Conclave News and Notes Turn 9
Spring Year 3 - 45 months to Armageddon.
Peace in our time?
Just when we thought war would continue until the world ended, separate
negotiations on Bernea and Gershan have brought about an uneasy peace.
Meridar, Squill and Sher appear to have reached an agreement, even to
the point of signing a non-aggression pact, while on Gershan the Solists,
responding to a new threat from Lorn - more about that later - have withdrawn
to Niu and agreed a twelve month truce with the River Cities.
An immediate result of this is the establishment of two new councils.
The first is a war council to deal with the threat of necromancy. The
second - the so-called 'Armageddon Council' is to look specifically at
the end time prophecies, to determine whether our world really is in danger
and, if so, how to avert the foretold end. The Solists fully support both
councils and have representatives on both. We trust that other people
will put their religious differences aside and join with them. Both Councils
are still accepting applications from mages, leaders and soldiers of all
races and religions.
Further to this, in north Bernea, a peace agreement has been signed by
the northern defence force and the barbarian elf tribes. The basic terms
are as follows:
Two elven councils have been formed, one for magic, one for culture,
politics and any other issues. Kalofane, Ambar, Penates and Kalevi will
each allow a quota of settlers. In addition, land is set aside on the
east coast, between the Great Forest and Herrick's Watch, for new settlements.
Herrick's Watch will remain under the control of the BTC fleet. The northern
defence force, mainly composed of the BTC will monitor the situation.
Barbarian elves will be free to join the BTC or northern defence force
if they wish.
Solist groups have offered to support this peace effort by providing
food and supplies to the influx of settlers. We wish the tribes all the
best in their new life.
Yet it may not be the new councils that eventually bring about peace
between mages and non-mages. A new games is sweeping the continents. This
strange activity, known as Calvin Ball involves sack racking, flags, singing,
invisible and moving bases, bats, masks, running, flying, balls, players
being tagged, random rule changes and the infamous hamster hop. A randomiser
spell cast at the start of each game ensures that the rules are different
every time. The only constant is tuna sandwiches at half-time. One variant,
popular in boarding schools, has two balls and children on flying broomsticks,
controlled by mages on the ground.
Mages, once ostracised, are now being disturbed by children clutching
bats and balls and asking them to come out to play. There is talk of setting
up a Bernea Calvin Ball league.
However, there is a serious note to all this. Magic is not a game. It
is not an instrument of fun. The very chaotic nature of Calvin Ball reflects
the potential for chaos in even the most harmless-seeming magic. Never
forget what the worst excesses of magicians can do, and never forget that
magic is the most dangerous force in our world.
Now, for Lorn. The city is under blockade. All trade caravans have stopped,
travellers are warned to stay away, armed patrols are keeping watch on
the borders of its land to make sure no one enters. A new trading organisation,
the Free Merchant League, has come into being to supply the army patrols
in the area. (The League offers a range of benefits to participating members,
including the novel idea of insurance. All independent merchants are invited
to join.) Strangely, since the first week of the blockade, no one has
tried to leave Lorn. There are stories of grisly murders, of strange creatures
roaming the city streets by night, of children disappearing from their
beds, and yet Lorn's residents remain in their homes. Proof, according
to the Empress Charis, that Lorn harbours no dark secret, that she herself
is the innocent victim of vicious rumourmongers.
Yet, if there are no dark secrets, why has Solism been outlawed in the
city? And what shall we make of Mad Matti's appearance in the city square,
naked save for a belt from which human heads hung in Solist helmets, covered
in ash, accompanied by her servant who walked on stilts and juggled live
chickens, she proclaimed:
"The one true prophet knows. The false prophet relies on the armies
of the faithless. Cities of the River Peoples shall triumph and the false
one be stricken. Onwards the armies of the River Cities, onwards the elf
lord and all who would dash the faithless against the walls. Rise up behind
them and cull them like cattle, and the ugly duckling shall grow into
a... duck. Black emeralds, black emeralds..."
Thus speaks the madwoman. And, thus, Lorn has become the enemy of the
free people of Gershan. Its power must be broken before the evil it contains
comes tumbling out to fill the whole land.
Our leaders have let us down, people are saying. They are corrupted and
we have to turn to the gods for help. Not true, of course, yet more people
are turning to the worship of the gods in these troubled times. Gershan
churches, too, are reporting an increase in worshippers. Let us remind
people, however, that, according to ancient prophecies, it is the gods
who will bring about the destruction of the world. Do we really want to
hasten our own end?
In Cleon, a failed assassination attempt on the Emperor's mother was,
so reports say, a plot by the Brown Friars. The Brown Friars have strenuously
denied this and blame the BTC instead. But Master Gromicron of the BTC
left Cleon several months ago and is now resident in Veluta along with
the BTC naval fleet and a large part of the army. Countess Grimsby of
Veluta has said she is happy to welcome the Master Gromicron to the city,
despite his links with the Magick Shoppe chain. She believes mages pose
no threat to the ordinary people of the world. We can only hope that she
is right. In the meantime, Cleon is in turmoil. A number of Brown Friars
have been arrested and released again without charge. According to Tse-Kurak,
leader of the Temple of the Seven Gods in Cleon, this is what happens
when politics is allowed to overrule common sense. Common sense dictated
that while the Jade Throne was lost there should be no emperor. But the
Brown Friars built a new throne and Jad Arden gained the political support
to take it. Maybe he could prove a good emperor given the chance but the
fact remains that he is not the rightful emperor and therefore these sort
of political manoeuvrings will continue.
The theft of the emerald throne has still not been solved. Rakim still
protests his innocence (see his latest statement, printed below). Yet
the fact remains that the theft of the emerald throne was evidently the
work of a mage, and an earth mage at that. We know of no other man who
could construct a tunnel from the outskirts of Cleon into the throne room
of the palace.
The emperor has generously agreed to overlook the theft and welcome Rakim
back into the city if the throne is returned to its rightful place. However,
it looks as if the throne is lost forever. First, all the farmers to the
west of Cleon gave up their work and bought large houses and fancy clothes.
Then a farmer was arrested on suspicion of smuggling and admitted he'd
found emeralds on his land. This started a rush of treasure seekers and
it is unknown how many emeralds were found before the supply ran out.
Was this cache smuggled in from Gershan. Could it be the lost haul of
some forgotten robbery. Or were the emeralds the pieces of the emerald
throne? It must be noted that the farms in question are all within a few
miles of where the tunnel from the throne room emerged. Coincidence? Or
maybe Rakim would like to explain how the emeralds got there.
More to the point, has the Jade Throne been found again? There is talk
that it has and that the true ruler of Cleon will soon return. If that
is the case, the fate of the emerald throne is irrelevant and the present
Emperor better run away while he has the chance.
An open message to the Emperor of Cleon
From the illustrious mage, the one and only, Rakim (also
know as the Red Ravager.)
Though I never asked for an emperor to rule the lands
I have been dwelling in and defending, I have been more than tolerant
of the newly created empire and the ambitions of your, its ruler. However,
the recent charges brought against me are a step too far and while I trust
that you yourself who have been nothing but cordial to me are not behind
them, I fear your mind is being swayed by those who hate mages. Namely,
I say, it is the Brown Friars who attempt to poison the minds of all stout
Northerners. They are attempting to turn the people and yourself against
us, the people who have moved air and earth in your service and in defence
of the people of the north.
If you have evidence that I have profited in any way from
the theft of the throne, then present it. A large hole by itself is not
enough to prove anything. If another season passes without evidence and
without the rescindence of the warrant I will have to assume that your
mind has been swayed permanently against me and will take of my person
as I see fit.
Yours, as ever,
The mage AiEsha Dalgroth has left Ambar. Her glass tower is now occupied
by a caretaker who says she's decided to travel and may be gone some time.
Indeed, she has been spotted in Veluta, Squill, Meridar and Cleon as well
as in the Great Forest.
There have also been sightings of a strange bird with glittering silver
wings flying in circles over north Bernea. Local people are taking it
as a sign that the goddess Tadewi, Lady of the Wind, has returned to the
world. A nice story except that, of course, there is no goddess so it
cannot possibly be true.
There have been more attacks on magic shops. Several of Master Gromicron's
chain of shops have been broken into over the past months. In every case,
the thieves left without taking anything. This may be the work of rogue
mages, of course, but just in case the thieves are ordinary people we
would remind everyone that the Prophet Amphion has called for a truce
between Solists and mages for the time being, at least until Lorn is dealt
with. If people wish to take action against mages, therefore, could they
please do it in a more subtle fashion?
The Burnt Lands are definitely spreading. Word has come from Taran Fireblade,
who has spent the past months exploring the outskirts of the Lands. More
refugees continue to appear in Meridar. Rakim the Red Ravager, who surface
recently in south Bernea, has offered to work together with any other
mages who want to investigate the matter. No doubt the Burnt Lands were
created by mages - we still remember what happened when a university of
magic was allowed to experiment in Cimis - and therefore it should be
the responsibility of mages to put the Lands right again. However, we
would advise caution. We do not want a repeat of Cimis.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Sher has other things to think about. Expanding
the port, signing trade agreements, establishing an independent peace-keeping
force. And then there's the question of the lovely Rachil. Has he proposed
to her yet? And, if so, what was her answer? The citizens of Sher are
waiting eagerly for news.
Jan Nanson, Mayor of Squill was kidnapped this month. He was found, badly
beaten, in a house close to the Mayor's residence. He cannot remember
anything of his attack. Guards have searched the house thoroughly and
have found no clues as to the identity or motive of the kidnappers. A
100 crown reward has been offered for any information leading to their
arrest. Nanson is said to be recovering well, but all official engagements
have been cancelled for the time being.
And a big embarrassment for the Taskmaster following his triumphant return
to Meridar. Apparently the city chancellor has absconded, taking with
him the entire city treasury and the Taskmaster's personal fortune. No
one dares say a word about it in Meridar but people are having a good
laugh about it in taverns all over Bernea.
The strange magical malady is continuing, but a cure may be in sight.
Bernea's mages are apparently suffering from a case of food-poisoning.
The culprit is a common salad vegetable and herb that is delicious raw,
cooked or dried. No one knows why it should be affecting mages all of
Rumour has it that Caldicot the Minstrel is now appearing in Ambar. The
date of his next public concert has yet to be announced.
GROSS has vanished - it's official. There have been no more sightings
of the mages' fleet of ships, no more magical experiments. A few rumours
have reached us of strange portals opening up in the village of Amos on
Bernea and in the Forbidden Mountains, here in Gershan. The portals remained
for about an hour in each case and were reportedly guarded by mages and
humanoid tigers. It is strange that the so-called magic college has left
at a time when the Solists are calling on mages to join the Armageddon
Council and do some good for a change. Nevertheless, we are sure many
people will not be sorry to see the back of the mages.
Also vanished is the expedition to the Lost Continent which set off from
Cleon many moons ago and has not been seen since. Relatives of the crewmen
are anxiously awaiting word. The expedition, you may remember, was headed
by Earendil the Mariner. Some people believe Pock'H went with him and
also the other missing mage, Latcho Drom, from the Silver Desert.
Turn 9 Subsidiary News
A surprise attack was launched against Lorn, resulting in the deaths
of several hundred soldiers. The commander who ordered the attack was
also killed, which is a pity as the War Council would like to ask him
why he disobeyed orders in launching such a suicidal strike. All other
units are maintaining the blockade on the city. Reinforcements will be
moving in shortly.
There are rumours that the Jade Throne has been found and is in Sher.
Some are even saying that the emperor of old has returned and is preparing
to unite all of Bernea under his banner. Could this have something to
do with the withdrawal of BTC forces from Cleon in recent months? Is Veluta
planning to put forward a new challenger to the Emperor Jad Arden? The
only things we can be sure of is that when someone says they will unite
the whole world in peace it usually means war.
One extra piece of news...
A group of mages have escaped from Lorn and joined the war effort against
the city. They owe their thanks to the dwarf mage, Potus, who built a
tunnel from Lorn's Magick Shoppe and led them on their long and harrowing
journey to meet up with River City forces. They also pay tribute to the
four mages who gave their lives defending the Magick Shoppe while the
others made their escape. A report has leaked out of a fierce battle in
the area of the Magick Shoppe, resulting in an explosion that destroyed
the shop and half the street. It is unknown how many people died in the
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