoke.
"My name is Gangari."
He paused briefly as he considered what to say next. His voice became noticeably somber.
"The division your villagers saw in me was due to me unintentionally being responsible for the crop failure months ago."
"I failed in an attempt to teach them how to farm their lands more effectively."
His voice returned to a state closer to his previous tone, but with some joy to it.
"I assume you have questions. Feel free to ask me anything.
The Vazin spoke.
"Very well, then I will be blunt. Why are you doing this? The gifts, the blessings.
One would assume as a god you desire worship yet your actions are subtle, helpful. Surely there is more in you repertoire, acts that would force my people to bow at your feet. Why help us?"
Bitterness crept into Gangari's voice.
"When my lord walked the lands, he acted in large ways, forcing men to bow to him and destroying those who didn't. Men threw their lives away in increasingly desperate attempts to please him, and he didn't even notice.
I wanted to avoid creating the same kinds of zealotry that were tearing their lands apart, so I acted with a subtle touch to events."
The bitterness left him and it returned to its previous tone.
"I helped your people because they were the first I heard toil when I re-emerged into the world. As I looked upon you cities and people afterwards, I saw something familiar, something hopeful, so I continued."
"I can manage greater feats, I just didn't want to risk I would unleash something awry on your lands and see people believe I was punishing them for somehow slighting me."
A weary smile came to the Vazin's face.
"Forgive my hubris but I believe we have much in common. If you can say anything of my people it is of their obedience; an Ajivhan will do his duty, he will do his Job. As lord of the Ajivhans I can ask anything of my subjects and it will be done, just like that."
He snapped his fingers.
"The first lesson someone with power must learn is when to use it, they must learn of their responsibility. As a god I doubt you answer to anyone; you have no subjects, you have no council. In a word you have no responsibility. You owe my people nothing and yet you help them, for that I thank you."
The Vazin leaned forward, clasping his hands together in before him.
"If there is anything a mortal can do for a god ask now, I will make it so."
"I seem to gather strength from the simple act of belief. I felt power as I began to receive offerings."
"If you let your people know that I exist, I can offer you something in the coming time. The runes on the objects I have been giving to your people draw power for the enchantment. They cannot be created effectively by those who can't draw power themselves."
He paused again
"If you give me one of your scholars to teach for the coming months, I shall assist him in the training of your finest artisans in this art."
"It will be so. However I refuse to order my people to worship you, though I feel that it something neither of of would care for. But, before our business is concluded might an old man may ask a simple favour?"
"If you truly wish to be a god of my people you must understand them. I ask that you walk the streets of my city, learn her ways. My people and Ajivha-Tahna are one, to understand them you must understand her, with any luck my people will find you of their own accord."
The Vazin rose to his feet and bowed.
"I wouldn't want them forced to."
"I shall return within two months time to teach my apprentice, choose wisely."
Gangari bowed back to the Vazin and faded from the room.
Gangari reformed himself outside the city walls and after a moment decided that if the people were to trust him, he would need to look like them. He changed his skin colour to a tan, making it closer to the tone of the Ajivhans. He changed the colour of his hair to a dark grey with silver flecks. And then he changed the colour of his robes, turning them a forest green.
He walked through the gates after quick look over by the guards.
He spent the next few weeks wandering the city and observing the people as they lived and worked, assisting the mortals in their tasks if they approached him or looked in need of assistance as their values seemed to dictate.
At the end of his first month in the city, he decided that he would bless them as he had the villages.
He travelled from workhouse to workhouse offering glass baubles in exchange for letting him watch them work. As he watched, he would transfer some of his energy into them, to bless them with greater understanding of their crafts. When he left to go to the next he would shake their hands and let them know that his name was Gangari.
As he blessed the fourty ninth he felt tired again, so he decided to stop. He walked out of the city and to the plains, he wandered until he found himself in the field had rested in months ago. He layed down and slept.
Jashiki, Lot-Vos, 6/15 AP
After his grand display at the port of Lot-Vos Jashiki let the water go back into the ocean without causing a massive tidal wave that would sink ships and destroy ocean side estate. Shrinking himself down to his normal 6 foot tall form and letting himself disappear from everyone's view he watched the celebration from far away, feeling every time someone used his name in the city and also as it spread out across the land about the Ray-Das's new god. Standing on the water halfway between the Ray-Das and Aurora he considers, everything from the new power he can feel coursing through his body to needing a place to become where people can come to him for what they want.
Looking to the south at the Ray-Das he then looks to the north at the other nation who also uses ships and has many more islands than to the south. Narrowing his eyes and rubbing his chin he considers how hard it would be to create an island in the middle of the ocean, and how much it could affect the rest of the world if a new island appeared suddenly. Shaking his head and turning towards the mainland he calls out through the wind for a god he knew is looking for pacts.
"Cyth'raul, I need help to build a place of power for me."
"...Interesting." Was the reply, "Is it too much to ask for details? Regarding yourself? Regarding this place of power?"
Nodding and closing his eyes Jashiki unfolds his plans for the island and where he wants to raise it. "An island, between the Ray-Das and Aurora."
Cyth'raul moved over from the marshes of Rok'lo Sha to the great sea that surrounded the continent. It seemed that whoever had contacted him wanted to build another island in between a chain of islands.
"I see." Cyth'raul said with arms folded, "And what terms shall this Pact have?"
Look towards where the voice is coming from and turn towards it. "Favor for favor, unless you wish for something else."
The Pactforger sank deeply into thought for a second. Then, in an instant, the deity become animated once more and reached into the ocean, cupping some sea water and afterwards letting it go.
"This is your domain, correct?" Cyth'raul began, "If I give you your proposed home, would you care to stay in it?"
Looking down at the water for a second Jashiki shakes his head. "I will not stay there always, but it would be a place where those looking for my physical presence can come and look for me. I am wishing for someplace for those who wish to follow me to come and stay."
Cyth'raul smirked. What was with it with these other gods and their insistance on having little places for themselves? As a god who understood the power of whispers, the Pactforger couldn't understand it. But nevertheless, Cyth'raul saw no harm in helping another god.
"A favour for a favour then. I might want a place to call my own, myself..." Was the reply.
Nodding and smiling slowly Jashiki lightly slaps his hands together. "It is always best to give the mortals someplace where they know they cay find you, one or many."
Opening his hands slowly Jashiki pulls on the power deep within himself and using the picture in his mind he starts drawling things from the bottom of the ocean as well as from riversides all over the world. Feeling Cyth'raul join in and start trying to form the island that had been envisioned in his mind.
Shiva, The Bare Road
The huntress was nearly taken aback by the impressive yet terrifying stature of the Luug. Mustering her will to present a powerful image, she heaped several decorated pelts of varying size and colour over her shoulder, before addressing the two guards.
"I seek to pay homage to your nations prowess, and form a pact between warriors. Will you let me pass?"
Her voice was loud and unbroken, and she stood at the forefront of her two escorts, seemingly unafraid and valiant. Yet within her was the silent fear of rejection; both for her own physical safety, and the safety of her nation.
"Again! More heat!"
Briln had been yelling commands at the two hired muscle for some time now. Over and over they would throw the strange rocks into a large fire-pit, producing failure after failure. Having accepted his previous failure, Briln quickly upped the ante, nearly doubling both the amount of ore and the heat of the fire, hoping in vain for a solution. His dreams had been pervaded by visions of a future made possible by the technology this could yield. If only he could realize it.
"Just a few more! Then we just have to leave it."
If it didn't work this time, Briln would have to discuss his back-up plan to one of the other members. He wasn't about to give up on the dream just yet.
Alcrik, New Tarmenos
Having established a permanent home in New Tarmenos, Alcrik had filled the last few days with basic administrative duties, coupled with the odd dip in the sea now and then. The salt-water was strange to the Yish'Tai, some finding it intrinsically curious, others revolted at the strange push and pull they felt as they entered deeper water.
The knowledge of the ships had flourished strongly amongst the settlers of New Tarmenos; being close to the sea turned the knowledge from strange, seemingly-genius theory to a practical and appreciated technology. Already, they were putting the finishing touches on the long, slender ships that they carved from the marsh-trees. Now all they needed was a destination.
Kneeling in front of his small, personal shrine to Cyth'Raul, he cleared his mind and counted his breaths. As his train of thought subsided, he spoke once more to the deity, maintaining a firm but friendly relationship.
"I thank you, Cyth'Raul. Your worship will continue to grow as your boons become evident. If you know of any other people that seek trade, I would very much appreciate to learn of them."
Raptor States, Silver Claw, Hall of Raptors
The Krakaris talked over each other concerning the raging storm that had descended upon them and the God that was responsible for it. It drove the majority of them to fear but unlike them, Aerya saw something else. They all the saw the new visage of their "new death" as it called out to them and unleashed a frightful storm. The storm was so fierce and sudden that she was sure some of the unsuspecting Krakaris might have perished from it but it was all the same. The god had delivered her message and now they would.
"Silence!" Aerya called out. After a few moments, she began. "Bickering will not make this new god disappear and for what it is worth, this new one give us more promise than the Gods of old." Aerya said defiantly.
"It is long known that the Gods have lost their power but this new one displays more power than thought imaginable." Jaherys mentioned.
"And I have heard of other new Gods appearing before the other nations. All differ but all offer one thing: power." Gora spoke out, agreeing with Aerya. The stout Krakar sounded solemn for once and not sarcastic.
"The storm wasn't an act of vengeance." Farko spat. "It was an act of power, to assert itself and prove to us its power. We must use it to prosper and deliver death to our enemies."
The room's atmosphere slowly changed from fear to understanding as the primary families agreed on such a matter. This made the other elders see as well. Their world was truly changing more than ever and it was better to ride the wind than against it.
"From now on we shall remember this day that the new Death has showed us her power." Aerya said although by now she knew that whoever could write has already written about the Goddess talking to them all and casting a terrible storm upon them.
"Be that as it may, our settler were not able to settle south because of the storm." Jaherys mentioned although Aerya was quite aware of it. Words travel fast but words travelling by wings travel faster around Silver Claw.
"It was Qartoq testing our will. We must go forth once again but this time we will ask for her guidance instead." Aerya put forth.
"Qartoq is the new death! I imagine she doesn't dally on those sorts of acts. When we pray to her it must be for death." Gora said, his sardonic nature coming back into place.
"Then she will not bother us again when we go forth." Aerya said, holding her ground on the notion of settling south. "My people will go anyway, not yours. And you will profit from them as always."
"As it has been, and as so it will be." Replied Gora. "How goes your diplomat in Aurora anyway? Has he delivered the proposal yet?"
"He should have arrived by now and I know that he will what he is asked." Aerya mentioned. The diplomat was her own nephew and was her first choice to send to Aurora. Hopefully his friendly nature will help seal the deal with Aurora or at least open new possibilities with the two nations.
Cawles Strix, Manor of the Dead
The others had retreated back to their camp after Qartoq's display of force to write letters and reports of their "new death" but Cawles had stayed. The fact that she was even their intoxicated her with wonder and also with curiosity. She even had begun writing and recording whenever she could. Sketches of the mansion and Qartoq also filled her journal. Cawles excused herself multiple times in order to fill out an extra detail or to record a new observation. The manor itself was another wonder to behold. It looked large on the outside but from the outside the feeling of linearity existed. From within, the mansion seemed endless but she dare not venture past the dining hall else she might get lost. Despite it all, Cawles felt like she's only touched the surface of it all and she had know more.
"Qartoq," Cawles prayed. It was odd to her first as she never quite prayed in her life but now there was proof and now she had a divine figure to talk to. "I wish to know what you know... about death. I pray to you to enlighten me. For a new order to be made, you knowledge has to be given to us mortals so that we may spread it and so that others might fear it."