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Eirmont 1, AC 1016: Temples Closed in Hattias.
Location: Throughout Duchy of Hattias, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Acting ostensibly on orders of Emperor Manfred, agents of Duke Oesterhaus and detachments of Hattian Storm Soldiers close the temples of Vanya and other Immortals throughout Hattias. With most of the combat-oriented priests and guards away fighting in the Crown Rebellion, there is little effective resistance. Some priests of Vanya do fight the order, but they are slain out of hand.
Over the following weeks, shrines to Thanatos will open to replace these temples. Attendance will be made mandatory. Live sacrifices of foreigners unfortunate enough to be caught on Hattias when the rebellion began will be conducted. (See Sv. 23, Sv. 24.)
What This Means: Thanatos is using the Crown Rebellion to establish overt temples to Himself and to strike against the faiths of other Immortals. Because of how He arranged this, people who dissent will blame Manfred. It will be a long time before word of these activities reaches the outside world: the war of the rebellion will distract people's attentions, and Hattias is effectively isolated at this time (due to policies introduced by Oesterhaus and the blockade the imperial navy has imposed).
Most Hattians, whether they support the Storm Soldiers or just turn a blind eye to this, will do nothing. The boldest, those more likely to take action, are already overseas fighting in the war. However, not everyone will be apathetic, and small bands of resistance fighters spring up throughout the Century Hills. Heinrich considers them an insignificant threat and so he ignores them for now.
None of the Immortals will be happy. If this goes on long enough, this could become a stroke against Vanya in particular. Few Immortals are aware that Heinrich is a mortal identity of Thanatos, but some are beginning to get suspicious. Once they deduce more of His plans, they will become more active in resisting Him.
Eirmont 1, AC 1016: Manfred's Army Reaches Julinius.
Location: City of Julinius, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Having dithered for almost a week at Bayville while Heinrich Oesterhaus struggled with the crown for control over Manfred, the nobles' army finally reaches Julinius, which surrenders after a brief assault. Manfred once again thwarts Thanatos, preventing the troops from sacking the city. There is even a brief skirmish between rapine-minded Storm Soldiers and troops under the sway of Manfred. After two days in Julinius the march resumes towards Thyatis City. (See Sv. 23, Sv. 24; Ei. 5, Ei. 6.)
What This Means: The delay has given Eusebius time to regroup and begin to rebuild his army. The defences of Thyatis City have been strengthened in the meantime; Julinius was left only lightly garrisoned and its naval forces withdrawn to The City's harbour. Manfred is getting in the way of a good bloodletting, though. Thanatos consoles Himself that Julinius is just a small town, not really worthy of His efforts. He does vow that He will solve this conundrum of Manfred's wilful disobedience before taking Thyatis City; it simply would not do to take The City and then be prevented from destroying it. He considers doing away with Manfred, but ultimately rejects the idea because without a puppet playing emperor the rationale for the rebellion goes away, along with the support of many nobles.
Eirmont 1, AC 1016: Underocean Integrated.
Location: Sea-Kingdom of Underocean, NACE. AS
Description: Underocean begins to integrate itself into the NACE. At the request of the council, Underocean begins to search for new Alphatian Artifacts under the supervision of the agency. (See Am. 11, Sv. 8.)
What This Means: Though Underocean is now officially part of the NACE, it is still not closely aligned with the Alphatians. This will no doubt cause tensions in the future.
Eirmont 1, AC 1016: Veroth Progress Report.
Location: Confederate Capital of Ionace, NACE. AS
Description: King Verothrics appears before the council and gives a status report on Veroth. He tells them that things are going fairly well: grain shipments are arriving from Notrion, several citizens have begun growing grapes to make vintages of Randel wine, and Targrus, formerly of Eadrin, has announced his establishing a new settlement along the banks of Lake Lagrius, that will double as a resort town, utilising the resources of the lake.
Representative Ragmon suggests that Veroth send troops to garrison the western kingdom created in Surshield. They will be under the command of Jhedryll, an elf originally from Foresthome. Having previously trained at one of Randel's war colleges and having served a tenure in the Randel armed forces during the war, the Verothian troops should serve him well. (See Fy. 14, Am. 18.)
What This Means: The council has been hesitant to come up with a suitable administrator for the new kingdom because most of the candidates have shown themselves to have pasts that make them biased towards one of the other Bellissarian kingdoms or at least offer grounds for objections from the other Bellissarian rulers. Jhedryll fills many of their requirements: he has strong ties to Randel, but is not really one of them-being an elf the distinction is more easily apparent. Plus, the council would love to see an elven ruler on Bellissaria.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs may find themselves recruited to accompany Jhedryll. Likewise, PCs may be assigned the duty by the council to monitor Jhedryll's moves.
Eirmont 1, AC 1016: Trikelios Fund Cut.
Location: City-State of Trikelios, NACE, Isle of Dawn. SD
Description: Like East Portage earlier, the city-state of Trikelios ceases to receive financial aid from the NACE to help in its reconstruction and is officially declared as having recovered from the war. One day of celebration is issued. (See Th. 1.)
What This Means: Ever since Trikelios became a member of the confederacy it has benefited from a special reconstruction fund along with the other city-states. Unlike East Portage, which had been relatively lightly hit by the war, Trikelios had a real need for the money and used it as it was intended. Though the city hasn't reached its pre-war level yet, and despite the population's fear of another Thyatian aggression in spite of the recent Treaty of Helskir, most are happy with the achievement. The loss of imperial subvention will somewhat hurt the economy, but the increased ties with Thothia more than makes up for this.
Eirmont 1, AC 1016: The Black Duke's Last Stand.
Location: Town of Schwarztal, Duchy of Ossian, Southern Bay Marches. NW
Description: The troops from the confederacy have finally reached and now besiege Schwarztal, the capital city of Ossian. The victory seems close at hand, but suddenly a magical gate opens in the rear lines of the Alphan forces, and a veritable horde of undead and fiends pours out taking the Alphans by surprise. A fierce battle ensues, and even with the help of the Norwold lords (who are fighting alongside the common soldiers) the issue of the conflict seems uncertain, as more and more monsters exit from the planar gate.
In another part of the battlefield, King Sieger's skyship swoops down from the clouds, and an impressive array of destructive spells hits the Black Duke's fortress. The citizens start panicking and flee, trying to open the massive doors of the city to run outside and escape the fire that is now spreading over the capital. The Black Duke himself and his minions fly out of the crumbling building to confront the Caretakers, who are waiting for them on Sieger's ship together with Blind Wooster. A great magical duel breaks out over the skies of Schwarztal, while the battle with the fiends continues in the surrounding countryside.
After long minutes of terrible warfare, the magical gate in the Alphan rear lines suddenly collapses and the fiendish creatures, trapped in this world and unable to receive further reinforcements, loose morale as the powerful Norwold heroes reduce their numbers drastically. When they see they have been outnumbered, they run or fly away or burrow into the earth, while those who are not swift enough fall under the mighty blows of the skilled heroes. The doors of the city burst aflame then swing open, and a stream of terrorised citizens run outside followed by the Black Duke's minions, who are confronted by the Alphan army. After brief skirmishes, the initial resistance is extinguished and the enemies captured: Schwarztal has finally fallen to the Norwold Confederacy, and the troops of Ericall leave it to the purifying touch of the flames. Meanwhile the magical duel above their heads continues.
Conjured monsters fight among themselves while the wizards engage in close combat on the deck of the Silver Arrow II. The stalemate between the two sides is finally broken when a daring gnome belonging to the ship's crew stabs from behind the Black Duke stunning him momentarily. King Sieger immediately takes advantage of the situation and teleports the stunned enemy inside the disintegration chamber of his vessel, and after that he orders Blind Wooster to cast a silence spell in that area. Following the priest's spell, Adik creates an explosive cloud inside the chamber while Arcadius, now joined by Count Shuren, holds off the attacks of the remaining minions (fiendish and human) of the duke. After a few minutes, Sieger triumphantly announces that the Black Duke is no more, and the necromancer's followers soon dart away or vanish, in order to escape the fate of their master. (See Sv. 26, Sv. 28; Ei. 10.)
What This Means: Alphaks listened to the prayers of His priest and granted him His help by opening a gate to His own homeplane, Doomgard. From there He sent waves of His lesser minions onto the Prime Plane in order to turn the outcome of the war and to avoid attracting too much attention from the other Immortals. Since only the lesser kind of undead and a few fiends entered Mystara, He reasoned, the Council of Intrusion would have blamed the Black Duke for this and Alphaks would have certainly avoided unwanted retribution. However, the unexplained collapse of the gate ruined His plan before He could complete it and gave the mortals a chance of winning the battle, an opportunity they immediately exploited. The concerted attack of the Norwold Confederacy's armies, led by its most powerful lords and heroes, and the intervention of the Caretakers assured the victory over Alphaks' forces, much to the dismay of the scornful Immortal.
What the PCs Can Do: Carve their place in Norwold's history by killing fiends and undead, or by helping the Caretakers defeat the foul Black Duke.
Eirmont 2, AC 1016: Yuzihuapac Freed.
Location: City of Yuzihuapac, Azcan Empire. HW
Description: Obviously overwhelmed, and greatly decimated, most remaining warbands true to Atzanteotl flee Yuzihuapac for their lives, some heading west to Huitlaktima, but most scattering into the jungle. Within a few days the last groups that decide to fight to the death are slaughtered, though not before inflicting heavy casualties. The eastern part of the empire is declared free from the evil influence of Atzanteotl. Otziltipac's officers decide to let their men rest after those tough and bloody battles, then they will resume their campaign by assaulting Huitlaktima, the centre of power for the remaining opposition to the New Way. (See Sv. 19, Sv. 24; Ka. 3, Ka. 4.)
Eirmont 3, AC 1016: The Battle of Sayr Ulan.
Location: City of Sayr Ulan, Mumlyket of Sindrastan, Kingdom of Sind. OW
Description: The final confrontation between occupying forces of Hule and Sindhi resistance forces begins in earnest. The armies of the northern mumlykets and the armies from southern Jalawar along with all allies set up their camps around the city days ago, and began to coordinate their efforts. Today, they begin have their first engagements with Hulean forces; the fighting is bloody, and little headway is made. When the day is over, the Huleans are still in control of Sayr Ulan, and everyone gets set for a long and vicious war. (See Am. 26, Sv. 2; Ei. 15, Ei. 16.)
What This Means: The Hulean forces are in the stronger position, and are concentrated. Their army is not as strong as it was during the invasion of 1006, but it is still going to be tough for the Sindhi army to uproot them. Additionally, the Sindhi skyships will be of limited use against the enemy, as the Sindhi fear to unleash their destructive power on their capital city.
Eirmont 4, AC 1016: Karameikan Forces Recalled.
Location: City of Dengar, Kingdom of Rockhome. OW
Description: A messenger from Karameikos reaches the city of Dengar with direct orders from King Stefan: all Karameikan companies are to return home immediately.
King Everast XVI extends his heartfelt thankyou's to the Karameikans and their king, as well as the representatives of the other Western Defence League nations. The Karameikans leave with the coming dawn of the following day; with their departure, the other armies soon follow. (See Fe. 6, Am. 2.)
What This Means: The recent conflict in Thyatis have King Stefan concerned for the safety of his nation. He is already dealing with internal problems of his own (with the Lost Valley crisis), and must now be worried about his eastern border. He recalled his troops immediately, hoping to get them back to Karameikos before the winter snows make it difficult to pass through the mountains. The additional forces will be sent to bolster defences at Rugalov Keep, in case Thyatian eyes turn westwards.
Eirmont 4, AC 1016: War Is Over for Norlan.
Location: Strait of Todstein, Great Bay. NW
Description: A longship bearing the coats of arms of Qeodhar meets the Qeodharan fleet in the Strait of Todstein at dawn. The captain bears a message from Kjavik Norlan of Norzee: he orders Commander Bergstrom to sail home, putting an end to the military campaign of Norwold. The admiral is more than happy to obey his lord, and so the fleet sets sail towards Qeodhar. Only a couple of smaller vessels remain in the area, taking up the deserted and cursed isle of Todstein as a hidden harbour for their future piratical raids on the coasts of the Great Bay. (See Sv. 18, Sv. 22; Ka. 19.)
What This Means: After hearing of the Heldannic Territories' truce with the Norwold Confederacy, Norlan immediately felt betrayed but wanted to go on with the war nonetheless. However, his advisers made him change his mind after explaining him the situation of the Qeodharan fleet, which had been greatly damaged and reduced by the Norwold armies. Bitter at heart for this defeat, Norlan ordered his troops to come home so as to not lose other soldiers (also because he needs his troops back in Qeodhar to end the troubles stirred up by the Ystmarhavn clans). He will now have to find a plausible scapegoat for this failure, and above all will have to confront the NACE with a sound explanation for his deeds to avoid being replaced on the throne of Qeodhar.
Eirmont 5, AC 1016: Manfred's Army Reaches The City.
Location: Outside City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: The rebel army reaches the outskirts of Thyatis City today, setting up a fortified camp for the night. The next morning they surprise everyone, both the defenders and the nobility, by promptly marching off again instead of assaulting the city or setting up a siege. They march north along the Mesonian River, reaching the town of Hillfork after two days. They take the town and set up camp. (See Sv. 24, Ei. 1; Ei. 6, Ei. 9.)
What This Means: Thanatos does not care who wins the civil war. What He wants is death, and on a large scale. Taking Thyatis City would be difficult, but He believes it could be done. However, it would be a worthless achievement to take such a prize and not be able to fill the streets with blood. More and more of the army is becoming loyal to Manfred for some inexplicable reason, however, and Heinrich's control and influence is ebbing. He is beginning to suspect the crown of exerting some kind of influence but has not yet detected anything unusual about it, though His Immortal intelligence has led Him to that conclusion. He decides He needs to dispose of the crown, not Manfred, but even doing that without raising suspicions will take some doing. He plays for time by diverting the army to secure the Duchy of Thyatis before attacking the city itself.
Eirmont 6, AC 1016: Ostland Mobilises Aid.
Location: City of Zeaburg, Kingdom of Ostland. OW
Description: At the request of the Thyatian ambassador, King Hordson sends out the call for warriors to fight on behalf of their ally Eusebius in the Thyatian civil war. Many Northmen, not just Ostlanders, fond of battle and bored at home, grab their weapons and begin to set out for Thyatis. The Ostlanders go to aid their ally, the others as mercenaries in search of glory and booty. (See Sv. 10, Sv. 17.)
What This Means: Ostland did not do much to help its Thyatian ally during the Great War. The recent Treaty of Helskir has cemented the alliance between the two nations. Eusebius needs all the help he can get at this point, and will welcome support from the tough northern warriors.
What the PCs Can Do: This is a perfect excuse for northmen characters to get involved in the Thyatian civil war. They might join either faction, or just try to engage in some opportunistic raiding.
Eirmont 6, AC 1016: The Expedition Returns.
Location: Outpost of Vanya's Rest, Heldannic Territories, Aryptian Coast. DV
Description: A Heldannic patrol comes across the exhausted and haggard remains of the expedition. The survivors, numbering ten, are ferried back to Vanya's Rest where they are attended to by the clerics. (See Am. 2, Am. 3.)
What This Means: Since the ambush, the surviving knights have been on a desperate flight back to Vanya's Rest. Part of that journey had them under the sporadic pursuit of Divergan skirmish troops. Along the way four more of the party fell to the pursuers, the elements, and exhaustion; the skills and judgment of Dieter were instrumental to their survival.
Back in Vanya's Rest, the survivors report the attack on themselves as well as the Meghaddara. The existence of an unknown and well-armed and skilled adversary so close to Vanya's Rest will have to be thought over.
What the PCs Can Do: This is the end of the expedition for any PCs involved. All they can do for the moment is to rest and heal. They should have a deep respect for Dieter.
Eirmont 6, AC 1016: Defection on the Rise.
Location: Hulean Empire. SC
Description: Throughout the Hulean Empire humanoids of all races are quitting the Master's service. Though this move does not seem coordinate, it is widespread to the point of raising questions in the heads of the Hulean administration. Strangely, the deserting humanoids just seem to have grown tired of constant warfare and are increasingly critic about their living conditions and the Master's decisions. Small bands of humanoids start roaming the Hulean lands plundering small villages here and there. (See Fy. 14, Fy. 15.)
What This Means: For the Master, this is a worrying evolution, it is the proof that either Rehmin or Ustalam has reached his objective. Also, if this movement spreads it might become a military disaster. In order to keep the humanoids from deserting, the Master allows his troops to retain more riches from their plunders.
Eirmont 7, AC 1016: Ylari Raid Biazzan.
Location: Fort Nicos, County of Biazzan, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: A large Ylari raiding force crosses the border to take advantage of the civil war in Thyatis by sacking Biazzan. As they ride through the mountain pass near Fort Nicos, a thick mist rises up around them. Soon visibility is reduced to almost nothing and warriors begin wandering aimlessly, the commanders trying to keep contact with detachments and stragglers. Horses rear up in fear and confusion, throwing off their riders. Men begin to see what they think are Thyatians approaching them, and fire arrows at them or cut them down with scimitars, only to discover they were fellow Ylari. The clerics of al-Kalim that are present try to dispel the mist, but with limited success. An odd feeling of dread fills them. Leaders order their units to return home but some are unsure which direction that is. Suddenly men and horses begin to be slain by unseen enemies, and men begin to flee in all directions. By nightfall some stragglers break out of the mist and return safely to Ylaruam, others reach Fort Nicos in a stupor and are quickly captured. Many lie slain within the mists. (See Ei. 8.)
What This Means: By ancient tradition most Sclari mages do not involve themselves in civil wars or rebellions; the only exceptions are those in direct service of one of the dominion rulers (wizards like Demetrion). This self-limitation is a result of foresight: the effect of hundreds of powerful mages could ruin the empire with destructive spells, and Thyatians prefer to fight their civil wars with steel, not spells, in any case. The Sclari only involve themselves in foreign wars (such as wars against Alphatia) for this reason. As part of this tradition during civil wars the wizards of Sclaras assume responsibility for insuring that foreigners do not take advantage of the strife at the expense of the empire.
Ylaruam's experience during the Great War led them to believe that the empire would be easy pickings during a civil war. They were wrong. Using spells to create an enchanted mist derived from ancient Vyalian magic the Sclari were able to fill the mountain valley for miles around the Ylari raiders. They then sent in invisible stalkers with orders to attack anyone they found within the mists. About a third of the Ylari return home safely or with minor wounds. Another third are caught and disarmed by the Thyatians and held captive in Biazzan. The remaining third lie dead within the mists.
What the PCs Can Do: Ylari characters may decide to join (or even lead) the raid. When the mists spring up, do not tell them what is happening: the mists cause confusion in those who are trapped within it (save vs. spell each round in the mists). Since the mists were created by 20th (36th) level wizards, they will prove very difficult to dispel. Any successful dispel magic will only create a safe pocket, removing the mists within the dispel's radius only. Characters can save some of their fellow raiders from each other, the invisible stalkers, and capture.
Eirmont 8, AC 1016: Ylari Warriors Attack Fort Zendrol.
Location: Fort Zendrol, Duchy of Tel Akbir, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Acting in concert with the raiders who attacked Biazzan, but not having yet heard of their demise, Ylari warriors, their confidence fortified by their recent victory over the Fiends, cross into Tel Akbir with the ambition of conquering it. Their first goal is Fort Zendrol, just across the border. As they approach it, they find themselves surrounded by the same mists that the Biazzan force encountered, with much the same result. (See Ei. 7.)
What This Means: These troops are the victims of the same enchantments that wiped out the first raid. Ylari clerics dispel more of the mist this time, but then chain lightning spells are cast, cutting through the Ylari troops. Again approximately a third of the force returns home to Ylaruam, another third is captured and disarmed (with the captives being sent to Tel Akbir), and a third slain. Ylaruam becomes disinterested in involving themselves in Thyatian civil wars. When Heinrich hears of these massacres, he laughs-it doesn't matter who dies as a result of his plot, it only matters that they die. Hansel is just happy that foreigners were killed. Heinrich is getting sick of Hansel-his vision is so limited.
What the PCs Can Do: Ylari characters who were part of the raiding force might be captives in either Biazzan or Tel Akbir. A small band (the party) might have a chance to escape, but bringing all their fellow captives with them should prove impossible (especially as they are isolated from each other and heavily guarded). Ylari (or others) may be commissioned by the sultan to negotiate for the release of the prisoners.
Eirmont 8, AC 1016: Synn Amok!
Location: Principality of New Kolland, Principalities of Glantri. OW
Description: Regions in and around the Great Crater in Glantri are plagued by the rampage of a massive black dragon. The attacks go on for several evenings before the dragon seemingly returns to its lair. As most of the settlements that are attacked are not human or elven, but goblinoid, there is little interest paid to the matter. Oddly, Prince Kol, normally vocal about any matters threatening "his" goblinoids, is utterly silent about things. (See Sv. 26.)
What This Means: A few days ago, Volospin Aendyr managed to escape Prince Kol's captivity. When this news reached Dolores Hillsbury, she exploded in a fury. Knowing that Volospin's existence jeopardises her position with the Glantrian nobility, she was righteously inflamed. She travelled to the Great Crater to personally punish Kol and his minions, and vented some of her rage on the goblinoids in her natural form of Synn the night dragon. When she eventually calms down, she will return to Fenswick to make plans to account for this new complication.
As for Volospin Aendyr, his whereabouts are currently unknown.
Eirmont 8, AC 1016: Eagret Island Secured.
Location: Eagret Island. AS
Description: Commander Broderick leads his troops to reclaim Eagret Island from the lowlife that make their lair on it, an association of Ostlander pirates and Thyatian deserters that have been plaguing the sea lanes since the end of the war on the Isle of Dawn. (See Am. 25, Sv. 19.)
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can be sent ahead to infiltrate the camp and prevent the pirates from using their defensive position to their best advantage. They may also capture the pirate leaders, or devise any other way of defeating the pirates without drawing too much blood.
Eirmont 8, AC 1016: A Day of Terror and Revelation.
Location: Valley of the Kubitts. HW
Description: An Alphatian skyship appears in the skies above Kubitt Valley and halts to a hover just above the treetops. As the frightened kubitts scurry for cover, a group of Alphatians and three kubitts levitate down to the ground below. One of the kubitts, Zoranthis, calls to her fellows to not be afraid as the Alphatians come in peace.
A few more adventurous kubitts emerge from the bush to approach Zoranthis, her companions, and the accompanying Alphatians. They give the Alphatians a thorough, suspicious look-over before greeting their comrades. Zoranthis requests that her aunt, Queen Zalmontis, be summoned to speak with the Alphatians. Zoranthis is told that her aunt died but a few days earlier. Zoranthis is shocked and asks her Alphatian escort to postpone any discussions for a week to allow her time to mourn. (See Ka. 23.)
What This Means: Since her capture last year, Zoranthis and her two companions have learned much about the Alphatians, enough to know that their fears are mostly unfounded. In fact, she sees that her people can benefit greatly from the land of their creator. She had hoped to return to her people and establish formal relations between the two.
Queen Zalmontis' death is a bit of a shock to Zoranthis. Though her uncle, King Eraw still lives, under kubitt law he is virtually powerless and cannot rule. A replacement is needed fast to resolve the chaos of a leaderless kubitt people. For years Zoranthis had pondered on how to usurp her aunt's throne, but now with the throne within reach she has second thoughts. With Zalmontis' death, she is now the most qualified descendant. She has seen some of what lays outside of the Valley of the Kubitts and those sights make even rulership of her people seem bland in comparison. She has a great deal to think about while she mourns.
Eirmont 9, AC 1016: The Hinterlands Force Assembles.
Location: City of Raven Scarp, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV
Description: A force of 1,500 men and women board fast Thyatian and Kastelian ships today, heading for the Thyatian mainland, and glory in battle. With great fanfare, and the personal blessings of Leilah herself, they depart as heroes. (See Sv. 17, Sv. 24; Ka. 2, Ka. 4.)
What This Means: Although seemingly small, the force that was assembled is considerable, given the short mobilisation time. About 800 of the warriors are native Hinterlanders, some of whom are serving as legionnaires, with the remainder being citizens eager to prove their mettle. Of the remainder, 500 are citizens of Thyatian stock, and 200 are Kastelian marines and adventure-seekers. This last group was unexpected, as were the additional Kastelian ships, but the city-state had privately decided that maintaining the status quo would be far more desirable than having Thyatis descend into anarchy, or worse.
What the PCs Can Do: Adventuresome PCs could very well be among the warriors bent sent to Thyatis, and this is also a good way to introduce Davanian PCs to the Old World.
Eirmont 9, AC 1016: The Orb Vanishes.
Location: Tower of Idris, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW
Description: The keepers guarding the Orb of the Great One are found slain on the doorstep of the anti-scrying chamber. Once raised by Idris' priests, the two tell that Karyan is responsible for attacking them and stealing the precious orb. Enraged by this treachery, the high priestess orders the Onyx Ring to find the wizard and bring him back alive for a just retribution. Siren and a couple of other members are dispatched to locate and retrieve both the artifact and Karyan. (See Am. 27, Sv. 16; Ei. 10.)
What This Means: The Orb of the Great One was stolen by the Onyx Ring, a secret sect loyal to Idris, to cause further troubles in Norwold. Then they used it to lure the Dragon Rulers on the Prime Plane and capture Them, in order to blame the humans and convert the dragons to their cult. However, now the same person that proposed the whole plan has stolen the orb and disappeared. The Onyx Ring never suspected Karyan of being a traitor, and they still do not know for whom he is working nor why has he arranged the theft of the orb, exposing himself so directly. They hope to recover the item before Karyan uses it for Idris knows what purpose.
Eirmont 9, AC 1016: Zuberi Assassinated?
Location: City-State of Slagovich. SC
Description: Zuberi returned to Slagovich yesterday despite orders from his margrave not to do so. Despite the margrave's reservations, Zuberi is greeted as a conquering hero by much of the populace who are excited about his recent victories over Hojah. This morning however, he is found dead in his bed with his throat slashed. The official investigation does not manage to reveal any leads as to who might have killed Zuberi, although publicly, Hojahan agents are blamed. (See Ya. 26, Fy. 24.)
What This Means: Zuberi is not dead at all. The "body" is in fact a magically created clone that was killed instead. Zuberi left the clone in his room as bait to draw out his enemies. The killer was in fact Iago, one of his crewmen. Secretly following Iago after the murder, Zuberi discovers whom his former friend was working for. Suspecting the margrave to be behind the "assassination" because of Zuberi's interest in Tatyana, Zuberi is surprised to find that Iago's employers are actually Hojahan. Just goes to show that not every conspiracy theory is founded! Zuberi slips in to see Tatyana that night to assure her that he is not in fact dead. After she gets over her initial shock, she warns him that his life is again in great danger as the margrave had also ordered his assassination. His initial fears confirmed, Zuberi slips out of the city determined to plot a way of removing the margrave and then leading the Slagovian forces to victory over Hojah.
What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are friends of Zuberi, that can help him escape the city without being detected.
Eirmont 9, AC 1016: Stefania Meets with Firestorm.
Location: Newkirk, Westrourke, Thyatian Empire. SD
Description: Countess Stefania Torion meets with Thrainkell Firestorm to discuss his opinion of the Crown War in Thyatis. She finds Firestorm doesn't seem to be the bold man she knew. He says he's content with his status under Eusebius and has even considered sending reinforcements to Thyatis City. With that she reveals the plans of Julia Kendach and Periandra Docerius. Firestorm and Stefania decide it might be wise to discuss the matter further with them, and send messengers to call a meeting in Redstone. (See Sv. 17, Sv. 26; Ei. 19.)
What This Means: The Crown War is causing ripples throughout the Empire, and everyone is being forced to take sides. Firestorm's personality change is also evidencing itself again. He seems more content, not the ambitious man he once was. This puzzles those who know him, but most decide he is just more mature now.
Eirmont 10, AC 1016: Karameikan Volunteers Set Sail.
Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW
Description: As the factions mobilised in Thyatis, some Karameikans of Thyatian descent pondered getting involved. Among them was Justin Karameikos, whose commercial inclination made him admire Eusebius' reforms in Thyatis. The influence of Olivia, still favourably disposed to her homeland if her husband is not, encouraged this attitude, but Stefan advised against it.
The battle at Bayville crystallised Justin's attitude. Though his father was indifferent, Justin could not bring himself to stand idly by. Encouraged by his mother, Justin began to organise like-minded Karameikans, some of whom were ashamed of their nations actions in the Great War and bent on redeeming their own honour. Justin's corps of volunteers consists largely of the younger children of Karameikan nobility, like himself, unlikely to inherit positions of rulership within Karameikos and romantic at heart, setting out to make something of themselves. Thus his expeditionary force is an ironic echo of the men who followed his father into Traladara from Thyatis several decades ago.
Today this force sets sail from Mirros on chartered ships, heading towards Thyatis City. (See Sv. 10, Sv. 17; Ei. 20, Ei. 22.)
What This Means: Not all Karameikans are happy with Stefan's recent policies toward their old homeland. Some of them are romantics, simply looking for a noble cause to champion, and finding it in the land of their fathers. The most driving factor of all, however, is that Karameikos is becoming a more and more settled land, filling with established dominions, so that the opportunities their fathers and older siblings have simply are less available now. In Thyatis, however, as colonisation continues, the chance to carve out a place for themselves is still available. Helping the right side win can bring rewards.
What the PCs Can Do: Karameikan characters may want to join the expeditionary force, either out of a sense of responsibility, to seek a chance at heroism, or to try and catch the eye of the emperor and gain a domain.
Eirmont 10, AC 1016: New Arrivals in Freiburg.
Location: City of Freiburg, Heldann, Heldannic Territories. OW
Description: Early today eight large cargo vessels pull into Freiburg's harbour, apparently laden with people. As soon as the ships are docked, almost 3,000 people pour onto the docks, demanding to meet a representative of the authorities to discuss permission to settle in Heldann. It soon becomes apparent that all of the former passengers are from Thyatis-Hattias to be more precise-many of whom are followers of Vanya.
Not wishing to have the situation degenerate into chaos, the dockmaster requests aid from a nearby detachment of knights in maintaining order and assessing the situation. (See Ei. 25, Ka. 20.)
What This Means: These Hattians are former citizens of Thyatis who decided to leave their homeland for the Heldannic Territories. Though many Thyatians are emigrating beyond Thyatis, mostly to Thyatian colonies, Count Heinrich Oesterhaus seems to have spurred this latest exodus. It seems to be a conscious policy to push devout (some would say fanatical) worshipers of Vanya to leave Hattias. Knowing that the Heldannic Territories is a land where Vanya is revered, as well as being a place where Hattians are welcomed, these people opted to leave their homes and try their luck in a new nation. This group of refugees is not the last, either; more will be on the way. Oesterhaus is providing many incentives, both propagandistic and of a more direct nature, to leave.
This development is fortuitous for the knights, who are busily reconquering Heldland. They now have land-hungry Hattians who also happen to be followers of Vanya-perfect settlers to secure their hold in the new territories.
What the PCs Can Do: This could present an opportunity for new PCs to adventure in the Heldannic Territories, as 1st level PCs "just off the boat," or as name-level characters seeking lands to govern.
Eirmont 10, AC 1016: Free!
Location: Guardian Mesa, unknown location on Mystara.
Description: Karyan, the member of the Onyx Ring that stole the Orb of the Great One (an artifact where the souls of the Immortal Dragons have been trapped), materialises at the bottom of the Guardian Mesa, the place where the gate to the Pits of Banishment lies. He is accompanied by a group of six people wearing black robes embroidered with mysterious and weird-looking glyphs. Some of these figures also seem to walk strangely, as if they were not completely human. They begin to trace strange mystical symbols on the ground, placing the orb at the centre of a pentacle of power. Immediately after completing a great runic drawing, they take place around the orb and intone an obscure litany that causes the whole area to hum with magic.
A few minutes after, Siren the Sorceress and other members of the Onyx Ring appear nearby and take position around the mysterious figures to attack them and retrieve the artifact. When questioned about the true motives of his actions, Karyan the traitor does not answer but smiles viciously and goes on with his ritual.
Suddenly a third group materialises near the Guardian Mesa: it is Kelter Zerben and his Dragonslayers. The mage Alminthrar (one of the Dragonslayers) has been magically looking for Siren since the Caretakers gave them the task to recover the missing orb, but only now was he able to locate her and immediately teleported to the spot with his comrades. The Dragonslayers attack Siren and the black-robed people, believing them all to be involved in the same dark scheme.
During the battle Siren calls to the other members of the Onyx Ring in Denagoth for aid, and a few minutes after a large group of knights in armour and flying wizards teleport to her location and start engaging the Dragonslayers in close and ranged melee. Some of the black-robed figures have been killed, but they proceed with their ritual nonetheless. Only Karyan stops the chanting and confronts the attackers by summoning strange beasts of otherworldly shapes to defend himself and his companions.
When the Dragonslayers begin to suffer heavily from the combined attacks of Siren's allies and the summoned creatures, Alminthrar sends a telepathic call for help to Arcadius, one of the Caretakers. Arcadius warns King Sieger and Adik de Chevas, and the three promptly teleport near the Dragonslayers after casting some protective spells, to aid them against the other villains. The tide of the battle turns once again in favour of the Dragonslayers, but right in the middle of the confrontation an arcane explosion louder than the others shatters the concentration of all the opponents, who fall to the ground hands pushed on their ears.
A deafening and acute sound pierces the bystanders' ears while the very fabric of space seems to tear apart around the orb, and the vision blurs intermittently. The wizards and priests try to concentrate to counter this magical wave of majestic proportions but they collapse once again to the ground, unable to utter a single spell. A magical gate swings open right in the middle of the great circle of power drawn by the black-robed figures, just above the orb, and some strange lizard-like creatures emerge, stepping on the ground with a frightening smile on their large maws. Other people jump out of the gate as well, a few humans and elves in very bad shape, and the bystanders are able to see a huge temple lying on the other side of the gate, bathed in an unholy dark and sick green light. Other figures are waging battle against each other with spells and weapons, when (unnoticed by everyone) a single person manages to snatch a long cylindrical object set on the main altar of the temple.
The gate suddenly begins to shrink and the humming sound in the area grows dimmer. The Dragonlord takes advantage of the situation and charges at Karyan, slashing him repeatedly with his Wyrmslayer sword and killing him outright. Then, backed by the priest Ceowulf (who personally engages a few of the black-robed figures) he darts towards the Orb of the Great One and seizes it. Waves of destructive energy are unleashed against his body, but withstanding the pain he manages to bring the artifact out of the pentacle of power. This causes the great lizard-like beings' commotion, and the deafening sound also ceases, freeing the spellcasters from their paralysis. The gate starts collapsing and the few lizard-like beings already out vanish with a scream of rage, while the battle outside the Guardian Mesa rages on. Before the gate closes completely the man with the cylindrical object in his hands (which appears to be a twisted staff) jumps out and flies immediately above ground, laughing maniacally.
The surviving black-robed figures teleport away, followed by the man with the staff. Siren and the remaining Onyx Ring members, in a last desperate attempt to kill the Dragonlord and the Caretakers, unleash a highly powerful collective spell on the area that kills many and cracks the orb in the hands of Kelter Zerben. A multicoloured light stems out of the crack in the orb and a few dragon-like silhouettes of different colours emerge from it. Immediately afterwards the orb explodes, and a dark oblivion falls on all the bystanders. (See Sv. 16, Ei. 9; Ei. 12, Ei. 15.)
What This Means: This is the final conclusion of a carefully studied plan devised by the carnifex and the entities known only as the Outer Beings. The plan began in AC 1010, when the Outer Beings influenced the Shadow Lord's dreams with false suggestions about the existence of a powerful artifact called the Black Staff. The voices in the Shadow Lord's head spoke of great powers magically sealed in the Pits of Banishment, and the Black Staff was but a fragment of these powers. It could have been used to create and dominate undead, just what the Shadow Lord had been searching for in all his undead years. He immediately began to look for the entrance to the Pits of Banishment, eventually discovering the Guardian Mesa and the Septahenge, an ancient magical place where the gate to the Pits lay.
In order to get the staff without risking too much, he fooled the elves that led a crusade into Denagoth into thinking that the staff was the only item that could have destroyed Idris and Her minions forever. Later he joined their expedition under cover to get the Black Staff at the right time. The man in black that exited the gate before it collapsed was indeed the Shadow Lord, finally coming back to Denagoth with his long-sought artifact to free himself of Idris' yoke and attain full lichdom.
However, the Shadow Lord was being used by the carnifex and the Outer Beings as well as the Onyx Ring. Karyan and the black-robed figures were in fact cultists of the Outer Beings who, on dream-suggestions by their deities, devised the plan to trap the Immortal Dragons inside the Orb of the Great One. Karyan later stole and used the artifact to open the gate to the Pits in order to free the carnifex, the first among the Outer Beings' exalted servants. The carnifex themselves had been instructed by the Outer Beings to craft the Black Staff as part of their quest to escape the prison dimension where the Immortals relegated them many millennia ago. The ritual to escape the Pits included the sacrifice of a Prime Plane soul in the temple inside Castle Carnifex (something the Shadow Lord provided by guiding the elves and their allies to the Guardian Mesa); the crafting of the Black Staff to channel the power of the carnifex to link the multiverse with the Pits; and finally the sacrifice of an Immortal Soul on the Prime Plane to open the gate and allow the passage of the carnifex.
All this was accomplished with the final ritual celebrated by both the carnifex inside their temple and the Outer Beings' acolytes near the Guardian Mesa, freeing some of the carnifex (those lizard-like beings that exit the gate) from their millenary imprisonment. However, Kelter Zerben and the Shadow Lord's intervention broke the ritual and caused the untimely collapse of the gate before all the carnifex could walk out. Also, during the ritual the soul of the Great One (held inside the orb) was consumed to open the gate, and later the remaining three Dragon Rulers broke free of Their prison only because the orb was destroyed by the Onyx Ring members' massive spell.
Now some carnifex are once again free to roam Mystara and surely the Outer Beings had something in mind when they organised the release of their most powerful servants. Also the three Immortal Dragons have to face a difficult situation, the election of a new Great Dragon, and this could move the Dragonwars to the Draconic Outer Planes.
What the PCs Can Do: Fight against the Onyx Ring and the Outer Beings' acolytes in a desperate battle to prevent the carnifex from returning to the world. It is unlikely they will prevent the opening of the gate, but they could succeed in killing a few carnifex before they disappear (not all of them, however-some should escape and become a threat later on, which the PCs will have to free the world of).
Eirmont 10, AC 1016: Rulers Consult
Location: Beitung, Ochalea, Thyatian Empire. SD
Description: Nurokidu Nuar of the Pearl Islands arrives in Beitung to discuss what action, if any, the island nations should take in reaction to the civil war in Thyatis. He expects Teng Lin-Dieu to urge caution at the least and withdrawal from the Empire again at the most. If Teng advises the latter Nurokidu is ready to propose a federation of some kind to replace the Thyatian presence throughout the Sea of Dawn.
Teng surprises everyone when he declares that Ochalea will fully back Eusebius with all its strength, and that the Pearl Islands should do the same. After a short closed-door discussion, Nurokidu agrees. Both nations will dispatch forces to re-enforce the Emperor as soon as they are able. (See Sv. 1, Sv. 21.)
What This Means: While Nurokidu was travelling to Beitung, Teng Lin-Dieu prayed to Koryis for guidance. He received a series of dreams in response, filled with disturbing imagery. Twin lightning-bolts burying themselves into Thyatis, dividing the land. A black-clad figure cutting down humanity with a scythe. Blood, fire, and darkness filling the streets of Thyatis City, spreading outwards to cover first the Empire, then the lands beyond. Mystara a burned out cinder in an endless void of darkness. Koryis sent this imagery after piecing together strands of information and arriving at a disturbing conclusion. Though things aren't quite as apocalyptic as his apocryphal dreams portray, Koryis knows that if Heinrich wins there will be neither peace nor prosperity on Mystara, only strife and destruction. Thus an immortal of peace urges his followers to involve themselves in war.
On his trip back to the Pearl Islands Nurokidu receives similar dreams from Korotiku. Dreams with different images, but the same message.
Eirmont 11, AC 1016: Elven Arrival.
Location: Western Kingdom of Surshield, NACE, Bellissaria. AS
Description: The elf Jhedryll arrives in Surshield near its border with Dawnrim where he and his body of troops begin construction of a fortress to operate out of. Even before the fort is completed, Jhedryll is to begin patrols of the area. (See Kl. 3, Am. 18; Ka. 21, Ka. 27.)
What This Means: Though he is not aware of it, Jhedryll is beginning building his power structure in what is to become his kingdom. The move solves two problems: it offers security in the region, and it establishes Jhedryll in the area, setting up his promotion to governor and eventually king.
The council has allotted Jhedryll but a few troops in a move to prevent the kingdom from becoming a police state. Jhedryll must gain support of the locals to his cause and fill out his ranks and when this is done, the council will have no doubt that Jhedryll is the right man to rule the kingdom.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs accompanying Jhedryll will have their hands full in patrols and in winning the hearts and minds of the locals. Locals opposed to Jhedryll may hire PCs to undermine these efforts.
Eirmont 12, AC1016: A Gift for Idris.
Location: Idris Tower, Forest of Lothenar, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW
Description: The Shadow Lord finally reappears in the Tower of Idris; boasting a yet unheard of dose of courage and broadmindedness, he interrupts the high priestess while in the middle of a sacred daily ritual. When the high priestess coldly demands him to explain his behaviour and the cause of his desertion in the last ten months, the Shadow Lord merely presents a twisted Black Staff embedded with dark gemstones, and utters a simple statement: "I have come to regain my freedom... and to take your cursed life." Before the acolytes and guards can react, he utters a few words and a pitch-black aura extends from the staff, bathing everyone into darkness. Once the aura disappears, each person in the room finds himself confronting an exact undead replica of himself... all except the Shadow Lord and the high priestess.
The Shadow Lord is so stunned by the high priestess's lack of an undead clone that he doesn't act for a good minute, while the battle rages around him. The high priestess slowly walks towards the Shadow Lord and seizes the Black Staff. Then, smiling viciously, she whispers something into the other's decayed ears, and when the Shadow Lord stares at her in awe, she sneers at him: "You will always be Idris' lackey, vassalich!" Then, the Shadow Lord disappears, and she helps her retainers kill all their undead replica before returning to the ritual. (See Ei. 10.)
What This Means: According to the voices who revealed him the existence of the Black Staff in the Pits of Banishment, the artifact would have caused the demise of all those who were touched by its deadly darkness. During the battle with the Carnifex inside their castle, the Shadow Lord was able to see how the staff worked, and thought it good enough to use against the high priestess. He simply wanted to make her his servant and order her to give him his phylactery, thus earning his freedom. In fact, as long as the high priestess holds his phylactery, the Shadow Lord will never be able to attain full lichdom, and will always be a vassal of the Church of Idris. This has been his status for the past two centuries, and now he had the opportunity to change it. But something did not go as planned: the high priestess had no undead replica. The words she whispered to the Shadow Lord explained him why its plan did not work, but now it was too late. Currently the Shadow Lord has been sent into Idris Tower's dungeons, and his fate still remains a mystery, for Idris is not famous for Her patience.
Eirmont 12, AC 1016: Under the Earth.
Location: Plain of Fire, east of the Kingdom of Sind. OW
Description: Weeks of wandering in the vast, deadly desert have begun to take their toll on the humanoids of the Great Migration: even creatures designed to adapt to the most inhospitable conditions like humanoids have their limits. Desertions are on the rise, as are incidents of infighting.
Just when things seem their bleakest, a group of strangers appears in the midst of the humanoid encampment. A pair of gnolls, having arrived seemingly from nowhere, meet with the leaders of the Great Migration.
The following morning, Hool and Nizam-Pasha herd the vast group of humanoids on the march once more. After some hours, they arrive at a large rock formation. Then, together with the two gnolls, they lead their people into a large cave, and the Great Migration vanishes from the face of Mystara! (See Fe. 8, Am. 4.)
What This Means: The Great Migration has entered into the depths of Graakhalia-a large underground cave complex that lays beneath the surface of the Plain of Fire. The pair of gnolls they met up with are representatives of the beleaguered society of Graakhalia-gnollish and elven peoples living together-who have long lived in this part of the world. Their realm has been under siege by agents of the Master of Hule for many years. Perhaps, with the assistance of the army of the Great Migration, they can be liberated once more... or perhaps Ranivorus has other reasons for sending His humanoid followers to this underground realm.
Eirmont 12, AC 1016: Gold! They've Found Gold in the Hills.
Location: Village of Fletrip, Freelands of the northern Bylot Hills. SC
Description: Another important gold vein has been found in the northern Bylot Hills. The region gains in appeal both for the Hulean population afflicted by war and the nomads' rampages and for the neighbouring imperial powers. (See Ka. 17.)
What This Means: The growing attractiveness of the Bylot Hills is certain to bring more people in the wild forest north of Antasyn. This will increase tension between the colonists and the forest-dwellers. Also, as new resources are uncovered in the region, the interest of the Empire of Zuyevo might grow to the point of pushing the czar to organised a real invasion of the hills.
Eirmont 13, AC 1016: Duke Ney Returns Home.
Location: Duchy of Chitine, Kingdom of Alpha, NACE, Western Bay Marches. NW
Description: Ney the furmy, at the head of his army of Knights of Chitine and footmen, arrives on the battlefield where the Burning War is being waged. With the help of the fresh troops he is bringing in the war, the allied forces fighting for Chitine's freedom push the fire elementals of Duke Dahish and the giants of Coiger de Mory farther westwards, in the uphill of the Icereach Range, only thirty miles from the western border of the country. (See Sv. 19, Ei. 1.)
What This Means: King Ericall allowed his faithful general to sail for Chitine immediately after the fall of Ossian, and Ney immediately left with his troops and with a contingent of Ericall's soldiers lent to him by the overlord. Norwold is not free of troubles yet, and so the overlord had the power to commission forces from another land to help Chitine fight off its enemies, as all members of the confederacy have the right and duty to do.
What the PCs Can Do: They can go with Duke Ney if they want, taking part in the Burning War and maybe ending it before it causes further damage in Chitine.
Eirmont 14, AC 1016: Eusebius Fortifies His Position.
Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Over the weeks following the defeat of his army at Bayville, Eusebius has taken measures to strengthen The City against assault. Additional detachments have returned from overseas. Most strikingly, the day after Eusebius returned he issued an imperial edict freeing all slaves who would work to help protect the city and improve its defences.
To strengthen resolve the senate passes a new charter for the city, permitting it a greater level of self-government. The authority of the emperor and the senate will remain paramount, but Thyatis City and its suburbs (roughly the 8-mile hex the city is in) will be detached from the Duchy of Thyatis and administered separately, in effect as a new domain. At this time, the unpopular emigration draft is also ended.
The city is divided into 14 districts, each of which now has the right to elect 2 senators and a city councilman (called a tribune). Its craft guilds elect four demarchs (red, blue, green, and white, covering three districts each. Two districts, the Zendrolium and River Guard Town, are outside this system, supervised directly by the emperor's curators.). Under the supervision of a praetorian prefect (usually just referred to as the prefect) appointed by Eusebius, these officials will run the day to day administration of the city. In exchange for this, the guilds and districts will organise and maintain a qualified, well-trained militia force (four divisions known as demes, after the quarters, are created, all under the command of the prefect). Eusebius appoints Nikephorus Logotharion, the man who has advised him on fiscal and commercial matters, as the first prefect of Thyatis City. (See Ei. 9, Ei. 10; Ei. 17, Ei. 20.)
What This Means: Eusebius could have simply ordered the slaves to labour on his behalf, commandeering them from their owners if necessary. But they might have sabotaged their own efforts or otherwise not worked as efficiently as possible-recent revolts certainly don't encourage confidence. By promising them their freedom he has earned their enthusiastic loyalty. Their liberation will be permanent, and if Eusebius wins he feels this will strengthen the empire in the long run. In any case those freed will sign contracts to either enter the military or serve the empire and the city as indentured servants for the duration of the siege or one year, whichever is greater. Note, however, that this action does not outlaw slavery in the city: slavery will be much less prevalent, but it is still legal. The people of the city, given a greater stake in its governance, can be counted on to strive hard for it, and the empire. Skilled gladiators train the deme militia. From now on there will be no gladiatorial slaves, only those who chose to will fight in the arena, along with the occasional convicted criminal.
Artillery are placed atop the walls, and the city's defensive enchantments are re-enforced by Thyatian priests and mages. Some refugees pour into the city while others leave it seeking safety elsewhere. In all, more people enter than leave, however (especially country slaves who take advantage of the confusion to run away from their owners and receive freedom). By now the city's population has reached 600,000 again. Supplies (including the first grain shipments from Bellissaria) are brought in for a long siege. Everyone begins to wonder why the nobles' army has not attacked.
Eirmont 14, AC 1016: Thyatian Diplomacy at Work... Again.
Location: City of Raven Scarp, Thyatian Empire, Thyatian Hinterlands. DV
Description: In response to General Leilah's request, the Thyatian Senate sends Cirus Bovas the Younger, an able diplomat and negotiator, to Davania in order to report on Emerond. Ambassador Bovas has the duty to investigate and learn as much as possible about the Emerondian military, customs and powers before taking any political decision, reporting to the Minister of Foreign Affairs via scrolls of communication.
Karcharoz, albeit reluctantly, guides the new expedition headed by Ambassador Bovas into Emerondian territory, avoiding possible ambushes by the Hinterlanders and repelling other assaults. (See Sv. 16, Sv. 17; Ka. 20, Ka. 27.)
What This Means: Thyatis wants to know what are Emerond's real strengths and goals. For this reason the senate has sent Ambassador Bovas, who happens to be not only a keen negotiator but also a trusted member of the magistranoi (a Thyatian spy network). After he acquires enough information, he will be given instructions to handle Emerond.
What the PCs Can Do: Obviously, the PCs can be part of the entourage that escorts the ambassador to Emerond.
Eirmont 15, AC 1016: Sayr Ulan Freed!
Location: City of Sayr Ulan, Mumlyket of Sindrastan, Kingdom of Sind. OW
Description: Fighting in the city of Sayr Ulan comes to a head today as Hulean forces are defeated in a decisive battle. Finally, after 12 years of Hulean control, Sayr Ulan is freed of the Master's iron grip. Fighting will continue for some time, as freedom forces rout out Huleans, but the city is in the control of Chandra once more. Along with the mumlykets of Gunjab, Nagpuri, Peshmir, and Jalawar, the eastern half of Sind is more or less free of the intrusive Hulean agents. (See Sv. 2, Ei. 3; Ei. 16.)
What This Means: Sind has been under the heel of the Master for a long time now, and the presence of Hule is still not wholly purged from the westernmost reaches of the Old World. Yet there is hope, as reparations can finally begin. Chandra Ul-Nervi will spend the next few weeks regaining full control of the city and the rest of Sindrastan, and will sit down with his allies (notably Darokin) and attempt to repair his damaged nation.
Turmoil is far from over, however. The Master still retains a solid presence in many Sindhi mumlykets: Azadgal, Baratkand, Jhengal, Putnabad, Shajarkand. Jaibul remains an ally, as does Kadesh-the latter being locked in a deadly civil war with neighbouring Peshmir. Additionally, the himaya caste retains its animosity towards the followers of Gareth, whom they view as heretics to Sindhi faith. The fact that the followers are national heroes will only serve to further the himayan attitude.
Eirmont 15, AC 1016: Death of a Dragonlord.
Location: All throughout Norwold. NW
Description: Unconfirmed rumours spread about the death of Kelter Zerben, the Dragonlord. The rumours flow fast across the land, spread by both human and draconic mouths, and are cause of great despair among the human inhabitants of Norwold. On the other hand, joy and satisfaction is expressed by the draconic population.
Hopeland is swarmed once again by the wyrms but no effective resistance is encountered, not even by the lord of the dominion and his followers. The humans barricade or retreat into safer caves within the foothills, leaving their homes empty and vulnerable to the dragons' raids. (See Ei. 9, Ei. 10; Ei. 18, Ei. 19.)
What This Means: The Caretakers are responsible for spreading the rumours. They managed to survive the final explosion that destroyed the Orb of the Great One using contingency spells. They have now fully recovered from the battle and wish to end the Dragonwars as soon as possible. This is the first step in their plan.
Eirmont 16, AC 1016: Celebrating in Sind.
Location: City of Sayr Ulan and liberated mumlykets of Sind, Kingdom of Sind. OW
Description: Today is the day of Vada on the Sindhi calendar, when Sindhi proclaim their resolutions to become better people in the future. Coming as it does on the day after the liberation of Sayr Ulan, celebrations are particularly loud and festive, as Sindhi bathe in the waters of the Asanda River, and indulge in all sorts of vices (gambling, drinking, and more), all with the promise that, starting tomorrow, they will never do such things again. (See Ei. 3, Ei. 15.)
Eirmont 17, AC 1016: Army on the March.
Location: Town of Hillfork, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: The rebel army dithered around Hillfork for weeks while Heinrich worked to dispose of the Imperial Crown. He secretly made a copy of the crown, then switched it with the real one. Manfred now wears a fake, with the original kept in a locked chest in Heinrich's tent. The army now decamps from Hillfork, marching south along the Mesonian River towards the city. (See Ei. 10, Ei. 14; Ei. 20, Ei. 22.)
Eirmont 18, AC 1016: The Caretakers Sponsor New Rulers.
Location: Wyrmsteeth Mountains. NW
Description: The Caretakers separately meet with three representatives of the Norwold dragons during the night to discuss a profitable agreement. They reveal them to be the true slayers of the Dragonlord and to have the power to help them obtain the rulership over their fellow dragons, thus becoming the new dragon rulers of Norwold. However, in exchange for all this they want them to immediately call for a meeting of all the dragons to stop the Dragonwars and sign a peace treaty with the other inhabitants of lower Norwold. The dragons ask for a proof of their deed, and each of the wizards presents them with something belonging to the Dragonlord: his head, his heart and finally the Dragonhelm.
The Caretakers then offer to lend to each of them twenty dragons of their own colour that would obey their commands, thus making the three wyrms the most powerful dragon masters of the Wyrmsteeth and the rightful heirs of the previous draconic rulers. When questioned about the Orb of the Great One, the Caretakers answer the dragons that the orb was destroyed in the final battle with the Dragonlord. The three dragons are invited to discuss the proposal with one another before answering, then the Caretakers teleport away. (See Ei. 10, Ei. 15; Ei. 19, Ei. 25.)
What This Means: Adik de Chevas contacted a gold dragon master, while Arcadius spoke with a jade one and Sieger with a red one. The three wizards plan to sponsor the three wyrms as new Dragon Rulers of Norwold, in order to stop the Dragonwars as soon as possible without much opposition on the dragons' part. The only possible way for doing this was to exact the vengeance over the Dragonlord as the dragons wanted and to make three dragons of each alignment raise to prominence among their own kind. Thus they are now giving these three dragons [magically-created using Create Magical Monsters to create griffons, then cast an Improved Phantasmal Forces and Permanency. Ed.] the opportunity to become the new Wyrmsteeth Rulers and the heroes of dragonkind, by giving them the full credit for killing the Dragonlord and for restoring order in the Council of Wyrms. It is vital however, that all of them accept the offer, else the war will not be over, but they are confident that the dragons will be convinced by their proposal, given their thirst for power. Giving the orb back to the dragons would have proven most useful as well, but unfortunately it was destroyed in the final confrontation with Siren and the Idris cultists.
Eirmont 19, AC 1016: The Big Duel.
Location: City of Blueside, Kingdom of Lagrius, NACE, Bellissaria. AS
Description: The crowds gather to watch the duel between King Verothrics and Brodicim. Brodicim arrives from his jail cell accompanied by friends and by a squad of Lagrius troops. A few minutes later, Verothrics arrives, accompanied by his entourage of Veroth troops and officers. Queen Siaron herself will oversee the duel.
The two are called into the centre of the duelling arena to listen as Siaron reads the accusations that led to this duel. She then recites the customary rules and protocols of a duel, then steps back and begins casting the customary duel shield to protect the spectators from errant spells.
The duel begins with a flurry of magical spells being thrown about as the two "feel out" the other probing for magical defences. Brodicim begins the spell assault by casting a magic missile whose magical projectiles dissipate upon contacting the king. Verothrics' response is unexpected: he rushes at Brodicim and attacks him with his staff, striking him solidly in the jaw. A reeling Brodicim draws a wand from his belt and tries to raise it at his opponent but Verothrics is quicker and uses the staff to knock the wand from his grasp, following this move by a series of staff blows that leave Brodicim laid out upon the ground.
Verothrics then casts his coup de grace: standing over the barely conscious Brodicim, he casts disintegrate upon him, leaving nothing but a pile of dust. As the duel shield dispels, Siaron steps in and names Verothrics the winner. The spectators are shocked at what they had witnessed and pause before applauding his victory. Verothrics does not remain in Lagrius to celebrate his win, instead he and his entourage offer their respects to witnessing nobles and teleport back to Veroth. (See Sv. 13, Sv. 16.)
What This Means: The duel is a mismatch from the start: Brodicim lacks both the skill and experience that Verothrics has gained from years of warfare and training. With but a few cast spells, Verothrics had discovered Brodicim's protective wards and eliminated them. That the duel lasted as long as it did is due to Verothrics playing with his opponent, even trying to make it interesting, as well as more painful, by utilising his staff instead of strictly adhering to spells.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs affiliated with Veroth may find themselves challenged to duels by overzealous persons. Likewise, PCs may wish to bolster their own notoriety by challenging a Veroth national.
Eirmont 19, AC 1016: Diamond Hears His Supplicants.
Location: Wyrmsteeth Mountains. NW
Description: Hessuarveeum the Gold, a draconic priest of the Sun Dragon, tries to commune with his patron to receive guidance in order to evaluate the proposal made by Adik the day before. Much to his surprise, this time Diamond answers his prayers and Hessuarveeum understands that the Immortal Dragons have returned. Believing this to be a good omen, the gold dragon assumes that Diamond blesses the proposal made by the human wizard and so sends a message to Adik stating his agreement. (See Ei. 10, Ei. 18; Ei. 25, Ka. 7.)
What This Means: The three Immortal Dragons have returned to the Four (their outer plane) after being imprisoned in an immortal artifact for the last month. Diamond is the first to receive the prayers from His priests and He replies immediately to assure them that everything is back to normal. The other two Immortals will do the same in the following days, and since Their return appears to be in conjunction with the Caretakers' proposal to the three dragons of Norwold, the three will conclude this is an omen from their patrons and will end up accepting the humans' idea.
Eirmont 19, AC 1016: Meeting in Redstone.
Location: Redstone Castle, Redstone, Thyatian Empire. SD
Description: Thyatian lords gather in Redstone to decide on what policy they should adopt towards the Empire and the War of the Crown. Julia Kendach and Periandra Docerius are surprised when Anaxibius suddenly orders his guards to arrest them. Both look to Thrainkell Firestorm for support, but he simply folds his arms. The rebel lords are dragged off to cells, shouting invective and complaining of their betrayal.
Meanwhile joint forces of Westrourke and Redstone march to West Portage and Kendach, quickly assuming control of both regions. There is little resistance, as the garrisons of both domains believe they are welcoming allies. (See Sv. 26, Ei. 9.)
What This Means: For now those loyal to Eusebius remain in control on the Isle of Dawn. Anaxibius and Stefania announce their intention to lead a force to Thyatis City, to join her brother in fighting the rebels. Firestorm will assume control of the situation on the Isle of Dawn in the meantime. Ironically, this puts him in the position of dominance he always dreamed of attaining.
Eirmont 20, AC 1016: Expeditionary Force Docks at The City.
Location: City of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Justin Karameikos' volunteer force arrives in Thyatis City amid great celebration. They are paraded down the main avenue to the cheers of the crowd before being assigned positions defending the walls. They arrive just in time, for the nobles' army reaches the city the same afternoon, and this time it appears they are here to stay. (See Sv. 17, Ei. 10; Ei. 22, Ei. 23.)
What This Means: Eusebius decided that a ceremonial exercise would boost morale in the city and give the volunteers a taste of what they were here to defend. It is also a way of contrasting Justin's behaviour with his father's, a subtle slighting of the king.
Eirmont 22, AC 1016: Factions Prepare for Assault on The City.
Location: City of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: After establishing a fortified encampment in one of the suburbs of the city, Manfred's army proceeded over the next several days to construct siege engines and ring the city with them. By now Heinrich has complete control over Manfred again, as well as the most prominent nobles among his army. A contingent of scythe-wielding clerics from Hattias and elsewhere have joined the army; a few of these clerics are able to sprout gargoyle-like wings and fly. They command squadrons of gargoyles, saberclaws, and dark wings. These flying horrors counter the few units of the Retebius Air Corps that Eusebius has available, preventing the air corps from disrupting the rebel army's preparations.
Things are far from quiet inside the city, however. Defenders man the walls and a few raids are conducted against Manfred's forces to disrupt their preparations. Prayers are offered to the Immortals and soldiers are blessed by Thyatian clerics. Sacred relics (largely non-magical, but morale boosting) are displayed visibly from the walls. All residents seem to dedicate themselves to the task of defending The City. Even Helena Ledamiades, who once led the leading families of Thyatis in decadent feasting, is seen at the major temple to Valerias alongside Helena Daphnotarthius, participating in the ceremonial girding-on of weapons before the battle. (See Ei. 17, Ei. 20; Ei. 23, Ka. 1.)
What This Means: The preparations of both sides will soon be put to the test. The scythe-wielding clerics are of course Thanatons, priests of Thanatos. By now those among Manfred's army, like Callastian Jowdynites, who might normally question fighting amid such priests and their flying horrors, are firmly under the influence of Heinrich.
Eirmont 23, AC 1016: First Assault on The City.
Location: City of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Today siege engines are aimed and their munitions launched against the foe. Manfred's troops, covering themselves with large shields and mantlets, or protected in covered galleries, surge towards the walls. The attack falters as suddenly as it began when the assault teams get within a hundred yards of the walls. Bronze tubes suddenly protrude from tower apertures, spewing a thick, sticky substance on the attackers. Archers fire flaming arrows into the assault crews, igniting them. Flame and smoke spreads over the battlefield and the attackers start to fall back.
Only in two areas do they reach the walls: a group of Storm Soldiers, disregarding their own casualties, manage to breach the first ditch but are cut down before crossing the second one. At another location a force of Kerendan knights, protected by the spells of Commandant Thyarius Palykratidius, reach the first wall and deploy their scaling ladders. Duke Maldinius Kerendas, the commandant, and a few soldiers manage to set foot atop the wall and momentarily drive the defenders back. Then one of the gargoyle-winged clerics and a contingent of saberclaws fly over to support them, and for a moment it looks like the attackers might succeed in breaching the walls, but Palykratidius' spells inexplicably fail him when the scythe-clad cleric comes near. A flight of griffon-mounted Air Knights drive off the gargoyles, and ballista fire from the inner wall begins to decimate the Kerendans, who are driven back.
The attackers retreat to camp, dragging their dead behind them with the taunts and jeers of the defenders following them. Some of Eusebius' generals advise a sortie, but seeing that much of Manfred's army, including the force of black-clad knights, didn't even participate in the assault, Eusebius cautiously decides not to. Still, the defenders celebrate their victory into the night, while Imperial Hospitaliers and other priests heal the injured. (See Ei. 20, Ei. 22; Ka. 1, Ka. 2.)
What This Means: This was little more than a probing attack intended to test the defences-Heinrich did not expect it to succeed. It was Vanya Herself who caused Palykratidius' spells to fail: priests of Vanya are forbidden from associating themselves with the Storm Soldiers, and by extension the forces of Thanatos. Though Palykratidius, like Maldinius Kerendas, joined the forces of the usurper out of principled opposition to Eusebius' policies (which they feel threaten the Thyatian way of life), Vanya would not be pleased to see Manfred and Heinrich win.
Eirmont 24, AC 1016: Scandalous Discovery.
Location: City of Errolyn, Kingdom of Theranderol, Floating Continent of Alphatia. HW
Description: Queen Eldrethila issues a warrant for the arrest of the well-known financier, Bredellia. The charges stem from a series of questionable loans made to several prominent citizens of Theranderol. Though Bredellia is still at large it is expected that she will soon be in custody as a reward of 10,000 crowns has been issued for her capture and return to Errolyn. Already, numerous bounty hunters are out hunting her down.
What This Means: The victims of the loan scams would rather the whole matter not have been made public as it undermines their business and social prestige. They have already dispatched bounty hunters and see no reason to further agitate the matter with administrative interference. The victims have joined together and discreetly offered a reward of 20,000 crowns for her return to them.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs may venture to collect either of the rewards. If they find Bredellia, she will certainly attempt to buy them off with portions of the money she embezzled. Likewise, there will be stiff competition for the reward. The victims may hire PCs to thwart those that interfere.
Eirmont 25, AC 1016: Heldannic Hold Strengthened-a New Policy Announced.
Location: Throughout the Heldannic Territories. OW
Description: News of the ongoing arrival of refugees from Hattias continues to circulate among the upper echelons of the knights. Since the arrival of the first refugees, another 4,500 have come to the territories in search of a new life. Almost everyone, from Herr Wulf to the commoners in the street, feel that this is a good development. The authorities in Freiburg have been taxed to the limit in their efforts in processing the new arrivals as quickly as possible, but overall they have been successful in doing so.
This series of events also coincides with an important proclamation made today in the Star Chamber. Starting today, all new Hattian immigrants to the Heldannic Territories will be given a substantial land grant if they agree to settle in Heldland, or the border regions of the Heldann proper (though these grants will be slightly smaller). New settlers in Heldland will also be exempt from taxes for a period of four years, though they must erect a permanent home on their lands within a year of settlement. Those families with able-bodied sons will also be offered a one-time cash grant of 10 gelder for each son who voluntarily joins the Heldannic Order. This policy is pronounced law immediately, and takes effect today. Those who immigrated to the territories earlier are still eligible for the benefits described, and have only to apply to the nearest government office to claim them. (See Ei. 10; Ka. 20.)
What This Means: The authorities have decided to make the immigrants feel more welcome-and loyal-by offering generous incentives to send their sons to the Heldannic Order, and offering tax freedom and large land grants for those willing to settle Heldland. The knights hope that this will drive many refugees north in search of lands to cultivate and settle. This not only allows them to cement their hold on lands already gained; by putting the land under the plough, the wilderness and its inherent dangers are driven back, thus making Heldland safer, more profitable, and easier to govern. The less generous package for those settling Heldann itself is a deliberate ploy to send people north instead.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs who are with the knights could find themselves guiding settlers to their allotted lands, or collecting new recruits. Again, this is also an opportunity for would-be dominion rulers to carve out a legacy for themselves.
Eirmont 25, AC 1016: The Draconic Council.
Location: City of Wayreach, Wyrmsteeth Mountains. NW
Description: Hessuarveeum the Gold, Y'ilorchaem the Lofty One and Renffeodagg the Doombringer call a meeting of the Council of Wyrms in the draconic city of Wayreach, hidden in the heart of the Wyrmsteeth Range. With the support of an impressive number of allied dragons-many of whom are completely unknown to the other clan leaders-the three are able to settle all disputes over the charge of Elder Wyrms of Norwold and claim the position for themselves.
Then they present the council of dragons with proofs of the death of the Dragonlord: his head and heart, and the Dragonhelm. They tell the other wyrms of how they battled the Dragonslayers and killed the human Kelter Zerben with the help of the mortals known as the Caretakers, dismembering his body and disintegrating all its parts except these ones. As to the rest of the Dragonlord Suit, they explain that it fell to pieces once the Dragonlord was slain, and all the different items darted away in different directions. The only thing they were able to catch was the Dragonhelm, which they took away from the humans' grasp.
Satisfied with the result of the meeting, the draconic clan leaders part their ways after the three new elders proclaim the Dragonwars over. Now they will arrange for a meeting with the mortal lords of Norwold to discuss and renegotiate the old Draconic-Alphatian Treaty. (See Ei. 18, Ei. 19; Ka. 7, Ka. 12.)
What This Means: The three dragons accepted the Caretakers' proposal and used the magically-created dragons the wizards gave them to impress the other dragon masters and quiet all claims over the ruling positions in the Council of Wyrms. They also believed the story about the death of the Dragonlord as given by the three wizards and told it to the wyrms, changing the facts to appear the true heroes in front of the other dragons.
Eirmont 27, AC 1016: Broken Spear?
Location: Evekarr Road, Kingdom of Rockhome. OW
Description: During a battle between the allied army of Evekarr Fort and goblinoid and giantish forces, a spear is broken. The orcish captain to whom the spear belonged looks about in confusion, but quickly returns to the fighting.
Unknown to the orc, his misfortune was observed by Frockson, the leader of the giantish forces. The frost giant king thoughtfully retrieves the discarded spear from the battlefield and then he, too, returns to the fighting. (See Th. 23; Ka. 28.)
What This Means: The spear in question is one of the dozen or so spears of giant killing given to the dwarf Duric by his Modrigswerg contacts in Vestland. The spears are the tools by which Duric and his allies coerced the giants of Jotunheim into working with the goblinoid army in Rockhome.
In actuality, Duric was only given a few working spears-the rest are cheap replicas that the Modrigswerg often pass off to outsiders. Even Duric was unaware of the deception, however, and with the working spears he managed to cow the giants into submission. Frockson will study the broken spear and come to his own conclusions about his alliance with the dwarves and goblinoids.
Following their defeat in battle with the giantish/goblinoid forces, the Evekarr garrison will retreat to their mountain fort, where they will spend the winter. The goblinoid forces will encamp outside the fort to guard against any intrusions into the Klintest Lowlands.