Author Archives: Rules Director

November 2017 Prologue

PrologueRumors and News

[AN AETHEREAL DOMAIN IN THE AETHER; NOVEMBER 01, 2017 (W.R)]

Nine bright stars hung in the black firmament above a windswept field. At the center of the field, a pillar of brilliant frozen energies reached up from the earth to seek the skies.

Beside the Nexus itself was Anubisath, Witch-King of the North, peering into its depths and seeing nothing but the sins of a forgotten age. His long beard and wrinkled flesh told tale of his advanced age, but his eyes were windows to immense power — mirrored by the glowing serpent staff that he clutched in one hand.

“Not many know of the Arctic Nexus” he spoke into the lights. “And of these, most see it merely as phenomenon in the Aether that ignites during the winter months of Midworld – an eruption of elemental power that moved in tune to the seasons. Some even liken it to a natural force, akin to the setting of the sun and the flowing of rivers”

When nothing but a bitter wind responded to him, he continued.

“But I, and I alone, saw glorious potential and possess the means to harness it. Truly, there are wonders and horrors that can be done with the Nexus’ power!

And thanks to you, Aggamar – this domain is well-warded from intrusion”

The Thane of the Rune-Eater warband stood from beneath the Witch-King’s long shadow, the dozens of runes on his flesh dancing in the elemental glow. Where his flesh was not bare, he was clad in leathers and furs and chains, like many in the Chained Kingdom of his origin.

“Aye, it was a vicious blow!” He laughed and beat his chest once. “Me and my children made short work of their portal and had a few dozen souls added to my runes!”

“You’re laughing?” The wind was vicious and cold, but this voice was colder still. “At your own failures?”

Beside Anubisath, it manifested from thin air with venom in its voice and fury in its gaze, appearing as a Beastling in white. The Pale Serpent pointed its own stave at the Jotunbrud Thane. “The Witch-King gave you power beyond measure and you let the Glacier fall. You let the Birdkin die!”

Aggamar’s eyebrows lifted with surprise, but he stepped forward instead of back.

“They were weak! I am STRONG! And with every blow we strike against our enemies, I become stronger still! With enough souls I may even surpass you, World-Lock! You best behave –”

Anubisath’s voice cut between the two and he faced them in turn, more doting patriarch than Witch-King.

“Peace, Sai-ris! Calmness, Aggamar!

We must unite against our enemies. After this winter season, our work only becomes more difficult: the Immortals must be destroyed, one by one. I did not gather power over centuries to rule over mortals. Remember our true enemies! These Kingdoms will not only fall to them, but they will also feed them or even shield them.

No. This battle must be ended and our foes swept aside so we may face our true adversaries with a united and ordered Midworld at our command”

Aggamar simply bowed  then strode off to further strengthen the domain’s wardings. Sai-ris the Pale Serpent remained beside his Witch-King and they both turned to the Nexus’s glimmering brightness.

“But of course…” Anubisath whispered into the Arctic Nexus. “There must be an answer for Horusath. Even Kings will fall from their thrones when my vengeance for you is complete, old friend”

Anubisath, Witch-King of the North, thrust his glowing staff into the Nexus. Above him, the stars themselves began to glow brighter.

 

Rumors (anyone may read this)
Rumormonger or Lorekeeper skill only:

October 2017 Epilogue

EpilogueRumors and News

Admiral’s Log; October 17, 2017 (W.R.)

We arrived in Freehold after the tolling of the bells, summoned by Freefolk Witches and Adepts. Freehold had already faced the mists and most of them survived. Through various methods, the Kings in Gold, Jade, Azure, Crystal, even the King in Black arrived in Freehold Proper.

The Datus then gathered for the first time in decades. Through a bit of theatrics and annoying bits, Kapitan Zaragoza revealed himself as the King in Crimson.

Yes, I wrote that correctly.

He’d been in hiding for… well, much longer than any of us expected. The other Kings knew but they kept it from us all — their own secrets were at risk here. Zaragoza explained the true tale of what happened at the Tower of Aruan one hundred years ago.

By the retelling of the Kings, Gabriella, the King in Gold was originally the King in Indigo but her fleet drowned in battle. The King in Gold was originally Riza, now fueled by betrayal and vengeance. The ritual the Datus attempted all those years ago was intended to destroy the Writhing Curse. Depending on who you ask, a number of things went wrong and it resulted in the spell backfiring.

The Datus were rendered unaging, Riza was gone, and Gabriella was dead — though the strength of her World-Lock returned her to a painful life. 

The Kings that gathered in town were the same Pintados of old – the ancient heroes of the Riverfolk, hidden in plain sight for one hundred years. They were working in secret against the Writhing Curse and had it known they were still alive, then it surely would have moved to stop them. During our visit to Freehold, the Datus assisted in various ways to ward or bolster the Freefolk.

When night fell, Riza sprung her trap. Her magics separated us and sent us to several hellish pocket dimensions. After the Freefolk fought their way through hell, we reconvened and found a way through the hungry mists to the Tower of Arauan.

After a fierce battle, Riza was painfully purified and the Writhing Maw was defeated. The Writhing Curse was abated… or so we thought. Now that I am ship-side, I have heard more reports. It is still out there, it is still claiming souls. Something has gone awry with the rite — was the King in Jade mistaken? Or is this another trick of Kristoff to keep us all at each other’s throats? Or perhaps, one of the Kings is in the employ of the Writhing Curse itself, playing at immunity while accursed?

There are so many questions now. Add to them the strange nightmare the Kings have been having… with the same strange, horrifying figure.

Fell portents aside. This has cost us all much and the Freefolk are not exempt. Indee Malvolen, once of the Jade Fleet, perished fighting the Writhing Maw as it came gnashing out of the King in Gold. She will be mourned and missed but never forgotten.

Spring awaits us all.

Rest well, my friend.

Gabi Laguna, Admiral of the Golden Fleet*

Gold speaks in all tongues and to all hearts

*Written by Nana McConnell

Rumor (anyone may read this)

Rumormonger skill only

October 2017 Prologue

PrologueRumors and Lores

The following is a report written by the leader of a Riverfolk expedition that traveled to the Thousand Rainbow Isles one year ago.

My King,

It is sung that over a hundred years ago, seven Riverfolk ships sailed to the drowned lands that were once our home, to the sunken tower that was once our people’s crowning glory. It was to be a tale of redemption, another victory for our Kingdom’s heroes to add to their own long list of accomplishments.

Seven ships we took as well, your brightest and your bravest and most guileful. I write now as this task to you nears completion – you must forgive your Hand’s poor writing and the many marring scratches on this parchment. At least, this record (and this messenger bird) will survive me and the rest of my doomed expedition.

And just as our ancient heroes met with grim betrayal and ill fate, so too did we find our doom.

When neared the Rainbow Isles, the air was heavy. The sun hid behind dark clouds while we remained among the archipelago’s grasp. Eduardo could hardly breathe, he stayed in my ship’s hold while we did as you bid. We knew in our bones that it would be terrible work, dangerous work. But I am the Hand to my Datu and like the rest of my Fleet, I am bound by sky and sea* to my task.

The few islands we examined were barren, emptied of flora and fauna. These scourged lands were only the fringe of the archipelago, the other islands at its core remained sunken beneath the waves.

The mists crept upon us while we were studying the island of Palavan. They were swift, nipping at our heels one moment and then rendering our Fleet blind the next. Our charts and divinations became of little use, but we tried nonetheless to leave the archipelago…but we were too late.

The mists thinned when we saw Arauan, the sunken tower, grasping at us with an eldritch, purple glow. For all our attempts to escape it, my King — the curse had brought us to its heart.

When we saw that light piercing through the murk, the bells began to toll. Despite its volume, this death knell could not mask the sickening sound of horrors pulling themselves over railing and of tentacles grasping mast and hull.

And… those things… Adarna blind me in her mercy…

They were moaning and writhing in pain, eyes clouded with death sight and sickly black magics. Flotsam and blood and ragged indigo clung wetly to briny flesh. They clawed at us and at their very touch, my shipmates cried out in agony. I saw them grab hold of Celia Many-Fish… she died so quickly. She screamed and screamed like a wounded animal.

They were everywhere, dancing shadows in the wan purple haze. I heard screams in the distance from the other ships. There was a sickening snap as a mast was rendered into splinters – Captain Roanoke’s ship, I think.

For all these tales of brutality, I fear more for those who were dragged away and down into the waves. Their fate will be the worst, if your theory holds truth, my King. 

Before I was dragged away by my crew to safety, I saw her… I saw the Reader. Our records tell us that she sacrificed herself to save us all… but Riza the Reader swept upon our ships alongside those monsters. Everyone that touched her with fists or sliced her with blades fell writhing upon the ground. My memory is mercifully hazy shortly after her appearance. 

​That was last night. With the exception of boatswain Eduardo, who took the other lifeboat, my crew gave their last to ensure my escape. Keralzo, my second mate, shoved my writing box and a bird-cage into my arms before a tendril found his foot and pulled him into dark waters.

The wind is silent now. The skies are dark and the seas churn with… things. There is nothing left to me except hungry mists and tolling bells and the truth behind every guttering, flickering hearth – that warmth and light are fleeting lies in the face of the very end. By I have sworn by sky and sea, by sun and shadow…I would see this task to its very end.

If it please my King… tell my sons I love them. Tell my daughters to be strong. And tell my husband that my return will be delayed until the next season, but I shall bring Callasine spring-wine with me. I know he will understand.

Admiral Imelda Sa-lupa

Hand of Marya II, the King in Jade

“Spring awaits us all”

 

(written with assistance by Vanessa Nichols)

Lore-keeper or Riverfolk Kingdom only
Rumor (anyone may read this)
Rumormonger skill, Labyrinthium Kingdom or Riverfolk Kingdom only