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The Petal Throne • View topic - The North Campaign


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 Post subject: promotions
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:09 am 
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Posts: 76
The two women sat silently as the servants filled their clay cups with cool chumetl. The day was sweltering for so early in the year, and Paya Gupa was already beginning to fall silent as folk sought the shade of their homes and shops. The women looked out over the tops of many of the buildings from the small veranda on which they sat. The eldest of the two waved the servants away, this would be a private conversation.

The elder woman looked at the solemn younger one opposite her. “Tell me that story now please Hlucha, “she said quietly.

Hlucha related the story with the precision of years of military experience as a Molkar. The gist of it was on being sent out by the OAL from Tumissa (ordered to drop all they were doing and go!) they entered the Ssu portals in the lower part of the city and chased around the alien beings. One of the party had become separated, the rest had arrived in Paya Gupa and immediately sought the help of the Priests of Thumis to find their lost comrade. From there to the Desert of Galai, a series of misadvantures with first the ancient devices there then the Churstalli that came to attack, and finally the expeditious retreat through a portal back here.

Being a Tlakotani, her story ignored some of the ignoble things done by the Red Flower Clan operatives, as she had already reported this to the senior member of the clan on the expedition. She had known Sten the Shen for a number of years, and knew things would be made right. Heroes of Chegarra can ill afford to let any such actions go.

“And so you bring us this mysterious ‘eye’ which we cannot fathomâ€
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 Post subject: The Perils of Success
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:32 pm 
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I suppose that it had to happen.
The success of the mission to the jungle, a successful scouting mission of Ssu traps. Perhaps even the party in Tumissa heightened awareness of our exploits. Never mind the fact that we know the truth of the matter, stumbling through the various dangers and trusting to luck, success is success to the observers.

Emperor Miruseya needs success, and we got an assignment that would take us out of the way for a long time as well as advance the Empire’s goals. The old Engsvanyali methods of conquest were to leapfrog any and all opponents, set up bases then wait a chance for further advances. Our mission was outlined to us.

I was promoted to Molkar shatsurkoi or Molkar of the battle magic contingent for my legion. Of course since our legion doesn’t HAVE such a contingent I’d have to build one. In order to begin this process and to further the Empire’s goals, we were given 2 Qel, a Gsa (shen ship) and a Zirunel and told to sail to somewhere past the Tsolei, then land and build a suitable base. Should we succeed the Tsolyani Imperium would send more and the base would become a power in the region. In the meantime as we were near the shamans of M’morcha, there was plenty for a battle magic commander to do in gathering the means for a contingent. Not necessarily gathering shamans of course, though youngsters are always a possibility, but items, incenses, etc.

My Red Flower Clan people would of course share in my good fortune. I asked for Kagesh, Sten, and all the others. The clan was put in charge of shipping, and the ships belonged to them. In addition to crews, oarsmen and Red Flower marines, I was given 150 trained marines for my own use and then handed 200 recruits for the Tsolyani army. I chose officers from the Kurt hills to train half of these as archers, and officers (retired or mustered out) from a medium legion to train the other half in two handed axes. All armor and weapons was generously provided by the Empire.

Our sea voyage was marvelously uninterrupted, with stops along the way to provision and meet the various Shen states. Only in the very final leg of our voyage did we meet and sink a pirate ship, and I commended the captains of our vessels for excellent work.

When we got to the area that we had chosen as a perfect spot for landing (a little bay just inside the Tane map) we found it inhabited. An ancient stone wall encircled a city of fungus eaters ruled by some hodge podge of tribal leaders who answered to a ‘king’. They were friendly and we celebrated our good fortune. Eventually Sten the Shen brought up the matter of their being admitted to the Empire. They couldn’t seem to understand the concept despite the best efforts of our Thumis priests (both of them translators and scholars) and insisted on a ‘duel to the death’ between their King and our Shen. Winner would of course be the ruler.

Despite the fact that the ‘King’ used an ancient technological device our Shen won. Now I sit here in this office watching the world from beneath the eaves of my brow and dreading the next 20 years of expense accounts, letters, tallies and foreign food. Outside I hear the shouts of one of the training tirunas as he drills his squad of man. Tomorrow he will be taking his men for a nice gentle walk in the country with full pack and kit. Maybe I’ll tag along and see the sights.
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 Post subject: Oddities
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 9:43 pm 
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The wisdom of Thumis revealed (with internal debate, commentaries and suggestions by Avanthe’s minions)

On our first trip out of the city I had determined to go with a small force on a training march. It turned into something rather different when Kagesh and his Red Flower Clan were sent to the headlands to see about setting up watch towers. They took some carpenters with them and my Semetl of soldiers carried full kit, including 2 sharpened stakes each for camp setup. As we walked I found myself more and more in conversation with the spirit of the ring and the minions of Avanthe. Some call this ‘shadow scars’, but I know it for more.

About an hour out, a field of flowers (danger, danger… where?) and pollen surrounds us. Men cough, scratch, the exposed skin burns (get back now Hlucha) Kagesh calls to move on fast, I yell “Back up at the run you Chlen Farts!â€
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 Post subject: New Itinerary
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:18 am 
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As I posted this in Tumissa, now I post my itinerary in the city of the fungus eaters somewhere near the Tane.

Dawn, I am up and at my exercises for a kiren. (sword practise)

Bathtime, must look good for breakfast. (bath is by swimming in a private pool with servants to first soap and later dry you)

Breakfast... with my Clan or perhaps visiting another.

Morning... a time to consult with others on what has been learned on a number of issues.

Noon... dinner at the Clan or perhaps visiting another.

First part of the afternoon... resting, listening to music, etc.

Latter part of the afternoon... dressing for supper.

Supper at the Clan house or visiting another.

After supper... a kiren of exercise. (should there be a student seeking sword exercise, this may be more than a kiren)

Evening.. contemplation and study.

A further explanation has to be made here. The clanhouse has one member of the Tlakotani... me. Other lesser clan houses have been formed by the workers, soldiers and other Tsolyani sent on the expedition. The fungus eaters native to the city are being hired to help with various chores. Only one temple has been set up so far, that of Thumis, considering we have two priests who have come along as translators. The Temple of the One in the midst of the city is currently friendly to the rest of us as Sten the Shen has won 'kingship' over this strange culture.
My 'clanhouse' is more of a palace for my use. Considering the fact that I'm nominally in charge of the army I have added paperwork for the legion to my usual studies. With help of the officers, I will shape this lot into a decent cohort or two to defend the city.
Unfortunately Tlarkesh and Tlayesha are still in Tumissa, they hold the dubious honor of being again left by their master to do paperwork for the Clan and Legion (finishing up the grain deals there).

-Hlucha hiTlakotani
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 Post subject: A simple route march.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:04 am 
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A simple route march... thats all it was.

I informed the Governor/King Sten the Shen that I would be taking our recruits on a 7 day march up the river that flows by the city. Suddenly we had a number of census takers, administrators and the Governor himself headed out with the 400 troops. We were to put up 'tsan markers' every few kiren and measure the lay of the land.

All went well until the marching troops frightened a bunch of bazhaq used by the locals to draw barges up and down the river. The peasant who owned these asked us for help, and I sent the troops out to get the bazhaq. Of course the things weren't as stoic as Chlen and ran farther. We eventually got them rounded up with the help of our Hlaka scout.

Point man got bitten severely by over large kite things. We killed the animals and checked with the next outpost of locals to see if the furs were of use. The locals gave us rides on bazhaq. These things will never catch on, I can attest to that, I fell off the bazhaq twice.

Onward, a few days in we found a village of hunter/gatherers. They invited us on a ceremonial hunt. We agreed and while the troops practiced putting up and taking down camps, the group of us went hunting. Locals didn't tell us it was a 30 dhaiba spider! I was knocked out and woke to find our group had killed the thing.

We'll camp here a bit and then move on.
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 Post subject: the City
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:02 pm 
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Having returned from our march and training, it behooves me to report the occurrences of the last few weeks.

week 1-2
A strange ship arrived, with 'adventurers' aboard who sought the services of some of the city's hunters. They were interested in finding spiders, monsters, anything, so we took them on a little trip up the coast. Collected what may have been puff spiders (they are a little worse for wear) to show our Thumis people. The two mages who fired carpets of conflagration and bolts of immolation at us worry me more. Though we killed them, it raises a few questions.

week 3
Began the building of a fort. This will cover the approach landward to the city. Some of our administrators wanted a Hirilakte arena as well, to 'civilize' the inhabitants. The army is mostly engaged in both activities now. Census, tax enumeration, translation and other essentials of a bureauocracy are taking place.

week 4
Set off along our route for the march. This time its a scouting party and we have 5 marines as guards. The objective is to see whats along the river. We are only just out when a Sro attacks. It messes up my armor badly but is defeated. After passing the village of the giant spider we head to the next town, and the next... until we find a village of only 15 people total. They offer us a drink to 'prevent dying' and explain some sickness in the air that sounds suspiciously like city sickness. Our hlaka is nearly killed by magical defenses of an ancient city across the river, my prayers to Avanthe light up the sword with a blue glow and the Hlaka returns with a similar glow around him. Mighty praise to Avanthe frightens the villagers, and I have to talk them down. Eventually they show a strange helmet of the ancients and when I don it I can hear them think. We make peace and promise not to send others to them, in fact to keep others away. It is a holy site to me now, I agree wholeheartedly. They warn us of hostiles in cities inland.

week 5
As we set on up the river we are attacked. This is a concerted attack by a noble and two mages backed by 22 guards. An eye of Kra kills one of our party outright and the mage nearly dominates our magicker, but is dead-eyed by the hunter's mighty bow. The noble uses a zig zag scimitar that flings a blade at me, putting me out of action. As the hunter races to me to use an eye of healing the scimitar fires again. Luckily our hunter's strange amulet activates and the enemy gets his own flying blade between the eyes. The rest of the enemy teleport away and we give the scimitar to our Dlamelish warrior lady. This is too familiar... first flames now this... a concerted attempt to kill some of the hierarchy of the expedition. Hostile cities inland? Tribal conquest? Powerful and well armed foes? We need to focus on this next time... it is certain that they will not let us rest now that we have their powerful weapon.
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 Post subject: Clouds of Darkness and smoke...
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:44 pm 
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I am called Vachen. It has been my duty to serve the Red Flower Clan since just after the end of the war with Yan Kor. You will notice that my name is Yan Koryani, and it is because after the Baron was made leader of all Tsolyani armed forces, some of us old soldiers mustered out of our armies and became mercenaries. Ask not how we mustered out… some did not do so legally…

Nevertheless we did all end up in the Red Flower Clan, and worked our way to guard status. Some such as me were actually inducted into the clan. It is not easy to be in such a position and I am sure that serving as a marine aboard Red Flower ships for a number of years endeared me to the clan as no ship on which I served was ever lost.

Thus when it came to the expedition toward the Tane area, the clan chose me and my boys to come with the ships. Our leader is Sten the Shen, and the military leader Hlucha hiTlakotani. It is written already where we went, how our Sten became a governor and of some adventures. I am now writing this as an addendum to the last few days.

Hlucha and her people returned to us from a scouting mission. One of them carried a strange zig-zag sword, which they all seemed concerned about. All was well until dawn three days ago when suddenly with very little warning many Sro-dragons seemed to come out of the sun and lay waste to the merchant quarter of the city. Our troops responded and the archers filled the air with fire. The Sro were defeated, but not before a mysterious explosion destroyed the center of the fort that we had built just outside the town. We were ordered to form up and defend the town while other marines boarded the ships that had returned from trading with the Tane and set out to sea… presumably to keep them safer from further attacks. One of the ships had a lightning bringer which was credited for downing several Sro.

We formed up North of the town (I use the city and town terms interchangeably, as it is no more than a Tsolyani town which the citizens call ‘city’) with 500 soldiers and 2000 peasents. Among the soldiers were the regular archers, polearms and my marines. The peasants were mixed Tsolyani and native carrying whatever they could. Hlucha commanded the small army but delegated myself to lead the soldiers and the Dlamelish worshippers with the strange sword to lead the peasants. Our musician was given specific orders; to play a horn would mean the peasants retreat. To play the usual instrument was to order us.

We stood all day, and then in the gloaming of the evening the sky grew strangely dark, the air heavy and no one could hear more than a small distance from them. Hlucha sent the musician running to the peasants with orders to play. She ordered her mage to let loose a fireball into the air which he did. As the peasants began to retreat to the city, there began a wind that was from all directions at once, and the dark grew greater. Suddenly a tall figure in a shroud appeared where the peasants had been and advanced upon the Dlamelish people who had not run. Hlucha handed me an ‘eye’ and told me to use it on the thing if it approached our army, then rushed toward the figure.

We heard the thing ‘speak’ in a soughing whisper that carried through the muggy air. It stood at least 3 man heights tall, and we could not see its face or hands, just a robe that seemed to have a person … but no person this was.

To the bearer of the zig-zag sword it said, “Please hand the sword to me, and I will departâ€
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 Post subject: dialogue
PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:49 pm 
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Posts: 76
"They did what?!'

Vachen nearly took a step back from his formal pose, but years of soldiering and recent occurrences had hardened him to the fact that Hlucha would occasionally burst out in some way, usually invective that would make a chlen herder blush.

This Hlucha was doing as she walked across the room and poured herself a drink of wine. She turned to him and asked in a softer voice, one that he had come to associate with death... "When did they leave?"

"This Morning, Molkar", he replied in formal tones, "Our people have just learned of it and I came to you at once".

Hlucha sipped a bit of wine. "What in the hells of Avanthe would they want in that town? The people there are unfriendly and fighting city sickness..."she paused.

Vachen could practically see what was coming next. He stifled a sigh.

Hlucha drained her wine, then smiled at him. "Get the Marines ready Vachen, put together a few artisans to make a shrine. We'll go there and build a Shrine to Avanthe at a safe distance out of the way, then investigate. Please inform the Governor of all this too, dismissed."

Hlucha turned to her servants, calling for her newly repaired armor and shield.

Vachen saluted and left, it was going to be a long day.
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 Post subject: the city
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 12:44 am 
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The ruined city was deserted. They had travelled for hours and seen nothing that would indicate that their friends had passed.
Knowing from the old tribesman that the previous group had found some sort of gate aboveground, they stayed away from cavernous openings, and yawning pits, stairs down, etc. The day grew hotter as the sun rose into its zenith. Hlucha wiped her brow and noticed something out of the corner of her eye.
“Thereâ€
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 Post subject: How to explain dimensional travel ?
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 9:12 pm 
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Tselin Nyai was free. He knew at the back of his mind that he was dead, somehow placed in the ring of magic that he had worn for ages. He knew the name Hlucha, he had discussed many things with her. Now he was in existence again. In a frozen place in front of two nearly frozen bodies hanging on icicles… hm, that wasn’t hard to fix. He threw back the sleeves of his robe and cast a spell. A carpet of conflagration roared across the icy waste and the steam obscured all for a moment.
He chuckled. This may all be some dream, but he could still cast. While waiting for the steam to clear he looked around. To the South there was less obscuring mist and he made out a small hut. He walked over to it, ignoring the screams of people in the mist as they tried to leap out of boiling water.
Opening the door, he looked in the hut. A shadowy creature told him to enter. He asked if he could then leave and it said ‘no’. Shrugging, he closed the door and climbed to the roof on the hut to meditate. Memories flowed, and he knew that his reason for existence was to save the two people that he’d just managed to slightly boil. Opening his eyes, he saw them making their way toward him, swearing and nursing their burns.
“Be glad that you are not dead of freezing or of the carpet that I castâ€
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 Post subject: A report
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 10:11 pm 
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To the Esteemed Chancellor of the Realm, Prince Rereshqala hiTlakotani
From Molkar Hlucha hiTlakotani, detached duty to the Tane region.

All Glory in the light of our Empire, mighty lord! I send this missive by the hands of Lord Kashonu hi Sarelke, Scholar Priest of Belkhanu and servant of the Court of Purple Robes. All praise to the Lord for extricating our mission from the direst circumstances and inter planer problems. In the name of Avanthe I have placed the following report in his care and requested that he deliver it to those who need to know;

I now set down for the first time as I know it, the history of the Sword of Janule also known as the Sword of Avanthe. Being mortal, the words to describe the things that I have experienced are lacking, and the memories may be flawed. Yet here, I humbly submit my words to the scrutiny of those wiser than me for their knowledge and use.

Almost 20 years ago, after training as a duelist and joining a legion I went on a mission for the Legion of the Sapphire Kirtle. While on the mission I was abducted along with another lady of the Tlakotani clan. The means and mode need not be described here, they have been addressed elsewhere. Let it be known that we were freed by a party of adventurers and lacking weapons were given swords. I was given a sword of chlen hide and the Lady Tlakotani was given what we later learned was the Sword of Janule.

For many years I remained her bodyguard, by order of the temple and the legion. When she retired from active duty she gave me the sword to bear for the Temple of Avanthe. I have done so ever since. In their wisdom the temple sent me to train as a potential champion in the Kolumejalim. I was not to know for whom this would be, certainly not for Lord Eselne whom our legion favored as he was already a mighty warrior. Yet should he be by wounds rendered incapable, I was told, even yes, for him. It was only later that Princess Arimala and Princess Ma’in gave up the gold, thus I can only assume that the powers that be wished it to be known that they might have gone for the gold with champions and all that entails. Such high intrigues are beyond my purview, and I continue to work for Avanthe as the bearer of the Sword.

My training was unique. I was sent to other planes, to fight the denizens of those places, to experience the horrors and to escape the awful fates that others should pray never to see. Whether by accident or intent, the training was conducted as first one and then another mission was ordered. At one point I lost my head… and an ancient machine transplanted it to a body so that I would not die of a mortal wound suffered by my old body. At another I fought the minions of evil; the Pariah Deities send them constantly to our plane. Finally by the grace of Avanthe herself, I became her champion.

To say that Avanthe is complex is an understatement. Her Aspects fit our perceptions, she is drawn to parts of our humanity that resonates with her ideals, make up and goals. To understand this is to have yet an incomplete understanding of the true Goddess. In order to acquire that knowledge one would have to be more than human, with senses that see beyond what we see and with minds that think in ways that humans cannot think. I draw a simple comparison when I say that humanity can understand the Ssu better than the Gods.

I have related to the Good Priest of Belkhanu all that has transpired in a lifetime of events between the planes. At times an aspect of Avanthe takes control of me, wielding the Sword of Janule in ways that mere mortals cannot do. At other times, denizens of the planes communicate with me and help to keep the sword safe from any wizard who would harm it. My ramblings have included the meeting with Ru’utlanesh, the Journeys to the Pylons, views beyond the Barrier Gods and trips through the time-space continuum that would cause serious dehiscence to anyone’s mind were it not protected by the sword as mine was. Even so, perhaps I now view the world differently from beneath the eaves of my eyelids and feel the weight of things on my soul that cannot be put in words.

Yet I serve the God Emperor, for he is the connection to the Gods and the divine voice of our people. All hail, Otulengba! Command me and it shall be done.

Our outpost continues.
-Hlucha hiTlakotani
Bearer of the Sword of Avanthe, Molkar of the Legion of the Sapphire Kirtle, Duellist of the House Which Knows No Fear.
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 Post subject: Communication
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 8:10 pm 
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---------------Day 4
At last, the Thumis priest has gotten through to the Empire, and they have sent a Belkhanu priest to contact us! Knowing this, I have asked the Thumis priest to send reports on the situation.

--------------Day 5
We have been informed that the Emperor has every confidence in us. This pretty well means that we are on our own for the forseeable future.

--------------Day 6
Attempting to hold a general meeting with officers, priests and other important staff. Half a Kiren into the meeting our priests report they are being scried on, they cannot prevent it. Meeting adjourned.

-------------Day 6 afternoon
Meeting held in the major temple of the city. I ask the Belkhanu priest if he can portal us to Tsolyanu. He tries, and the portal is subverted by the enemy. We are trapped in their palace. They come in to intimidate us, weapons are out.

Kagesh as usual tries to talk to them, they are some combination of shaman and avanthe, perhaps some hry'y thrown in as their speech resembles more that of Shringgayi's witches than normal folks. In the end they 'dare' me to hit them with the sword of Avanthe and not only call our gods as false but insult the Emperor. I lie to them as they are enemies, then prepare to charge. The others prepare with me, and the enemy suddenly back down, 'letting ' us leave for the moment. Belkhanu priest takse us back to the colony, there is no way to Tsolyanu for now.

--------------Day 7
Kagesh, the Hunter, Lady Shir, Pachi Lei and the Belkhanu priest go to a rumored lost city to get help in the war. We seem to be facing thousands upon thousands of tribesmen with a lot of loot from ancient places. Loot that still works, apparently.

I have consulted the city's priests. They have lent me a contingent of low rank magickers, perhaps these will be able to light a few campfires at most. I am unimpressed when I hear the priests claim that they can destroy cities. It seems everyone in this end of the world exaggerates, or perhaps its my insufficient command of their language. In any case, if they can do what they claim i'm sure they will do so without my orders. I have a Tsolyani colony to look after, and the natives here will help us or they will die.

I stay at the city, we are digging in, as best that tribesmen can do. I feel that the turning point will come with my troops, who are now fully trained. Time will tell.

This may be my last communique, All Glory to the Seal Emperor of Tsolyanu, Otulengba!

-Molkar Hlucha hiTlakotani
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 Post subject: to be continued...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 4:47 am 
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Hlucha rose from the cushions on which she had been sitting to read the reports from the field. She dropped the parchment on the low table nearby and walked to where the nexus point was opening, ready for anything.

The Yellow gleam of a Belkhanu robe relaxed her, the High Priest had a way of appearing in odd ways. He bowed to her and said, "They have failed in their mission and need you".

She sighed. Well, perhaps she could help in another venue as the reports of incompetent locals and inexperienced soldiers indicated a disaster waiting to happen here. She nodded and stepped to a corner of her chambers to pick up a small pack.

Putting a meshqu plaque on the table littered with paper, she said "Lets go" and the two of them disappeared into another nexus.
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 Post subject: trials
PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:11 am 
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The jungle was sweltering. Bodies lay around a small clearing, blood spattered everywhere. The movements of a couple of figures broke the scene of death and carnage.

The Hunter looked up ... 'found Hlucha' he said, getting out the pack of supplies and forcing some leaves into the mouth of the still figure. Around her lay dozens of bodies, and the other two people were busy doing the same thing with those of their party who survived.

Hlucha coughed. She sat up. The pestilential disease had nearly killed her but the leaves that she began to chew were fighting it off. Others were coughing and getting some water from the bearers who stood at the edge of the clearing, amazed at the slaughter.

Hlucha grimly stood and grasped her sword, the Sword of Janule. She cut a monkey thing's head off with one swift swipe and held up the brain to the hunter... 'edible ?'

He nodded and she fell to. Rations were short. Besides, the thing had nearly killed her.
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 Post subject: The War
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:52 am 
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"War is on us!" called a scout from the edge of the jungle.

Hlucha stood on the wall of the city, nodded and turned to her staff. The code word had been given.

"You know the orders", she said. "You also know the danger of speaking where wizards can hear you at any time. You have our plans committed to memory and the written plans destroyed?"

They nodded.

"Then take your places, and may the gods of our ancestors smile upon you in the coming days" she said.

The staff scattered to their assigned areas and began the movement of troops, war machines and supplies. She stood on the wall a moment more, reflecting on the success or failure of the diplomacy efforts. Her return to the city had not been a moment too soon.

A typical army problem, to do with less than needed, when outnumbered by unthinkable odds. She sighed, gripped her sword hilt and slowly walked down the stairs to the muster.
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